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wha's the difference between this and a tool like offlineimap?

As an OfflineIMAP user, I see a few immediate differences:

1. OfflineIMAP expects standard IMAP servers. GMVault has special casing to handle Google's wonky IMAP support, along with features like labels and the "All Mail" directory.

2. OfflineIMAP is GPLv2 (or 3, at your option). GMVault is GPLv3.

3. OfflineIMAP syncs to either a local Maildir or another IMAP server. GMVault syncs to its own custom on-disk representation.

4. OfflineIMAP uses a username/password to log in to servers. GMVault uses XOAuth.

5. OfflineIMAP is fully bi-directional by default; local deletion propagates to the remote server. GMVault notes that "manually deleting emails or emails' directories does not prevent Gmvault from working."

6. GMVault can encrypt its own archives. OfflineIMAP cannot.

Basically, GMVault looks like a much less general-purpose tool, but in its specialization, should allow for a much nicer experience for users that simply want a backup for their GMail account.

I'm fond of the versatility that OfflineIMAP gives me (I can restore my mail to any IMAP server, not just GMail; I can access the local Maildir with other applications like Dovecot and Mutt; etc.), but excited about the possibilities of GMVault for friends and family.

"Do you have your GMail backed up? No? Here, let me install GMVault for you..."

I believe that OfflineIMAP now has gmail-specific code (type = Gmail) :


it is only to backup specific target labels (or imap directories). If you ever restore your Gmail account with OfflineIMAP then I think that you will loose partly this information. I would say the purpose of these tools is different.

How do you get it to encrypt its own archives?

You use the --encrypt flag. See ./gmvault sync -h for more info

Apparently, it also backs up Gmail specific stuff like labels. Which is nice, but if Gmail every bites you in the ass so hard that this is the only way to recover, would you trust Gmail again?

As for myself, I just imap my Gmail accounts and don't use those features exactly to avoid that kind of lock-in. I've used too many email services and clients in my lifetime to assume Google is the final solution. And safeguarding my mail offline with imap works just fine.

Gmvault is a tool entirely dedicated to Gmail so it will recreate your account exactly as it was. Standard imap backuping tool like OfflineIMAP do not preserve labels when restoring emails on an imap server because your have to use a Gmail specific extension. For example it will take care of the Gmail labels and will recreate them when restoring the emails on an account. More features are available. Check the documentation.

Hopefully it flakes out/dies less often than offlineimap.

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