The WikiBlog of Michael Hamann about changing technologies and more

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Welcome on my WikiBlog! You can find a mixed collection of German and English content here. This website is always work in progress as there is a lot to do and so little time.

Willkommen auf meinem WikiBlog! Hier gibt es eine Mischung aus deutschen und englischen Inhalten. Meistens habe ich zu viele Ideen und zu wenig Zeit und so ist auch diese Website eine ständige Baustelle.

My new mail system with fdm and mutt

Since some weeks already I have been using a completely new mail system. I had been using Thunderbird and I had been accessing some accounts with IMAP, some with POP3, some mails had been local, some remote before. And everything was in large files I haven't really trusted. So I decided to set up something new.

Already last year I read about the search for "the" mail client of Michael Klier and therefore it was relatively clear that mutt would be the client of choice. The storage part wasn't that difficult, too. Some mails should be mirrored to a remote IMAP server, but all mails should be in a local maildir.

The interesting question remained: Which software will send the mails with SMTP and which one will fetch and sort them. Well, the first answer is msmtp as it supports multiple SMTP accounts and can be integrated into mutt quite easily. The other answer seemed to be a combination of getmail and procmail - until I had discovered fdm. It supports fetching mails and newposts from various sources (includes IMAP and POP3, but also a local maildir) and delivering mails to many destinations (includes maildir, mbox, IMAP and SMTP). On the way you can filter the mails by a lot of criterias, you can select if the mail shall remain on the server or not and of course you can send it through other programs, too. Additionally it can maintain local lists of mails it already knows so you can skip double mails. The advantage of fdm is that it can e.g. filter old mails, too, it can maintain archives of old mails, …

After reading the documentation I started writing my own configuration file. Although it seems quite complex it's relatively simple if you don't have that many rules and all in all it's quite intuitive. Then the important moment arrived: Fetching mails for the first time. It worked quite well, although it has some flaws I will describe later.

The negative surprise was that authentication with NNTP wasn't supported. Well, I decided to write a mail to the mailing list in order to see what the author thinks about it - and guess, no, you won't guess it - not 24 hours later I had a patch in my inbox that adds the feature I wanted. And it works. That was really cool.

I encountered a couple of bugs with fdm but all obvious problems were solved by the author some hours after reporting them (they were related to NNTP which isn't that well supported…). Apart from some problem with terminating the process I am currently trying to monitor with a more verbose log and the author wants to have a look at fdm currently works, although IMAP with GMail seems to not to work that good… At least if you want to leave all messages on the server you have to mark them as read manually as otherwise fdm will continue downloading them everytime (you can filter them with a seen cache, but it still needs some time…). I've had problems with a large newsgroup and fdm, too. It seemed everytime after looking into the maildir with mutt all messages were downloaded so I ended up with having not only some thousands of messages but almost 20 thousands of messages with every message at least four times or so. That was when I removed that nntp account from my configuration as I haven't read all those messages, anyway.

All in all fdm has really cool features, but seems to be quite unknown (?) and not so good when you have to deal with random (news)servers.

I learned to love my new mail system. There is no longer a Thunderbird window floating around, it's just another window in my screen session. I can now use my favorite editor VIM for composing mails and it seems to me that I no longer constantly look for new mails, too. The next thing is that mutt automatically suggests moving mails out of the inbox into another mailbox specified in the configuration, so I now started to have a clean inbox almost everytime I read through it. Either I delete it (which I do more often now, it's just one single keystroke) or I move it to another folder manually - or it gets into the archive.

start.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/09 01:37 by michitux