Discussion:
Moving from Thunderbird to Emacs for mail and calendar
(too old to reply)
Jeff Clough
2009-09-08 23:33:41 UTC
Permalink
Okay, so I'm seriously considering switching from Thunderbird to Emacs
(under Windows XP) for my mail and calendar needs, but I haven't used
Emacs for either of these purposes in so long I don't know if it's
feasible, nor am I certain which modes are "best". I'm hoping that some
of you can point me in the right direction. I'd "just do it" as a test,
but I'd rather not go through a crap ton of hassle and problems only to
hear later "You should not have used foo mode for that, bar mode is what
you want".

If you've got a bit of spare time and want to know my specific desires
more deeply, please see the PS.

Thanks!

Jeff

P.S.

I need a fairly small number of features:

1. It needs to work on Windows XP without having to install a
unix/posix environment like Cygwin. I *am* willing to install discrete
utilities if necessary (if Emacs doesn't do POP on its own and needs
some external program to do it, for instance).

2. I have just under seven thousand messages in various folders (mbox
files) that I'll be wanting to keep, so it needs to not choke and die
when confronted with "many" messages.

3. I need to have my calendar appointments either in my face at all
times (I can live with it being in a split window or a new frame I just
leave open) or have the alarms/reminders be insistent and arbitrarily
settable (remind me 15 minutes in advance for this appointment and 30
minutes before this one). I have a lot of appointments and a very bad
memory for these sorts of things.

4. Reading HTML messages should be possible, but my needs here are
minimal. I'll settle for what Lynx looked like circa 1995. I just need
the message to be legible.

The things I'm hoping to get from moving to Emacs:

1. The ability to stay in Emacs for more of my tasks and use its
editing commands which are now so ingrained into my hands there's no
hope of going back.

2. The ability to search for messages and have the results be what I
want. That means finding all the messages with my search string and
*not* finding messages that don't have my search string. I thought this
is what "Search" implied, but Thunderbird has its own ideas.

3. The ability to use the keyboard for marking messages as read,
deleting messages, moving them around, etc. A lot of this stuff is
relegated to the mouse and switching from mouse to keyboard and back is
getting really special annoying.

Things I don't need:

1. I don't use newsgroups or to-do lists.

2. I don't care about in-line attachments and would prefer not to see
them anyway. As long as I can pull them out of the message and save
them somewhere sane, that works for me.

3. Bonus points if I can diddle a link in an email message and have
Emacs bring it up in Firefox, but I'm not married to it.

Thanks for listening!
--
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Bastien
2009-09-09 02:55:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Okay, so I'm seriously considering switching from Thunderbird to Emacs
(under Windows XP) for my mail and calendar needs, but I haven't used
Emacs for either of these purposes in so long I don't know if it's
feasible, nor am I certain which modes are "best". I'm hoping that some
of you can point me in the right direction. I'd "just do it" as a test,
but I'd rather not go through a crap ton of hassle and problems only to
hear later "You should not have used foo mode for that, bar mode is what
you want".
Check Gnus and Org.

http://gnus.org/manual.html
http://orgmode.org/
Post by Jeff Clough
1. It needs to work on Windows XP without having to install a
unix/posix environment like Cygwin. I *am* willing to install discrete
utilities if necessary (if Emacs doesn't do POP on its own and needs
some external program to do it, for instance).
AFAIK Emacs + Gnus works fine under Windows.
Post by Jeff Clough
2. I have just under seven thousand messages in various folders (mbox
files) that I'll be wanting to keep, so it needs to not choke and die
when confronted with "many" messages.
It's okay.
Post by Jeff Clough
3. I need to have my calendar appointments either in my face at all
times (I can live with it being in a split window or a new frame I just
leave open) or have the alarms/reminders be insistent and arbitrarily
settable (remind me 15 minutes in advance for this appointment and 30
minutes before this one). I have a lot of appointments and a very bad
memory for these sorts of things.
Org is the tool you want, it's highly configurable.
Post by Jeff Clough
4. Reading HTML messages should be possible, but my needs here are
minimal. I'll settle for what Lynx looked like circa 1995. I just need
the message to be legible.
Gnus can be configured to read HTML messages.
Post by Jeff Clough
1. The ability to stay in Emacs for more of my tasks and use its
editing commands which are now so ingrained into my hands there's no
hope of going back.
You will enjoy more Emacs-power after the switch.
Post by Jeff Clough
2. The ability to search for messages and have the results be what I
want. That means finding all the messages with my search string and
*not* finding messages that don't have my search string. I thought this
is what "Search" implied, but Thunderbird has its own ideas.
Maybe that's the hardest part of your request.

Under GNU/Linux, mairix (http://www.rpcurnow.force9.co.uk/mairix/) makes
it very easy to search and find messages and Gnus has an interface to it
(http://www.gnus.org/manual/gnus_43.html#SEC43).

But mairix requires Cygwin to run under Windows.

You can also check Mew (http://www.mew.org) -- it's another mail reader
for Emacs, with many more integrated search facilities than Gnus.
Post by Jeff Clough
3. The ability to use the keyboard for marking messages as read,
deleting messages, moving them around, etc. A lot of this stuff is
relegated to the mouse and switching from mouse to keyboard and back is
getting really special annoying.
Gnus handles all this.
Post by Jeff Clough
1. I don't use newsgroups or to-do lists.
Don't use these functions, then.
Post by Jeff Clough
2. I don't care about in-line attachments and would prefer not to see
them anyway. As long as I can pull them out of the message and save
them somewhere sane, that works for me.
Same.
Post by Jeff Clough
3. Bonus points if I can diddle a link in an email message and have
Emacs bring it up in Firefox, but I'm not married to it.
Feasible.

HTH,
--
Bastien
Tassilo Horn
2009-09-09 09:45:26 UTC
Permalink
Bastien <***@googlemail.com> writes:

Hi!
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
Okay, so I'm seriously considering switching from Thunderbird to Emacs
(under Windows XP) for my mail and calendar needs, but I haven't used
Emacs for either of these purposes in so long I don't know if it's
feasible, nor am I certain which modes are "best". I'm hoping that some
of you can point me in the right direction. I'd "just do it" as a test,
but I'd rather not go through a crap ton of hassle and problems only to
hear later "You should not have used foo mode for that, bar mode is what
you want".
Check Gnus and Org.
Seconded.
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
2. I have just under seven thousand messages in various folders
(mbox files) that I'll be wanting to keep, so it needs to not choke
and die when confronted with "many" messages.
It's okay.
But I don't know if mbox is the best backend for huge mailboxes. You
might want to consider installing a local IMAP server instead.

If that's not possible, maybe the nnml backend is the preferred
alternative for gnus.
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
4. Reading HTML messages should be possible, but my needs here are
minimal. I'll settle for what Lynx looked like circa 1995. I just
need the message to be legible.
Gnus can be configured to read HTML messages.
Yes, especially if it can use the w3m text browser + emacs-w3m to render
the messages. w3m would need to be installed separately, but I don't
know if it works on Windows.
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
2. The ability to search for messages and have the results be what I
want. That means finding all the messages with my search string and
*not* finding messages that don't have my search string. I thought
this is what "Search" implied, but Thunderbird has its own ideas.
Maybe that's the hardest part of your request.
Under GNU/Linux, mairix (http://www.rpcurnow.force9.co.uk/mairix/)
makes it very easy to search and find messages and Gnus has an
interface to it (http://www.gnus.org/manual/gnus_43.html#SEC43).
But mairix requires Cygwin to run under Windows.
I store all my mails in a local IMAP server. That server supports
indexing of mails, and using Gnus nnir backend I can quickly search for
mails.

Bye,
Tassilo
Torsten Mueller
2009-09-09 10:08:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tassilo Horn
Yes, especially if it can use the w3m text browser + emacs-w3m to
render the messages. w3m would need to be installed separately, but
I don't know if it works on Windows.
It does, very well.

T.M.
Andreas Politz
2009-09-09 12:00:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Torsten Mueller
Post by Tassilo Horn
Yes, especially if it can use the w3m text browser + emacs-w3m to
render the messages. w3m would need to be installed separately, but
I don't know if it works on Windows.
It does, very well.
Is there are binary to be found somewhere ?

-ap
Torsten Mueller
2009-09-09 12:40:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by Andreas Politz
Post by Torsten Mueller
Post by Tassilo Horn
Yes, especially if it can use the w3m text browser + emacs-w3m
to render the messages. w3m would need to be installed
separately, but I don't know if it works on Windows.
It does, very well.
Is there are binary to be found somewhere ?
http://ftp.uni-erlangen.de/pub/pc/gnuwin32/cygwin/mirrors/cygnus/release/w3m/w3m-0.5.1-2.tar.bz2

This binary is compiled for cygwin but the package is standalone. This
means it contains all the required dlls. You will not have to install
a complete cygwin environment. Just unpack and run w3m.exe.

For use with emacs you will need to install the emacs-w3m package.
You will have to configure some things in .emacs:

1. The path to the binary:

(setq w3m-command "c:/usr/local/w3m-0.5.1-2/bin/w3m.exe")

2. The load-path to the lisp directory:

(setq load-path (append load-path '("c:/usr/local/emacs-22.2.1/site-lisp/w3m/lisp")))

3. Load the w3m lisp module:

(load-library "w3m.elc")

Note: This line in a .emacs will slow down the startup process
dramatically. Perhaps it's a better way to put this into a function
("load-w3m" or similar) and call this on demand (M-x load-w3m).

4. And if you use Gnus - set w3m to render your HTML mails:

(setq mm-text-html-renderer 'w3m
mm-inline-text-html-with-images t
mm-inline-large-images t
)

If everthing goes well you can just type M-x w3m for browsing www.

T.M.
Andreas Politz
2009-09-09 15:39:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Torsten Mueller
Post by Andreas Politz
Post by Torsten Mueller
Post by Tassilo Horn
Yes, especially if it can use the w3m text browser + emacs-w3m
to render the messages. w3m would need to be installed
separately, but I don't know if it works on Windows.
It does, very well.
Is there are binary to be found somewhere ?
http://ftp.uni-erlangen.de/pub/pc/gnuwin32/cygwin/mirrors/cygnus/release/w3m/w3m-0.5.1-2.tar.bz2
This binary is compiled for cygwin but the package is standalone. This
means it contains all the required dlls. You will not have to install
a complete cygwin environment. Just unpack and run w3m.exe.
Thanks, I did not realize that it could be part of cygwin.

-ap
notbob
2009-09-09 03:12:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bastien
AFAIK Emacs + Gnus works fine under Windows.
Not my experience. I was never ever able to get gnus for newsgroups
the work right under XP. I finally gave up and installed linux. A
much better solution all around. ;)

nb
Sébastien Vauban
2009-09-09 07:18:48 UTC
Permalink
Hi,
Post by Bastien
AFAIK Emacs + Gnus works fine under Windows.
Not my experience. I was never ever able to get gnus for newsgroups the work
right under XP. I finally gave up and installed linux. A much better
solution all around. ;)
Not my experience. I was able to use Gnus (yes, the best AFAIK) email under
Windows XP for years. Now, I've switched to Linux for openness reasons, but I
still have colleagues using Gnus with MS OS (even Vista and Windows 7)...

Seb
--
Sébastien Vauban
ken
2009-09-09 08:27:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sébastien Vauban
Hi,
Post by Bastien
AFAIK Emacs + Gnus works fine under Windows.
Not my experience. I was never ever able to get gnus for newsgroups the work
right under XP. I finally gave up and installed linux. A much better
solution all around. ;)
Not my experience. I was able to use Gnus (yes, the best AFAIK) email under
Windows XP for years. Now, I've switched to Linux for openness reasons, but I
still have colleagues using Gnus with MS OS (even Vista and Windows 7)...
Seb
Totally with you on the second: Linux is more fun and more flexible and
stable than any Windows OS I've ever used (and that's been a lot of them).

But gnus has been problemmatic for me. I have multiple email accounts
which I access using imaps (running on different servers). Setting
these all up and managing them is a snap with Thunderbird. On the other
hand, I've spend *days* trying to get gnus to do the same and never did
get them anything close to working. So I gave up. There's too many
other things in my life to do. If there's ever clear and accurate
enough documentation on doing this, I might attempt it again.

(But then, how does gnus handle html-formatted emails with images (e.g.,
photos)...? PDFs?)
Andreas Politz
2009-09-09 10:06:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by ken
But gnus has been problemmatic for me. I have multiple email accounts
which I access using imaps (running on different servers). Setting
these all up and managing them is a snap with Thunderbird. On the other
hand, I've spend *days* trying to get gnus to do the same and never did
get them anything close to working. So I gave up. There's too many
other things in my life to do. If there's ever clear and accurate
enough documentation on doing this, I might attempt it again.
Agree, for one the manual is more like a references. Also, it frequently
introduces terms without explaining them properly (e.g. active group).

Until I understood most of it's concepts, gnus got totally confused (from me
killing groups, creating new groups with the same name, changing
methods will it was running,etc. ) and it appeared to be broken.

After I figured out the setup, I deleted everything gnus (News,
.newsrc.eld, .newsrc, .newsrc-dribble) and now it's working.

Actually you just have to setup a imap method (server) and subscribe to
a group (folder) on that server.

There appears to be no difference between primary and secondary
method, though I really don't know. This will ignore the primary
one.

(setq gnus-select-method '(nnnil ""))

Setup the imap servers. The list pattern is only necessary if the
server makes a lot of folders available you are not interested in,
e.g. a whole file-system.

