Tag Archives: mail

offlineimap: With visible potential

Tara sent me a link a few months ago about offlineimap, at a time when I was tinkering with an unrelated e-mail tool. I can say up front that I can see the potential in this.


If I understand it right, this would allow you to synchronize a remote mail directory — something like GMail, as above — to a local folder, and then use a traditional mail reader, like mutt, to … well … read your e-mail. 🙄

If that’s the case then I may have found a way around my usual need for a locally built e-mail system, and I can start whacking away at other e-mail tools that don’t really apply to Web-based services.

On the other hand, I’m not sure where offlineimap will help with sending e-mails, although I haven’t really worked much with it beyond what you see above. Science demands an answer.

Something tells me offlineimap has some sort of provision for that. It is, after all, 12 years old.

Sending or receiving, the first place to start would be (and was) the Arch wiki, which has plenty of sample configurations and a special one just for GMail accounts … which worked more or less perfectly for me. I’m such a copy-paster. 😳

Just for future reference, or if you want to tinker with offlineimap too, here’s what I used:

# List of accounts to be synced, separated by a comma.
accounts = gmail-remote

[Account gmail-remote]
# Identifier for the local repository; e.g. the maildir to be synced via IMAP.
localrepository = main-local
# Identifier for the remote repository; i.e. the actual IMAP, usually non-local.
remoterepository = gmail-remote
# Status cache. Default is plain, which eventually becomes huge and slow.
status_backend = sqlite

[Repository main-local]
# Currently, offlineimap only supports maildir and IMAP for local repositories.
type = Maildir
# Where should the mail be placed?
localfolders = ~/.mail

[Repository gmail-remote]
type = Gmail
remoteuser = k.mandla@gmail.com
remotepass = password
nametrans = lambda foldername: re.sub ('^\[gmail\]', 'bak',
                               re.sub ('sent_mail', 'sent',
                               re.sub ('starred', 'flagged',
                               re.sub (' ', '_', foldername.lower()))))
folderfilter = lambda foldername: foldername not in '[Gmail]/All Mail'
# Necessary as of OfflineIMAP 6.5.4
sslcacertfile = /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

You will, of course, have to adjust that to your liking. And I’m sure that could be streamlined a bit.

I can’t say if offlineimap is any better or worse than anything else available; I do see a lot of Remy’s NoPriv.py in this too though. Perhaps the two are not dissimilar.

I intend to come back and take a look at offlineimap again sometime soon. I can’t say for sure why — I just have a hunch that it will be useful in the months and years to come. 😐

mutt: Miracle of miracles

Well, this is a first.


For years now — no, not years. For nearly a decade I’ve been yapping like a wiener dog on espresso about how I can never get GMail set up with mutt, and how I stick with alpine just because it works for me. I guess I don’t have that excuse any more.

It’ll take me a little while to get used to the arrangement, but so far so good. It’s quite speedy, I’ll give it that.

If you have any advice on getting it to work with multiple accounts (most from the same provider), I’d be happy to hear it. I can run that through DuckDuckGo though, and probably get an answer later today.

And now, let it be said that K.Mandla has finally gotten mutt to work. All credit goes to a cut-and-paste configuration on Linux and Life. Cheers. And sorry about the wiener dog yapping. 😉

P.S.: I did mention that if I found a better e-mail client I would jump ship. I stand by that. … 👿

mairix: Starting off rather weakly

Weakly on my part, not the application’s part. After some real-life intrusions yesterday that completely derailed any plans I had, and after sifting through the first dozen programs on my list and finding a lot of no-shows, I’m going to get the ball rolling with mairix, because I like the looks of it.

And oddly, I have nothing to show for it. 😕

One of my biggest shortcomings over the past year has been the inability to show a lot of clever mail tools, because I rely on web-based services and don’t run things locally.

I don’t think that’s terribly unusual, but it does mean that things like mairix are more hassle to set up than it’s worth — just to write four paragraphs and snap a screenshot.

It was exceptionally easy to set up though, and while I couldn’t do much but skim through a leftover message or two abandoned in the wake of my last session of re-alpine, mairix complied willingly.

mairix by all accounts should give you quick and painless searching of your locally stored mail, whether it’s maildir, MH or mbox format.

And what I see on the web site looks promising. That, plus the fact that it’s in Arch’s community repo, makes me a little more confident in pushing this to the forefront of the M section.

Even if my own setup more or less precludes getting it working properly. 🙄

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! 😀

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

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. 🙄

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 … ? 😕

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. … 🙄

alpine: Not the best, not the worst

Out of the vast sea of Linux mail clients, for some forgotten reason I have latched on to alpine.


Or re-alpine, as I should say, since the Arch version has moved to a rebranded version. (That was a joke. Get it? 🙄 )

Why do I insist on using such a (comparatively) heavy, over-featureful, rather obtuse mail and news reader to check my meager four or five GMail accounts once a day?

I really don’t know.

Well, that’s not true. I do know. I stick with alpine — ahem, re-alpine for two or three quick reasons.

  1. It was fairly easy to figure out, for setting up rules and patterns.
  2. It worked on the first try for me.
  3. I’ve got most of the configurations saved from three or four years ago, and it’s just easier this way.

Oh, that last one is a terrible reason. Skip that one.

Truth be told, I feel no allegiance to alpine. It worked when mutt didn’t, five years ago when I was eager to find something to check my email without requiring a mouse.

I keep tabs on other clients — mutt, sup, cone, elmo. When a better one comes along, I’ll jump ship. I am like that sometimes. 😐