fetchmail: Breaking it down into steps

I can remember a long time ago putting my whole concerted brain effort into getting mutt to work nicely with GMail.

The ensuing explosion aside, what little I remember does involve working with fetchmail, so this time I can brag about personal experience … even if it’s exceedingly brief.


As is that gif. Sorry about that; time flies when you’re having fun. ๐Ÿ™„

I’m no expert on fetchmail, and all I did was copy-and-paste a configuration there, but fetchmail sure seems easy.

I wonder what my problem was, all those years ago … ? ๐Ÿ˜•

As I see it though, in the grand scheme of things fetchmail really only handles half of the work; sending mail is another matter altogether.

fetchmail — apparently — is also extremely well-read … if “well-read” can be interpreted as “handles POP2, POP3, RPOP, APOP, KPOP, all kinds of IMAP, ETRN, and ODMR, IPv6 and IPSEC.” I don’t know what half of those are, but fetchmail apparently does.

I hate to say it, but even for as easy as fetchmail was, I know it’s only half the fight in getting the same results as alpine gets in one fell swoop. So as much as I know I can probably get the entire suite working, inertia takes over and I stay where I’m at.

One of these days. … ๐Ÿ™„

7 thoughts on “fetchmail: Breaking it down into steps

  1. Pingback: Bonus: F is for finished | Inconsolation

  2. thisnameisfalse


    I love fetchmail+mutt configuration!. I have been using then last four years.

    You have an incorrect fetchmail configuration. Acording with your screenshots, you can access to pop.gmail.com at 995 port, you can list messages in your gmail account. But the error is in the second part of your setup: you download a message via POP with fetchmail, and injects it to a SMTP server listen in localhost:25 port, creating a message error.

    I can not assure if your setup (download via POP, and then forward via SMTP) is correct, but my config is different.

    You should post your .fetchmailrc config file (please, remove real username and password from yout file prior posting)

    I think the problem is the “mda” line in your config file. These are some stanzas in my personal .fetchmailrc, using procmail as final delivery command, accesing gmail via POP and via IMAP:
    poll pop.gmail.com with proto POP3 port 995
    username “thismailisveryveryfalse@gmail.com” there is “user33” here
    options ssl sslcertck sslcertpath /home/user33/.ssl_certs
    mda ‘/usr/bin/procmail -d %T’

    skip imap.gmail.com with proto IMAP port 993
    username “thismailisalsoveryfalse@gmail.com” there is “user32” here
    options ssl sslcertck sslcertpath /home/user32/.ssl_certs
    mda ‘/usr/bin/procmail -d %T’

    If you have any question, post here, or send me a private email: this is my “pay” for enjoying with your blog.

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      You’re very kind, but I wrote that out a few days ago and I’ve since deleted the configuration and uninstalled it. If I get a chance in the next few days, I’ll send a note via e-mail. Cheers and thanks again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. N.N.

    I was recently redoing my mail setup and was thinking about using fetchmail or getmail, but then I found mpop, which does exactly what I need and is somewhat slimmer than alternatives. For me, mutt+mpop+msmtp is a nice way to store mail locally and handle multiple accounts.

    I just wanted to add this here because for some reason I didn’t find these programs until recently. Anyway, thanks for all the useful stuff on your blogs! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. thisnameisfalse

      Please, note that recent versions of mutt already have SMTP client code inside, so you don’t need msmtp: all information in internet about mutt-msmtp is about old mutt versions. Of course, if you are confortable using mutt-mstmp setup, it will continue working.

      1. N.N.

        I considered using mutt’s POP and SMTP capabilities, but I did not like the folder-hook approach for handling multiple accounts. Now I have mpop fetching all my mail into a single folder (I could also add procmail for filtering), msmtp to send mail depending on the From: header, and mutt doing what it does best – manage mail. I also like that now my muttrc requires very little information about my accounts. But I can certainly see the appeal of using built-in support for remote servers; if I did not have as many accounts, I would probably use it as well.

  4. Pingback: lumail: You can probably do better | Inconsolation

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