(setq gnus-secondary-select-methods
'((nnimap "imap.host1.net"
(nnimap-list-pattern "Mail/*"))
(nnimap "imap.host2.net")))

Start gnus

(gnus)

Go to server buffer. Move point to one of the servers and go into
it. Press `u' on the folders you want to read. Quit server. Quit
server buffer. Update all groups

^ RET u q q g

This is with Gnus v5.13.
Post by ken
(But then, how does gnus handle html-formatted emails with images (e.g.,
photos)...? PDFs?)
I haven't gotten any HTML mail lately. Attachments are represented as
usual via link, by which they can be opened in different ways.

-ap
Sébastien Vauban
2009-09-09 09:59:39 UTC
Permalink
ken,
Post by Sébastien Vauban
Post by Bastien
AFAIK Emacs + Gnus works fine under Windows.
Not my experience. I was never ever able to get gnus for newsgroups the work
right under XP. I finally gave up and installed linux. A much better
solution all around. ;)
Not my experience. I was able to use Gnus (yes, the best AFAIK) email under
Windows XP for years. Now, I've switched to Linux for openness reasons, but
I still have colleagues using Gnus with MS OS (even Vista and Windows 7)...
But gnus has been problemmatic for me. I have multiple email accounts which
I access using imaps (running on different servers). Setting these all up
and managing them is a snap with Thunderbird. On the other hand, I've spend
*days* trying to get gnus to do the same and never did get them anything
close to working. So I gave up. There's too many other things in my life to
do.
It's true that setting up everything takes some time. But, once it's done, you
can go wherever (to client sites) with your config file and get the same level
of functionality as you had on your first PC.

I am using Gnus for accessing the company IMAP server and different newsgroups
(from our provider and from Gname).
If there's ever clear and accurate enough documentation on doing this, I
might attempt it again.
My goal is to get my .gnus file published on the Web, for helping people (the
same way I got helped by looking at other's config files).

Though, I need to get my private stuff removed from this file. Not yet done.
Could be in a couple of weeks from now.
(But then, how does gnus handle html-formatted emails with images (e.g.,
photos)...? PDFs?)
Not a prob'.

Inlined photos are just seeable directly in the buffers.

The same for HTML (with emacs-w3m and the w3m browser available from Cygwin).
For HTML with Java inside, just K H to fire up Firefox with the mail
contents...

PDF are normal links. Just clicking on them opens up SumatraPDF under Windows
or okular under Linux.

All of that in one config file, usable under both Windows and Linux, without
any change. Just conditional setup.

Seb
--
Sébastien Vauban
ken
2009-09-09 23:31:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Sébastien Vauban
ken,
...
But gnus has been problemmatic for me. I have multiple email accounts which
I access using imaps (running on different servers). Setting these all up
and managing them is a snap with Thunderbird. On the other hand, I've spend
*days* trying to get gnus to do the same and never did get them anything
close to working. So I gave up. There's too many other things in my life to
do.
It's true that setting up everything takes some time. But, once it's done, you
can go wherever (to client sites) with your config file and get the same level
of functionality as you had on your first PC.
That's a nice thing about text config files: you can copy them to other
machines, save previous versions for easy testing of new functionality,
adding another account simply by copying a block of text and changing a
few words. Granted. That's what I like about Linux too.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
I am using Gnus for accessing the company IMAP server and different newsgroups
(from our provider and from Gname).
I did all that years ago. As I said, the difficulty I had was setting
up *multiple email accounts* (like eight or nine of them), all of which
use IMAPS (secure IMAP) and most of which use different IMAP servers and
different SMTP servers (using TLS + something else). Tbird does all
this easily, plus: some mail accounts have PGP keys, all different from
one another of course. Incoming mail with and encryption key is
automatically signature-checked or decrypted, as applicable. Add to
this folders and filters, color-coding of inbox mails (either
automatically by ruleset or manually with a couple mouse-clicks), mail
templates, multiple address books, searches (of course), and a lot more.

Under the category of "a lot more" are the add-ins, little apps (written
by computer Joes, Tbird outsiders who write code) that you can plug into
Tbird for added functionality. E.g., one I use occasionally
transliterates English characters into Cyrillic (Russian alphabet).

Hey, I didn't start out this email trying to be an ad for Thunderbird.
I just started talking and all this stuff came out. I almost went on a
tangent wherein there was pseudo-code. But the more I thought about
that pseudo-code, the more I just kept thinking: TB's got this and this
and this and this and this. And it's pretty simple to set up and use.
(With more than a half dozen accounts, you know I have to read and write
a lot of email, so I can't use software that's going to slow me down.)

Here's an idea (take it or leave it... just a suggestion): somebody
should write a plug-in for Tbird so that when I write or reply to an
email, instead of going into Tbird's editor, emacs springs up in the
composition space. That way I get all (or a lot) of emacs' features:
the key combos I'm so accustomed to, easy searching/replacing, abbrevs,
paging up and down without need of the mouse, etc. That would be THE
Killer Tbird plug-in.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
If there's ever clear and accurate enough documentation on doing this, I
might attempt it again.
Then again, perhaps not. I'm liking Tbird pretty good.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
My goal is to get my .gnus file published on the Web, for helping people (the
same way I got helped by looking at other's config files).
Though, I need to get my private stuff removed from this file. Not yet done.
Could be in a couple of weeks from now.
That's great. It might not tip me back, but I'm sure a lot of other
folks would love to have at it.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
(But then, how does gnus handle html-formatted emails with images (e.g.,
photos)...? PDFs?)
Not a prob'.
I actually meant "how?"... like what does emacs do with them. What do I
have to do to read a PDF-- or Word doc (shudder)-- which comes attached
to an email? E.g., in Tbird I double-click on the text name of the
attachment (or together-selected attachments).
Post by Sébastien Vauban
Inlined photos are just seeable directly in the buffers.
And then if I want to forward that email containing photos...? In Tbird
I'd do C-l (a composition window pops with the photos in it and the
cursor blinking in the To: field), type in the addressee(s) (Tbird does
type-ahead... guesses the name or address or nickname of the
addressee(s), displaying them in a drop down if I want to scroll or read
through them and select one or more of them), then do C-Return to send.
You can see, TB's doing a lot more work than I am when I send an email.
It's like it knows what I need to do next. Well, a lot of the time it
does. And most of the time I can let the mouse be lonely... just use
the keyboard.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
The same for HTML (with emacs-w3m and the w3m browser available from Cygwin).
For HTML with Java inside, just K H to fire up Firefox with the mail
contents...
:(
Post by Sébastien Vauban
PDF are normal links. Just clicking on them opens up SumatraPDF under Windows
or okular under Linux.
That's cool.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
All of that in one config file, usable under both Windows and Linux, without
any change. Just conditional setup.
Sounds like it gets a solid B. But Tbird gets an A-.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
Seb
Thanks for the info. Emacs is definitely doing better things with email
than just a few years ago.

Best,
ken
Richard Riley
2009-09-09 23:59:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by ken
Post by Sébastien Vauban
ken,
...
But gnus has been problemmatic for me. I have multiple email accounts which
I access using imaps (running on different servers). Setting these all up
and managing them is a snap with Thunderbird. On the other hand, I've spend
*days* trying to get gnus to do the same and never did get them anything
close to working. So I gave up. There's too many other things in my life to
do.
It's true that setting up everything takes some time. But, once it's done, you
can go wherever (to client sites) with your config file and get the same level
of functionality as you had on your first PC.
That's a nice thing about text config files: you can copy them to other
machines, save previous versions for easy testing of new functionality,
adding another account simply by copying a block of text and changing a
few words. Granted. That's what I like about Linux too.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
I am using Gnus for accessing the company IMAP server and different newsgroups
(from our provider and from Gname).
I did all that years ago. As I said, the difficulty I had was setting
Year ago eh? Wow ...
Post by ken
up *multiple email accounts* (like eight or nine of them), all of
which
That many <shakes head in amazement> .. :-)
Post by ken
use IMAPS (secure IMAP) and most of which use different IMAP servers and
different SMTP servers (using TLS + something else). Tbird does all
this easily, plus: some mail accounts have PGP keys, all different
from
So does Gnus.
Post by ken
one another of course. Incoming mail with and encryption key is
See posting-styles. .authinfo. epa.
Post by ken
automatically signature-checked or decrypted, as applicable. Add to
this folders and filters, color-coding of inbox mails (either
automatically by ruleset or manually with a couple mouse-clicks), mail
templates, multiple address books, searches (of course), and a lot
more.
Yeah, if you need all that then maybe gnus is not for you since it is
tricky at times to configure.

I got some nice colour coding going though :

Loading Image...

Probably not as good as Thunderbird for sure ...
Post by ken
Under the category of "a lot more" are the add-ins, little apps (written
by computer Joes, Tbird outsiders who write code) that you can plug into
Tbird for added functionality. E.g., one I use occasionally
transliterates English characters into Cyrillic (Russian alphabet).
Hey, I didn't start out this email trying to be an ad for Thunderbird.
It certainly reads that way.
Post by ken
I just started talking and all this stuff came out. I almost went on a
tangent wherein there was pseudo-code. But the more I thought about
that pseudo-code, the more I just kept thinking: TB's got this and this
and this and this and this. And it's pretty simple to set up and use.
(With more than a half dozen accounts, you know I have to read and write
a lot of email, so I can't use software that's going to slow me down.)
Here's an idea (take it or leave it... just a suggestion): somebody
should write a plug-in for Tbird so that when I write or reply to an
email, instead of going into Tbird's editor, emacs springs up in the
I already use emacs from web forms and mailto links using mozex and
"It's all text". But thunderbird I dont know about. I would be surprised
if there was not something already. But I guess most TB users don't
really use Emacs : it's kind of a clash of cultures :-; The excellent
emacs daemon now means things like mailto from firefox are instant ..

http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/MailtoHandler#toc4
Post by ken
the key combos I'm so accustomed to, easy searching/replacing, abbrevs,
paging up and down without need of the mouse, etc. That would be THE
Killer Tbird plug-in.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
If there's ever clear and accurate enough documentation on doing this, I
might attempt it again.
Then again, perhaps not. I'm liking Tbird pretty good.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
My goal is to get my .gnus file published on the Web, for helping people (the
same way I got helped by looking at other's config files).
Though, I need to get my private stuff removed from this file. Not yet done.
Could be in a couple of weeks from now.
That's great. It might not tip me back, but I'm sure a lot of other
folks would love to have at it.
There are quite a few out there. Mine's currently a bit of a mess but
viewable here:

http://richardriley.net/projects/emacs/
Post by ken
Post by Sébastien Vauban
(But then, how does gnus handle html-formatted emails with images (e.g.,
photos)...? PDFs?)
Not a prob'.
I actually meant "how?"... like what does emacs do with them. What do I
have to do to read a PDF-- or Word doc (shudder)-- which comes attached
to an email? E.g., in Tbird I double-click on the text name of the
attachment (or together-selected attachments).
Read the manual. You can view images inline, or you can open the links
in an external viewer. There are countless possibilities.
Post by ken
Post by Sébastien Vauban
Inlined photos are just seeable directly in the buffers.
And then if I want to forward that email containing photos...? In
Tbird
Forward the email? Whats so special about that?
Post by ken
I'd do C-l (a composition window pops with the photos in it and the
cursor blinking in the To: field), type in the addressee(s) (Tbird does
type-ahead... guesses the name or address or nickname of the
addressee(s), displaying them in a drop down if I want to scroll or read
through them and select one or more of them), then do C-Return to send.
You can see, TB's doing a lot more work than I am when I send an
email.
It's like it knows what I need to do next. Well, a lot of the time it
does. And most of the time I can let the mouse be lonely... just use
the keyboard.
I'm not sure what you're enthusing over here. To forward an email
(containing attachments or not) is trivial and a standard gnus
function.
Post by ken
Post by Sébastien Vauban
The same for HTML (with emacs-w3m and the w3m browser available from Cygwin).
For HTML with Java inside, just K H to fire up Firefox with the mail
contents...
:(
I'm not sure I understand why the grimace. I read most of my html emails
as "washed" html - ie the text only. HTML email is the invention of
Lucifer anyway.
Post by ken
Post by Sébastien Vauban
PDF are normal links. Just clicking on them opens up SumatraPDF under Windows
or okular under Linux.
That's cool.
And very much depending on how your emacs & gnus are setup.
Post by ken
Post by Sébastien Vauban
All of that in one config file, usable under both Windows and Linux, without
any change. Just conditional setup.
Sounds like it gets a solid B. But Tbird gets an A-.
Post by Sébastien Vauban
Seb
Thanks for the info. Emacs is definitely doing better things with email
than just a few years ago.
Like what? Most of this has been in gnus for ever and day.
Post by ken
Best,
ken
Do try gnus. If you like emacs then you can't go wrong : it's great
having email integrated with the rest of my eamcs life : live
translations from german, spelling, org-mode links, one key google
search, w3m browsing or optionally launching an external browser,
fancy-splitting, bbdb .. i could go on.

Gnus is not for the feint of heart : but I think you'd like it if you're
willing to forget how thunderbird does it and open your mind to the Gnus
"style".

ps

I think you might have got your Thunderbird posting styles mixed
up. Weren't you John earlier? If not you sound very similar.
Jeff Clough
2009-09-09 13:48:12 UTC
Permalink
Okay, I've looked at Gnus, as well as VM and have some questions. I'm
also having a weird problem in trying just to send mail from Emacs. See
below if you'd like to know more and think you can help out. I'm still
looking for any other packages people actually use for email in emacs
under windows so don't be shy! On the calendar front, I'll be giving
org-mode the once over later today.

