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How I do Email

July 30th, 2010
tech, email, statmbx  [html]

My email setup is kind of weird. I like having it be entirely under my control, so that if I don't like something I can fix it. This means using open source software and a shared server. The configuration:
  • Email accounts at alum.swarthmore.edu, sccs.swarthmore.edu, cs.swarthmore.edu, bidadance.org, and others all forward to a unix server at swarpa.net run by some college friends.
  • This computer runs procmail to sort email, separating out spam with spamassasin, high traffic mailing lists into their own folders, stuff I want to archive without reading, etc from my main inbox. This also generates a procmail log that lists all incoming email
  • To do email notifications I keep a terminal window open running wmail which is an alias for tail -f ~/procmail/pmlog | python ~/clean_pmlog.py. The python program here is described in the post text only email stuff.
  • To check what messages I have waiting for me without opening my inbox I run cmail, which is an alias for the c program statmbx.
  • To actually send, read, and reply to email I run mutt. This is highly configurable, but it is the least flexible part of my setup if I want it to do something no one else has thought to make it do. Possible, as I can change the source, but difficult.
  • Mutt invokes my preferred editor, emacs to actually compose email.

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