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Re: switching from mbox to maildir in mutt, exim, etc.: how?

On Fri, Oct 27, 2006 at 03:25:11PM -0600, Paul E Condon wrote:
> I'm looking at my system backups and notice that there is some clutter
> form mbox files being updated almost daily. I think the clutter would
> be reduced by switching to maildir (true?), but I wonder about other
> consequences of such a switch. In particular, when I google the topic
> of how to switch, I find only people asking the question, and some
> comment to the effect 'why bother?', but no answers. Is it a bad idea
> for reasons which I have not yet fathomed? Where can I find a recent
> HOWTO that addresses Debian issues, if it is not bad?
> -- 
> Paul E Condon           
> pecondon@mesanetworks.net
I just got mutt running with getmail, procmail, and mutt, using maildir.  And mairdir is the way 
to go.  

I found a HOWTO on the specific topic of conversion from mbox to maildir, using a package the 
name of which I do not recall.  But once you have procmail running, you can restore your old 
mail by feeding procmail from your mbox file and letting it re-deliver to maildir.

A good Debian-oriented HOWTO is "Email for the single user in Debian", 2004, by Nicholas Lativy; 
it is posted at http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~lativyn/articles/debian-mutt .  Regrettably, it covers 
the combination of exim4, procmail, fetchmail, and mutt with maildir; and you do NOT wish to use 
fetchmail -- use getmail instead.  However, to use getmail is trivial; you simply use the lines:

    type = MDA_external
    path = /usr/bin/procmail

instead of the lines:

    type = Maildir
    path = ~/mail-incoming-maildir

There is much confusion concerning Procmail recipes among those who have written Procmail 
HOWTOs, so beware!  You do NOT need to create a ".forward" file.  The quickest and easiest way to 
understand Procmail recipes is to print out the man pages PROCMAIL, PROCMAILRC, and PROCMAILEX.  
Note the distinction between "TO" and "TO_", and note that, with maildir, you do NOT need locking 
(via ":") in the procmail recipes.  Note that, typically, you need to escape only the "." in 
a procmail recipe.  A reasonable procmail article is "Procmail Recipe Primer", which is posted at 
http://www.linuxlaboratory.org/index.php?title=Procmail_Recipe_Primer"; .

It took me about a week of searching with Google to figure out how to make the switch from 
exim-getmail-Gnus with maildir to Exim-getmail-procmail-mutt with maildir, including a whole day 
devoted to Procmail recipes.  But the entire matter is quite simple, and should have taken only a 
few hours.  Perhaps I need to write a exim-getmail-procmail-mutt HOWTO.

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