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January 24, 2005

Switching to Thunderbird—maybe

Filed under: — brendan @ 04:14 GMT

Driven by seeing our friend David, a visitor from the US, use IMAP to do his work mail, I finally decided to follow through with an idea I had a while ago. Instead of syncing my mail directory between my desktop and my laptop, which meant I had to avoid using one without knowing I’d sync’d from the other (a strange sort of handshake), I can instead leave the folders on the desktop. I’ll use the Courier IMAP server.

My choice is driven by my use of kmail for the last few years, which has resulted in most of my mail folders being in maildir format. Which in theory should be made available by the Courier server, since it (and only it, from what I can tell) fully supports maildir folders. The catch, of course, is that kmail has its own idea about how to keep things in folders and sub-folders. I ended up having to finally write my own shell script to turn an existing kmail tree into one that Courier likes to use.

So I did the script, creating a new Maildir tree with the script that copies stuff properly out of ~/mail. And now I can not only make kmail use that, but also finally play with the Mozilla Thunderbird mail client. Of course in setting it up, I discovered that I could also use Thunderbird as a Usenet news reader instead of pan, and also as an RSS feed aggregator instead of Liferea. I don’t yet know how well it’ll behave for these other services, but so far the common interface looks promising.

The only worry I have is my intent to ssh into my desktop system from outside, and use that tunnel for access to the IMAP server. (And, I guess, also our news server.) I still have to get a universal power supply for my desktop system so it’ll stay up if the power hiccups and we’re not home. But it’s seeming like it’d be cool to not worry about every single thing being on my laptop. 🙂

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