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Re: Setting up gnus: read on local, store remote (but not on mailserver)

From: W. Greenhouse
Subject: Re: Setting up gnus: read on local, store remote (but not on mailserver)
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2013 19:36:38 +0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/24.2 (gnu/linux)

Hi Martin, writes:

> Thanks for the quick response!
>> A maildir might be a good choice.  The `nnmaildir' backend (info "(gnus)
>> Maildir") can use a remote filesystem, e.g.
>> (setq gnus-select-method
>>       '(nnmaildir "mail"
>>         (directory "/")
>>         (get-new-mail t)))
>> The above would use Gnus to incorporate mail using whatever methods you
>> picked in `mail-sources', and store them in a remote maildir accessed
>> with rsync (you can use any TRAMP filename, e.g. ssh:, scpc:, etc.).
> Reading this, it appears to me that I was confused about what
> gnus-select-method does :-) I now checked my .emacs and learn that I
> use the customized variable mail-sources to tell gnus where to get my
> mail from, gnus-select-method to tell gnus where to get my news from,
> and gnus-secondary-select-method to tell gnus where to store my mail.
> The last currently just reads ((nnml "")).

Your usage is entirely sensible.  You can use either a mail or a news
backend as select-method or as one of the secondary select methods.  So
that was just an editorial decision on my part. :) I have sometimes used
Gnus in a mail-only configuration.

> In the documentation I see that nnml allows a parameter
> nnml-directory.  Could I set this to a tramp path also?  This would
> have the advantage that I do not have to respool my old mail.  Also,
> the doc says that nnmaildir uses many many inodes (while nnml only
> uses many).  Should I worry about this?
> Is there a particular reason to prefer nnmaildir over nnml in my
> setting?  (I was happy with nnml for some 10 years now, but of course,
> the setting is slightly different now.)

To answer your last question first: If only one Emacs machine will ever
be the client in this setup, and you are not using an external utility
like offlineimap or fetchmail directly on the mailbox, you could get
away with using nnml over TRAMP.  The advantage of nnmaildir is that,
unlike MH-style mailboxes like nnml, the maildir layout is designed to
be suitable for non-locking use, i.e. reading mail even as another
program is putting stuff into the inbox.  Therefore it's an excellent
choice for a mailbox hosted on a central server for multiple clients to

Re: the inodes question, it depends on the filesystem on your university
server and how likely your sysadmin there is to complain :) You can
check out how many inodes you currently have available by using `df -i'.
I think it is not as much of a concern for many modern systems as it was
when the Gnus manual was first written (much like the reference to
dialup modems in (info "(gnus) Gnus Unplugged")).  nnmaildir uses up an
inode for each message and also has three NOV files for each mailbox
(one each for the new/ cur/ and tmp/ subdirs of the mailbox), so I guess
that accounts for the reference to it using slightly more inodes.

> Many many thanks,
> Martin

Hope this helps.


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