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Mutt Fork Adds Features From Notmuch

Unknown Lamer posted about 2 years ago | from the notmuch-to-this-mutt dept.

Unix 93

Karel Zak started a fork of Mutt back in January to integrate features the upstream authors deemed too radical, and today released the first status update. So far implemented is native notmuch support (inspired by Sup) which adds fast search, tagging, and virtual folders from notmuch queries. Unlike the current hackish solutions, all of these are available as native mutt commands and can be used in your muttrc. Additionally, patches from Debian and other distributions will be integrated. Source is over at Github, and a few screenshots are on their wiki.

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93 comments

uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39601951)

I moved from pine --> mutt --> any modern mail client.

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (2)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#39603341)

I still prefer text e-mail readers (Mutt these days). I don't need fancy GUI, graphics, formatting, etc. Same for IRC and IM clients. Tin, nzbget, wget, aria2c, etc. Yes, I am old school so get off my lawn. Also, they are handy for slow and unstable Internet connections like dial-up for remote connections. Oh and more secured!

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#39605361)

If you go down to the basics, pretty much the only graphical program you would need is the web browser. Plus entertainment stuff (movie player, games). Myself, I try to get best of the both worlds.

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#39606401)

Ditto. I do too. I forgot to mention that I rarely use text web browsers like eLinks. Maybe for very quick check when I don't care for images, formattings, layouts, etc.

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

chiangovitch (1371251) | about 2 years ago | (#39606683)

I use elinks when I know there's going to be pictures of scary ugly bugs on the page. Like when researching when those periodic cicadas [wikipedia.org] will be coming out. Ick!

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 years ago | (#39606739)

Hehe, yeah that too. Also, to check suspicious web sites. Old school stuff are still useful! :)

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (2)

ntk (974) | about 2 years ago | (#39603547)

I actually just switched from Apple Mail back to Mutt, because a combination of Mail and an Exchange server ate a huge chunk of my email archive. I'm not sure if I'm really more productive, but I feel a lot more comfortable knowing I have a degree of control of what's going on, and that stuff is being stored in an open format (Mail switched from Maildir to something weirder a while back). Losing a chunk of my email archive was pretty traumatic.

The main thing holding me back was a decent email search feature -- I'd been watching notmuch for a while, and when I heard about muttkz, I compiled it and switched. I use davmail, offlineimap and muttkz. I use notmuch to search around 10 years of email.

I don't think this is a route I'd recommend for many others -- I've used mutt for years before Mail, and only switched over in the last couple of years. But it worked for me, and you did ask.

d.

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39604089)

Anything on top of offlineimap would be in an open format anyway.
To be fair, I fail to see any good reason to use Mutt as a client nowadays except habits and trying to show off.

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39610461)

There aren't many email programs on Linux/Unix. Among those few, only three I find acceptable:

- Kmail: but it requires that huge, horrible KDE bloat and kitchen sink. So no.

- Claws: considerably better than Sylpheed. Neither really work without a mouse. I mean, I have Claws just in case (to view HTML mail, mutt sucks at that) and I hate it because I keep having to reach for the mouse to do many things. I really can't do them with the keyboard. And it can use Vim as the editor for composing mail, but in such a clumsy way that I just gave up trying.

- mutt: not perfect either, but it definitely won me over with how quickly I can launch it, download mail, browse new messages and compose a reply on Vim. Never ever having to reach for the mouse. A true joy.

I believe I have tried all other Linux/Unix email programs under the sun, and they all suck.

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

nategasser (224001) | about 2 years ago | (#39604465)

I used to use mutt. I had it all pimped out to support bunches of lists and a few dozen email addresses and do cool things on the results of procmail filters and so on. While everyone else was fighting with Outlook or extolling the virtues of Eudora I was the only person I knew who could search nearly 10 years of email from any computer, including my (barely) smartphone.

But then my coding chops ossified, I got annoyed bouncing mail to another POP box to deal with attachments or images, and I plain got tired of it. I jumped straight to web-based GMail since I couldn't stand the idea of my email history living on only one computer. I know it seems like the web interface is limiting for email but I'm totally happy with it, and it's been years since I've fought with my email program or lost a single message.

But, yeah. mutt is awesome.

Re:uhh... does anyone still use mutt? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39610471)

I often need to email someone a file that's on my desktop, so I SSH in from my cell phone, and e-mail it using mutt. Beats using VNC+"some modern client".
It also helps when I break thunderbird for some reason, or when I'm on a PC that's not my own (over SSH, again), since I don't have any webmail configure (yet).

Who uses Mutt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39601967)

No, seriously. Who here is using it? What's it do for you that made you choose it, or this fork?

[Disclaimer: Claws-mail. It's fast, and I'm lazy.]

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39602049)

Most "modern" e-mail clients choke on a decently-sized archives.
GMail sucks for anything other than person-to-person conversations (ie: it sucks for mailing lists or anything threaded). It's also no good for talking about code (no fixed-width support, no plain-text email support at all).

Of course, I hate mutt, too.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#39602385)

GMail isn't an email client.. it can be used with one though, and then it's just regular IMAP (+ Google's Heavy Breathing :P)

Re:Who uses Mutt? (5, Insightful)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39602143)

* it's fast

* it *doesn't* run javascript or display images

* it doesn't try to display messages in some ghastly proportional font.