Thanks!

Jeff

P.S.

Gnus

I've looked at Gnus. It uses the "paradigm" of newsgroups for
everything. I'd rather not have to retrain my brain for something as
trivial as reading email, but let's just say I'm willing. Is there a
way to see "I do not have an NNTP server, so please don't bother me
about it anymore"? It looks like I can set a variable so that gnus will
ignore the email side of things, but I can't find something similar for
news.

VM

I've also taken a glance at VM and would like to go further, but I see
no direct evidence that it works with Emacs 22.x. Is anyone using VM
with a recent Emacs on Windows XP?

Sending Mail

In the process of all this looking, I decided to try to get *sending*
mail to work. I hear tell from this faq
(http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/windows/Network-access.html) that
emacs can "talk directly to SMTP mail servers" via smtpmail.el. I
stuffed the following in my .emacs:

(setq user-full-name "Your full name")
(setq user-mail-address "***@email.address")
(setq smtpmail-default-smtp-server "domain.name.of.your.smtp.server")

(setq send-mail-command 'smtpmail-send-it) ; For mail-mode (Rmail)


Did C-x m, wrote stuff, did C-c C-c and promptly got a Thunderbird
window popping up the message (well, actually it told me to paste the
message in because the text had been conveniently dropped on my
clipboard, thankfully obliterating what was there before). Is there a
way to stop this from happening and for Emacs to just send it itself?
"Talk directly to SMTP mail servers" doesn't mean "Fire up another
application" in my opinion.

Still looking for suggestions/experiences with other mail packages, and
am planning to give org-mode the once over later today. Thanks for
getting me pointed in the right direction!

P.P.S.

Before anyone seriously suggests moving to linux as a solution to my
problem (which seems dangerously near), let me just clarify something.
I'm well aware of my options in that regard and am very familiar with
all things *nixen. Switching from Windows XP to *nix for email is not
going to happen. Not at all. And I'm not interested in explaining why
I won't or listening to why I should.

Installing, configuring and maintaining an IMAP server in order to read
and search my mail is also not going to happen. An ancient version of
Eudora on my dad's old Mac LC could let me read my mail, *and* find my
messages, without having to run such a thing. And it did it for
thousands of messages without flinching. If a piece of software here in
the modern world can't handle it, the answer is to not use that software.

I prefer my mail to always be in bsd mbox files because that's still
what 90% of the world expects your mail to be in, can be manipulated by
any code that operates on text files and doesn't break when I move from
OS to OS. And speed shouldn't be a factor when your mua does proper
indexing.
--
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Bastien
2009-09-09 14:35:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
I've looked at Gnus. It uses the "paradigm" of newsgroups for
everything. I'd rather not have to retrain my brain for something as
trivial as reading email, but let's just say I'm willing. Is there a
way to see "I do not have an NNTP server, so please don't bother me
about it anymore"? It looks like I can set a variable so that gnus will
ignore the email side of things, but I can't find something similar for
news.
;; Don't use nntp at all
(setq gnus-select-method '(nnnil))

;; Use nnml to read email
(setq gnus-secondary-select-methods '((nnml "")))

;; Fetch emails from the mail pool
(setq mail-sources '((file :path "/var/mail/guerry"))
Post by Jeff Clough
I've also taken a glance at VM and would like to go further, but I see
no direct evidence that it works with Emacs 22.x. Is anyone using VM
with a recent Emacs on Windows XP?
Make sure you also have a look at Mew: http://www.mew.org
Post by Jeff Clough
Before anyone seriously suggests moving to linux as a solution to my
problem (which seems dangerously near), let me just clarify something.
I'm well aware of my options in that regard and am very familiar with
all things *nixen. Switching from Windows XP to *nix for email is not
going to happen. Not at all. And I'm not interested in explaining why
I won't or listening to why I should.
(That sounds a bit angry, no?)
Post by Jeff Clough
Installing, configuring and maintaining an IMAP server in order to read
and search my mail is also not going to happen. An ancient version of
Eudora on my dad's old Mac LC could let me read my mail, *and* find my
messages, without having to run such a thing. And it did it for
thousands of messages without flinching. If a piece of software here in
the modern world can't handle it, the answer is to not use that software.
(That sounds a bit angry too, no?)
Post by Jeff Clough
I prefer my mail to always be in bsd mbox files because that's still
what 90% of the world expects your mail to be in, can be manipulated by
any code that operates on text files and doesn't break when I move from
OS to OS. And speed shouldn't be a factor when your mua does proper
indexing.
You sound a bit fussy about all those things.

While your arguments might be very right to you, you'll certainly get
more helpful answers with a more open-minded attitude.
--
Bastien
Jeff Clough
2009-09-09 15:28:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bastien
;; Don't use nntp at all
(setq gnus-select-method '(nnnil))
;; Use nnml to read email
(setq gnus-secondary-select-methods '((nnml "")))
;; Fetch emails from the mail pool
(setq mail-sources '((file :path "/var/mail/guerry"))
This seems very promising! I'll hit it later this afternoon and see how
things turn out.
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
I've also taken a glance at VM and would like to go further, but I see
no direct evidence that it works with Emacs 22.x. Is anyone using VM
with a recent Emacs on Windows XP?
Make sure you also have a look at Mew: http://www.mew.org
I've got a tab open to this now. Thanks again!
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
Before anyone seriously suggests moving to linux as a solution to my
problem (which seems dangerously near), let me just clarify something.
I'm well aware of my options in that regard and am very familiar with
all things *nixen. Switching from Windows XP to *nix for email is not
going to happen. Not at all. And I'm not interested in explaining why
I won't or listening to why I should.
(That sounds a bit angry, no?)
This happens a lot. Like, every time I have any issue whatsoever with a
piece of open source software. You'd think the problem wouldn't be
present during those many years I ran linux for my primary desktop
machine, but then it just becomes "You're using the wrong distro."
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
I prefer my mail to always be in bsd mbox files because that's still
what 90% of the world expects your mail to be in, can be manipulated by
any code that operates on text files and doesn't break when I move from
OS to OS. And speed shouldn't be a factor when your mua does proper
indexing.
You sound a bit fussy about all those things.
Only in-so-far as I have requirements. Other people have requirements
to. Some people require that every piece of software they run be GPL'd.

In specific regard to mbox files, I've prioritized interoperability and
the ability to treat my mail as text. It's useful when I want to hack
out some code that, say, gets all the YouTube URLs from the mail folder
"Videos", passes them to another script that will download the files and
I don't want to have to change that code when the mua changes.
Post by Bastien
While your arguments might be very right to you, you'll certainly get
more helpful answers with a more open-minded attitude.
I'm very open-minded, especially when it comes to potential solutions to
a problem I'm faced with. But I've also been fairly clear that I'm
working with Windows and mbox files. Solutions that suggest I no longer
do this aren't really solutions at all. It's like having my car run out
of gas on the highway, then having someone come along and tell me to get
a hybrid.

I think I'll get more helpful answers when I'm clear about what I need.

Thanks again for the info above!

Jeff
--
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Bastien
2009-09-09 22:25:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Post by Bastien
While your arguments might be very right to you, you'll certainly get
more helpful answers with a more open-minded attitude.
I'm very open-minded, especially when it comes to potential solutions to
a problem I'm faced with. But I've also been fairly clear that I'm
working with Windows and mbox files. Solutions that suggest I no longer
do this aren't really solutions at all. It's like having my car run out
of gas on the highway, then having someone come along and tell me to get
a hybrid.
I think I'll get more helpful answers when I'm clear about what I need.
Fair enough, this I perfectly understand. But I'm not a native english
speaker, so I might have misinterpreted your tone.
--
Bastien
Jeff Clough
2009-09-09 17:55:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Sending Mail
In the process of all this looking, I decided to try to get *sending*
mail to work. I hear tell from this faq
(http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/windows/Network-access.html) that
emacs can "talk directly to SMTP mail servers" via smtpmail.el. I
(setq user-full-name "Your full name")
(setq smtpmail-default-smtp-server "domain.name.of.your.smtp.server")
(setq send-mail-command 'smtpmail-send-it) ; For mail-mode (Rmail)
Did C-x m, wrote stuff, did C-c C-c and promptly got a Thunderbird
window popping up the message (well, actually it told me to paste the
message in because the text had been conveniently dropped on my
clipboard, thankfully obliterating what was there before). Is there a
way to stop this from happening and for Emacs to just send it itself?
"Talk directly to SMTP mail servers" doesn't mean "Fire up another
application" in my opinion.
Alright, one thing solved:

The last line of lisp above should be setting send-mail-function, not
send-mail-command. Changing that, fixed it so I can send mail via Emacs
without Thunderbird getting involved. I stumbled across a message
(here:
http://groups.google.com/group/gnu.emacs.gnus/browse_thread/thread/a42ca24f5d540d35)
that clued me in. Apparently if you don't set this variable now, Emacs
does in fact toss the buffer at your default mailer.

Given the faq I mentioned in my original post appears to have it wrong,
how do I go about filing a doc bug?

Jeff
--
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Richard Riley
2009-09-09 14:35:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Okay, I've looked at Gnus, as well as VM and have some questions. I'm
also having a weird problem in trying just to send mail from Emacs. See
below if you'd like to know more and think you can help out. I'm still
looking for any other packages people actually use for email in emacs
under windows so don't be shy! On the calendar front, I'll be giving
org-mode the once over later today.
Thanks!
Jeff
P.S.
Gnus
I've looked at Gnus. It uses the "paradigm" of newsgroups for
everything. I'd rather not have to retrain my brain for something as
trivial as reading email, but let's just say I'm willing. Is there a
Theres nothing to retrain. You see a "group" and your email is in
there. No paradigm shift at all.
Post by Jeff Clough
way to see "I do not have an NNTP server, so please don't bother me
about it anymore"? It looks like I can set a variable so that gnus will
ignore the email side of things, but I can't find something similar for
news.
Just dont subscribe to any news groups.
Post by Jeff Clough
VM
I've also taken a glance at VM and would like to go further, but I see
no direct evidence that it works with Emacs 22.x. Is anyone using VM
with a recent Emacs on Windows XP?
Sending Mail
In the process of all this looking, I decided to try to get *sending*
mail to work. I hear tell from this faq
(http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/windows/Network-access.html) that
emacs can "talk directly to SMTP mail servers" via smtpmail.el. I
(setq user-full-name "Your full name")
(setq smtpmail-default-smtp-server "domain.name.of.your.smtp.server")
(setq send-mail-command 'smtpmail-send-it) ; For mail-mode (Rmail)
Did C-x m, wrote stuff, did C-c C-c and promptly got a Thunderbird
window popping up the message (well, actually it told me to paste the
message in because the text had been conveniently dropped on my
clipboard, thankfully obliterating what was there before). Is there a
way to stop this from happening and for Emacs to just send it itself?
"Talk directly to SMTP mail servers" doesn't mean "Fire up another
application" in my opinion.
Never heard of anything like that before. Emacs doesn't launch
thunderbird.
Post by Jeff Clough
Still looking for suggestions/experiences with other mail packages, and
am planning to give org-mode the once over later today. Thanks for
getting me pointed in the right direction!
P.P.S.
Before anyone seriously suggests moving to linux as a solution to my
problem (which seems dangerously near), let me just clarify something.
I'm well aware of my options in that regard and am very familiar with
all things *nixen. Switching from Windows XP to *nix for email is not
going to happen. Not at all. And I'm not interested in explaining why
I won't or listening to why I should.
Installing, configuring and maintaining an IMAP server in order to read
and search my mail is also not going to happen. An ancient version of
Eudora on my dad's old Mac LC could let me read my mail, *and* find my
messages, without having to run such a thing. And it did it for
thousands of messages without flinching. If a piece of software here in
the modern world can't handle it, the answer is to not use that
software.
Gnus is possibly the most powerful email/usenet client out there. And
quite why you seem to think people would suggest you move to Linux for
your email client is rather baffling.
Post by Jeff Clough
I prefer my mail to always be in bsd mbox files because that's still
what 90% of the world expects your mail to be in, can be manipulated by
any code that operates on text files and doesn't break when I move from
OS to OS. And speed shouldn't be a factor when your mua does proper
indexing.
Jeff Clough
2009-09-09 15:48:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Riley
Never heard of anything like that before. Emacs doesn't launch
thunderbird.
I didn't think it would either, but it's doing it even if Thunderbird
isn't running. My suspicion is that, in the interest of not confusing
Windows users, Emacs is now shipping messages to the default mailer
listed in the OS, in preference to its own SMTP capabilities. If I'm
right, I'm hoping there's a variable I can set to fix this. If I'm
wrong, then I've got no idea. Clearly Emacs isn't doing the talk to the
SMTP server directly thing right now, and I'd rather not dig through
smtpmail.el to find out why.

