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Communications Software

Managing Mail Between a Desktop and a Laptop? 134

Posted by Cliff
from the having-more-than-one-inbox-is-a-pain dept.
dotancohen asks: "I'll soon be getting a new Dell laptop that'll be running Fedora Core 5 or 6. I need to access the email stored on my home box from the laptop, and also to read new email sent to me while I'm not home (and the home box is shut down). If I run an IMAP server at home, then I can't read the mail when the home box is down. However, if I pull from the POP3 server (and leave the mail on the server) then I won't be able to sort and file the mail while on the go. I currently use Kmail, but I might switch to Eudora in April/March when it becomes available for Linux. Is there anyway to sync the mail accounts between two Linux boxen, assuming that I'm using the same mail client?"
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Managing Mail Between a Desktop and a Laptop?

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  • Try unison (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davecb (6526) * <davec-b@rogers.com> on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:40AM (#17409374) Homepage Journal
    I use a laptop most of the time, with a larger machine at home serving as a fileserver and fallback. To keep my mail and projects directories in sync I use unison, reviewed here [vsbabu.org]

    --dave

    • by metamatic (202216)
      Of course, Unison (or rsync) will only synchronize mail reliably if you use Maildir format. But then again, only an idiot would use mbox format on the server side anyway.
      • by rodo (133624)
        I second the unison / Maildir solution, I use that since years to sync my mail between my server and laptop. Most of the time I use the laptop to read mail, but occasionally I ssh to the server and read my mail there directly. unison does a two way sync so this allows me to do modifications like moving mails into different folders on the laptop when it is offline, and at the same time modify other mails on the server, and when the laptop goes online again it will sync automatically. Wonderful.

        Also it turned
    • GMail...? (Score:5, Informative)

      by jdray (645332) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @01:47PM (#17410580) Homepage Journal
      I use GMail. About any web-based mail should suffice. I suspect that some of the other web mail services have advanced capabilities for sorting and such. Google offers GMail for domains so you can use your own domain name, and you can access it through a POP3 interface. Just a thought...
      • Re:GMail...? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @02:34PM (#17410926) Homepage Journal
        I think the simpler question would be:"Why the hell do you insist on turning your email SERVER off?"

        I mean...by definition by today's standards a server is on 24/7. Just leave your IMAP server on, have it receive all your email, and you can then connect from any computer you'd like, and get your email...

        Another option....install something like squirrelmail....and then your email server at home has a webmail interface to it...and you don't have to worry about a 3rd party keeping/reading/indexing your emails that it is storing for you.

        But, really..this is easy..leave your email server ON.

        • by Kadin2048 (468275)
          Exactly; the OP seems to be doing whatever he can to make the situation more complicated than it needs to be.

          The simplest solution would probably be just to use a webmail service on both machines, perhaps in concert with a POP interface to back up the messages from time to time, so that he wouldn't be totally at the mercy of the webmail provider for archiving and storage. Alternately, a mail provider that offers IMAP access directly to its servers could be selected -- it's not like these are really that har
          • by walt-sjc (145127)
            The 4th solution is to get a $8 / month vserver hosting account and just run your own mail server there. Probably not much more expensive than the electricity costs for a home server. No worries about power going out, backups, etc. since the hosting company does everything for you.
        • by ethanms (319039)

          "Why the hell do you insist on turning your email SERVER off?"

          So let's assume that the author has the same problem that I have, which is that your workplace IT dept restricts your ability to connect to POP3 or IMAP services within their network.

          I setup IMAP at home and use SquirrelMail w/ an SSL plug-in thingie... while I'm at home w/ the desktop or laptop I use a mail client to connect to IMAP... while I'm at work (or anywhere else) I use Squirrel... either way I end up working w/ the same email account/folders/etc...