* it doesn't fuck with my mailboxes or try to move/import them into it's own format.

* it's a mail reader. it doesn't pretend to be a mail sorter/filter as well, i leave that to procmail.

* excellent searching and tagging operations.

* regexp support for searching and tagging.

* it works identically for me whether i'm physically in front of the machine or connected via ssh.

* in combination with screen, I don't even have to restart mutt when i login, i just connect to the screen session.

* i get multi-folder support by running 20 or so mutts in the background, each one with a different mailbox open. switch using ^Z and shell fg command.

* no crappy built-in editor.

* 'set edit_headers' in .muttrc lets me edit the ALL of the headers as well as the body - convenient for trimming the To:/CC: list, or deleting unwanted In-Reply-To or References headers (i.e. lazy group reply for a new msg without hijacking an existing thread).

* lots of other benefits, too numerous to mention.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about 2 years ago | (#39602389)

* i get multi-folder support by running 20 or so mutts in the background, each one with a different mailbox open. switch using ^Z and shell fg command.

[..]

* lots of other benefits, too numerous to mention.

Do share, by all means! O_O

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39604273)

Seriously!

It works. And I am glad your workflow is well set in and you are productive.

I used mutt/pine back in the 90s. Loved the hell out of them.

However I am *NOT* going back.

I would miss decent font support, multi color threaded conversations (nice for tracking who is talking), bullet point lists, good embedded graphics (see here is the program blowing up and the error on my screen), proper hyper-linking, decent drag and drop editing that just works, multi mailbox, multi folder support, decent drag and drop file attachments. All built in, no 20 copies running and task switching back and forth.

What does tick me off about the new programs? 300 meg? Seriously?

Re:Who uses Mutt? (4, Interesting)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | about 2 years ago | (#39602541)

Strongly seconded. Mutt is my mail client of choice -- and I've used quite a few over the decades that I've been online.

Mutt also:

- plays nice with tools like fetchmail, procmail and grepmail

- lets me use MY editor-of-choice (vi, of course)

- runs beautifully over low-bandwidth connections

- does not fill up my screen with pretty-but-useless crap

- allows me to define key bindings and macros to my taste

- I can use color-coding (when on a color-supporting tty) to highlight things like URLs, email addresses, etc.

- it does NOT parse HTML (HTML email is used exclusively by two groups of people: (1) spammers and (2) ignorant newbies who don't know any better.)

- it handles MIME sanely -- and has a nifty feature that lets you delete individual MIME attachments, which is very handy on occasion. Adding attachments is also quite easy.

- it supports multiple mailbox formats, it supports POP and IMAP

- it's highly resistant to attacks by design AND implementation

And so on.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39604527)

Mutt - integration with pretty much every unix tool out there.

I'm using it with a custom mail filter that ties into LDAP to tag "known" email addresses... it also plays nice with LDAP address books and *ANY* shell tool capable of kicking out lines of text.

Another tool locks and shifts out old email via cron. Since mutt uses standard mbox files, AND it knows about flock, I can do this w/out any problems.

I always use it on a remote host with ssh, it's like gmail, but without google reading it.

I've used it to read rss feeds by merely converting them into mbox format. Mutt didn't need any additional anything to support this, I didn't have to "import" them, or worry about messing up some binary format.

I've tried other mail programs, evolution, clawsmail, etc.. evolution looked really cool, but sucks for "real work". clawsmail looked promising at first, but the filtering in clawsmail is crazy.

Mutt gets the job done. The only downside is dealing with shitty email programs that crank out html or insist on mangling the text.

It does support HTML (1)

Aguazul2 (2591049) | about 2 years ago | (#39606923)

You can set it up to use w3m to convert HTML mail to text. That way you can read all the HTML mail inside mutt, but without the formatting and images. A couple more keypresses and you can go into w3m to navigate around and follow the links, and if really necessary in w3m you can use 'm' to bring up the page in a graphical browser. All really convenient.

'mutt' is the best way to read mail in my opinion. I use it both at home (local folders) and work (IMAP).

Re:Who uses Mutt? (2)

PCM2 (4486) | about 2 years ago | (#39603061)

* it doesn't try to display messages in some ghastly proportional font.

I just don't understand this one. Proportionally spaced fonts are more readable -- that's why they're used in just about everything published in print and, yes, pretty much the entire Web. HTML is everywhere these days. There are no longer any network bandwidth constraints or storage space constraints that make sending HTML mail inefficient. Why do some people still get so fired up about keeping email in plain, unformatted text in a typewriter font? At this point, it seems like some sort of "geek cred" thing to me, which speaks volumes about engineer mentality vs. the value of clear, readable communication.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (2)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39603293)

it's about functionality, not fashion:

1. plain-text is readable by anything, and is easily grepped, piped, manipulated by standard tools, and otherwise *used*.

2. log file lines, programs, and tabulated data are all unreadable in proportional font.

3. 80 columns (72-78 is typical) is the standard for email.

the *only* valid excuse for including longer lines is when copy-pasting log lines or code fragments or similar. for discussion, reformat paragraphs with par (or fmt if you don't have par installed)

BTW, not all non-proportional fonts are as ugly as Courier. Deja-Vu Sans Mono is quite nice, for example.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about 2 years ago | (#39603709)

Proportional spaced fonts does not require HTML. Plaintext can be rendered in monospace or proportional space and even the command line works fine either way. The OP was bitching about a "ghastly proportional font". The GP's point about proportional fonts being more legible, and the ubiquity of HTML are two different points.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39603985)

I *am* the OP, and the reasons I cited above are most of why i think proportional fonts are ghastly for email.

