Mar 05 2009

Can of Worms

Published by at 10:03 am under Tech

As a standing member of my local LUG group, I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t spent much time on my linux boot partition since I got my new computer. In my defense, online poker is just a pain in the ass if you have windows at your disposal.

But I had a presentation to get ready for tonight’s meeting. It’s setting up xdebug in apache to do php debugging in netbeans. Awesome sounding I know, right? Don’t worry, some one is supposed to be recording it and I’ll link it up once I get a url.

Anyway, I have had the new computer for just over 3 months now and had linux installed shortly after I got it. Last night I was chugging away at it and I can’t live without my email (even though I don’t get that much of it, I still like to respond quickly when I get one) so I strike up thunderbird only to be prompted with the new account wizard. Hmm. Did I really just install it and not set it up?

If I was gonna have to set one up anyway, I decided instead of setting up thunderbird, I was gonna go install and setup mutt. What is mutt? It’s a lightweight, text based email client. Here’s a screen shot.


Pretty sweet, huh? I had tried it out looking for a lightweight and faster way to check my email on my old computer and spent some time getting used to the interface. Since I invested that time, I figured I might as well use it. I literally spent the weekend setting up a config file for it before. Not exactly the time saving technique I was hoping for, but I do think I will make up some of it in usage. I do find that it’s quicker for me to navigate through it now. Not to mention all the geek cred bonus points that I bank for using a text based email client. Yeah, that’s right. Geek cred is what gets you the chicks.

Enter: Can of Worms

So I had already set this up so it should be a snap right? Just get my old config file and boom, I’m off and running. So I run sudo apt-get install mutt, and go to my old home directory tar file to extract the probably like 11kb .muttrc config file and…. wait…. Did I mention my old home dir tar file was in the range of 25GB? Apparently I had some iso’s I forgot to delete before I made the tar file along with my Music directory. It took like 15 minutes to get my 1 file out of that archive. Sigh. At least it gave me some time to finish up my presentation notes.

Alright, got it set up and run mutt. No problems. Until I test out sending an email. Error. Ugh. I was missing ssmtp to send email. Download and install that (like 30 seconds) and try it again. Error again. Crap. Must not be setup. A quick google and running sudo vim /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf, and we are back to the races. Mail got sent.

But WTF is it? WTF was that command to refresh the mailbox? Quick search through help and figure out it’s G. Bah, an error. Some crap about pop not being setup. Well no shit. The command doesn’t have a key bound to it for the imap-fetch-mail command. Ugh. Quick google again and I’m back editing the .muttrc file and overriding the G key binding to map to the imap command. All’s good there. I even ran across the colors config file for it and turned on some of the helpful coloring mappings for links and email addresses in the messages.

Hmm, url’s. Do they work? I go back into mutt and pipe the message to urlview. Ugh, crap. That’s not installed either. So again, sudo apt-get install urlview. Ok, done and it even opens in a new tab of FF (I had to change the script last time I set this up). Bonus points there.

Even though mutt has a memory footprint that isn’t even worth mentioning, I still probably don’t want to run it constantly. So I spend the next 45 minutes modifying my panels in xfce so I only had 1 panel, I added the email notification widget and tried to configure that. Hmm, now how do I get that to open mutt in a terminal window? It’s a text based app, after all. I figured out that the command xfterm4 mutt will open a terminal window and run mutt in it. Awesome. All set.

So there you go. 3 hours of configuration and googling and I’m all set to be much more productive with my email. I’m sure it will only take me 4+ years to recoup that time back. Well, at least I got all that geek cred. Sigh.

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One response so far

One Response to “Can of Worms”

  1. mr-potteron 05 Mar 2009 at 12:21 pm

    If you want to waste another few hours, you can set up procmail to sort your mail and spam filter for you.

    Then once you are done, you can set me up too :-)

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