Jeff
--
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Jason Rumney
2009-09-10 05:17:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
My suspicion is that, in the interest of not confusing
Windows users, Emacs is now shipping messages to the default mailer
listed in the OS, in preference to its own SMTP capabilities.
Yes, your suspicion is correct. Unlike *nix boxes, Windows machines
are not typically configured with a standard sendmail-like mail
sending mechanism, the best we can expect is that their default GUI
Mail application is correctly configured. But this is only the
default, so that Bug Reporting works out of the box.
Jason Rumney
2009-09-10 05:12:04 UTC
Permalink
Gnus
I've looked at Gnus.  It uses the "paradigm" of newsgroups for
everything.  I'd rather not have to retrain my brain for something as
trivial as reading email, but let's just say I'm willing.  Is there a
way to see "I do not have an NNTP server, so please don't bother me
about it anymore"?
Customize gnus-select-method to be what you want for your primary use
of Gnus.
Sending Mail
(setq send-mail-command 'smtpmail-send-it) ; For mail-mode (Rmail)
Try send-mail-function
Dave Täht
2009-09-13 01:06:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Okay, so I'm seriously considering switching from Thunderbird to Emacs
(under Windows XP) for my mail and calendar needs, but I haven't used
Emacs for either of these purposes in so long I don't know if it's
feasible, nor am I certain which modes are "best". I'm hoping that
some of you can point me in the right direction. I'd "just do it" as
a test, but I'd rather not go through a crap ton of hassle and
problems only to hear later "You should not have used foo mode for
that, bar mode is what you want".
I just switched from Thunderbird to GNUS. It's taken me a month to get
truly happy with it (about 29 days longer than I wanted to spend) and I
still have some things left to do, but overall I'm glad I made the
effort.

To this end I made some compromises and changes to my assumptions in
order to work with how gnus actually worked. Also, my solution is very
linux specific, and not relevant, really to what you were asking about,
but I gotta write this up somewhere....

After fighting with postfix + dovecot, sieve, imap, gnus, and Maildir
formats for several days, I gave up, and switched to postfix, procmail
and mbox format, abandoning even the thought of imap.

I did several unusual things, few of which were GNUS specific, (although
gnus made me do it because I could not get maildir working) but perhaps
folks would find these alternatives interesting. I evaluated mh, gnus,
and mews and settled on gnus as being the closest in mindset for what I
wanted "(set bugs off (do what I am thinking))"

1) I adopted IPv6 for my email requirements, coupled with ca-cert
certificates for authentication. This gives me a static IP address and
real AAAA record in DNS so I can actually receive mail on my laptop's
tunnel, wherever I am, via my stably connected secondary mx host, and I
can send/receive mail directly to anyone running IPv6 on their mailhost
(I've only seen bsd.org and isc.org have that turned on), or via that
secondary mx exchanger.

The certs get rid of sasl which I always thought was a hassle anyway.

2) Instead of IMAP I am just opening emacs frames on other X displays,
against my already running emacs session. My server is my laptop, not
some far off imap server. It's cool to keep all my context - especially
including org-mode - available anywhere I walk in the house or around
town.

3) For backups, rsync run out of cron. I'm not entirely convinced this
is acceptable so I bcc another account on another mail server on sent mail.

4) For RSS, r2e, which uses rss2email to correctly *text* format most
RSS feeds. I tried the in-gnus RSS reader, found that it interrupted my
workflow too much, and dropped it in favor of r2e.

5) For news, Leafnode. The local nntp cache makes a huge difference in
speed, and I can read news offline. I liked leafnode so much that I
subscribed to lkml again via gmane, and the various gnus.* groups.

6) To get text boxes from the web into emacs and back, mozdev.

7) For calendar, org-mode. I'm not going to talk about how much more I
love org mode the more time I spend in emacs. I could go on for pages
about org-mode, but the javascript org-annotation-helper would be a good
thing to start raving about if I did. I always found things like
evolution and exchange very lightweight for complex task
management. Thunderbird did it not at all.

8) chat - I dropped pidgin and adopted erc + bitlbee. Bitlbee now does
skype, too.

9) Pastebin on a keystroke from any buffer. Love it.

As you can tell, I *really* wanted to be able to receive mail directly
to my laptop again, and handle being offline, just like in the good ole
days. A lot of the above flowed from that. Writing web pages to parse
the output of "batch" and multiple clustered commands struck me as more
work than getting certs and ipv6 tunnels and email to work.

The net benefit to my life is that I just rid myself of several
applications and their relevant context switches. I would argue that I
went from about 10-15% emacs usage per day to about 75%. I'm able to do
things like customize my keyboard to handle my carpalness (like mapping
' to return) and not have my default keystrokes break other apps.

With Emacs' abbrev mode, im turns automatically into I'm, and with
auto-capitalize mode (which I put a fix in for on the wiki recently) I
almost never have to hit a shift key again. Big win. You couldn't get me
to switch back to any other mail client if you paid me.

I love green on black text everywhere.

I cleared out a lot of screen space by getting rid of menus, icons,
scrollbars, fringes and other stuff that get in the way. hide-mode-line
is cool, too.

Supercite is great. The gpg integration is great too.

rss2email has easily put 12 hours a week back into my life that I used
to spend waiting for blogs to load. I'm spending 4 hours of that on
netnews, which has been kind of fun in a retro sort of way.

My mail is as fast now as instant messaging. Switching in or out of mail
mode takes two keys, a split second, and no thought. There's no "Logging
into server... checking folders... sending mail..." step at all. For the
first couple weeks I kept running tail -f /var/log/mail.log just because
I was scared it wasn't working.

I tied mail and org mode notifications into a speech synth.

I can do just about any darn thing I want to with procmail, including
automagically create mailboxes for any mailing lists I might join. I
had wished thunderbird would do that for a long time.

And I can take my mail with me, to the beach, or the park, without having
to be online, and write voluminous emails like this one.

My only major open problem is somewhere in my maildir experiments my
sent mail folder stopped working. :(. I'll figure it out eventually.

I'm still in a losing fight with how GNUS splits windows on wide displays.

I still have the more prosaic problem of expiring the mailboxes (like
messages from cron and nagios) that I want to expire the way I want to
expire them. I like very much the concept of expiring - or at least,
automatically archiving, mail, much more than I like the idea of
continuing to have 20,000+ message mailboxes as I have in gmail. Yes, I
have read how to do it, but regular expressions scare me. I will try it
on some smaller test mailboxes first. So far, 2000+ message mbox
mailboxes have been acceptably fast on the hardware I use.

mbox format + archival actually makes sense to me, although I will take
a stab at Maildir again one of these days.
--
Dave Taht
http://the-edge.blogspot.com
David Combs
2009-10-12 02:11:07 UTC
Permalink
A top-post: Here, someone went from Thunderbird (gui, etc)
to emacs, showing what he had to do to succeed.
(I include it all this once, so if expired for you, is
newified again.)

Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?

Thanks!
David
Post by Dave Täht
Post by Jeff Clough
Okay, so I'm seriously considering switching from Thunderbird to Emacs
(under Windows XP) for my mail and calendar needs, but I haven't used
Emacs for either of these purposes in so long I don't know if it's
feasible, nor am I certain which modes are "best". I'm hoping that
some of you can point me in the right direction. I'd "just do it" as
a test, but I'd rather not go through a crap ton of hassle and
problems only to hear later "You should not have used foo mode for
that, bar mode is what you want".
I just switched from Thunderbird to GNUS. It's taken me a month to get
truly happy with it (about 29 days longer than I wanted to spend) and I
still have some things left to do, but overall I'm glad I made the
effort.
To this end I made some compromises and changes to my assumptions in
order to work with how gnus actually worked. Also, my solution is very
linux specific, and not relevant, really to what you were asking about,
but I gotta write this up somewhere....
After fighting with postfix + dovecot, sieve, imap, gnus, and Maildir
formats for several days, I gave up, and switched to postfix, procmail
and mbox format, abandoning even the thought of imap.
I did several unusual things, few of which were GNUS specific, (although
gnus made me do it because I could not get maildir working) but perhaps
folks would find these alternatives interesting. I evaluated mh, gnus,
and mews and settled on gnus as being the closest in mindset for what I
wanted "(set bugs off (do what I am thinking))"
1) I adopted IPv6 for my email requirements, coupled with ca-cert
certificates for authentication. This gives me a static IP address and
real AAAA record in DNS so I can actually receive mail on my laptop's
tunnel, wherever I am, via my stably connected secondary mx host, and I
can send/receive mail directly to anyone running IPv6 on their mailhost
(I've only seen bsd.org and isc.org have that turned on), or via that
secondary mx exchanger.
The certs get rid of sasl which I always thought was a hassle anyway.
2) Instead of IMAP I am just opening emacs frames on other X displays,
against my already running emacs session. My server is my laptop, not
some far off imap server. It's cool to keep all my context - especially
including org-mode - available anywhere I walk in the house or around
town.
3) For backups, rsync run out of cron. I'm not entirely convinced this
is acceptable so I bcc another account on another mail server on sent mail.
4) For RSS, r2e, which uses rss2email to correctly *text* format most
RSS feeds. I tried the in-gnus RSS reader, found that it interrupted my
workflow too much, and dropped it in favor of r2e.
5) For news, Leafnode. The local nntp cache makes a huge difference in
speed, and I can read news offline. I liked leafnode so much that I
subscribed to lkml again via gmane, and the various gnus.* groups.
6) To get text boxes from the web into emacs and back, mozdev.
7) For calendar, org-mode. I'm not going to talk about how much more I
love org mode the more time I spend in emacs. I could go on for pages
about org-mode, but the javascript org-annotation-helper would be a good
thing to start raving about if I did. I always found things like
evolution and exchange very lightweight for complex task
management. Thunderbird did it not at all.
8) chat - I dropped pidgin and adopted erc + bitlbee. Bitlbee now does
skype, too.
9) Pastebin on a keystroke from any buffer. Love it.
As you can tell, I *really* wanted to be able to receive mail directly
to my laptop again, and handle being offline, just like in the good ole
days. A lot of the above flowed from that. Writing web pages to parse
the output of "batch" and multiple clustered commands struck me as more
work than getting certs and ipv6 tunnels and email to work.
The net benefit to my life is that I just rid myself of several
applications and their relevant context switches. I would argue that I
went from about 10-15% emacs usage per day to about 75%. I'm able to do
things like customize my keyboard to handle my carpalness (like mapping
' to return) and not have my default keystrokes break other apps.
With Emacs' abbrev mode, im turns automatically into I'm, and with
auto-capitalize mode (which I put a fix in for on the wiki recently) I
almost never have to hit a shift key again. Big win. You couldn't get me
to switch back to any other mail client if you paid me.
I love green on black text everywhere.
I cleared out a lot of screen space by getting rid of menus, icons,
scrollbars, fringes and other stuff that get in the way. hide-mode-line
is cool, too.
Supercite is great. The gpg integration is great too.
rss2email has easily put 12 hours a week back into my life that I used
to spend waiting for blogs to load. I'm spending 4 hours of that on
netnews, which has been kind of fun in a retro sort of way.
My mail is as fast now as instant messaging. Switching in or out of mail
mode takes two keys, a split second, and no thought. There's no "Logging
into server... checking folders... sending mail..." step at all. For the
first couple weeks I kept running tail -f /var/log/mail.log just because
I was scared it wasn't working.
I tied mail and org mode notifications into a speech synth.
I can do just about any darn thing I want to with procmail, including
automagically create mailboxes for any mailing lists I might join. I
had wished thunderbird would do that for a long time.
And I can take my mail with me, to the beach, or the park, without having
to be online, and write voluminous emails like this one.
My only major open problem is somewhere in my maildir experiments my
sent mail folder stopped working. :(. I'll figure it out eventually.
I'm still in a losing fight with how GNUS splits windows on wide displays.
I still have the more prosaic problem of expiring the mailboxes (like
messages from cron and nagios) that I want to expire the way I want to
expire them. I like very much the concept of expiring - or at least,
automatically archiving, mail, much more than I like the idea of
continuing to have 20,000+ message mailboxes as I have in gmail. Yes, I
have read how to do it, but regular expressions scare me. I will try it
on some smaller test mailboxes first. So far, 2000+ message mbox
mailboxes have been acceptably fast on the hardware I use.
mbox format + archival actually makes sense to me, although I will take
a stab at Maildir again one of these days.
--
Dave Taht
http://the-edge.blogspot.com
Matt Lundin
2009-10-12 12:25:00 UTC
Permalink
A top-post: Here, someone went from Thunderbird (gui, etc) to emacs,
showing what he had to do to succeed. (I include it all this once, so
if expired for you, is newified again.)
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it, and use .1%
of its capability (I think, so powerful is it). Has anyone switched
from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)? Comments?
Yes, I have. Both Gnus and Wanderlust are fantastic email clients. There
are a lot of configuration examples online, if you want to get started
with either of them.

What specifically do you want to know?

- Matt
Dirk-Jan C. Binnema
2009-10-12 18:34:13 UTC
Permalink
A top-post: Here, someone went from Thunderbird (gui, etc) to emacs,
showing what he had to do to succeed. (I include it all this once, so
if expired for you, is newified again.)
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it, and use .1%
of its capability (I think, so powerful is it). Has anyone switched
from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)? Comments?
Matt> Yes, I have. Both Gnus and Wanderlust are fantastic email clients. There
Matt> are a lot of configuration examples online, if you want to get started
Matt> with either of them.

I have too -- I moved from mutt (many years) to Wanderlust and am quite happy
with it. I've been trying gnus as well, but I never succeeded in setting it up
to my satisfaction.

