Columbia MM
MM Manual


You can define a nickname to use in place of a real address. A nickname is known in MM as a mail alias. The purpose is to let you type something short and easy to remember, instead of the real address.


Use the define command at any MM prompt to define a nickname. Type define, the nickname you would like, and the real address.

For example, suppose you regularly mail to your friends Ken and Linda, whose addresses are kqr2 and You can alias their first names to the real address as follows:

MM>define ken kqr2
MM>define linda

The define command is effective only for the current MM session. To keep the alias for future use, you must give the save-init command before you stop the MM session:



Once you have defined an alias, you can use it at any place where you enter an address in MM. For example:

 To: linda
 cc: ken

If you use the display command to look at the message before sending it, you will see the real addresses, not the aliases. When you send the message, you also see the real addresses:

S>send Queued
kqr2... Queued

One more thing: if you often send to both of them, you can define another alias meaning both, like define kenlinda kqr2,, or even define kenlinda ken, linda as long as you have ken and linda defined. This is one way to keep a mailing list.

To see what aliases you have used, use a question mark after the define or who commands. Type who and an alias to see where mail that alias will go.

MM>who ? mail alias, one of the following:
 ken   linda   rich
  or recipient name, text string
MM>who ken

The mail aliases are kept in the file .mminit in your directory.


Do not use punctuation or spaces in the alias name. For Fred Flange, do not use an alias like F_Flange or Fred.Flange; you can use any run-together form like fflange, or FredFlange. You don't have to type capitals when using the alias.

Your mail alias overrides a real address that is the same. For example, suppose you defined the alias ken for kqr2, but there is actually a user id ken on the system. When you then send mail to ken, it will go to kqr2, not to ken: your alias is used.

If, after using ken as an alias, you then want to send mail to the user id ken, there are two ways. One is to use a fuller form, like, since that full form is not your alias. The other way is to put a backslash in front of the user id, \ken, to tell MM to ignore any aliases.


There are some system mail aliases, that is, aliases available to anyone on the system. You do not define them, but you can use them. One that should be on all systems is postmaster. Type who postmaster to see the real address, as you would with one of your own aliases. Notice that the system aliases may refer to one real address, or to a list (how many people get mail to postmaster?).

Mail aliases that you define override system aliases, just as they override real addresses.


To eliminate an alias you no longer want, define it as nothing. For example, if Linda goes away, eliminate the alias like this:

MM>define linda

To change the definition, just define the same alias again, and use save-init to save the new version.

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