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Old 03-31-2004, 11:54 AM   #1
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Linux Mail: Confusion and Ignorance

Hi all; this is my first post at

I've just installed Gentoo and am setting up all my software (I'm doing email at the moment). I've done some research on the following but am just plain confused and would very much appreciate advice from anybody who is willing to offer it! What I'm after is:

A system that will check my various accounts (IMAP and POP), pickup all the mail from these accounts and place it in a local maildir. As such I will be able to:
1. collate all my incoming email (from old but not quite redundant addresses)
2. retrieve my emailfrom my machine remotely, accessing the maildir either via straight IMAP or something like Squirrelmail.

Now, I don't know if this is possible and, after poring over the documentation for postfix, courier, and other apps, I am not much closer achieving this. However, I am very confused.

Is the collation of messages from POP and IMAP accounts even possible?
Old 03-31-2004, 05:07 PM   #2
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You should probably start by checking out Eric S. Raymond's fetchmail which provides a lot of the functionality you want - namely pulling email from remote POP and IMAP accounts and store them locally.

Old 03-31-2004, 07:02 PM   #3
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Looks like you are asking your MTA to do what is usually done by a MUA. Most email readers capable of multiple accounts will be able to collate the mail. If you are looking for a way to collate it before you actually get to read it, then you should be able to configure your collection agent (like fetchmail) or your MTA (exim has quite a bit of usefulness, as does qmail) to dump all inbox material into the same folder (may have to change a config to do so). But, I would suggest that you use a MUA like Opera M2. That way, all your mail is collated for reading when you view it. Its is also searchable through various "views", so that you can filter it by contact, subject, content, attachments, addresses, state, etc.

For remote retrieval of this mail, I think that you may have to set up a mail server that uses your maildir for its "source". Due to the scope of what you need to accomplish, it looks like you have two choices. You can collect the various packages required to do the tasks you require and read a lot of man pages and config files (which will make you the email guru) or you can just use a multi-account capable MUA like Opera M2, Mozilla mail, Thunderbird, Kmail, Evolution, or Mutt for that matter and configure the program to "leave messages on the server" for the POP accounts. That way, if you do it locally, or remotely, you actually are just skipping a step and leaving all your email with their various servers, deleting the ones you want, when you want, from where you want. Depends on how much you wanna read. I have opted for #2, as I am not sure how long my ISP would let me serve my own mail.
Old 04-02-2004, 04:25 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies folks! I'm now using fetchmail to retrieve and forward emails from my POP accounts to my IMAP account at my uni. I'm using gotmail to do the same for my hotmail account. Bam, nicely collated; I think that'll do nicely until I graduate.

There are a few reasons why I'm after the system I described:
1. I've got a size limit on my POP accounts, but my machine would not have this problem (and my IMAP account at uni has hundreds of megs)
2. I would have to set up a mailreader to check all my pop accounts whenever I wish to access my mail remotely. I suppose I could stick Thunderbird on a USB memory stick, but that's cost and something to remember to carry around.

Forwarding everything to my uni account is probably a better sollution than hosting it myself - my SO is less likely to do stuff to the servers in the machine rooms than she is to my home machine, plus, NTL are not the most reliable people!


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