set] MATH DEPT Computer News, Volume 20

You and your .forward file

Let's say your name is Steven Bellisandagorapahockey and your login id on math is sbellis and you want the e-mail you get on your math account to get forwarded to an account you like better, say


Just create a file called .forward in your home directory on math containing the single line


and the e-mail that comes to sbellis@math.purdue.edu will automatically get forwarded to thebigkahuna@gmail.com. You won't see a trace of it on your math account. It will all end up at your gmail account.

If you want a copy of the e-mail that comes to math to stay at math AND get forwarded to thebigkahuna, you can put these lines in your math .forward file:


(The "\" is important. It prevents an infinite loop of e-mail forwarding.)

If you are going away and you want to respond to all your e-mail with an automated "I'll read your message when I get back" message, just type


at a UNIX prompt and follow the instrucitons. The vacation program will create a .vacation.msg file and a .forward file in your home directory. The .forward file will look like this:

\sbellis, "|/usr/bin/vacation sbellis"

If you want to give an automated vacation response, keep a copy of all your incoming e-mail at math, and forward another copy to your gmail account, just edit the .forward file to read

\sbellis, "|/usr/bin/vacation sbellis"

Don't forget to move or delete your .forward file when you return.

If you don't like the sound of your e-mail address at math, you can set up an alias that you like better at the Purdue MAIL*HUB. For example, sbellis@math.purdue.edu could set up an address of


He could then arrange for mail that is sent to kahuna@purdue.edu to get forwarded to sbellis@math.purdue.edu. See Network News 14 for an explanation of how to set up this service at the Purdue Mail Hub.

By the way, the spam filter at the Purdue Mail Hub is better than alligate, and gmail's filter is better yet. I once set up a triple filter for my math mail by forwarding my math mail to my Purdue Mail Hub account and then forwarding the mail from there to my gmail account. It was almost crystal clear when it got to gmail. I gave this system up, however, because my spam reports would get tagged as spam and it became very difficult to retrieve messages that alligate snagged as spam that weren't really spam.

You can get free e-mail accounts at many places, including


That last one comes from the google people. I have a copy of all my e-mail forwarded to gmail so I can easily search it. They have a huge storage quota and I can save several years worth of e-mail there for searching.

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