Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

E-mail Crisis, part 2

I'm still having my personal e-mail crisis.

I said, earlier,

Anyway, I've finally come up with a way to switch back and forth between Gnus, Mew, and MH-E while keeping up with my current e-mail[…].

That was a bit premature. What I should have said was that I'd found a way to make sure I didn't lose any e-mail permanently when switching back and fourth between e-mail clients. I'm using maildrop to copy my incoming mail to the normal mail spool file and to a separate archive mail file for each day. So, for instance, all the mail I got on 2008/09/05 is archived in the mbox-format file ~/Inboxes/2008-09-05.inbox.

I also said, earlier

Wanderlust seems moribund.

It turns out that Wanderlust only seems moribund, especially to those who only speak English. If you check the mailing lists there's still some activity, and if you poke around on the Wanderlust site you can find a newer snapshot. Unfortunately, Wanderlust uses several other libraries (APEL, FLIM, and SEMI) and these are also hard to find much information about if you only speak English. So I've been fiddling around with it, and have figured out enough to get it working for me. (Thank goodness for the FreeBSD ports system.)

Oddly enough, although Wanderlust mostly understands MH-format mailboxes, there seems to be no built-in way to get it to read mail out of a standard mbox-format spool file and into your inbox. I guess the assumption is that if you're not using IMAP then you've probably moved on to using a maildir-format spool file, since they're supposed to be more reliable.

Well, I'm not. I'm trying to compare Wanderlust, MH-E, and Mew, and MH-E doesn't understand maildir-format mailboxes, so I have to stick to mbox-format. (Ok, I suppose I could mung things so MH-E uses Mew's incm to read the spool file.)

Moreover, I've got a fairly odd pattern of e-mail folders. For years in VM I've saved my e-mail in in separate folders with names like 2008/08/users.bond_tk or 2008/08/list.clisp, with VM defaulting the folder names automatically. I think I've mostly figured out how to do this in MH-E, Mew, and Wanderlust, and I've mostly figured out how to get the three of them to coexist peacefully, so I can really give them a good comparison. We'll see how it goes.

Like many Emacs subsystems, the Emacs e-mail clients tend to use modes with single-character commands for many things, and most the commands are just regular keys, not key combinations. I've gotten so used to this that I find using e-mail clients that require mousing to be extremely painful. Moreover, I've become very accustomed to being able to customize my e-mail client extensively using Lisp.

What it all boils down to is that I'm not happy unless my e-mail client is part of Emacs.

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