[Techtalk] e-mail programs (was: What I did over the Christmas Holidays!)

jennyw jennyw at dangerousideas.com
Tue Jan 1 21:52:45 EST 2002

I use mutt occasionally. I suspect that it's something you have to really
get used to to like. One thing that GUI e-mail programs have over character
based ones, for example, is viewing several messages at the same time. I
guess you could open up multiple Mutt windows in X or using screen, but it's
not quite the same thing.  I'd like to try out Evolution, but I keep hearing
it's not quite stable yet. When it is, I'll give it a whirl.  I have yet to
find an e-mail client that has great support for IMAP.  OE is actually the
closest, which is kind of scary (actually, Netscape, if it weren't buggy,
probably covers more IMAP features, but I hate losing messages from time to
time, and keyboard support in OE is much better; Mulberry couldn't even open
my mailbox the last time I tried it).

I use procmail for filtering, too -- there's no reason you need to use mutt,
though. I've setup procmail to filter my messages on a computer running UW
IMAP (I may switch IMAP servers, but it's working now, and I didn't want to
futz with it). One disadvantage of procmail is that sometimes you want to
run rules interactively (instead of filtering as messages are being
delivered). To solve this, I wrote my own set of simple rules in a text file
and wrote three perl scripts:

1) Filters on the fly; outputs header info for all messages that didn't
match a rule.
2) Takes the output from 1), displays the number of times each header
   so that it's easy to guess if I've recently subscribed to a mailing
3) Generates procmail file based on my generic rules file.

This works pretty well for me; I keep tweaking the scripts to make it easier
to filter as I join new mailing lists. Eventually I'll have a Web interface
for this so that I can add rules that way, and also have it remember how to
join and leave mailing lists. One day ...

I also use IMP (I've also setup Squirrelmail, but for some reason it's as
slow as molasses; I tried installing it on the machine with the IMAP server,
but there's something mucked up about PHP on Debian Woody, or there was the
last time I tried) -- I figure I'm more likely to have access to a Web
browser with SSL than to SSH.


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