freebsd : personal mailing system : setup : at wits end

Polytropon freebsd at
Fri Oct 12 05:05:36 UTC 2018

On Thu, 11 Oct 2018 13:13:40 +0530, Mayuresh Kathe wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 12:21:48AM +0200, Polytropon wrote:
> > On Wed, 10 Oct 2018 16:41:28 +0530, Mayuresh Kathe wrote:
> > > okay, so i have spent the past 3 days trying to setup a personal mailing
> > > system under freebsd 11.2.
> > > 
> > > i have grown to hate the stateful nature of "mutt" and relish the fond
> > > memories of "MH".
> > > 
> > > but, i have been unable to find material about how to setup a MH based
> > > mailing system for personal use, for that matter, i have been unable to
> > > locate a package for MH, is it listed under a different name like
> > > heirloom or something?
> > 
> > MH is just a way of storing mail messages and mailboxes. It's
> > an alternative to classic mbox, and the conceptual origin of
> > MailDir (often considered today's standard).
> afaik, 'mh' was an elegant solution to mailx and other captive user
> interfaces to the email problem under unix.
> 'mh' allowed one to follow the "unix philosophy" to _manage_ emails.
> the fact that it used "one file per email" which _is_ the conceptual
> origin of maildir is one of the by-products.

I didn't know yet of MH as a software package for dealing with
what became famous as the "MH format" for storing messages.
Today, many MUAs can use MH for storing, even though they have
their own means of manipulating the files and directories that
represent messages and mailboxes.

Always good to learn something new, even if it's old. :-)

> for me, "mail system" would include interacting with my emails to send,
> receive and manage them as effortlessly as possible, and at the same
> time being stateless (unlike my current mailer "mutt").
> so yeah, i am talking about the "mail _user_agent_" thing. :-)

This looks like a typical MUA setup.

> > As you initially mentioned "personal mailing system", do you wish
> > to run your own server for receiving messages, or do you only want
> > a means to get your messages from storage elsewhere, and have some
> > specific kind of access to them? Do you think fetchmail + SHH + pine
> > could be such a combination?
> now (as-in unlike the past), i have no intention of running my own mail
> server for managing mails.

That's good - because doing so involves much more effort and
continuous work than it did in the past; you have to "build a
reputation", "earn trust", and deal with all the spam which
makes more than 90 % of the traffic you're going to encounter.
It's not fun anymore...

> i have a mail service provider who manages my mailboxes online for my
> domain and allows me to access my mails over imap, pop3 and smtp.
> i think a combination of fetchmail, sendmail and nmh should do the trick
> for me, but i have no idea about how to setup sendmail for anything,
> leave aside a simple situation as mine. and sendmail is installed by
> default under freebsd!  :-)

You don't need a big setup for sendmail. Depending on how you
want to get your messages to your mail provider (so _he_ will
send them), sendmail's "SmartHost" feature might be an option.
However, this could limit your flexibility, so not using sendmail
for sending messages, and instead using IMAP would look like the
best option today.

With fetchmail, no further configuration for sendmail (as the
local mailer) would be needed. When you "fetchmail" your messages
via POP3 or IMAP, the result will be placed into /var/mail/$USER,
for any (!) MUA to pick it up from there. This approach allows you
to get your messages independently (!) from what MUA you're using.
There is no need to configure your POP or IMAP setting for receiving
mail in the MUA, just "get from spool", that's it. This file is
in mbox format.

So what you need is a mailer that can "remotely manipulate" the
messages on your ISP's server (or whoever manages your mailboxes).
The _local_ part (local storage) can be in MH format. As I said,
the mailer will get the message inbox /var/mail/$USER and then
store it in whatever format you want. For example, Sylpheed does
it this way (get from spool in mbox, store as MH). Oh, and even
though it's a GUI MUA, it's very fast, lightweight, comfortable
to use, no additional bloat.

Regarding text mode MUAs, I've been using pine (alpine) in the
past. If you want to try it as an alternative to mutt, here's some
suggestion (even though it deals with "Google Mail", you can use
the basic ideas of the instructions for _any_ IMAP-capable mail
service provider):

Oh, and you can access it over SSH, too. ;-)

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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