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Sup: The Hacker's Mail User Agent (supmua.org)
74 points by k2enemy 1457 days ago | hide | past | web | 30 comments | favorite

I've been thinking about switching to sup a few times, but the inability to sync changes back to the IMAP server is a deal breaker to me.

If I mark an email as read in sup, I don't want it to show up as unread on my phone. If I delete an email on the phone, I don't want it to stay in sup.

I know there's been a branch of sup that synced IMAP flags from the local repo to the server, solving at least the read status problem. But it seems the version linked here does not include that branch.

FWIW, I never considered that a serious limitation. On my phone, I don’t want to read email. It’s a sub-par experience, especially if you’re used to Sup/Gmail/Notmuch. You can’t just go back to “regular” email clients anymore :).

As for using multiple computers: with sup I used to run it in screen and attach that screen session whenever I needed it. With notmuch, I can just tell it to run notmuch(1) on a remote machine and even use a local UI.

I do some email using my phone when on the go, and although I'd like a better sync experience, it's not a showstopper. OfflineIMAP (buggy as hell, but works) can sync unread and flagged/starred status, which is the most important part. In a normal day where I mostly use notmuch, I just batch-archive the day's messages. I don't like the latency of using a remote notmuch, especially when going through a string of 5MB log files (remote debugging a user's mis-configuration) on conference wireless or while tethering.

If you haven't already considered mbsync as an alternative to OfflineIMAP, I suggest taking a look. I also found OfflineIMAP buggy (many years ago) and mbsync has been syncing my mailboxes reliably since. http://isync.sourceforge.net/ I say this as the author of a program that runs mailbox syncers like mbsync when there are changes to sync (mswatch: http://mswatch.sourceforge.net/).

There's a dev branch for maildir sync, but I haven't tried it out: https://github.com/sup-heliotrope/sup/tree/maildir-sync

I agree that this limitation makes it really hard to fit sup into a workflow that includes multiple workstations and phones/tablets. Hopefully they get that sorted.

I've been running maildir-label-syncing Sup for a while. It works great, but you need the master Sup client to be running for new email to get sorted. http://blog.ezyang.com/2012/12/maildir-synchronizing-sup/

The genealogically related 'notmuch' can do that: by default it syncs certain notmuch tags (like read/unread) with Maildir flags, and then you can sync Maildir with IMAP using something like offlineimap.

I've been a mutt user since around 1997, and elm and mail before that.

I now do something crazy with maildir sync via mbsync and then mutt. Works pretty well. This lets me use push mail from an EAS (Kerio or Z-push) server on the iPhone to get push email, as well as getting mail on a few computers, all with full local archives. I just use the mail server for webmail in the cases I need to use it, but kerio's webmail is pretty crap.

Unclear what benefit sup gives over mutt. Mutt's killer feature is folder hooks, I think. I can't think of anything which can't be done with folder hooks, other than maybe tags, which I just solve with full-text search.

Could you say a little bit about what you do with folder hooks?

I've been using mutt for ages (not quite as long as you!) but I don't do anything clever with folder hooks, so it would be interesting to see what you do.

I, too, have been using mutt for a while now. I get emails at lots of different addresses and filter them into various folders. I use folder hooks to set my email address, depending the current folder.

Ah right. I typically use send hooks for that, based on the To: address but folder hooks would help me out too. I'll have to look into that.

Apparently, somebody else is continuing sup development.

It used to be that William Morgan was the BDFL, and he started working on heliotrope/turnsole (a successor), which, AFAICT, never got anywhere serious.

I long since switched from sup to notmuch, which makes me much happier in terms of performance, documentation and stability.

For anyone looking for a link- http://notmuchmail.org/

"Notmuch is an answer to Sup. Sup is a very good email program written by William Morgan (and others) and is the direct inspiration for Notmuch. Notmuch began as an effort to rewrite performance-critical pieces of Sup in C rather than ruby. From there, it grew into a separate project. One significant contribution Notmuch makes compared to Sup is the separation of the indexer/searcher from the user interface. (Notmuch provides a library interface so that its indexing/searching/tagging features can be integrated into any email program.)"

Do you mind detailing your notmuch setup a little? In particular, what frontend? I used notmuch with mutt and the search was so slow that I went back to Mail.app on the mac (and now back to sup).

I use the canonical notmuch-emacs frontend, because all the others are not as good as the emacs one (I was not an emacs user before that).

Search is as fast as it was with sup for me, which is not a surprise, given that both use Xapian :).

When I was using NetBSD in 2001 I actually liked the built-in "mail" command to read email. It was very minimal. Sadly, I could never figure out how to handle attachments with it.

"mail" is actually a fantastic interface to an email box assuming you don't receive very much mail. I still use it for things like sending myself an email notification when a long-running job is finished.

Maybe this wasn't the case back then, but with the mailx the comes with modern Linux distros you can attach files using the -a flag

That sounds like a great idea.

EDIT: NetBSD does support the -a flag (since version 1.23 of mail in 2006) but OpenBSD and FreeBSD doesn't. Good to know.

Looks like sup is under new leadership with some recent releases, a new homepage, and new github repo: https://github.com/sup-heliotrope/sup

Awesome. I've been looking for something like this. I know of mut and pine, but I've been looking for something new and shiny.

How does this go beyond what you can do with mutt? Plus mutt handles IMAP out of the box.

It mimics the gmail look & feel, i.e. one line of text represents one thread in your inbox, and when you open it, you get all the messages of the thread (with read messages collapsed), instead of precisely one message.

Edit: also fast (!) full-text search thanks to Xapian, tags instead of folders

> It mimics the gmail look & feel, i.e. one line of text represents one thread in your inbox

folder-hook . "exec collapse-all"

set sort=threads

set sort_aux=last-date-received

Yup. I do this since I'm used to za in Vim for toggling folds:

    # Collapse all threads by default, except if 
    # there's new mail in one.
    unset collapse_unread
    folder-hook . "exec collapse-all"
    # Toggle collapsed threads with za, like in vim.
    bind index za collapse-thread

Unfortunately this won't install on my mac. After playing with it for a while I'm giving up... because I simply don't have the time.

Too bad, I was really excited about this.

AFAIR, William Morgan also used Mac OS X, so I am surprised it doesn’t work for you.

Sooo... it's pine?

mutt cant display the first few words of an email in index view like sup does. i love gmail therefor.

I like nmh, though it takes a lot of setup to get usable (which I've admittedly not yet done since my last change of computers).

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