I've written a bit about it:
http://emacs-fu.blogspot.com/2009/06/e-mail-with-wanderlust.html
http://emacs-fu.blogspot.com/2009/09/wanderlust-tips-and-tricks.html

But WL and Gnus are very powerful -- but if you only use .1% of the
capabilities, it might be overkill... Although even then, the integration with
the rest of my workflow is nice.

mutt is a find program, but the scripting is no match for what emacs-based
clients can do.

Best wishes,
Dirk.
--
Dirk-Jan C. Binnema Helsinki, Finland
e:***@djcbsoftware.nl w:www.djcbsoftware.nl
pgp: D09C E664 897D 7D39 5047 A178 E96A C7A1 017D DA3C
Joost Kremers
2009-10-12 15:22:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Combs
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?
I did, a couple of years ago, switching to mutt+slrn to Gnus. I ended up
switching back after a month or so.

Gnus for news is fine, slrn works in much the same way, but I couldn't get used
to Gnus' handling of email. Gnus treats every mail folder in the same way that
it does a news group, and I simply couldn't get used to that.

I've considered using one of the email clients for Emacs, but none seems to have
been designed with the possibility of having more than one (IMAP)-server in mind.
--
Joost Kremers ***@yahoo.com
Selbst in die Unterwelt dringt durch Spalten Licht
EN:SiS(9)
Teemu Likonen
2009-10-12 16:17:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joost Kremers
Gnus for news is fine, slrn works in much the same way, but I couldn't
get used to Gnus' handling of email. Gnus treats every mail folder in
the same way that it does a news group, and I simply couldn't get used
to that.
Do you mean that by default it shows only new messages when you enter a
mail group? If so I'd like to point out that you can configure Gnus to
always show all messages if you want to. At least I feel that I can make
Gnus look like a normal mail client.
Joost Kremers
2009-10-12 17:08:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Teemu Likonen
Post by Joost Kremers
Gnus for news is fine, slrn works in much the same way, but I couldn't
get used to Gnus' handling of email. Gnus treats every mail folder in
the same way that it does a news group, and I simply couldn't get used
to that.
Do you mean that by default it shows only new messages when you enter a
mail group?
That was the major problem, yes. I recently took another look at Gnus and noted
that the manual said it is possible but cumbersome to make Gnus work like a more
"standard" mail client.
Post by Teemu Likonen
If so I'd like to point out that you can configure Gnus to
always show all messages if you want to.
But I'd like to keep that behaviour for news groups. (Even better would be if
that behaviour is configurable for each mail folder separately, so I could read
mailing lists as if they were news groups.)
Post by Teemu Likonen
At least I feel that I can make
Gnus look like a normal mail client.
Another thing I didn't like about Gnus' handling of mail was the fact that you
have to enter a mail folder explicitly. If mutt is started, it automatically
enters the default mail folder, which is where most of my mail comes in.

I have two IMAP accounts on different servers. In my current setup I have three
mutt instances running inside a screen session, so that I can switch very
quickly between the two IMAP servers (each opened in a separate mutt) and my
local mail boxes (opened in the third mutt). I haven't found a way to replicate
such a setup with Gnus.

I also seem to remember that Gnus doesn't check for new mail automatically and
checking for new mail manually would freeze Emacs until all groups and IMAP
folders were checked, with would often take quite a long time...
--
Joost Kremers ***@yahoo.com
Selbst in die Unterwelt dringt durch Spalten Licht
EN:SiS(9)
Reiner Steib
2009-10-12 19:12:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joost Kremers
Post by Teemu Likonen
If so I'd like to point out that you can configure Gnus to
always show all messages if you want to.
But I'd like to keep that behaviour for news groups. (Even better
would be if that behaviour is configurable for each mail folder
separately, so I could read mailing lists as if they were news
groups.)
You can configure almost anything on per group or topic (by regexp,
etc.).
Post by Joost Kremers
Another thing I didn't like about Gnus' handling of mail was the
fact that you have to enter a mail folder explicitly. If mutt is
started, it automatically enters the default mail folder, which is
where most of my mail comes in.
Put it in some hook...

,----[ (info "(gnus)Startup Variables") ]
| `gnus-started-hook'
| A hook that is run as the very last thing after starting up Gnus
| successfully.
`----
Post by Joost Kremers
I have two IMAP accounts on different servers. In my current setup I
have three mutt instances running inside a screen session, so that I
can switch very quickly between the two IMAP servers (each opened in
a separate mutt) and my local mail boxes (opened in the third
mutt). I haven't found a way to replicate such a setup with Gnus.
Gnus supports multiple IMAP servers and you can display several groups
at the same time as well:

,----[ (info "(gnus)Misc Article") ]
| `gnus-single-article-buffer'
| If non-`nil', use the same article buffer for all the groups.
| (This is the default.) If `nil', each group will have its own
| article buffer.
`----
Post by Joost Kremers
I also seem to remember that Gnus doesn't check for new mail
automatically
,----[ (info "(gnus)Daemons") ]
| Gnus, being larger than any program ever written (allegedly), does lots
| of strange stuff that you may wish to have done while you're not
| present. For instance, you may want it to check for new mail once in a
| while.
`----
Post by Joost Kremers
and checking for new mail manually would freeze Emacs until all
groups and IMAP folders were checked, with would often take quite a
long time...
People facing this problem often run two Emacs instances, one for
Gnus, one for the rest.

Bye, Reiner.
--
,,,
(o o)
---ooO-(_)-Ooo--- | PGP key available | http://rsteib.home.pages.de/
Ted Zlatanov
2009-10-13 19:35:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joost Kremers
and checking for new mail manually would freeze Emacs until all
groups and IMAP folders were checked, with would often take quite a
long time...
RS> People facing this problem often run two Emacs instances, one for
RS> Gnus, one for the rest.

It's also worth noting that Tom Tromey and Giuseppe are specifically
interested in improving this aspect of Gnus with their work on
multithreading Emacs. It's not done but they have made lots of
progress. See emacs-devel for details.

Ted
Matt Lundin
2009-10-12 17:36:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joost Kremers
Post by David Combs
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?
I did, a couple of years ago, switching to mutt+slrn to Gnus. I ended
up switching back after a month or so.
Gnus for news is fine, slrn works in much the same way, but I couldn't
get used to Gnus' handling of email. Gnus treats every mail folder in
the same way that it does a news group, and I simply couldn't get used
to that.
If I'm reading the manual correctly, you can change this behavior for
mail groups using group parameters:

http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/gnus/Group-Parameters.html

(See the "display" option.)
Post by Joost Kremers
I've considered using one of the email clients for Emacs, but none
seems to have been designed with the possibility of having more than
one (IMAP)-server in mind.
I believe Wanderlust can handle multiple IMAP servers. See the syntax
for adding new IMAP groups/folders:

http://www.gohome.org/wl/doc/wl_19.html#SEC19

- Matt
Richard Riley
2009-10-12 16:50:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joost Kremers
Post by David Combs
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?
I did, a couple of years ago, switching to mutt+slrn to Gnus. I ended up
switching back after a month or so.
Gnus for news is fine, slrn works in much the same way, but I couldn't get used
to Gnus' handling of email. Gnus treats every mail folder in the same way that
it does a news group, and I simply couldn't get used to that.
In what way did that differ from how you use any other email client?
Tim X
2009-10-13 06:36:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Matt Lundin
Post by Joost Kremers
Post by David Combs
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?
I did, a couple of years ago, switching to mutt+slrn to Gnus. I ended
up switching back after a month or so.
Gnus for news is fine, slrn works in much the same way, but I couldn't
get used to Gnus' handling of email. Gnus treats every mail folder in
the same way that it does a news group, and I simply couldn't get used
to that.
If I'm reading the manual correctly, you can change this behavior for
http://www.gnu.org/software/emacs/manual/html_node/gnus/Group-Parameters.html
(See the "display" option.)
Post by Joost Kremers
I've considered using one of the email clients for Emacs, but none
seems to have been designed with the possibility of having more than
one (IMAP)-server in mind.
I believe Wanderlust can handle multiple IMAP servers. See the syntax
http://www.gohome.org/wl/doc/wl_19.html#SEC19
The mew emacs mail client will also handle multiple imap, pop and mbox
folders. VM can also do it and as mentioned, so can gnus.

My experience has been

1. VM easiest to setup. Whent for a while without any development, but
things have improved over the last couple of years.

2. Mew. A little harder to setup as some of the concepts were not as
intuitive/familiar as I was use to. However, once setup, it works well.

3. Gnus. Quite complex to setup and takes some time to get configured
exactly as you want. However, probably the most powerful client I've
ever used. Steep learning curve, but probably worth the effort if you
have more complex requirements.

I don't use Gnus at present because I simply didn't have the need for it
anymore. I now use a much simpler setup that retrieves the mail using
fetchmail (I know some are critical of fetchmail, but it has worked
perfectly for me for a long time. Using it avoids temporary emacs
freezes that can occur with some of the mail clients when they retrieve
mail). I use procmail to sort the mail and now, I can use any of the
clients to read my mail.

The downside of this approach is for when you have a remote imap server
where you want to manage all your mail on the remote server i.e. create
new remote folders, move mail between remote folders etc. I've found mew
pretty good at that, but no longer have that requirement myself.

Tim
--
tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au
Jonathan Groll
2009-10-14 15:47:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Combs
A top-post: Here, someone went from Thunderbird (gui, etc)
to emacs, showing what he had to do to succeed.
(I include it all this once, so if expired for you, is
newified again.)
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?
Like you I'm a mutt user who looks longingly into gnus-land but don't
know if I have the energy to make the transition.

Even after setting up a basic .gnus so that I could see the mails on
my local IMAP server, I still had to stumble my way along. Pressing ^
to subscribe to my local IMAP 'newsgroups' was not intuitive.

Before it'll be much use to me, I realised I still need to figure out
how to:
(0) Work out how to NOT have to subscribe to my inbox every time I
start gnus!
(1) Configure my summary INBOX buffer so that it shows the columns I
want and is sorted like I want
(2) Get BBDB address completion working
(3) Do something about mail indexing
(4) Work out how to read HTML mails that people send me with w3m

None of these problems are on their own insurmountable, it just
requires a lot of energy, and from where I stand doesn't offer me
convincing benefits over using mutt with emacs 'set' as editor.

I've put a lot of effort in over the last while getting mutt to work
as I like it, and the increased benefits of using GNUs may not be
worth the pain involved in getting there. Or maybe they do?

Cheers,
Jonathan
Reiner Steib
2009-10-14 17:03:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan Groll
(0) Work out how to NOT have to subscribe to my inbox every time I
start gnus!
This shouldn't be necessary. Maybe you are doing something wrong.
Post by Jonathan Groll
(1) Configure my summary INBOX buffer so that it shows the columns I
want and is sorted like I want
,----[ (info "(gnus)Summary Buffer Lines") ]
| 3.1.1 Summary Buffer Lines
| --------------------------
|
| You can change the format of the lines in the summary buffer by changing
| the `gnus-summary-line-format' variable.
`----

,----[ (info "(gnus)Sorting the Summary Buffer") ]
| 3.10 Sorting the Summary Buffer
| ===============================
|
| If you are using a threaded summary display, you can sort the threads by
| setting `gnus-thread-sort-functions', which can be either a single
| function, a list of functions, or a list containing functions and `(not
| some-function)' elements.
| [...]
| If you are using an unthreaded display for some strange reason or
| other, you have to fiddle with the `gnus-article-sort-functions'
| variable. It is very similar to the `gnus-thread-sort-functions',
| except that it uses slightly different functions for article
| comparison.
`----
Post by Jonathan Groll
(2) Get BBDB address completion working
(require 'bbdb)
(bbdb-initialize 'gnus 'message)
Post by Jonathan Groll
(3) Do something about mail indexing
,----[ (info "(gnus)Searching") ]
| 2.18 Searching
| ==============
|
| * Menu:
|
| * nnir:: Searching on IMAP, with swish, namazu, etc.
| * nnmairix:: Searching maildir, MH or mbox with Mairix.
`----
Post by Jonathan Groll
(4) Work out how to read HTML mails that people send me with w3m
w3m is the default (in the current Gnus version) if w3m (the binary)
and/or emacs-w3m are installed.

,----[ (info "(emacs-mime)Display Customization") ]
| `mm-text-html-renderer'
| This selects the function used to render HTML. The predefined
| renderers are selected by the symbols `w3', `w3m'(1), `links',
| `lynx', `w3m-standalone' or `html2text'. If `nil' use an external
| viewer. You can also specify a function, which will be called
| with a MIME handle as the argument.
`----

Bye, Reiner.
--
,,,
(o o)
---ooO-(_)-Ooo--- | PGP key available | http://rsteib.home.pages.de/
Richard Riley
2009-10-14 16:10:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jonathan Groll
Post by David Combs
A top-post: Here, someone went from Thunderbird (gui, etc)
to emacs, showing what he had to do to succeed.
(I include it all this once, so if expired for you, is
newified again.)
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?
Like you I'm a mutt user who looks longingly into gnus-land but don't
know if I have the energy to make the transition.
Even after setting up a basic .gnus so that I could see the mails on
my local IMAP server, I still had to stumble my way along. Pressing ^
to subscribe to my local IMAP 'newsgroups' was not intuitive.
Lack of menus or useful menus is often an emacs issue for some : but in
this case the Gnus menu has an "enter servers" entry with "^" as the
key.
Post by Jonathan Groll
Before it'll be much use to me, I realised I still need to figure out
(0) Work out how to NOT have to subscribe to my inbox every time I
start gnus!
Auto saves here. I dont know off hand if I enabled it. I turned off
saving the .newsrc file however to speed things
up. (gnus-save-newsrc-file),
Post by Jonathan Groll
(1) Configure my summary INBOX buffer so that it shows the columns I
want and is sorted like I want
It can be a difficulty I agree. But there are examples in googleland and
the manual.
Post by Jonathan Groll
(2) Get BBDB address completion working
Hmmm. Just works here. Did you (bbdb-insinuate-gnus) ?
Post by Jonathan Groll
(3) Do something about mail indexing
I used to use Mairix and recently moved to dovecots own indexing
method. I have a key bound to gnus-group-make-nnir-group to search the
index. The index is automatically created by dovecot in my case.
Post by Jonathan Groll
(4) Work out how to read HTML mails that people send me with w3m
There are plenty of examples of this in google land and in the manual
but it can be quite daunting at first sight I agree!

