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Re: How many emails do I really have in my mailbox ?

From: Tassilo Horn
Subject: Re: How many emails do I really have in my mailbox ?
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2008 15:07:05 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Francis Moreau <> writes:

Hi Francis,

> Today I was suprised by what Gnus proposed to me when I tried to enter
> in my mail box. It asked:
>       How many articles from nnfolder:mail.inbox (default 686):
> So the default number looks really high and no I can't find so many
> emails in this group: after entering I tried to display old, expunge
> mail articles but Gnus showed only 64 articles.
> What am I missing again ?

,----[ (info "(gnus)Group Line Specification") ]
| `t'
|      Estimated total number of articles.  (This is really MAX-NUMBER
|      minus MIN-NUMBER plus 1.)
|      Gnus uses this estimation because the NNTP protocol provides
|      efficient access to MAX-NUMBER and MIN-NUMBER but getting the true
|      unread message count is not possible efficiently.  For hysterical
|      raisins, even the mail back ends, where the true number of unread
|      messages might be available efficiently, use the same limited
|      interface.  To remove this restriction from Gnus means that the
|      back end interface has to be changed, which is not an easy job.
|      The nnml backend (*note Mail Spool::) has a feature called "group
|      compaction" which circumvents this deficiency: the idea is to
|      renumber all articles from 1, removing all gaps between numbers,
|      hence getting a correct total count.  Other backends may support
|      this in the future.  In order to keep your total article count
|      relatively up to date, you might want to compact your groups (or
|      even directly your server) from time to time. *Note Misc Group
|      Stuff::, *Note Server Commands::.

The glass is neither half-full nor half-empty: it's twice as big as it
needs to be.

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