Tag Archives: imap

isync: Because the cloud is unreliable

A while back I mentioned offlineimap, and Curtis mentioned isync in reply.


As you can see there, isync (or perhaps more accurately, mbsync) was quite willing to draw in more than 20,000 messages to my local hard drive. In that sense, isync did much as it was reported to do.

And considering I just stole a configuration file from Henrik Pingel, it was a piece of cake to get it working.

I’m no e-mail expert, but what that suggests is making a local backup of my cloud-based e-mail services is well within my grasp. Now I won’t have any more excuses for ignoring applications intended for organizing local e-mail collections. Darn. 😑

It also means that if you’ve come to distrust the pie-in-the-sky claims of the past decade — about cloud services being the wave of the future, and how everything will be online in the years to come — you can be a rebel, collect it all, and keep it locally. Print them out. Make a scrapbook. Invite your friends over for a party. πŸ™„

Of course, the real attraction in something like isync is to pair it with an outgoing message system, much like Ian described long ago, and put yourself in control of the entire process. Step up. Take responsibility. Clean up and move on. Go straight and choose life. πŸ˜‰

I should mention that Henrik’s configuration will require you to put your password in plain text, unless you encrypt it in a separate file. I also noted that his default is to ignore some of the less interesting folders GMail uses by default — like sent mail or starred mail. Whether you include those in your e-mail coup d’Γ©tat is up to you.

Personally I realize now the immensity of six or seven years of e-mail messages that are stashed on GMail’s servers, and that’s only one of my four or five accounts I use. I think maybe I shall save a little drive space for now, and let GMail wrangle all that for a while longer. … 😳

heirloom-mailx: Perhaps it’s time for a change

I got a lot of help from Peter while setting up heirloom-mailx, and it might have made the difference for me. I find that I enjoy this quite a bit.


I’m still working out all the small details, but so far I can check mail out of a GMail account, reply, sort and so forth. I’m definitely not an expert, but I’m working on it.

I use alpine usually, and this has a few small advantages over alpine that I can see off the bat.

One-file configuration was nice. alpine has a massive list of options that can sometimes obscure things for me, even after years of digging around in it.

As you might imagine, heirloom-mailx is quite light, and quite quick. On the other hand, it’s very terse, and expects you to know what you’re doing.

I do like that it sends most everything into your $PAGER, for reading or displaying messages. And the man page is nothing if not replete — it even has a narrative near the end, stepping you through processes.

The funny part of this is, I can remember for years now, seeing heirloom-mailx as part of default installations (usually Arch). Never tried it.

Glad I did. And thanks again to Peter, for his help. Cheers! πŸ˜€

P.S.: I’m going to share the sites that Peter linked for me, that helped with a GMail setup. …
Good luck!