      • by magixman (883752)
        I now direct everything through GMail, forward a copy to a Linux mailbox and pop it periodically to my desktop in case Google gets hit by a bus. This is a simple solution that let's me access mail from anywhere. Even on a GPRS cell phone connected to my laptop while chilling under a palm tree, the whole thing works smoothly and quickly. I don't like complicated solutions when it comes to email as this is the one thing that is absolutely critical to me. The only real hard part is getting your old mail u
        • by empaler (130732)

          I now direct everything through GMail, forward a copy to a Linux mailbox and pop it periodically to my desktop in case Google gets hit by a bus.
          Could happen [thestreet.com].
  • The answer! (Score:4, Funny)

    by robably (1044462) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:40AM (#17409376) Journal
    I was going to tell you how, but then you said "boxen".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My cluster of VAXen boxen agree with you that this weird pluralizaxen is getting ridiculouxen.

      TDz.
      • by kotj.mf (645325)
        Forizzle.
      • by bazorg (911295)
        1 ox, 2 oxen
        1 box, 2 boxes?

        wtf?
        (these are honest questions, english is a foreign language to me)
        • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          You are correct. 1 ox, two oxen; 1 box, 2 boxes. This is the proper english grammar for the plural of both words.

          "Boxen" is a slang term for multiple computers. It isn't proper english, but it is readily understood by most geeks. It's a joke of sorts; an individual computer is known in slang as "a box", and oxen pull a cart, while multiple computers perform processing tasks. Sound-alike jokes like this are common in anime, which many programmers tend to enjoy.

          Anyway, that's what's going on. Usually the only
        • Honest answers:

          English is an amalgam of other languages, so grammar doesn't necessarily follow hard-fast rules, as I am sure you are aware. I suspect the reason the words don't pluralize the same way (even though they end with the same sound) is probably due to the respective root words coming from different parent languages.

          This link [factmonster.com] gives a quick lowdown on English plurals. It seems that the -en plural for ox originates in Old English. Child -> children is another example. Then you have something
          • by mabinogi (74033)
            The biggest problem with English is not that it doesn't follow its own rules - because it tries to, it really does.
            It's that there's been centuries worth of language snobs who refuse to believe that English is English and try to shoehorn Latin and Greek rules on to it.

            There's no reason why we should try to use Greek or Latin pluralisation rules on loanwords from those languages, and ordinary people that don't know those languages (quite justifiably) use the rules they're familiar with to adapt them.
            But then
    • by BobPaul (710574) *
      Many languages (German for sure) use "en" as a common plural ending. I have a feeling english isn't the native tongue. Or that's just a hell of a typo.
  • by astrashe (7452) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:43AM (#17409412) Journal
    I keep two copies of my mail. One goes into a pop account, and gets pulled into my main machine, and the other goes to gmail. But you could send one to an IMAP account, one to a POP account, etc.

    My SMTP mail server is running on a VPS. I send incoming mail to an account on that machine, and use a .forward file to send it to a pop account provided by my cable modem company, and to my gmail account. I've configured the gmail account to send mail from my vanity domain.

    It's not a perfect solution -- if I send an email from gmail, it doesn't show up in the sent folder on my main machine. But it's very easy to set up, and I can get at gmail from anywhere.

    I think it would be better to use an IMAP server, to roll my own webmail solution that talks to the IMAP server, and to make it possible for the laptop to talk to the IMAP server. But the amount of work that would take deters me. My solution was easy to set up, even if its flawed.

    • by scenestar (828656)
      Definately, I too have a remote server to keep track of mail between my boxes.

      I got a 30 bucks a month DDS with 80 gigs of space. Combined with IMAP and SMTP i can keep all my mail synced with the various, laptops/desktops/smartphones that i have.

      also, if you are an avid IM/IRC user you can use it as a bouncer. check out this Killer setup i used as an example for mine.

      http://nafai77.livejournal.com/39649.html#cutid1 [livejournal.com]
    • by philml (589423)
      I keep two copies of my mail. One goes into a pop account, and gets pulled into my main machine, and the other goes to gmail ... It's not a perfect solution -- if I send an email from gmail, it doesn't show up in the sent folder on my main machine. Hi, I have pretty much the same set up. I solve the last problem by having an email address that gets routed into my sent folder. I can then bcc manually in Gmail, or even better use a GreaseMonkey script (on userscripts.org) to automatically bcc all Gmail email
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You can even use something AOL's AIM Mail which allows you to access it via IMAP. Forward your mail there, but otherwise don't use the address.
  • Disconnected IMAP... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mendy (468439) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:45AM (#17409426)
    ...is probably what you want - and KMail appears to support it.