BTW, proportional vs monospace is not what defines whether a font is ugly or legible of pleasant to read. There are ugly and eye-straining fonts in both proportional and non-proportional styles. There are also pleasant, legible, and eminently readable fonts in both.

some kinds of text, however, pretty much require a NP font to be rendered legibly. source code and log files for example. terminal windows for another - and for the same reason.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 2 years ago | (#39604987)

Come on, man, be serious. Are you a tech guy? For real?

1. plain-text is readable by anything, and is easily grepped, piped, manipulated by standard tools, and otherwise *used*.

And HTML isn't? It's practically XML. XHTML is XML. If you can't grep and pipe that shit, what are you good for, man?

2. log file lines, programs, and tabulated data are all unreadable in proportional font.

So I'll use a <pre> tag, for fuck's sake. Every email reader I've ever seen supports it.

3. 80 columns (72-78 is typical) is the standard for email.

On what? Your WYSE terminal? Besides, if it's a proportionally spaced font, your measurement has no meaning.

3. 80 columns (72-78 is typical) is the standard for email.

Again, according to whom? Your CASIO Usenet watch?

You're just being silly, honestly.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39609501)

You're just being silly, honestly.

no, you're just being stupid and short-sighted.

the point of email is communication. - communication with all readers, not just those who happen to be using the same software as you.

HTML in email is fucked up and stupid for the same reason that MS Word documents in email are fucked up and stupid, or why writing your email in LaTeX would also be fucked up and stupid.

plain text works with all mail clients. HTML doesn't. XML doesn't. LaTeX doesn't.

and when morons of your ilk switch to BLINGML 2015 and you're an old loser stuck on boring old XML or ancient HTML you might begin to understand why dropping backwards compatibility for the sake of following fads is cretinous.

And HTML isn't? It's practically XML.

HTML is NOT XML. it looks superficially similar but it's not even close to XML.

you can pipe html or xml easily enough. you can't can't do anything useful with that, though, unless you write an xml or html parser (or use an existing one). which magnifies a simple Q&D one-liner into a small-scale development project.

So I'll use a <pre> tag, for fuck's sake. Every email reader I've ever seen supports it.

you obviously haven't seen many, then. mutt doesn't. elm doesn't. pine doesn't. none of the non-html MUAs support it.

and if you're goint to argue that they'll just render the html tags as plain text in the body - well, they might. if your sending email client is broken and doesn't use the correct mime-type for the body attachment, they will. and even then <em>html</em> tags <blink>scattered>/blink> throughout the <i>text</i> make the text <blink>unreadable</blink>

3. <80 columns (72-78 is typical) is the standard for email.

Again, according to whom?

RFCs 822, 2822, and 5322 to start with.

you know, those unimportant little documents that define the standard for Internet Message Format.

here's a site that summarises and discusses them:

http://mailformat.dan.info/body/linelength.html [dan.info]

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | about 2 years ago | (#39609837)

What's old is new again.

Good old 80-columns is useful for the small form-factor devices that are popular today (ultrasmall notebooks, tablets, smartphones).

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Sancho (17056) | about 2 years ago | (#39686801)

Honestly, I find that sometimes I want fewer columns. That's why I'm pro-long lines now. Let the client decide how to wrap your lines. My phone either won't display 80 columns, or it displays them in a tiny, tiny font.

With length-80 lines on a length <80 screen,
you get
jaggies which are even harder to read.
EVERY
decent mail client (console-included) knows
how to
wrap long lines, but none of them know how
to join
shorter lines in a way that is guaranteed to
maintain
paragraph breaks that the original author
intended.

Long-lines all the way.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39603305)

It's just that marking text up in HTML (whether using some WYSIWYG frontend or not) so as to actually take advantage of the readability benefits just isn't worth the effort for mostly single-use documents (i.e., email), and at the same time you loose the pretty easy to use formatting and representation capabilities of fixed-width text (such as simple diagrams and easy quoting).

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Dynedain (141758) | about 2 years ago | (#39603727)

BS.

There is no markup needed to use proportional width fonts. You get that for free with 0 extra effort in any system. For the few times you need a fixed-width font, any WYSIWYG email client makes it trivial to format a block of text monospaced.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39603803)

So, I could just use proportional fonts, because it doesn't even need markup to do that (which presumably would be a disadvantage), and in case I notice any drawbacks, I just would use the markup that I don't need to fall back to a fixed-width font?

Brilliant!

Re:Who uses Mutt? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39604115)

Don't try to argue rationnaly with this kind of people.
It's the same kind that I saw every day in school, masturbating above how light their barely usable environnement was whereas they were owning high end computer.
It's not about engineer mentality. It's a poor way to show off by pretending to be competent.

My post sounds harsh but I strongly despise these people for the horrible impression they give of my profession on normal people.
Cavemen wil remain cavemen.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | about 2 years ago | (#39605561)

Two separate issues: proportional fonts and HTML.