The relevant entries for me are, I think :

;; Use emacs-w3m to render html mails and display images
mm-text-html-renderer 'w3m
mm-inline-text-html-with-images t
mm-inline-large-images t
mm-verify-option 'always
mm-decrypt-option nil
mm-discouraged-alternatives '("text/html" "text/richtext")
mm-automatic-display '("text/html")
mm-attachment-override-types '("image/.*")
mm-external-terminal-program (quote urxvt)
gnus-ignored-mime-types '("text/x-vcard")
w3m-key-binding 'info
w3m-cookie-accept-bad-cookies (quote ask)
w3m-use-cookies t
w3m-safe-url-regexp nil
mm-w3m-safe-url-regexp nil
Post by Jonathan Groll
None of these problems are on their own insurmountable, it just
requires a lot of energy, and from where I stand doesn't offer me
convincing benefits over using mutt with emacs 'set' as editor.
I decided to bite the bullet so that I could have all the other benefits
of emacs with email. Translations, tags, org-mode links, w3m, bookmarks
etc etc.
Post by Jonathan Groll
I've put a lot of effort in over the last while getting mutt to work
as I like it, and the increased benefits of using GNUs may not be
worth the pain involved in getting there. Or maybe they do?
I think it depends how much time you spend in emacs. I tend to live in
it so it was worth the effort. I used Mutt for a while and liked it too.

If it's any help and you feel like experimenting, my somewhat messy
gnus file is here:-

http://richardriley.net/projects/emacs/dotemacs#sec-2

And I admit its a bit of a mess and quite daunting. I need to prune it.

regards

r.
Dave Täht
2009-10-25 13:12:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by David Combs
A top-post: Here, someone went from Thunderbird (gui, etc)
to emacs, showing what he had to do to succeed.
(I include it all this once, so if expired for you, is
newified again.)
Question: I use mutt on my isp-shell-account, and like it,
and use .1% of its capability (I think, so powerful is it).
Has anyone switched from mutt to emacs (temporarily or not)?
Comments?
This particular thread diverged later back into discussing GNUs again,
so I thought I would provide an update to what I wrote below as I've
changed a few things around and am still working through some problems.

After running for two months I got a boatload of very large
multi-megabyte attachments from several people, and also accumulated a
lot of mail in my mbox folder (>120MB). Gnus got slow.

I sat down and finally figured out most of how to get maildir working,
and switched to that. (Later on I figured out how to get emacs maildir
co-exist with imap maildir, but I have not switched to that yet.)

That, after 2 months is getting slow, but I have not (yet)
implemented expiry the way that I want it to work, and I have high hopes
that once that works things will be better. Also I plan to throw
hardware at the problem (an intel flash drive) in the fairly near
future.

Also, I am trying to learn enough about emacs to profile gnus. Perhaps
it can be made more co-operatively multitasking - or some of the
threaded emacs work going on elsewhere will prove fruitful.

The slowest thing in my setup right now is not mail but news, as I
turned on nocem support. That takes a very long time to filter the
news in emacs. I finally bit the bullet and installed a real news server
(inn), which turned out to not be the huge hassle that I remember it to
be. With that, nocem support can happen as the feed arrives, not as it
is read, and I gain local newsgroups again.

Where I'm eventually going with this is developing a 300mw (milliwatt!)
mail and news server, several blog posts on that can be found at:

http://the-edge.blogspot.com/search/label/pocobelle

(As is usual with blogs, it helps to read them in reverse order)

Attachments are a real problem. I'll argue that they ended up occupying
over 90% of my slowest mailboxes and it is completely unnecessary to
keep them in email format once read. I hope to get around to writing
some sort of sane procmail filter that will strip out the attachment on
incoming and save it somewhere sane (saving me a decision step, anyway)
and insert an url to where it ended up.

As I wrote below, the advantages of running out of Emacs itself (typing
with less pain!) for me outweigh the problems with speed and
interactivity.

I did, while converting to maildir, try mutt. I liked it, but leaving my
abbrevs and shortcuts for it simply wasn't in the cards.

I have no opinion on the other mail readers for emacs.

Some more comments below.
Post by David Combs
Post by Dave Täht
I just switched from Thunderbird to GNUS. It's taken me a month to get
truly happy with it (about 29 days longer than I wanted to spend) and I
still have some things left to do, but overall I'm glad I made the
effort.
To this end I made some compromises and changes to my assumptions in
order to work with how gnus actually worked. Also, my solution is very
linux specific, and not relevant, really to what you were asking about,
but I gotta write this up somewhere....
After fighting with postfix + dovecot, sieve, imap, gnus, and Maildir
formats for several days, I gave up, and switched to postfix, procmail
and mbox format, abandoning even the thought of imap.
I did several unusual things, few of which were GNUS specific, (although
gnus made me do it because I could not get maildir working) but perhaps
folks would find these alternatives interesting. I evaluated mh, gnus,
and mews and settled on gnus as being the closest in mindset for what I
wanted "(set bugs off (do what I am thinking))"
1) I adopted IPv6 for my email requirements, coupled with ca-cert
certificates for authentication. This gives me a static IP address and
real AAAA record in DNS so I can actually receive mail on my laptop's
tunnel, wherever I am, via my stably connected secondary mx host, and I
can send/receive mail directly to anyone running IPv6 on their mailhost
(I've only seen bsd.org and isc.org have that turned on), or via that
secondary mx exchanger.
The certs get rid of sasl which I always thought was a hassle anyway.
The ipv6 mail exchanger thing is working great, and several of the lists
I read (notably debian) connect directly to me now, without going
through intermediaries. I also got my backup mx server to run on a tiny
power sipping arm box, which is pretty cool (see the pocobelle blog
posts linked above)
Post by David Combs
Post by Dave Täht
2) Instead of IMAP I am just opening emacs frames on other X displays,
against my already running emacs session. My server is my laptop, not
some far off imap server. It's cool to keep all my context - especially
including org-mode - available anywhere I walk in the house or around
town.
This, too, remains great.
Post by David Combs
Post by Dave Täht
3) For backups, rsync run out of cron. I'm not entirely convinced this
is acceptable so I bcc another account on another mail server on sent mail.
Still not satisified with this.
Post by David Combs
Post by Dave Täht
4) For RSS, r2e, which uses rss2email to correctly *text* format most
RSS feeds. I tried the in-gnus RSS reader, found that it interrupted my
workflow too much, and dropped it in favor of r2e.
I discovered that once I reduced most blogs I used to read to RSS that
netnews became much more interesting in comparison.
Post by David Combs
Post by Dave Täht
5) For news, Leafnode. The local nntp cache makes a huge difference in
speed, and I can read news offline. I liked leafnode so much that I
subscribed to lkml again via gmane, and the various gnus.* groups.
I still am using leafnode. I played around a bit with leafnode2 before
deciding to try to setup inn. I have not switched to inn yet.
Post by David Combs
Post by Dave Täht
8) chat - I dropped pidgin and adopted erc + bitlbee. Bitlbee now does
skype, too.
And otr. Love bitlbee. Problem right now is that it doesn't do
yahoo. (Patches are out there, haven't got around to applying them)
Post by David Combs
Post by Dave Täht
The net benefit to my life is that I just rid myself of several
applications and their relevant context switches. I would argue that I
went from about 10-15% emacs usage per day to about 75%. I'm able to do
things like customize my keyboard to handle my carpalness (like mapping
' to return) and not have my default keystrokes break other apps.
With Emacs' abbrev mode, im turns automatically into I'm, and with
auto-capitalize mode (which I put a fix in for on the wiki recently) I
almost never have to hit a shift key again. Big win. You couldn't get me
to switch back to any other mail client if you paid me.
I love green on black text everywhere.
I cleared out a lot of screen space by getting rid of menus, icons,
scrollbars, fringes and other stuff that get in the way. hide-mode-line
is cool, too.
Supercite is great. The gpg integration is great too.
rss2email has easily put 12 hours a week back into my life that I used
to spend waiting for blogs to load. I'm spending 4 hours of that on
netnews, which has been kind of fun in a retro sort of way.
My mail is as fast now as instant messaging. Switching in or out of mail
mode takes two keys, a split second, and no thought. There's no "Logging
into server... checking folders... sending mail..." step at all. For the
first couple weeks I kept running tail -f /var/log/mail.log just because
I was scared it wasn't working.
I tied mail and org mode notifications into a speech synth.
I can do just about any darn thing I want to with procmail, including
automagically create mailboxes for any mailing lists I might join. I
had wished thunderbird would do that for a long time.
And I can take my mail with me, to the beach, or the park, without having
to be online, and write voluminous emails like this one.
My only major open problem is somewhere in my maildir experiments my
sent mail folder stopped working. :(. I'll figure it out eventually.
I'm still in a losing fight with how GNUS splits windows on wide displays.
I still have the more prosaic problem of expiring the mailboxes (like
messages from cron and nagios) that I want to expire the way I want to
expire them. I like very much the concept of expiring - or at least,
automatically archiving, mail, much more than I like the idea of
continuing to have 20,000+ message mailboxes as I have in gmail. Yes, I
have read how to do it, but regular expressions scare me. I will try it
on some smaller test mailboxes first. So far, 2000+ message mbox
mailboxes have been acceptably fast on the hardware I use.
mbox format + archival actually makes sense to me, although I will take
a stab at Maildir again one of these days.
I got maildir working finally (I don't remember how). Getting it to
co-exist with dovecot's imap was harder, but I have that running now for
a test user.

(I will document later). Now, as to whether I need imap or not, I don't
know... I really like wandering the house with X on multiple emacs displays.
--
Dave Taht http://the-edge.blogspot.com
Francis Moreau
2009-10-27 12:03:06 UTC
Permalink
***@teklibre.org (Dave Täht) writes:

[...]
Post by Dave Täht
5) For news, Leafnode. The local nntp cache makes a huge difference in
speed, and I can read news offline. I liked leafnode so much that I
subscribed to lkml again via gmane, and the various gnus.* groups.
Does that mean you store all LKML traffic on you machine ?

I actually use news groups to avoid this so it sounds a bit weird.

Thanks
--
Francis
Francis Moreau
2009-10-12 12:06:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bastien
Post by Jeff Clough
Okay, so I'm seriously considering switching from Thunderbird to Emacs
(under Windows XP) for my mail and calendar needs, but I haven't used
Emacs for either of these purposes in so long I don't know if it's
feasible, nor am I certain which modes are "best".  I'm hoping that some
of you can point me in the right direction.  I'd "just do it" as a test,
but I'd rather not go through a crap ton of hassle and problems only to
hear later "You should not have used foo mode for that, bar mode is what
you want".
Check Gnus and Org.
http://gnus.org/manual.htmlhttp://orgmode.org/
Post by Jeff Clough
1.  It needs to work on Windows XP without having to install a
unix/posix environment like Cygwin.  I *am* willing to install discrete
utilities if necessary (if Emacs doesn't do POP on its own and needs
some external program to do it, for instance).
AFAIK Emacs + Gnus works fine under Windows.
Post by Jeff Clough
2.  I have just under seven thousand messages in various folders (mbox
files) that I'll be wanting to keep, so it needs to not choke and die
when confronted with "many" messages.
It's okay.  
Well, what do you mean by 'okay' ?

Opening huge groups (> 1000 articles) is just slow with Gnus, really.
Fetching the headers, sorting and displaying the articles by using the
thread view. takes years. It's like Gnus is using some O(n2) algos.

Doing the same thing with thunderbird is incredibly faster.

Another important drawback, is that since gnus is written in elisp, it
doesn't have any multithread support in it. So if you're doing some
actions that take a while (and there are, news/mail server can be
slow), the whole emacs process (where gnus is running) is just stuck.

Don't get me wrong, I use GNUS (maybe because I spent so much time in
it, I don't want to admit I was wrong ;) but you must be ready to
spent some time to configure it and to adopt it and I'm wondering if
it really worth the trouble specially if the OP is not interested in
news group...
Jeff Clough
2009-10-12 12:47:37 UTC
Permalink
From: Francis Moreau <***@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 05:06:16 -0700 (PDT)
Post by Francis Moreau
Don't get me wrong, I use GNUS (maybe because I spent so much time in
it, I don't want to admit I was wrong ;) but you must be ready to
spent some time to configure it and to adopt it and I'm wondering if
it really worth the trouble specially if the OP is not interested in
news group...
It wasn't worth it. I use Mew for mail and it works just fine. Well,
as good as Emacs works under Windows at all.