    Alternatively Thunderbird certainly supports cache'ing a copy of messages for working offline but I'm not sure if it supports the kind of resyncing that you're looking for.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by metamatic (202216)
      Yup. Use IMAP, that's exactly what it's for.

      Jeez, this is the dumbest "Ask Slashdot" in ages. What next?

      "I need a way to send someone a message instantly, rather than having it go into their e-mail inbox, is there some tool that will do it?"

      "I need to compare two source code files, is there a program that will highlight the differences?"
  • It's probably not the coolest or most direct solution, but my whole family is enjoying a vanity domain from Domain Direct, which allows for adding IMAP-capable mailboxes to the hosting account for $0.75/month. They are spam filtered by a pretty good little off-site service, as an added bonus.

    I'm not particularly promoting their service over that of another company, but my experience with Domain Direct has been generally positive.

  • USB to the rescue! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maeka (518272) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:52AM (#17409500) Journal
    Simply use any mail client you can run entirely off of a USB flash drive. There is no need to sync when you only have one client!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jones_supa (887896)
      Or keep just the mail boxes on the flash drive in a format which both mail clients can understand.
    • by EWAdams (953502)
      Yes, this is what I do too. I keep my Microsoft Outlook files [cue chorus of sneering, retching, etc. from the Linux fanboys] on a USB stick, and just yank it out of my desktop and take it along when I go someplace with my laptop. I discovered this after several unsatisfactory (and expensive) efforts to find software that would sync two Outlook files.

      However, I know that Flash memory has a limited lifespan and I'm a little worried about how long I can count on it. I keep Outlook open all day every day, so i
      • Flash is good for at least 100K writes per cell - the nice stuff is good for at least 1M writes per cell, and with write-leveling, which apparently all modern flash devices implement, writes are effectively round-robin distributed across the entire device. So you can do the math to figure out how long you've got. In a lot of cases, flash memory will last longer than an equivalent spinning disk would under the same conditions.
        • In a lot of cases, flash memory will last longer than an equivalent spinning disk would under the same conditions.

          Mostly flash doesnt get damaged really from being under power but idle, disks do.

          On the other side, put a page file on a flash device and see how quickly you can destroy it.. :)
          • by ezzzD55J (697465)

            On the other side, put a page file on a flash device and see how quickly you can destroy it.. :)
            Not very. On a device with currently-reasonable 100k writes per sector and in-device wear levelling, with say a 8GB device and a currently-at-the-high-end write bandwidth of 20MByte/s, that's 474 days of constant writing it can handle.
            • that's 474 days of constant writing it can handle.

              which isn't anywhere near the approx 5 years a decent 'enterprice' disk lasts under very heavy load.

              Not to mention that changing a few bytes in a sector still results in rewriting the entire sector (in both cases), so with the given bandwidth, you can end up with a lot more writes then you assume.
              • which isn't anywhere near the approx 5 years a decent 'enterprice' disk lasts under very heavy load.

                Make that 8GB into the same size as the 'enterprice' disk and you will find that it is better. Currently 146GB FC drives are very common, which is more than 18x 8GB, so 1.3 years * 18 is 23 years. Just to be fair, lets up the sustained write rate to 40MB/s which gets you to 11.5 years. Still way more than 5 years. Now, lets step up to the flash that gets 1M writes instead of 100K writes, now we are at 115
                • So tell me, why does in a real world test, a 4GB flash drive that claims to support over 100k writes die within 2 months of usage as storage for a pagefile? According to the claims made, it should last for at least 8 months, but it consstantly does not.

                  Not to mention that a 140G flash drive costs quite a bit more then a high-end 140G scsi disk, so it is an extremely expensive route to go even if it would do what you claim.
                  • So tell me, why does in a real world test, a 4GB flash drive that claims to support over 100k writes die within 2 months of usage as storage for a pagefile?