Proportional fonts mangle the formatting of things like tab-separated tables, and any competent 'nix person deals with those all day long. They thus cause the loss of semantic content, because the alignment of the fields in those tables is important. Moreover, the display choice of type for those of us who work remotely is a pseudo tty, which is unlikely to support them. As someone trained in typography, I recognize that proportional fonts have a slight readability advantage, but judicious choice of monospace font compensates for most of that.

HTML email is, as I said, used exclusively by spammers and ignorant newbies. HTML email bloats messages, often by factor of several times -- and you're wrong about storage and bandwidth being plentiful, when you're on a bandwidth-constrained data plan from one of the members of the telco cartel, it's not. And when you're trying to walk around with an email archive for refererence -- say, the last five years of the NANOG list -- the storage becomes a factor too. Worse, the HTML markup inserted by mail clients is TERRIBLE -- have you actually looked at it or run it through "tidy" to check for standards compliance? It's not uncommon for it to contain multiple errors per line. It's absolute crap, that any sensible person should be horribly embarrassed to send. HTML markup also makes it possible -- as anyone possessing minimal security competence well knows -- to embed all kinds of exploits directed at the parser. (See "web bugs", as they're sometimes called, for example.) And speaking of HTML parsers, errors in those lead to rendering differences and errors because of differences between the ones used by the senders and the ones used by recipients.

There's a reason all the mailing lists where the people who built and run the Internet gather forbid HTML email: it's because these elite professionals know that text is vastly more functional, effcient, portable, scalable, and usable.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#39608357)

Proportional fonts may be generally 'prettier' perhaps but they are certainly not more readable. They destroy plain text formatting which is the quickest, simplest, and most efficient way to format text that isnt actually intended to be printed out or prettified (i.e. email, code, settings files.) Destroying all my formatting and then claiming to have made my texty more readable isnt going to fly.

proportion vs. monospace fonts (1)

KMSelf (361) | about 2 years ago | (#39609679)

Proportionally-spaced fonts are modestly more readable than monospace, for prose text.

Monospaced fonts allow for column-based formatting of tables, ASCII-art diagrams (networking, etc.), programmatic output, etc., which makes for a greatest common denominator balance between both readability and flexibility. For technical uses (programming, systems/network admin), monospace wins hands-down. It's also very easy to write simple programs / shell scripts to output data in fixed-length columns, which again, present well in monospaced fonts but are fugly in proportional ones (most of my text formatting in GMail, FWIW, is based on indenting and formatting in courier program output).

The alleged legibility gains of proportional fonts are minimal, and in the context of other benefits of mutt (threading, quote precedence, syntax highlighting of quote levels, URLs, email addresses, etc.), a full GUI mailer (Exchange, Thunderbird, GMail, KMail, etc.) is a net loss.

There's an issue for those reading mail on mobile devices with displays of Browser overhead means that GMail takes up most of a display, while I can stack up multiple mutt, shell, and other console apps either vertically or horizontally. Much more effective use of screen real estate.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

lahvak (69490) | about 2 years ago | (#39604295)

No kidding. As far as I can tell, it is also the only mail reader (at least out of those that I tried) that gets threding and sorting right.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | about 2 years ago | (#39605753)

* i get multi-folder support by running 20 or so mutts in the background, each one with a different mailbox open. switch using ^Z and shell fg command.

I'm not sure I understand why this is necessary or useful...

I use Mutt all the time. I have it configured to know about all the sub-folders/sub-mailboxes that procmail sorts into. With the press of a key in Mutt I can either type in the name of a folder to switch to (with tab completion) or press ? to use Mutt's internal file/directory browser.

I also don't have to manually tell Mutt what folders I have. Because you can set variables in muttrc to the output of a shell command, I have it set up to use find, grep, and sed in a pipeline to set that variable to contain all of my folders except for the sent mail folders. I can still switch to those, too, but it won't monitor them for changes.

And because Mutt knows the names of all of my folders, it will occasionally beep and tell me on the status line when one of them has new mail. In fact, when I press the key to switch folders, it defaults to the next one which contains new mail.

This just seems a lot easier to use and manage than 20 Mutts suspended in the background. Unless you're trying to solve a different problem, perhaps?

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39609595)

It's not necessary, but it is useful. and yes, a different problem.

changing folders in mutt is a PITA. You have to close your current folder when you open the new one. To close it, you lose all your current context in that folder - you have to save or abandon any changes (e.g. deletions) you've made, and lose the tag status of any tagged messages. and similar small annoyances. and if they're large folders, they can take several seconds to save-and-close, and then more time to open the new one. even on a fast SSD.

by having multiple mutts running, each open on a different folder, you can avoid that. when you want to change folder, just press ^Z to suspend the current mutt and use the standard sh job control command 'fg' to bring another mutt to the foreground....instantly.

If you write a script to start multiple mutts like this, then you get them in the same order every time...and you very quickly learn, e.g., that 'fg 1' gets you your main inbox, 'fg 2', gets you your sent-mail folder, 'fg 3' gets you to mailing list 1, 'fg 4' gets you to mailing list 2, and so on.

and if i forget, i can type 'jobs' in the shell and get a list.

even better, if i run that mutt startup script inside screen then I can attach to it via ssh from home, work, or from anywhere in the world.

