be notified if mail arrives and who it is from
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,
standard 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
The following options are available:
- Disable notification.
- Enable header notification.
- 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,
the present notification status of the terminal to the standard output.
biff utility operates asynchronously.
For synchronous notification use the
of sh(1) or
the mail variable of
biff utility exits with one of the following values:
Previous versions of the
- Notification was enabled at the time of invocation.
- Notification was disabled at the time of invocation.
- An error occurred.
biff utility affected the
terminal attached to standard error without first trying the standard input or
biff command appeared in
4.0BSD. It was named after the dog of Heidi Stettner.
He died in August 1993, at 15.