Minimal skills

Kurt Hackenberg kh at
Fri Jun 5 04:06:59 UTC 2020

On 2020-06-04 20:35, Polytropon wrote:

> Try to get a better understanding of "what is what" and "what
> does what"...

Here's a start. In the common case, which is probably what you do now 
with your phone, somebody uses a mail reader (also called mail user 
agent, MUA) to send a message across the Internet to a mail server (mail 
transfer agent, MTA), which may send it on to other MTAs, and the 
message eventually gets to a mail server at, say,, which 
stores the message in a disk file. Later you fire up K-9 on your phone, 
which communicates with some server at Hotmail through the network 
communication protocol IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol), and gets 
a copy of that message to display on your phone. K-9 doesn't have to put 
its copy of the message in permanent storage in your phone; it can just 
hold it in main memory while you read it, and then throw it away. The 
mail server keeps the disk copy of the message that it has, unless you 
tell it to delete it.

Postfix is a mail transfer agent; Dovecot is an IMAP server.

I suggest that, to start with, you don't mess with Postfix, Dovecot, 
fetchmail. or local storage of received mail. First do one simple thing: 
install and configure some mail reader on your FreeBSD system to do the 
same thing K-9 does: talk to Hotmail through IMAP, get a copy of your 
mail, show it to you. Play around with that, send messages, etc. Send a 
message to yourself, read it, reply to it. I suggest the mail reader 

Then you could do the same thing with some different mail reader on your 
FreeBSD system, just to compare the two mail readers. Maybe Alpine, Elm, 
or Mutt. (Mutt is complex; the other two are simpler. All of them run in 
a terminal emulator, rather than being fully graphical.)

You could also try Wikipedia, though this article may not tell you 
exactly what you want to know right now:

Also see this article about Usenet-style quoting:

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