BTW, I have *MANY* more folders than just 20. 3287 in 169 different sub-directories at the moment, according to find:

$ find ~/Mail -type f | wc -l
3287
$ find ~/Mail -type d | wc -l
169

(btw, this is why i don't use the sidebar plugin for mutt. it's unbearably slow. literally unusable with that many folders it has to scan)

The 20 (actually, 24 at the moment) are just the ones I use most frequently, the ones I'm switching between all the time. mutt knows about the others via the usual configuration, like:

mailboxes \
    specific-named-mailboxes-here \
    `find ~/Mail -name "*.incoming" | xargs echo `

I deliberately exclude my archive mbox folders (i.e. those not named *.incoming) here because I can easily find them with mutt's folder browser anyway. the mailboxes line just gives me a quick pick list of all the mbox folders that procmail is filtering incoming mail into.

Multiple mutt sessions vs. switching folders (2)

KMSelf (361) | about 2 years ago | (#39609703)

When you've got many or large folders, the switching time can be substantial.

Systems admin, with various alerts and notifications getting filtered to various places. Opening a folder with ~10k messages takes a few seconds, ~100k really starts to bog down. Once I'm in the folder, filtering, tagging, and other actions are really quick. Getting there is slow.

My compromise: screen with several mutt buffers open, primary ones are my inbox and other hot folders, others I'll switch between less-frequently read folders.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Beetle B. (516615) | about 2 years ago | (#39606521)

I actually switched from mutt to the notmuch interface in Emacs last year. I had planned to drop mutt altogether for 2 years prior to that.

Mutt is fairly good, but it just became ridiculously stagnant. Long standing requests were not addressed.

Does it still not allow you to Fcc to more than one file? If so: Pathetic.

I forget what my second major gripe against it was...

Of course, notmuch in Emacs has its own warts as well, but somehow I think I can fix them using Elisp more easily than fixing mutt using C.

In some ways, I'm glad it took a while for notmuch support in mutt to come out. Had it been there a year ago, I may still have been stuck with mutt.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39602221)

I do as well as bunch of people who likes software that doesn't suck that much.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (5, Informative)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | about 2 years ago | (#39602225)

I use Mutt. I've also used various incarnations of Mozilla Mail, KMail, Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, a few webmail systems, and done test runs with a few mail clients I forgot the names of.

In the end, I came back to Mutt. It's the mail client I'm most productive with. I customized it to work the way I want. I'm used to it.

I think Mutt's strengths are:
* Customizable. Mutt is fairly easy to customize, and the customization goes a long way. Define things you want to do in terms of s-lang functions or shell commands, bind a key to them, and boom, now you can do everything you often do with a single keystroke.

* Good support for multiple e-mail addresses. I have a single account that I use with multiple e-mail addresses. Mutt makes this easy. A number of other mail clients I have used make this tedious. Some do not support it at all.

* Works in the terminal. I like to work in the terminal. I know many people don't. But if you do, this is an advantage.

* It works. I never have problems with it. I wish the same was true of all mail clients I've used.

Weaknesses:
* Slow on large maildirs. I have folders with tens of thousands of messages. These take long to open. Part of this is "many files that need to be statted, and stat is slow", but part of it is implementation choice. Some mail clients are way faster at this.

* Slow on IMAP folders. It looks like Mutt fetches messages or message headers one by one for each message. My mail server is over 100ms away. This makes things slow. My fault? Mutt's fault? Anyway, it's a disadvantage. Some mail clients do better.

* Wastes screen real-estate. I like that Mutt works in the terminal. But it wastes space. Graphic-mode mail clients can fit more information in the same space than Mutt does.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (4, Informative)

Onymous Coward (97719) | about 2 years ago | (#39602585)

Wastes screen real-estate. I like that Mutt works in the terminal. But it wastes space. Graphic-mode mail clients can fit more information in the same space than Mutt does.

Have you set your index_format? And have you tried pager_index_lines to split the screen into index + message view?

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#39603333)

On the maildir issue, it gets a lot better with a (small) SSD. I have my maildir on a RAID1, formed from one 30GB SSD and a partition from a HDD (set to "write mostly"). That solves the issue for me (> 2500 Emails in inbox at the moment).

Re:Who uses Mutt? (3, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#39602287)

Who's using Mutt? Any serious email user who doesn't top-post. The crowds went to ICQ in late 90s, GaduGadu/MSN/... in 2000s, some Facebook junk in 2010s. Business users keep sending mails with no subject that have no content except for a Word or Excel attachment -- or even worse, a .bmp file (although that's typically embedded in a .docx nowadays).

I personally have Thunderbird/Icedove on all the time, used as nothing else but a glorified biff and a tool to view attachments sent by the business folk from the previous sentence. Any actual mails go via mutt ("actual mail" defined as something consisting of text rather than an almost bare attachment).

GUI clients tend to choke horribly on any mailing lists, or any structured conversations.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (4, Interesting)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | about 2 years ago | (#39602571)

"Any serious email user who doesn't top-post."

I once proposed that anyone who top-posted or full-quoted should lose a finger every time they did so. I believe that the overall quailty of mail traffic, particularly on large mailing lists, would be markedly improved in short order.

Regrettably, the RFC didn't find traction within the IETF. Pity.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (4, Funny)

grcumb (781340) | about 2 years ago | (#39603527)

Me too!!

"Any serious email user who doesn't top-post." I once proposed that anyone who top-posted or full-quoted should lose a finger every time they did so. I believe that the overall quailty of mail traffic, particularly on large mailing lists, would be markedly improved in short order. Regrettably, the RFC didn't find traction within the IETF. Pity.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39603109)

Who's using Mutt? Any serious email user who doesn't top-post.

