Getting Email Working under Linux

I’m working on migrating myself to the mutt email client. If you’re at all curious about why, and how I’m doing, read on.

I don’t care for Evolution, the default email client, and Mozilla Thunderbird is even less appealing. A good part of my disdain is due to the small screen size — 1280×800 — of my laptop. That’s greater than the old “standard” 1024×768 resolution, but the Gnome Desktop generally and Evolution in particular are prodigious in their use of my screen real-estate.

Plus, I already use a text-mode editor for most of my work. Why not go back to the mail agent I used for most of the 1990’s?

Mutt is a MUA or mail-user-agent. So it’s great at displaying and organizing my mail. But it’s modular. It needs to work with a MDA (mail delivery agent) to move mail around on my system. Tentatively, I plan to use procmail for this purpose. It looks like you can make a lifetime hobby out of configuring procmail, but I learned enough at this site to get started.

I also need an MTA (mail transfer agent) to move mail between my system and other systems out there on the information superhighway. This, in turn, requires separate programs: one to fetch and one to send. I think I’ll use msmtp for sending, but I haven’t got around to that part yet.

For fetching mail, I’ve begun with fetchmail. (I may move to mpop. But I might not.)

I’ve gotten fetchmail working with my three primary mail accounts. Two sites were straightforward, but Google Mail wasn’t. (Actually, it was too, but I didn’t know that. I started out by looking at these two pages, and they might work for some people but not for me. I gave up on those after an hour.) It turned out that all I needed to access gmail was this:

poll protocol pop3
	user "" password "my cuil password"
	options keep
	mda "/usr/bin/procmail -d %T"

where accountname is my accountname and “my cuil password” is my real password.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to send mail. Stay tuned.







Leave a Reply