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biff(1)                   BSD General Commands Manual                  biff(1)


NAME

     biff -- be notified if mail arrives and who it is from


SYNOPSIS

     biff [n | y | b]


DESCRIPTION

     The biff utility informs the system whether you want to be notified on
     your terminal when mail arrives.

     Affected is the first terminal associated with the standard input, stan-
     dard output or standard error file descriptor, in that order.  Thus, it
     is possible to use the redirection facilities of a shell to toggle the
     notification for other terminals than the one biff runs on.

     The following options are available:

     n       Disable notification.

     y       Enable header notification.

     b       Enable bell notification.

     When header notification is enabled, the header and first few lines of
     the message will be printed on your terminal whenever mail arrives.  A
     ``biff y'' command is often included in the file .login or .profile to be
     executed at each login.

     When bell notification is enabled, only two bell characters (ASCII \007)
     will be printed on your terminal whenever mail arrives.

     If no arguments are given, biff displays the present notification status
     of the terminal to the standard output.

     The biff utility operates asynchronously.  For synchronous notification
     use the MAIL variable of sh(1) or the mail variable of csh(1).


DIAGNOSTICS

     The biff utility exits with one of the following values:

     0       Notification is enabled.

     1       Notification is disabled.

     >1      An error occurred.


COMPATIBILITY

     Previous versions of the biff utility affected the terminal attached to
     standard error without first trying the standard input or output devices.


SEE ALSO

     csh(1), mail(1), sh(1), comsat(8)


HISTORY

     The biff command appeared in 4.0BSD.  It was named after the dog of Heidi
     Stettner.  He died in August 1993, at 15.

BSD                              July 9, 2002                              BSD

Mac OS X 10.6 - Generated Thu Sep 17 20:07:12 CDT 2009