Well, fuck you too.

Mutt search fucking sucks the proverbial donkey balls -- even with decent hacks like "mairix" (popular a few years ago, I switched away as you can probably tell). If you have enough volume, and not enough time to fiddle with fucking procmail (seriously?!? in 2012?) rules. That's where "notmuch", "sup", and the like enter the picture...

You luddite dick, you.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (2)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39603427)

people still use procmail in 2012 for the same reason they still use screwdrivers or hammers or other basic tools.

for the job that they do, there is nothing better.

maybe someday there'll be something that does mail filtering & sorting as well as procmail. and maybe someday there'll even be something that does a better job than procmail. when that day arrives i'll evaluate whether it provides enough of an improvement to be worth the effort of switching to it.

ps: you're the one who sounds like a 'luddite dick'. demonstrating your technophobia kind of gives it away.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39604139)

Pure bullshit.
There is far better tool available now than procmail. Procmail syntax sucks badly.

But, anyways, there is reason to use a MDA.
There is no good reason to use a poorly featured client like Mutt nowadays.
And no, the reasons you gave before are not good reasons.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39605535)

There is far better tool available now than procmail. Procmail syntax sucks badly.

Blanket statements like this are not conducive to a productive conversation. If you want to make a claim of this kind, please name at least one specific example.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (2)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39609647)

There is far better tool available now than procmail.

name one.

Procmail syntax sucks badly.

it's not perfect, nothing is. but it's adequate.

or is that just your way of saying "it's too hard! waaah!"

There is no good reason to use a poorly featured client like Mutt nowadays.

mutt is "poorly featured". that's amusing...in the same way that a small child saying something fundamentally wrong but earnestly and sincerely believing it is amusing.

mutt is the full-featured email client. with many more features than can be found in *any* GUI mail client.

GUI mail clients typically have only one big feature - that they have a GUI interface.

In exchange, they've sacrificed pretty nearly every other useful feature that a mail client should have, other than the absolute basics of read, write, reply, forward, delete, etc.

Thunderbird makes a halfway decent effort at getting some of those features back in a GUI client (and with the External Editor plugin even lets you use gvim or your favourite editor), but none of the others do.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

KiloByte (825081) | about 2 years ago | (#39606053)

Also, tell me how exactly can one make GMail's or $RANDOM_GUI_CLIENT's filtering trigger a rebuild and regressions tests when you get a commit announcement.

Or, how can you pre-fetch gpg keys for mails you receive.

Or, how can you add a References: header based on the mail's content (to get a semblance of threading for dokuwiki change notifications).

Or, how can you...

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39614979)

Doesn't sieve do the same job with a nicer and standard syntax?

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39624615)

Last time i looked, sieve couldn't pipe a message (header or body or both) into an external program. and it doesn't even support regexp matching by default.

For me, both are required....and regexp matching is what I would consider to be a base-level core feature required of any mail filtering software.

I just had another quick look at it and noticed that it also seems to be lacking:
  * the ability to detect duplicate messages by Message-Id:
  * the ability to clone an incoming message so that it can be handled independently by two or more different rules.
  * an equivalent to procmail's ^TO_, ^FROM_DAEMON, etc pre-defined regexps.

Sieve might be a nice option for someone with fairly basic mail-filtering needs and without 2+ decades of procmail use, but it doesn't offer a compelling reason for me to switch.

Courier's maildrop comes a lot closer to my needs....actually, if I wanted to, I could probably switch to it without any noticable loss of functionality. It would be a lot of work with no real benefit though.

as for 'sane syntax', I find procmailrc a lot easier to read and modify that what i've seen of sieve, which seems to add a lot of verbosity without sufficient features to justify it. I guess I just don't need yet another C-like language.

maildrop is also, IMO, more readable than sieve.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39632153)

You're quite right actually.
I'm rather surprised by the lack of regex. I googled a bit, and there's a propused draft, but as you said; it should be a core feature.
Disallowing piping is due to it's nature; it's mean to be run on shared mails servers, by "users", not just power-users or techies.

The lack of ability to detect duplicate messages is logical, it's stateless and only passes messages over. It's not a mailbox organizer. procmail shouldn't be doing that either actually.

A huge advantage of learning sieve, is that it's standard. They day you change your MDA, you won't need to learn some other language, just pick one that supports sieve (there are plenty). The same does not apply to maildrop; you're tied to it, and need to migrate filters. I guess that would matter a bit more if sieve supported regex :P

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39637763)

since i run my own mail server with just a handful of users, i only have to care about "power-users" or "techies."

piping messages is essential - software that tells me, on my own server, "you can't be trusted to do that" is not likely to endear itself to me. and if it's
disallowed by sieve because of sieve's nature, that means sieve is not suitable for my needs.

procmail *should* be doing anything i want it to. including piping messages through formail for Message-ID dupe detection.

as i said before if one comes along that's better than procmail and sufficiently good that it's worth the hassle of switching, then i'll consider doing so. I haven't seen one yet....and it would have to be extremely good to be worthwhile.

and if i stay with procmail, i won't have to learn another mail-filtering language either :)

BTW, procmail is standard too - the nice thing about standards is that there are so many to chose from.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39646245)

I may not have been clear; I didn't mean to imply that you should not be using procmail, I was just pointing out the differences with sieve and how it's targeted to a somewhat different audience.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (2)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 2 years ago | (#39603377)

You could use .mailcap entries to pipe those attachments to appropriate viewers/readers.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39610667)

Bullshit. I use mutt, I'm a serious email user, and I top-post all the time.