                    Why do you ask an unanswerable question? You tell me all the relevant specs on the specific model and the actual usage, and I'll tell you your answer. Chances are that in telling me the specs on that model, you'll find the answer yourself. You should also include what your definition of "consstantly" is - consistently, constantly? - either way, what e
                    • We started with 20 small machines with 4gb "flash drives". What type you ask? a variety of flash drives as available to consumers. That means various brands, and most likely various different manufacutors. Most of those were producing write errors after 2 months of use. Use here means indeed virtually constant reading and writing.

                      You see, it is nice what is theoretically possible, but as long as that is not what is typically available then the argument remains a theoretical one with no value for practical p
              • by ezzzD55J (697465)

                that's 474 days of constant writing it can handle.

                which isn't anywhere near the approx 5 years a decent 'enterprice' disk lasts under very heavy load.

                I was being generous by producing a lower limit of lifetime by assuming constant write operations. In real life, the step from 474 days of constant writing to 5 years of IRL use is very small, and as my sibling noted, this is just 8GB. Also, due to no moving parts, i would guess the failure of flash devices would be much more predictable than failures with regular drives.

                Of course there are other advantages of flash, such as no seek time, and much better parallel access for much higher bandwidth.

                If yo

                • Sure, theoretically all nice, but real world testing really gives a different picture. As I replied to your sibbling post also, a 4GB flash drive should, according to your calculations, last for at least 8 months when used for storing a pagefile. I have tried this on quite a few devices, and for such use, a flash drive typically fails after some 2 months of constant use. This gets a lot worse still when also using the flash for other things (which limits the number of cells available for writing)

                  I have been
                  • As I replied to your sibbling post also, a 4GB flash drive should, according to your calculations, last for at least 8 months when used for storing a pagefile.

                    It's all about the actual specs of the parts in use. If you don't buy the right product for the job, you can't expect it to do the job. Maybe you've been buying cheap knock-offs -- stuff without wear-leveling, or with only 10K rewrites or some other deficiency. No way I can diagnose your problems without the actual specs of the actual parts and the
                    • It's all about the actual specs of the parts in use. If you don't buy the right product for the job, you can't expect it to do the job. Maybe you've been buying cheap knock-offs -- stuff without wear-leveling, or with only 10K rewrites or some other deficiency. No way I can diagnose your problems without the actual specs of the actual parts and the actual usage they've been subjected to.

                      Well, I am not asking you to diagnose my problem, was more pointing at something that we found, and that if you search goo
                    • Heh, as they say there, a bit expensive... but cool stuff, thanks!
  • Pine + SSH (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:54AM (#17409522)
    Pine + SSH, now you've got your mail synced anywhere on the planet.
    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)
      Wow, I didn't know Pine magically stayed working when you turn off your computer! Time to switch from mutt...

      Seriously, the solution you propose is a very nice one, but note that the submitter said he can't use IMAP running on his desktop machine, because it will be inaccessible when switched off. Pine + SSH suffers from the same problem.
  • Lots of ways (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kosmosik (654958) <kos@NosPAM.kosmosik.net> on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:57AM (#17409546) Homepage
    1. The proper.
    Use IMAP server that is online. Like at your ISP if you can't provide aviability yourself.

    2. Poor mans IMAP.
    Use POP with few accounts and aliases. This also requires the server to be aviable.

    Make one account name it - main@account.tld - make it forward all incoming email to other two (or N) accounts like: desktop@account.tld, laptop@account.tld... Make your desktop client use the desktop account and laptop use the laptop account. Make your both (or N clients) do BCC to your main@account.tld for any sent meassage.

    Voila - done, you have the same messages (incoming and outgoing) on both (or N) POP accounts. You just need to download them to clients.

    • And if you ISP can't do IMAP, there's only about a million places on the internet that you can get basic hosting for $5/month or less. Add $9 a year for a domain and you can make your own damn rules about how you get your email.
  • by teslar (706653)
    rsync?
    • by dhasenan (758719)
      You need to sync the computers while both are on. This is a decent solution, however.

      The questor could just get an old P2 box for spare change, put Linux on it, and use that as a mail server. Or have both computers sync to it (assuming he has a setup that allows him to access it remotely, or doesn't mind remembering to check his email on his laptop before leaving).
  • by a16 (783096) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @11:58AM (#17409558)
    Use an IMAP server.

