Recipe 8.3 Encrypted Mail with Pine

8.3.1 Problem

You want to send and receive encrypted email conveniently with the Pine mailer.

8.3.2 Solution

Use PinePGP.

8.3.3 Description

Before using PinePGP, make sure you have previously used Pine on your local computer, so you have a ~/.pinerc configuration file. Then download PinePGP from, build, and install it. (As root if you prefer.)

When installing PinePGP, you must make a choice: Should messages you encrypt be decryptable only by their intended recipients, or by yourself as well? If the former, which is the default behavior, run:

$ pinegpg-install

Alternatively, if you want to change this default, making your messages decryptable by you (with your public key) in addition to the recipient, instead invoke:

$ pinegpg-install

where is the email address associated with your intended GnuPG key. [Recipe 7.7]

Now let's send an encrypted message to our friend, whose GnuPG public key is already on our keyring. Run pine and compose a message. Press


to send the message normally, and you will receive this prompt, asking if you want the message filtered before sending:

Send message (unfiltered)?



repeatedly to display the filters, which will appear like this:

Send message (filtered thru "gpg-sign")?
Send message (filtered thru "gpg-encrypt")?
Send message (filtered thru "gpg-sign+encrypt")?

Select the filter you want and press Return to send the message. If you're signing the message, you'll be prompted for your key passphrase first.

That's sending, but what about receiving? When an encrypted message arrives in your mailbox and you attempt to view it, pine will automatically prompt for your passphrase. If entered correctly, the message will be displayed. The beginning and end of the decrypted text will be surrounded by [PinePGP] markers:

Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 21:08:32 -0400 (EDT)
From: Some Buddy <>
To: You <>
Subject: Test message

Hey, d00d, this encryption stuff rocks!
gpg: encrypted with 1024-bit ELG-E key, ID 61E9334C, created 2001-02-21
     "Some W. Buddy (The d00d) <>"

How does this all work? PinePGP filters your sent and displayed email via the sending-filters and display-filters variables in ~/.pinerc.

8.3.4 See Also

pine(1). The Pine home page is PinePGP is found at

    Chapter 9. Testing and Monitoring