Who's using Mutt? Any serious email user who doesn't top-post. The crowds went to ICQ in late 90s, GaduGadu/MSN/... in 2000s, some Facebook junk in 2010s. Business users keep sending mails with no subject that have no content except for a Word or Excel attachment -- or even worse, a .bmp file (although that's typically embedded in a .docx nowadays).

I personally have Thunderbird/Icedove on all the time, used as nothing else but a glorified biff and a tool to view attachments sent by the business folk from the previous sentence. Any actual mails go via mutt ("actual mail" defined as something consisting of text rather than an almost bare attachment).

GUI clients tend to choke horribly on any mailing lists, or any structured conversations.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39610947)

then you're either an ignoramus, an arsehole, an idiot, or some combination of all three.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (5, Insightful)

tonytraductor (1284978) | about 2 years ago | (#39602293)

I use mutt. I tend to like straightforward programs that do what I need and nothing else, free of bloat, and, especially, that I can control from the keyboard without a mouse. Mutt is teh awesome.

Infinitely better support for identities (3, Insightful)

erice (13380) | about 2 years ago | (#39602355)

Every other email client supports identities in the same clumsy fashion. Each and every identity must be individually configured in. That's fine when you four and they never change. It is nearly useless when you have 400 and add several new ones each week.

Mutt lets me define identities with regular expressions. I can set alternates=(.*@foo,example.com,.*@bar.example.com)
Now every user @foo.example.com and @bar.example.com will match as me, even ones I haven't thought up yet.

When sending a new message, I can type in whatever I want in the From: field. When the reply comes in, it is automatically recognized if it matches an established pattern. I haven't had to change my alternates in years even though I have added hundreds of identities.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (2)

Kidbro (80868) | about 2 years ago | (#39602417)

I use it. I prefer software I can access through an SSH client (so I don't need any other special software on whatever machine I happen to be using). I used Pine for a while, but I got annoyed with the license issue that stopped Debian from shipping compiled binaries, and mutt handled threading better.

That was the reason for starting to use it. After that I've noticed a ton of details that are nice. It handles mailboxes with thousands of mails with acceptable speed. It lets me edit headers of outgoing mails - including content type headers, which all MUAs tend to get wrong every so often. I can use an editor of my choice. Decent search mechanism. &c, &c...

To be fair, it's a bit too complex for my taste, but I never did invest time in investigating how to switch to sup or notmuch, since it works.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39602489)

No, seriously. Who here is using it? What's it do for you that made you choose it, or this fork?

If it doesn't parse HTML, and it doesn't run JavaScript, and it doesn't have an image-decoder in it, then it can't be exploited.

If it saves outbound/inbound mail in 'mbox' format, my mail archives are series of trivially-greppable ASCII files (after being stripped of attachments).

/usr/local/bin/elm 4 life, yo.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39602555)

I use mutt,, primarily for four reasons:

1) It's character-cell/terminal, and I like that. (It'll pop up a browser if you need to view HTML, but that rarely is necessary.
2) It's very configurable, and does what I want.
3) I often SSH into my machine and POP my mail remotely (like, at work). maildir support is good, and it lets me do mail from anywhere I want.
4) Integrates well with VIM, and I use vim for almost everything.

"Modern mail clients" offer very little advantage for doing email, which is after all a text-based thing.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39602591)

For me, it's the speed.

'd' will delete
'y' will archive

You can use just these two buttons to sort 200+ emails in a matter of minutes.

D

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 2 years ago | (#39603301)

Have been using it for decades. Fast, lightweight, not susceptible to malware (unless you configure it stupidly), good GnuPG integration, good mailing-list support, tagging support, and, most importantly, fast to use over SSH. Seriously, these modern webbrowser-maskerading-as-MUAs are a lot lower in usability. Why some people need a GUI for everything is beyond me.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

ShoulderOfOrion (646118) | about 2 years ago | (#39604909)

Same here. It's actually fun in mutt to see the clever ways the malware authors try to fake out the Window users of the world with encrypted javascript and other nonsense.

Re:Who uses Mutt? (1)

McPierce (259936) | about 2 years ago | (#39604011)

I do. Email doesn't need a graphical application and the excessive resource usage of a GUI.

If I need to view any attachments, I can use a mailcap definition for each type that I want to access (and can update that on the fly if something surprises me).

And I'm contributing to the mutt-kz project as time permits to add the features that would make this sort of mail client all the more useful.

oblig. abbott and costello joke (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39601991)

"Whats in your new release?"

"Notmuch"

"That's what I'm asking, what did you add that's not in the original software?"

"Notmuch"

"Oh... well, did you improve on the performance?"

"No, that's still the same as Mutt"

"Still as slow as a dog?"

"No, it's at least as fast as Mutt"

worth checking out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39602179)

I use Alpine on and off. Is Mutt worth looking at?

Re:worth checking out? (3, Informative)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39603161)

yes.

if you're used to pine, it will take a day or two to get used to mutt's keybindings. it'll probably piss you off while you're learning them, because there are some subtly annoying differences.

after that, you'll be glad you did and you'll never look back.

mutt's searching and tagging features alone are worth the switch.

