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Re: tutorial for rmail and IMAP

From: Robert Thorpe
Subject: Re: tutorial for rmail and IMAP
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 23:45:02 +0100

Sam Halliday <address@hidden> writes:

> I'm seriously considering using emacs as my mail client and I should like to 
> give rmail a try.
> However, despite several google searches and having a look at the rmail 
> website, I cannot find any tutorials for an rmail beginner.

As Eli mentions the Emacs manual describes rmail in detail.

> Does anybody know of an rmail tuturial that will:
> 1. get me set up with IMAP (specifically gmail)

It's quite simple.  First you have to install "Movemail" from GNU
Mailutils.  You can use the package manager to do that.  The movemail
that comes with Emacs doesn't handle IMAP.

Then put in.
(setq rmail-primary-inbox-list ("imap://username:address@hidden"))

You also have to setup outgoing mail.  I use internal Emacs smtp:
(setq smtpmail-smtp-server "")

My username and password are so long that this spans several lines, so
I've used concat to split it across lines.

There seems to be a little bug if your username has a "@" in it.  I can
tell you how to fix that if it happens to you.

> 2. auto-complete recipients using my google address book

I don't know how to do that, it might not be possible.

> 3. typical use-cases (receiving mail, sorting mail, responding, etc)

They're all described well in the manual.

A couple of other things worth mentioning....  

* Gmail.
People have told me that gmail has some wierd limitation on the number
of IMAP logins you can do with them per day.  I don't use it so I don't

Rmail is a mode for viewing and editing mbox files.  Movemail does the
mail receiving, it always copies everything to a local mbox file
("RMAIL") and rmail views that.  The IMAP system where all the mail sits
on the IMAP server doesn't work well with this.

You can still use rmail from several PCs though.  What I do is I have
one PC where all mail is kept.  I have a set of rules that move
everything out of the local inbox to subject specific mbox
files.  On other machines I set: (setq rmail-preserve-inbox t).  That
means that movemail doesn't delete email in the IMAP inbox, so it can be
picked up later by my main PC which stores mail.  On those other
machines I delete everything in the local inbox after reading.

* Rules.
I have lots of simple rules that copy things into other mbox files:
(setq rmail-delete-after-output t
      '(("contains this regexp" . "~/Mail/Goes_In_This_File.mbox")
        ("another regexp" . "~/Mail/Another_File.mbox")))

* Sorting.
Rmail sorts actually resort the whole mbox file.  If you save it then
it's saved in the new order, so it's best to sort look for what you need
then revert.  You can also open mbox files in fundamental mode and use
occur on them, which is sometimes useful.

Robert Thorpe

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