    You even answered it yourself, except decided it is of no use as it would be unavailable when your home connection goes down.

    So.. get a cheap hosting/email account with IMAP capabilities, so that it's accessible over the net. Every mail client setup to use the IMAP account will see the same folders/inbox, and it'll work from anywhere. If you're paranoid about having your data in someone else's hands, download it to an archive locally with fetchmail or similar.
  • Most IMAP clients cache local copies of the messages to speed up display and allow for offline use. I know that the already-seen messages in both Mail.app and Thunderbird are visible even when I can't reach my mail server. I'd would just recommend using IMAP and running your own server, with clients that cache. Also set up SquirrelMail [squirrelmail.org] on the server so that you can access your mail from kiosk-type computers and you'll be all set.

    I've run a setup like this for years and it works out great.
    • by nuxx (10153)
      I should add that I do this so I can have ready access to my mail from home (OS X), work (XP), and whatever random machines with it always in sync, and drafts saved across the board. Coupled with server-side sorting and spam filtering, everything works great.
  • by ceeam (39911) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:02PM (#17409602)
    Gmail?
    • Not to mention the easiest to set up (nothing to set up at all) and manage and back up (again, nothing to do at all) and certainly accessable from any number of machines (anything with internet access.)
    • by vga_init (589198)
      Yeah, I'm going to have to go with gmail on this one. I used to be against web clients in general, but eventually I caved in and went with it. It's been so much of a hassle running my own mail clients, what with having to shuffle my mail around between hosts al tlhe time.

      I certainly wish my ISP or one of my mail services would offer IMAP, but I don't see how that's ever going to happen. Bastards...
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edmicman (830206) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:05PM (#17409640) Homepage Journal
    Maybe I'm not fully understanding what it is you're trying to do....but if you're running an IMAP server at home, why would it ever be turned off? That's your *mail* server. And if there's the possibility of it being turned off, maybe you should look for a hosted solution or something?

    How do I manage mail between a laptop and a desktop? I bought my own domain and pay for budget hosting. They provide IMAP mail servers. I used to check everything with Thunderbird using IMAP, and then when I wasn't at my computer with Thunderbird, I could log into the webmail interface and everything would be there.

    Now, I actually have everything forwarded to my gmail account. Yes, I went to the dark side, but gmail's web interface and spam control can't be beat. And now I don't have to maintain a local Thunderbird install or anything else. All of my email can be checked and worked with remotely from anywhere. It really isn't that hard!
    • And luckily Google notifies his clients if he's running late for a meeting when he misses an emai---- erm, sorry, I'm sure they never read personal emails. I've got the first solution (own domain, Thunderbird and Squirrelmail) you mention, and have only ever used gmail once. That was when I was out of the country in a place with state-controlled Internet, and I was sending cryptic messages back home letting them know I was alive, and that's it.
  • Just switch to gmail and be done with it.
  • First I was going to setup a local IMAP server on my desktop, and do it like that. Then I decided to just ssh and execute mutt remotely. No syncing necessary as its all in one place. Just another alternative suggestion. (I also thought about an NFS mounted maildir as an alternative to full blown IMAP, but that seemed kind of silly).
  • 4 ideas to consider (Score:3, Informative)

    by linuxtelephony (141049) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:25PM (#17409798) Homepage
    1. POP on both home and laptop machines. Configure your primary machine (home?) to leave mail on the server for X days. [I believe most clients support this, but I couldn't tell you for sure; I haven't used POP for a couple of years now.] Make sure X is large enough that you will get mail on the laptop or desktop, whichever is used least. Configure your secondary machine to leave mail on the server. This will allow both machines to get mail at the same time, has only one machine deleting mail, and should do what you want. My parents are configured similar to this and it works well for them. So far I haven't noticed any problems in the server logs if both login to the POP server at the same time.

    2. I use IMAP for myself. In this case, I host my own on my server, and it does not get turned off. I have IMAP access from any IMAP client as well as a web mail client. My pda phone even uses IMAP to get messages. Any changes I make from my phone, IMAP client at work or home, or web mail all show up on the other clients thanks to the shared IMAP folder. [If you are going to store thousands and thousands of messages, make sure you use a high-performing IMAP server.]