Re:worth checking out? (1)

3p1ph4ny (835701) | about 2 years ago | (#39603911)

Yes, another former (al)pine user here. Header caching alone makes it worth it.

Re:worth checking out? (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#39604525)

I'm a bit divided on whether I like (al)pine or mutt more.
alpine does local deliveries well, but defaults to creating external lock files and requiring world write access (instead of more sensible 3775 permissions), which opens up for denial of service attacks. And what it does when new mail arrives is attrocious - you pretty much have to exit and re-enter.

Mutt on the other hand, defaults to color, which is rather annoying, and can't do local delivery but depends on the availability of a sendmail compatible MTA/MDA.
This more than eats up the size advantage it has over (al)pine.

I wish old ZMail was maintained. I know Netmanage released the source, and one of the original authors released a one-time fork, but that was years ago, and it doesn't easily compile on new systems. But it truly was a great client, especially since you could use it both under X and from the command line, and it had a really good scripting language.

Re:worth checking out? (1)

vigilology (664683) | about 2 years ago | (#39605651)

Mutt speaks SMTP now: http://www.mutt.org/doc/devel/manual.html#smtp [mutt.org]

Re:worth checking out? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#39605809)

Mutt speaks SMTP now
Yeah, and that's a good thing, but it doesn't do local delivery.

On multi-user systems, it's nice to be able to leave a message to other users, without depending on another mail delivery agent. Even on machines that don't have mail servers installed. When setting up linux boxes or VMs for people, I like to leave a message in their inbox. Sure, I know the mbox format well enough to do that with vi, or I can temporarily enable a mail server on the box. But local delivery is still a missed feature in mutt.

Re:worth checking out? (1)

cas2000 (148703) | about 2 years ago | (#39609975)

Mutt on the other hand, defaults to color, which is rather annoying

it's easy enough to write a monochrome .muttrc

you can probably find one on the net if you search.

and can't do local delivery but depends on the availability of a sendmail compatible MTA/MDA.

mutt shouldn't do local delivery - or do you routinely misconfigure systems so that mailboxes are world-writable? or do you want mutt to be setuid root or setgid mail?

mutt's job is to be an MUA, not an MTA or MDA.

there are numerous light-weight MTAs & MDAs that can be installed to handle local delivery...most of them just an apt-get install or yum install away.

e.g.

dma - lightweight mail transport agent
masqmail - mail transport agent for intermittently connected hosts

even postfix or exim aren't too heavy to just install as a matter of course on most, if not all, machines. it's hard to imagine any machine that shouldn't have a local MTA, or wouldn't benefit from one. even a little openwrt router or similar embedded device should have one just so that it can send alert messages.

lots of things already depend on (or assume) the presence of an MTA anyway. cron, for example. so you need something to fill that job, whether it can handle local delivery (most MTAs) or not (nullmailer, and similar relay-only MTAs)

On multi-user systems, it's nice to be able to leave a message to other users, without depending on another mail delivery agent

echo "message" | mail -s "hi" username

an MTA is an (almost) essential service that can be used by many other tools to send mail (both local and remote), without each of them having to reinvent the wheel.

Re:worth checking out? (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#39610139)

mutt shouldn't do local delivery - or do you routinely misconfigure systems so that mailboxes are world-writable?

Hell no. Removing o+w for /var/spool mail (or /var/mail) is about the first thing I do on systems, cause MOST distros seem to get this wrong.

or do you want mutt to be setuid root or setgid mail?

If mutt had been capable of local delivery, it should be setgid mail, definitely. Any MDA you use with mutt most certainly is either sgid mail or suid root.

The thing is to give /var/spool/mail sensible permissions., like 3775 root:mail. I'd even make that 3770 if all the mail apps on the system are under control. Or use acls or SELinux to limit as appropriate, if you can be certain that the system won't be admined by someone who turns off acls and SElinux because they don't understand it.

The 1777 most commonly found is sheer folly. It opens up for DoS attacks like:
ls -1 /var/spool/mail | sed 's/$/.lock' | xargs touch ... or a user pre-creating mailboxes for new users before the sysadmin gets to create the accounts, and make sure they are o+rw. The new users can still read and get mail, but so can others.
Even worse if on a Unix system where you're allowed to give away files. Then the sysadmin can't even see who created the file if it gets discovered before the bad user got a chance to delete it.

In short, the paranoia against sgid does more harm than good, and in many cases lessens security by requiring more liberal permissions. Be paranoid about people and their intentions. And use permissions including sgid appropriately to make things more restrictive, not less.

Re:worth checking out? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about 2 years ago | (#39615265)

On the upside, since I have a static IP at home, I just set up an MTA on my desktop, and send mail much much faster that using some external (innecesary) relay!

Awesome! (2)

wanderfowl (2534492) | about 2 years ago | (#39602623)

I'm glad that mutt isn't stagnating, and that there are people dedicated to keeping it awesome, relevant and supported. Rock on, you crazy forkers.

By the way, Mutt is an email client (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#39602683)

Look, I know this is ads - sorry, news for nerds, but it just seems like common courtesy to make a summary at least partially non-opaque to a casual reader. I know what Mutt is, but if I hadn't been able to drag up that half-remembered fact I'd have found this to be yet annoying frustrating FS.
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