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Re: Reading/Managing mail with emacs

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: Reading/Managing mail with emacs
Date: Sun, 07 Oct 2007 15:20:11 +1000
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

Andrew Walrond <address@hidden> writes:

> I've been using Kmail and latterly Thunderbird to manage/organise my
> email. I belong to many mailing lists and receive somewhere around 1k
> emails a day.
> Since I spend the rest of my day in emacs, I thought I might have a go
> at moving my email there as well.
> So, a quick google reveals VM as the front runner for email. Am I right?
> Any gotchas or missing features to be aware of?
> Andrew Walrond

when it comes to e-mail, I tend to go against the emacs trend of doing
everything in emacs and instead, just use it to read, compose and send
mail. I use procmail to sort my mail into various folders and I use
spamassassin to classify my mail (called from my procmail script). 

I've been using VM for about 10 years and on the whole find it very
good. It did look like it wasn't going to be maintained for a while, but it
does now have a new maintainer and it has some very nice features, such as
"personality crisis" (which allows you to have your headers automatically
adjusted based on various criteria, such as the address your sending
to. Very handy for people with multiple e-mail addresses, such as a private
one and a work one.  It is also quite easy to configure. 

I've also used Mew, which is not bad. wonderlust is another reader which
seems to have all the standard features. 

The 'heavy weight' is Gnus. I've looked at it, but to be honest, it has a
very very steep learning curve and will take a fair bit to configure. I use
Gnus for reading newsgroups and it is excellent at that. It is probably OK
for mail and lots of people love it, but I personally never felt
comfortable with it and at times, it took a lot of work to find out how to
do something which is normally fairly trivial. I also never got
comfortable with the mail like newsgroups approach it uses. However, those
who have put in the time and stuck with it will swear by it and are likely
to sacrifice key family members rather than give it up. I don't know if
this is because it is truely wonderful or if they feel they need to invest
in it totally in order to justify the effort it takes to get it working
just how you want. If you have unusual and extreme mail handling
requirements, it is probably the best choice, but if your requirements are
fairly standard, you may find it a lot of work for little obvious benefit. 

some people really like e-mh, which is a nice mail user agent
interface. With this approach, you get MH style mail folder directories,
which is nice as you have each message in its own file. some of the
mailers that rely on a single file or mbox style format can run into
trouble if your mail folder gets over a particular size (Emacs has a size
limit on the maximum file length it can load. However, this limit is (from
memory) pretty high and I've personally never run into it. I do recall a
post to this group on ths topic quite recently, so maybe check the archives
for more detail.


tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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