    3. Use a mail client that uses a maildir and not an mbox or other db type of storage file. Then, you can use rsync back and forth between your primary and secondary machines. Indexes (for sorting) might need to be updated after each sync however. I would say this would probably be the least efficient and most prone to problems.

    4. Send all your mail to gmail, access it from them with POP (see #1), except don't delete anything using the POP clients. Periodically log into your gmail account and either archive or delete everything that is read.
  • Two Answers (Score:3, Informative)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:27PM (#17409822) Homepage Journal
    The first answer that came to mind was: do like everyone else, use IMAP. You said running IMAP on your home machine isn't a solution, because you turn it off. So run it on a machine that isn't turned off, like some provider's mail server. If your current provider doesn't offer IMAP, you can always have your mail forwarded to another account. I can offer you an account through my company, if you wish.

    The second answer that comes to mind is: store your messages in directories, with one file per message (e.g. MH, Maildir, or mailfiles format), then use some sync program (e.g. rsync, or some specialized tool, like isync) to sync between the two machines. I've done this for some time; it works as long as you're careful that filenames assigned to messages are unique (they aren't always for MH) and one message has only one filename (Maildir renames files when certain flags are set on the message).
    • by Tet (2721)
      it works as long as you're careful that filenames assigned to messages are unique (they aren't always for MH)

      Huh? What are you talking about? How can they not be unique? You can't have two files with the same name in the same directory (under Unix, at least), and MH stores one message per file.

      • by scdeimos (632778)
        I think he means unique across multiple directories.
        • by Tet (2721)
          I think he means unique across multiple directories.

          No, that's not a requirement. On reflection, though, I think he means unique across machines, so that you can sync two machines that may have received mail independently without overwriting mail on the destination machine, and on that score, he's right. MH does have that problem (which merely means you need to use a bit of application specific knowledge in your sync utility, rather than just being able to naively use rsync). Does Maildir give you globall

          • by Ex Machina (10710)
            Does Maildir give you globally unique filenames for each message, then?

            iirc, they are based on message id; if so, yes.

  • by emag (4640) <slashdot&gurski,org> on Saturday December 30, 2006 @12:52PM (#17410074) Homepage
    Continue pulling from your pop3 server that you mentioned. When the home box is off, pull using the laptop. Make sure your .procmailrc or whatever's in sync between the two. Then, keep your IMAP server on your home box, and investigate one of these 3 tools to propagate changes on both boxes to each other:

    • isync [sourceforge.net] - Synchronize a local maildir with a remote IMAP4 mailbox
    • mailsync [sourceforge.net] - Synchronize IMAP mailboxes
    • offlineimap [complete.org] - IMAP/Maildir synchronization and reader support


    • by Klaruz (734)
      Yes, the parent is right on. An imap sync program (or unison, mentioned above), seem to be a good idea. I've been researching this a lot myself. I have a few basic needs for mail that must be met.

      1 IMAP Account, 2 identities (one gets forwarded in and filed with sieve rules).
      2 PGP Keys; not using subkeys, home and work.
      Ability to access email from my personal server on the internet, or my laptop when disconnected.
      Works with OS X contacts so I can use the missing sync to keep my phone's addy book up to date.
  • by Erris (531066)

    Why not just run the client from work with ssh -X? Shell into your gateway, then shell into your mail machine and run the client you usually do. I use Kontact and it works well, given an adequate network. There is some lag, but it's not much worse than the lag experienced at home.

  • by DarkDust (239124) * <marc@darkdust.net> on Saturday December 30, 2006 @01:42PM (#17410516) Homepage
    It's called "disconnected IMAP" and is like cached IMAP: KMail pulls the stuff on your box so you can view it even when you have no network connection, like with POP3. But since this is IMAP and everything is on the server, you can do that with several clients. I've got my own IMAP server and use KMail's disconnected IMAP at home and at work. It works just fine...
  • I was going to suggest POP3 with leave-mail-on-server + sorting rules: this way works well for me. Also, force thunderbird to BCC your own email on every message you send out - that way the threads of conversation look beautiful AND you get a trail of "sent" emails on all machines you use.

