Introduction to Heirloom mailx

The Heirloom mailx package (formerly known as the Nail package) contains mailx, a command-line Mail User Agent derived from Berkeley Mail. It is intended to provide the functionality of the POSIX mailx command with additional support for MIME messages, IMAP (including caching), POP3, SMTP, S/MIME, message threading/sorting, scoring, and filtering. Heirloom mailx is especially useful for writing scripts and batch processing.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-7.8 platform.

Package Information

Additional Downloads

Heirloom mailx Dependencies


OpenSSL-1.0.2d or NSS-3.20, MIT Kerberos V5-1.13.2 (for IMAP GSSAPI authentication), and an MTA

User Notes:

Installation of Heirloom mailx



This package does not support parallel build.

Install Heirloom mailx by running the following commands.

patch -Np1 -i ../heirloom-mailx-12.5-fixes-1.patch &&
make SENDMAIL=/usr/sbin/sendmail -j1

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

make PREFIX=/usr UCBINSTALL=/usr/bin/install install &&
ln -v -sf mailx /usr/bin/mail &&
ln -v -sf mailx /usr/bin/nail &&
install -v -m755 -d /usr/share/doc/heirloom-mailx-12.5 &&
install -v -m644 README /usr/share/doc/heirloom-mailx-12.5

Command Explanations

make SENDMAIL=/usr/sbin/sendmail: This changes the default MTA path of /usr/lib/sendmail.

make PREFIX=/usr UCBINSTALL=/usr/bin/install install: This changes the default installation path of /usr/local and the default install command path of /usr/ucb.

Configuring Heirloom mailx

Config Files

/etc/nail.rc, ~/.mailrc and ~/.nailrc


Installed Programs: mail, mailx and nail
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: None

Short Descriptions


is a command-line mail user agent compatible with the mailx command found on commercial Unix versions.


is a symbolic link to mailx.


is a symbolic link to mailx.

Last updated on 2015-09-11 17:57:49 -0700