Building and Installing Alpine (Apache-Licensed Pine)

Alpine, the University of Washington's new Apache-Licensed Pine, has been in alpha testing since 2006 November 29 and it's now at a point where I feel comfortable recommending it to power Pine users. If you would like to participate in the alpha test, go to the Alpine Information Center and join the alpine-alpha mailing list.

Here is what I did to build and install Alpine on my Mac OS X system.
  1. If you have not done so already, download and install the latest Xcode package from the Apple Developer Center.
  2. Backup any Pine and Alpine files that are in /usr/local/bin. These will be replaced by Step 13 below.
  3. Go to and get the latest alpine-x.xx.tar.bz2 (where x.xx is the version number). I prefer to get the .bz2 file because it is smaller than the .Z and .gz files.
  4. Put this tarball in your build directory, for example in ~/Build.
  5. Open a Terminal window.
  6. To change to your build directory, type:

    cd ~/Build
  7. To check the MD5 checksum of the tarball, run one of the following commands:

    /sbin/md5 /absolute/path/to/alpine-x.xx.tar.bz2
    /usr/bin/openssl md5 /absolute/path/to/alpine-x.xx.tar.bz2
    I recommend that you specify the absolute path to both the command and the tarball to ensure you are not specifying trojans. The MD5 checksum should match the MD5 checksum that is in the x.xx release announcement message.
  8. To list the table of contents of the tarball, type:

    tar jtvf alpine-x.xx.tar.bz2 | less
    j = bunzip2
    t = table of contents
    v = verbose
    f = file
  9. To unbzip2 (bunzip2) and untar the tarball, type:
    tar jxvf alpine-x.xx.tar.bz2
    j = bunzip2
    x = extract
    v = verbose
    f = file
  10. To change to the newly created alpine-x.xx directory, type:
    cd alpine-x.xx
  11. To read the README and the configuration help, type:
    less README
    ./configure --help |less
  12. To build Alpine, type the following (which are discussed in the README):
  13. After the build is finished, type:
    sudo make install
    You will be prompted for your Mac OS X password. Note that you need to be using an OS X admin account to use sudo and that this command will replace any Alpine files that are in /usr/local/bin.
  14. To check that Alpine was built and installed correctly, type:
    man alpine
    Make sure that these two commands invoke the correct version (x.xx). If these commands do not work, you probably need to add /usr/local/man to your MANPATH environment variable and /usr/local/bin to your PATH environment variable. For details, see the man page for your shell (man bash, man tcsh, etc.). To determine your shell, run finger -l.
To learn more about Alpine, which is basically Pine 5.0+, see:
Good luck with Alpine and I hope to see you in the Alpine-alpha list!

Tip 1: You should be able to use a modified version of these instructions to build Alpine on any Unix-like system. For example, I used Steps 3-12 to build Alpine on my DreamHost shared hosting account, which runs Debian Linux.

Tip 2: The Alpine FTP site includes pre-built versions of Alpine for MS Windows (PC-Alpine): and setup_alpine_x.xx.exe. Details are in

See Also:

Labels: , , , , , ,

Hashtag: # [?]

Post & Read Comments (located elsewhere)



Post & Read Comments (located here)

I don't know if you'll see this, but I thought I might as well try. As part of my quest to extract my emails from my Gmail account so I can put them elsewhere, I've tried to install the pre-built Alpine package by unzipping and then copying it into /usr/local/bin as suggested on the UW download page, but it doesn't work. I can't open the Alpine package in any way, despite mucking around with my local PATH variable. Is there no step-by-step instruction set available for doing this? Like, something like your procmail setup instructions?

Speaking of which, I followed those, and the .mbox files procmail made aren't being read by Thunderbird or Mail. I'm so tired of diligently trying to do this and coming up against errors like this and then not being able to find anyone else experiencing the same problems no matter how hard I look.


Post a Comment



Links to this page

Create a Link



Each item © Nancy McGough
Each comment © the author of the comment web site hosted by
deflexions powered by Delicious · reflexions powered by Blogger
More deflexions & reflexions, & feeds available via the sidebar top & bottom

[link] For bookmarks & links, please use this page's permalink [link]