AppleMail and IMAP

Continuing my transition to Mac OS X as desktop of choice, I’ve been trying to get my email to work. Getting GPG working was happily easy — just a matter of downloading some stuff, and having AppleMail suddenly support signing email. It seems reasonable functional.

Harder is dealing with the couple of hundred megs of “personal” mail I’ve saved over the past decade or so, filed in a few thousand different mailboxes; and the stupid number of lists I’m subscribed to. Currently I’m using mutt, and a couple of different directories to manage it all: “inbox” is a Maildir for personal mail, “lists/” contains a different Maildir for each list I’m subscribed to, and “links/” contains a different Maildir for everyone I’ve corresponded with. When I hit “s” to save a message, it’ll look at the From: and choose a Maildir to save to; when I send a message to someone, it looks at the To: and copies the outgoing mail to the same directory. Which isn’t perfect, but is okay.

Doing the same with AppleMail would suck — while it at least uses mbox format for its storage, it surrounds it with a bunch of random cache files. So that seems to mean using a local IMAP server to manage my email. It’s been more of a struggle than I expected to get an IMAP server; fink doesn’t have any precompiled debs for Panther, and doesn’t have the server I wanted anyway (namely Courier IMAPD which supports Maildir format), and then that didn’t compile out of the box (gcc seems to think “extern struct foo bar; struct foo bar;” doesn’t define the structure, but is quite happy with “extern struct foo bar; struct foo bar = {0};“), and didn’t configure out of the box either (since PAM on Mac OS X is somewhat different to whatever it expected).

And then, once I’d gotten that far and started poking at my mail, I get a kernel panic. Lovely. Sending my first email resulted in a reasonable success, albeit with some bodgy word wrapping. At least there was too much word wrapping rather than too little. And at least it actually ended up as plain text!

So things are looking okay so far. Yet to try importing all my archived mail or deal with my mailing lists yet. Or setup the funky BSMTP stuff I use to get mail from there to here and back.

UPDATE 2004/11/09:

Erk, when you’re editing AppleMail wraps at the window size, which is 80 characters by default when you switch to the default fixed width font; but then switches to wrapping at 72 characters when you actually send the mail. And that’s a hard wrap if you’ve got an 80 character “word”, it gets broken after 72 characters. Eww. And it looks like it’s not something you can change at all. It’s also not something that only affects the text you type — it affects the entire message, including .sig and quoted text. Yay.

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