Jeff


----------
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Richard Riley
2009-10-12 12:56:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 05:06:16 -0700 (PDT)
Post by Francis Moreau
Don't get me wrong, I use GNUS (maybe because I spent so much time in
it, I don't want to admit I was wrong ;) but you must be ready to
spent some time to configure it and to adopt it and I'm wondering if
it really worth the trouble specially if the OP is not interested in
news group...
It wasn't worth it. I use Mew for mail and it works just fine. Well,
as good as Emacs works under Windows at all.
Jeff
----------
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.

And there are tons of examples out there of working set ups where all
that needs to be changed is the select method and a different .authinfo.
Francis Moreau
2009-10-12 13:40:12 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 05:06:16 -0700 (PDT)
Post by Francis Moreau
Don't get me wrong, I use GNUS (maybe because I spent so much time in
it, I don't want to admit I was wrong ;) but you must be ready to
spent some time to configure it and to adopt it and I'm wondering if
it really worth the trouble specially if the OP is not interested in
news group...
It wasn't worth it.  I use Mew for mail and it works just fine.  Well,
as good as Emacs works under Windows at all.
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.
But you probably get the same benefits with Mew...
Andreas Politz
2009-10-12 17:12:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Francis Moreau
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 05:06:16 -0700 (PDT)
Post by Francis Moreau
Don't get me wrong, I use GNUS (maybe because I spent so much time in
it, I don't want to admit I was wrong ;) but you must be ready to
spent some time to configure it and to adopt it and I'm wondering if
it really worth the trouble specially if the OP is not interested in
news group...
It wasn't worth it.  I use Mew for mail and it works just fine.  Well,
as good as Emacs works under Windows at all.
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.
But you probably get the same benefits with Mew...
So what is your experience with Mew concerning ease of setup, huge mail
boxes, message threading and general performance ?

-ap
Jeff Clough
2009-10-13 13:29:28 UTC
Permalink
From: Andreas Politz <***@fh-trier.de>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:12:36 +0200
Post by Andreas Politz
Post by Francis Moreau
Post by Richard Riley
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.
But you probably get the same benefits with Mew...
Every Emacs feature I've wanted and tried to use works very well with
Mew, or at least no worse than to be expected under Windows.
Post by Andreas Politz
So what is your experience with Mew concerning ease of setup, huge mail
boxes, message threading and general performance ?
Setting up Mew was several orders of magnitude easier than setting up
Gnus, which I was never able to successfully do. A good part of this
is that the Mew folks know something about documentation. Another
part of this is that they seem to have spent less time creating a
one-size-fits-all "messaging" solution and concentrated on making a
good MUA. There's news stuff in Mew, from what I've read, but it
doesn't seem to have affected how *mail* is treated.

I'll skip down to message threading because that's the easy one: I
don't use message threading in email and never have in any MUA.

Mew handles huge mailboxes both incredibly well and hideously. If you
use the default configuration, a mailbox is nothing more than a
directory on the disk with each message sitting in it's own text file
(this appears to be your standard ASCII affair with anything else
MIME'd up, but I don't receive messages in multi-byte formats so I
don't know for sure how those would be handled).

When you visit a folder, Mew creates a summary file in the appropriate
directory and displays a list of the messages in that folder to the
user. If the summary file for the folder is current, visiting that
folder, even for the first time that Emacs session, takes no
observable time for a folder with about 1,000 messages in it. I
assume the "right" answer here is that it takes as long as is required
for Mew to open the summary file and dump it to the screen. The
summary file is text, with one line per message, although these lines
do need to be parsed to display the information to the user the way
the user has Mew configured.

Where Mew fails hard is in when it choses to generate those summary
files. If you are merrily filing messages into a folder from your
Inbox or some other location, they don't ever show up in that summary
file until you visit that folder in Mew. Then Mew sees the summary
data is out of date, throws it away and rebuilds the entire file
again. Even for 1,000 messages this means that it will take a while.

Now granted, Mew's one saving grace here is that it isn't catatonic
while this happens. You can still use Mew, Emacs as a whole *and* any
messages that have been summarized in that folder already. The issue
is that you don't have access to all of the messages until the summary
file has been rebuilt. And in the default configuration, with one
message per file, that's a *lot* of expensive disk I/O.

It's on my perpetual to-do list to fiddle around with idle timers and
see if I can't make Mew do this re-summarizing lazily in the
background so I can dodge this issue, but I'm not holding my breath
that I'll ever get around to it.

As for overall performance, I'm very happy with it. It's leaps and
bounds faster than Thunderbird and I can work much more efficiently
having access to the rest of Emacs in the same environment.

It's certainly not a perfect piece of software, but that I could get
it to work *at all* is a pretty good feature and makes it immediately
better than Gnus for me.

Jeff



----------
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Richard Riley
2009-10-13 13:58:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:12:36 +0200
Post by Andreas Politz
Post by Francis Moreau
Post by Richard Riley
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.
But you probably get the same benefits with Mew...
Every Emacs feature I've wanted and tried to use works very well with
Mew, or at least no worse than to be expected under Windows.
Post by Andreas Politz
So what is your experience with Mew concerning ease of setup, huge mail
boxes, message threading and general performance ?
Setting up Mew was several orders of magnitude easier than setting up
Gnus, which I was never able to successfully do. A good part of this
What part were you unable to do? Did you have it reading mail at all?
Post by Jeff Clough
is that the Mew folks know something about documentation. Another
part of this is that they seem to have spent less time creating a
one-size-fits-all "messaging" solution and concentrated on making a
good MUA. There's news stuff in Mew, from what I've read, but it
doesn't seem to have affected how *mail* is treated.
It would be good to see something about how you expect mail handling to
work which is not supported by Gnus.
Post by Jeff Clough
I'll skip down to message threading because that's the easy one: I
don't use message threading in email and never have in any MUA.
You don't have to in gnus either.
Post by Jeff Clough
Mew handles huge mailboxes both incredibly well and hideously. If you
I have large mailboxes in Gnus. It handles them fine.
Post by Jeff Clough
use the default configuration, a mailbox is nothing more than a
directory on the disk with each message sitting in it's own text file
(this appears to be your standard ASCII affair with anything else
MIME'd up, but I don't receive messages in multi-byte formats so I
don't know for sure how those would be handled).
Well, that is nice but how do you relate it to Gnus which supports
multiple backends?
Post by Jeff Clough
When you visit a folder, Mew creates a summary file in the appropriate
directory and displays a list of the messages in that folder to the
user. If the summary file for the folder is current, visiting that
folder, even for the first time that Emacs session, takes no
observable time for a folder with about 1,000 messages in it. I
assume the "right" answer here is that it takes as long as is required
for Mew to open the summary file and dump it to the screen. The
summary file is text, with one line per message, although these lines
do need to be parsed to display the information to the user the way
the user has Mew configured.
Where Mew fails hard is in when it choses to generate those summary
files. If you are merrily filing messages into a folder from your
Inbox or some other location, they don't ever show up in that summary
file until you visit that folder in Mew. Then Mew sees the summary
data is out of date, throws it away and rebuilds the entire file
again. Even for 1,000 messages this means that it will take a while.
Ah, so it does pause!
Post by Jeff Clough
Now granted, Mew's one saving grace here is that it isn't catatonic
while this happens. You can still use Mew, Emacs as a whole *and* any
messages that have been summarized in that folder already. The issue
is that you don't have access to all of the messages until the summary
file has been rebuilt. And in the default configuration, with one
message per file, that's a *lot* of expensive disk I/O.
Well, yes if you access all your messages. I have about 20 news groups
subscribed to and about 12 different email folders handling mail for 4
email addresses using fancy splitting. It really is pretty
instant. Admittedly I have my own dovecot server too which uses
getmail to fetch from imap servers on the net periodically.
Post by Jeff Clough
It's on my perpetual to-do list to fiddle around with idle timers and
see if I can't make Mew do this re-summarizing lazily in the
background so I can dodge this issue, but I'm not holding my breath
that I'll ever get around to it.
As for overall performance, I'm very happy with it. It's leaps and
bounds faster than Thunderbird and I can work much more efficiently
having access to the rest of Emacs in the same environment.
It's certainly not a perfect piece of software, but that I could get
it to work *at all* is a pretty good feature and makes it immediately
better than Gnus for me.
Jeff
It's a shame you could not get Gnus to work. There must be something
subtle you missed. But since you could not get it to work, it's wrong to
suggest Mews handling is better in any way. I couldn't really see
anything in what you said that suggests, in any shape or form, that Mews
is a better emacs MUA than Gnus. But if Mews works for you thats great.
Jeff Clough
2009-10-13 15:33:28 UTC
Permalink
From: Richard Riley <***@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 15:58:39 +0200
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Setting up Mew was several orders of magnitude easier than setting up
Gnus, which I was never able to successfully do. A good part of this
What part were you unable to do? Did you have it reading mail at all?
I'm tempted to go into specifics, but I'll resist. I see a lot of
your response is of the "Gnus is great" variety, so you've obviously
had some good experiences. I didn't. Maybe if the documentation was
better I'd be using Gnus today instead of Mew.
Post by Richard Riley
It's a shame you could not get Gnus to work. There must be something
subtle you missed. But since you could not get it to work, it's wrong to
suggest Mews handling is better in any way. I couldn't really see
anything in what you said that suggests, in any shape or form, that Mews
is a better emacs MUA than Gnus. But if Mews works for you thats great.
It's not wrong to compare what I know about Gnus to what I know about
Mew.

Where the Gnus documentation exists, it's awful. This is in direct
contrast of Mew, where I was able to look at one page of text, follow
a handful of steps and have a working MUA in less than an hour.

Gnus also brags about the fact that all messages are treated the same,
without regard to where they came from. While this is *technically*
true, a more accurate statement is that it treats all messages like
news and all folders like newsgroups. I just don't work that way.
Maybe, as with all "paradigm-ware", once you get used to how Gnus does
things it all makes sense and makes my productivity rocket skyward,
but it's more important to me that I'm reading my mail *today* in a
way that makes sense to me *now*.

These might not be points in the "Ways Mew is better than Gnus" column
for you, but they are for me. Call me old-fashioned, but not getting
a piece of software to work at all after an hour of dicking with it,
nor seeing any real progress toward making it work, is more than
enough reason to call it crap.

And yes, it's entirely possible I missed something. In fact, I'd call
it an absolute certainty given the documentation.

Jeff



----------
Author of the Genesys System
A "free" universal role-playing game.
http://www.chaosphere.com/genesys/
Richard Riley
2009-10-13 16:20:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 15:58:39 +0200
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Setting up Mew was several orders of magnitude easier than setting up
Gnus, which I was never able to successfully do. A good part of this
What part were you unable to do? Did you have it reading mail at all?
I'm tempted to go into specifics, but I'll resist. I see a lot of
Why not? If you mention specifics that did not work maybe I or others
might help?
Post by Jeff Clough
your response is of the "Gnus is great" variety, so you've obviously
No. My response was of the form "well, you mention this in Mews and,
well, Gnus can do that too". There is a big difference between that and
"Mews sucks and Gnus rocks" :-)
Post by Jeff Clough
had some good experiences. I didn't. Maybe if the documentation was
better I'd be using Gnus today instead of Mew.
I got most of my config from a mixture of howtos and the manual.
Post by Jeff Clough
Post by Richard Riley
It's a shame you could not get Gnus to work. There must be something
subtle you missed. But since you could not get it to work, it's wrong to
suggest Mews handling is better in any way. I couldn't really see
anything in what you said that suggests, in any shape or form, that Mews
is a better emacs MUA than Gnus. But if Mews works for you thats great.
It's not wrong to compare what I know about Gnus to what I know about
Mew.
That is true Jeff. But you didn't do that. You said you never got Gnus
working. Which is a different thing. I think its hard to be objective
about a MUA if you didn't actually use it as one. Or am I mistaken in
your meaning?
Post by Jeff Clough
Where the Gnus documentation exists, it's awful. This is in direct
contrast of Mew, where I was able to look at one page of text, follow
a handful of steps and have a working MUA in less than an hour.
Gnus also brags about the fact that all messages are treated the same,
Brags?
Post by Jeff Clough
without regard to where they came from. While this is *technically*
And also not true. Using splitting on the gnus client side or
subscribing to different maildirs via imap for example different
messages can go to different folders all with their own customised
handling/presentation/posting style.
Post by Jeff Clough
true, a more accurate statement is that it treats all messages like
news and all folders like newsgroups. I just don't work that way.
In what way? My email folders feel like email folders to me. New emails
appear, I read them and then archive them or delete them.
Post by Jeff Clough
Maybe, as with all "paradigm-ware", once you get used to how Gnus does
things it all makes sense and makes my productivity rocket skyward,
but it's more important to me that I'm reading my mail *today* in a
way that makes sense to me *now*.
As I do.I think the issue would clearer if we new what it is you
couldn't get working. Nothing in emacs is "really out of the box simple"
IMO :-;
Post by Jeff Clough
These might not be points in the "Ways Mew is better than Gnus" column
for you, but they are for me. Call me old-fashioned, but not getting
a piece of software to work at all after an hour of dicking with it,
nor seeing any real progress toward making it work, is more than
enough reason to call it crap.
It's certainly not "crap". But if you don't have the patience or the
desire to pursue it and you're happy with Mew, then enjoy - it's still
a great email client I am sure hosted by emacs.

