[linux-elitists] Mutt install 101

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Tue Nov 11 18:36:35 PST 2003

on Wed, Nov 12, 2003 at 10:45:28AM +1100, Michael Still (mikal@stillhq.com) wrote:
> On Tue, 11 Nov 2003, Nick Moffitt wrote:

> I'm happy for you to have your own opinion. Then again, pine has served me 
> well for close to a decade, so I don't feel the need to change mailer 
> every week just for changes sake.

Mutt offers the same long-term viability with the added bonus of active
community support and widespread distribution in free-software based
operating systems including most major GNU/Linux and *BSD flavors.

> > 	Anyway, good luck on the upgrade path.  If you'd like to see
> > my system's /etc/Muttrc, that includes some other great features you
> > may find helps your mutt experience.
> I would love too. I also like your script, because it saves me having to 
> learn new key bindings. Some of the comments are a little gratitious 
> though.

mutt has a pine keybindings compatibility mode via an approrpriate
muttrc, included in Debian as /usr/share/doc/mutt/examples/Pine.rc

> Anyways, as the person who has convinced me to change, I guess you 
> volunteer to answer my upgrade questions. Here we go:
>  - it's my recollection that mutt uses maildir. Am I confused?

As well as mbox, MR, and IMAP.  The only major mailbox format not
supported is mdir AFAIK.

>  - if I'm not confused, what config changes do I make to sendmail to get 
> the mail delivered to directories instead of mboxes? Is it better just to 
> do some procmail hacking here?

Procmail or Maildrop (which uses a more Perlish syntax -- inexplicably,
its proponents claim this enhances readability).

>  - how do I convert my existing several gigabyte mail collection from 
> mboxes to maildirs?

Not necessary, though for performance reasons (maildir opens / sorts /
classifies / inserts far faster than mbox), you might want to do it.

Simplest method in my book is to set your default mailbox format to
maildir.  This controls new mailbox creation, but won't change existing
boxes.  Tag all messages in your old (mbox) folder, and save to a new
folder.  You'll have maildir.

>  - how do maildirs scale (in the sense that at the moment I archive an 
> mbox when it gets bigger than 5 megabytes, because pine just gets too slow 
> at determining if there is new mail when I hit tab)? Do I need to archive 
> old mailfiles regularly?

20k messages performs acceptably on newish (300 MHz +) x86 iron.  Total
storage of 20 - 200+ MiB work well.

There's a benefit in that mutt creates a header index file speeding
opperations on the folder.

>  - can you recommend an IMAP server which will transparently deal with 
> maildirs?

Outside my experience.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
  Backgrounder on the Caldera/SCO vs. IBM and Linux dispute.
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