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
I just got mutt running with getmail, procmail, and mutt, using maildir. And mairdir is the way
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
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.