In short my email set up talks to an impa server, drags all emails in,
splits them into different folders, I then use different smtp servers
for sending depending on the posting style employed by that particular
group. It all works very, very fast, efficiently and reliably with
excellent customisation facilities. No. It's not "crap".
Jeff Clough
2009-10-13 17:13:17 UTC
Permalink
I'm pretty sure you've decided this is a religious issue at this
point, so it's unlikely I'm going to pursue the conversation beyond
this message. You like Gnus, I don't. Fair enough.

From: Richard Riley <***@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 18:20:59 +0200
Post by Richard Riley
Why not? If you mention specifics that did not work maybe I or others
might help?
Help with what? Getting software I'm no longer interested in to run?
Post by Richard Riley
I got most of my config from a mixture of howtos and the manual.
I read that as at least three independent sources of documentation. I
don't find that at all reasonable, but hey, I'm not the world.
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
It's not wrong to compare what I know about Gnus to what I know about
Mew.
That is true Jeff. But you didn't do that. You said you never got Gnus
working. Which is a different thing. I think its hard to be objective
about a MUA if you didn't actually use it as one. Or am I mistaken in
your meaning?
My answer to this was (and is) below.
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Where the Gnus documentation exists, it's awful. This is in direct
contrast of Mew, where I was able to look at one page of text, follow
a handful of steps and have a working MUA in less than an hour.
Gnus also brags about the fact that all messages are treated the same,
Brags?
Yes.
Memnon Anon
2009-10-13 17:51:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
You like Gnus, I don't. Fair enough.
This sums it up nicely ;)
Post by Jeff Clough
Post by Richard Riley
In short my email set up talks to an impa server, drags all emails in,
splits them into different folders, I then use different smtp servers
for sending depending on the posting style employed by that particular
group. It all works very, very fast, efficiently and reliably with
excellent customisation facilities. No. It's not "crap".
So Gnus isn't crap as a *client* because you can do everything you
want by running multiple *servers*!?! I'm sorry, but in my world
"become a sysadmin for a handful of servers" is in no way a reasonable
solution to "i'd like to read my email now".
However, you got something wrong here. posting styles is the same as
"identities" in MS outlook, i.e. different names, different
mailaddresses, different smtp-server (gmail, hotmail, gmx etc.). So, no
one has to be sysadmin for a handful of servers ;).

I agree to several points you made:
a) Documentation is, well, not optimal.
I got my config finally using quite a bit of time and bits and pieces
from different homepages, emacswiki, etc.
b) The mail=news=rssfeed etc. approach might not be optimal for
everyone.
c) If mew works great for you, just stay with it ;).

I personally love gnus. Now that it works ;). If I lost my config, I am
not sure I would go through the hazzle to refactor it again.
But it is *not* necessary to "become a sysadmin for a handful of
servers" ;).
Matt Lundin
2009-10-13 18:17:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
I'm pretty sure you've decided this is a religious issue at this
point, so it's unlikely I'm going to pursue the conversation beyond
this message. You like Gnus, I don't. Fair enough.
All I will say in response is that Richard's posts have been a model of
politeness and restraint.
Post by Jeff Clough
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
It's not wrong to compare what I know about Gnus to what I know
about Mew.
That is true Jeff. But you didn't do that. You said you never got
Gnus working. Which is a different thing. I think its hard to be
objective about a MUA if you didn't actually use it as one. Or am I
mistaken in your meaning?
My answer to this was (and is) below.
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Where the Gnus documentation exists, it's awful. This is in direct
contrast of Mew, where I was able to look at one page of text, follow
a handful of steps and have a working MUA in less than an hour.
I believe that all Richard was saying is that this is a subjective
judgment. As a point of comparison, when I tried setting up an emacs
email client a year ago, I spent a couple of days trying to get Mew to
work, whereas I had Gnus accessing my IMAP folders in just a few
minutes.

But I would by no means conclude from this experience that Mew is not a
superb email client. It would be much safer to attribute the problems to
my own misunderstanding and/or shortcomings.
Post by Jeff Clough
How many hours of frustration should a user be expected to endure in
order to run a piece of software to solve the problem of reading
email? Mind you, I'm not talking about hours spent learning how to
*use* the software, I'm talking about hours spent just getting it to
work *at all*.
I'm sorry to hear that was your experience. It was not mine. But instead
of simply dismissing Gnus, it would be helpful if you offered specifics.
What in particular was difficult? Getting the mail? Reading the mail?
Post by Jeff Clough
Post by Richard Riley
In short my email set up talks to an impa server, drags all emails
in, splits them into different folders, I then use different smtp
servers for sending depending on the posting style employed by that
particular group. It all works very, very fast, efficiently and
reliably with excellent customisation facilities. No. It's not
"crap".
So Gnus isn't crap as a *client* because you can do everything you
want by running multiple *servers*!?! I'm sorry, but in my world
"become a sysadmin for a handful of servers" is in no way a reasonable
solution to "i'd like to read my email now".
I don't think Richard was talking about running his own servers here
(though you can do that if you want, of course). Rather, he's simply
saying that Gnus can relay mail via different smtp servers depending on
what group one is in.

- Matt
rustom
2009-10-13 17:32:59 UTC
Permalink
Hi Richard

The gnus manual reads in at near 500 pages.
Do you think thats a reasonable size document for a mail reader?

Just curious

Rustom
Richard Riley
2009-10-13 17:40:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by rustom
Hi Richard
The gnus manual reads in at near 500 pages.
Do you think thats a reasonable size document for a mail reader?
Just curious
Rustom
I think the gnus manual is far from perfect. I am not aware of anyone
that thinks it is. I certainly have never claimed that. It's why most
people use google to get a "quick setup" solution. When its running THEN
the manual is useful because Gnus IS a powerful bit of SW and its far
more than just a "mail reader".

But just for the record : I have not said Gnus is easy to set up. I have
not said the manual is perfect. I have, however, said that vaunting the
features of one MUA over Gnus when one has not even got Gnus working is
somewhat naive and biased. With the power comes the complications I
guess :-;

I can only state that having got Gnus working the way I want its far and
away more powerful than any other solution I have used in all the years
I have used a mail/nntp client.
Richard Riley
2009-10-13 17:35:29 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff Clough
I'm pretty sure you've decided this is a religious issue at this
point, so it's unlikely I'm going to pursue the conversation beyond
this message. You like Gnus, I don't. Fair enough.
Nothing in my reply suggested that. I merely asked you to be more
specific about what did not work. However it's clear that from this
reply you really have nothing to add other than being dismissive of Gnus
in general and insulting with regards to the manual.
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 2009 18:20:59 +0200
Post by Richard Riley
Why not? If you mention specifics that did not work maybe I or others
might help?
Help with what? Getting software I'm no longer interested in to run?
Had you sought help back when maybe you would now be more qualified to
actually dismiss Gnus handling of email. Yet you freely admit to not
having successfully used it. I find this somewhat strange. If there is
any "religion" going on here it is most certainly not from me.
Post by Jeff Clough
Post by Richard Riley
I got most of my config from a mixture of howtos and the manual.
I read that as at least three independent sources of documentation. I
don't find that at all reasonable, but hey, I'm not the world.
Fortunately not. You have dragged this thread down quite rapidly for
some reason known only to yourself. It is clear you were frustrated by
your inability to get Gnus running. I was merely suggesting that help is
freely available. And to talk about the usage of Gnus when you freely
admit to not having used it or got it working is, well, ridiculous.
Post by Jeff Clough
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
It's not wrong to compare what I know about Gnus to what I know about
Mew.
That is true Jeff. But you didn't do that. You said you never got Gnus
working. Which is a different thing. I think its hard to be objective
about a MUA if you didn't actually use it as one. Or am I mistaken in
your meaning?
My answer to this was (and is) below.
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Where the Gnus documentation exists, it's awful. This is in direct
contrast of Mew, where I was able to look at one page of text, follow
a handful of steps and have a working MUA in less than an hour.
Gnus also brags about the fact that all messages are treated the same,
Brags?
Yes.
Ted Zlatanov
2009-10-13 19:31:52 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 13 Oct 2009 15:33:28 +0000 Jeff Clough <***@chaosphere.com> wrote:

JC> Where the Gnus documentation exists, it's awful. This is in direct
JC> contrast of Mew, where I was able to look at one page of text, follow
JC> a handful of steps and have a working MUA in less than an hour.

Perhaps I'm weird (OK, s/Perhaps//), but I recall using the Gnus docs
when I first tried Gnus and successfully configuring everything. This
was before I was comfortable with Emacs Lisp at all. These days I work
on Gnus so I'm not impartial :)

I've wanted to use the Gnus assistants (available in theory for years
now) to make the initial setup easier. I simply haven't had time. This
would be a fun project for someone interested in making Gnus users less
frustrated.

Ted
Francis Moreau
2009-10-15 19:59:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:12:36 +0200
Post by Andreas Politz
Post by Francis Moreau
Post by Richard Riley
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.
But you probably get the same benefits with Mew...
Every Emacs feature I've wanted and tried to use works very well with
Mew, or at least no worse than to be expected under Windows.
Post by Andreas Politz
So what is your experience with Mew concerning ease of setup, huge mail
boxes, message threading and general performance ?
Setting up Mew was several orders of magnitude easier than setting up
Gnus, which I was never able to successfully do.  A good part of this
What part were you unable to do? Did you have it reading mail at all?
BTW, one thing is really annoying with gnus is that it screw all my
current window configuration (window layout) when I start composing a
new article/mail.

I did (setq gnus-use-full-window nil) but gnus always use a full
window when writing a new mail.

Do you have/know any setup which could fix this behaviour ?

thanks
Richard Riley
2009-10-16 14:26:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Francis Moreau
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 19:12:36 +0200
Post by Andreas Politz
Post by Francis Moreau
Post by Richard Riley
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.
But you probably get the same benefits with Mew...
Every Emacs feature I've wanted and tried to use works very well with
Mew, or at least no worse than to be expected under Windows.
Post by Andreas Politz
So what is your experience with Mew concerning ease of setup, huge mail
boxes, message threading and general performance ?
Setting up Mew was several orders of magnitude easier than setting up
Gnus, which I was never able to successfully do.  A good part of this
What part were you unable to do? Did you have it reading mail at all?
BTW, one thing is really annoying with gnus is that it screw all my
current window configuration (window layout) when I start composing a
new article/mail.
I did (setq gnus-use-full-window nil) but gnus always use a full
window when writing a new mail.
Do you have/know any setup which could fix this behaviour ?
thanks
I do my gnus stuff on a separate "elscreen" so, no, I can't really help
with that.

,----
| (require 'elscreen) ;; C-z n for new screen or next etc.
| (require 'elscreen-gf) ;; C-z n for new screen or next etc.
|
| (defmacro elscreen-create-automatically (ad-do-it)
| `(if (not (elscreen-one-screen-p))
| ,ad-do-it
| (elscreen-create)
| (elscreen-notify-screen-modification 'force-immediately)
| (elscreen-message "New screen is automatically created")))
|
| (defadvice elscreen-jump (before elscreen-jump-create activate)
| (let ((next-screen (string-to-number (string last-command-event))))
| (when (and (<= 0 next-screen)
| (<= next-screen 9)
| (not (elscreen-screen-live-p next-screen)))
| (elscreen-set-window-configuration
| (elscreen-get-current-screen)
| (elscreen-current-window-configuration))
| (elscreen-set-window-configuration
| next-screen (elscreen-default-window-configuration))
| (elscreen-append-screen-to-history next-screen)
| (elscreen-notify-screen-modification 'force))))
|
| (defadvice elscreen-next (around elscreen-create-automatically activate)
| (elscreen-create-automatically ad-do-it))
|
| (defadvice elscreen-previous (around elscreen-create-automatically activate)
| (elscreen-create-automatically ad-do-it))
|
| (defadvice elscreen-toggle (around elscreen-create-automatically activate)
| (elscreen-create-automatically ad-do-it))
|
| (provide 'rgr-elscreen)
`----

You might also consider winner-mode I think it is.
Francis Moreau
2009-10-16 19:23:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Richard Riley
I do my gnus stuff on a separate "elscreen" so, no, I can't really help
with that.
I use windows.el but I'm sometimes hit by this and find it really
annoying.

I'm wondering if the buffer used for composing article could replace
the article buffer only. So if I have the following layout when
reading an article:

+----------------+
| summary buffer |
+----------------+
| |
| article buffer |
| |
+----------------+

when replying to an article the layout becomes:

+----------------+
| summary buffer |
+----------------+
| |
| compose buffer |
| |
+----------------+

Thanks
Richard Riley
2009-10-12 16:51:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Francis Moreau
Post by Richard Riley
Post by Jeff Clough
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 05:06:16 -0700 (PDT)
Post by Francis Moreau
Don't get me wrong, I use GNUS (maybe because I spent so much time in
it, I don't want to admit I was wrong ;) but you must be ready to
spent some time to configure it and to adopt it and I'm wondering if
it really worth the trouble specially if the OP is not interested in
news group...
It wasn't worth it.  I use Mew for mail and it works just fine.  Well,
as good as Emacs works under Windows at all.
I think it is worth it because of the benefits of it being cradled by
mother Emacs : having all my normal text tools for translation,
spelling, searching etc in my gnus buffers is just too cool. It all
works together too well. I do remember being frustrated earlier because
of the incomprehensible manual and the raft of options (and being newish
to emacs). But it was worth it.
But you probably get the same benefits with Mew...
heh! I read "mutt". Mew is more of a cat than a mutt :-)
--
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