    However, if you really want to always have a perfect sync, consider putting the mail folders on a flash drive and using that every time you check your email. That adds some security too, since if the data is not present, i
  • I tried a number of things because I am in the same situation. I have a very old (Pentium II era) computer that I always have on, and a cronjob runs getmail periodically, which drops the mail off to maildrop, which sorts the mail and delivers it in maildir format (also, the first rule is to copy the message into a backup folder). Then I just run an IMAP server that reads the maildir directories. The reason that I ended up doing this rather than the various other solutions I might have done is that this give
  • http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/ [upenn.edu]

    unison is the best thing since sliced bread. keep your mailboxes in Maildir/ format and just unison between the machines periodically. since unison is symmetric, you can pull your mail down from either your laptop or your desktop and it will propegate to the other one on the next sync.

  • Why shut down your home system? Why not have it available as a server to make your life easier? I agree with other posters about using "offline" mode of Thunderbird and like clients.

    In case you're thinking that you have a particularly repressive ISP...

    My ISP blocks ports 80 and 25 - particularly irritating, if you ask me. My ISPs TOS, if read to the letter, would mean that multiple browser windows or tabbed browsing are inappropriate because it's more than one session over the broadband pipe.

    I ag
  • IMAP. Works great if you have an IMAP server always available.
  • I have Thunderbird between both computers, and it works as follows:

    1) Everything of 'true' importance stays on the webmail (like school meetings, etc.)

    2) All the stuff that is of less importance (LiveJournal, Facebook, and *gasp* even Slashdot) gets sorted with the filters and pulled from the webmail to sit on the client. Yes, it means that mail is now on a specific machine, but because it's of less importance, you're not missing anything (and it's probably also saner).

    It's either this or gmail, but it suit
  • You won't be able to do this since you in particular want to be able to turn off your home linux server.

    But I've wondered for a while about how to set up the ultimate email system and came across the following combination of software running under Debian:

    * Exim MTA
    * Procmail (for storing mail in Maildir format and sorting mailing lists)
    * SpamAssassin
    * Courier IMAPd (for allowing IMAP access from multiple email clients)
    * fetchmail
    * fetchyahoo (pull stuff from my yahoo product/spam account)

    This configuration
  • I'll soon be getting a new Dell laptop that'll be running Fedora Core 5 or 6. I need to access the email stored on my home box from the laptop, and also to read new email sent to me while I'm not home (and the home box is shut down).
    A new laptop for only e-mail?

    That doesn't seem very well thought out to me.
    • A new laptop for only e-mail?

      That doesn't seem very well thought out to me.


      Maybe not ... but it explains why Dell manages to sell so many computers.
  • the boring solution is to get yourself a cheap-as-chips web hosting account with something like cPanel so you can easily manage your mail accounts. Throw all your mail at that server, and access it with IMAP from home or on the go. Use fetchmail to collect your ISP's POP mail and deliver it to your IMAP account if required. Try and find one with SSH access, then you can easily setup some backup process to grab a copy of your mbox's periodically just-in-case.
  • Get a virtual host that you can run 24x7 and put your IMAP server on that. Add in AUTH and TLS and you can send from it as well. And it won't care if you are on a desktop, notebook, or crackberry.

  • I very much prefer having all my mail on an IMAP server (accessed over SSL only). As you mention, this is problematic when you don't want to run your desktop machine at home 24/7.

    Until recently, I had a Linux server for this specific purpose. However, after years of relatively trouble-free service, the hardware was getting old to the point where keeping it running was becoming more troublesome than buying something else.

    So I bought a Mac Mini for several reasons:

    1. It is very silent
    2. It uses only 20-25W (!
  • by Sloppy (14984)
    If I run an IMAP server at home, then I can't read the mail when the home box is down.
    Then run an IMAP server on a box that doesn't ever go down. You can get a virtualized Linux server (uml, xen, whatever) somewhere for $20/month, maybe less, and it'll solve this problem and have many other uses as well. If that's a lot of money to you, then maybe you can spread it out among some friends who also need the same thing.

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