mutt manual: i have bad startings into learning mutt

kalle kalle at
Mon Mar 12 20:54:05 UTC 2018

thanks to you all for the lots of help, which came. I always work on
different free software topics in parallel, so it is usual that my
responses can take a lot of time. But they eventually come...

Am 07.02.2018 um 22:37 schrieb kalle:
> hello,
> In the manual v.1.9.2, chapter "2.1 Index" it says
> "The index is the screen that you usually see first when you start
> Mutt. It gives an overview over your emails in the currently opened
> mailbox."
> The problem is: there are no mails to see, because there is no mailbox
> of mine open and I don't know how to do this.
> It is the third time already that I try to learn mutt but having no
> mails to start with, not knowing what is meant by a 'mailbox' and how
> to administrate it, even when reading in the newbie manual not getting
> to a point.
> I usually use thunderbird and thus already have some experience with
> e-mail, but what I got from trying to learn mutt is just depressing
> for me.
> greetings,
> kalle

Am 08.02.2018 um 19:27 schrieb Wim:
> the manual is an excellent resource but difficult for new users. The
> Arch wiki might be a better place to start.
> https://wiki/
> Or

your 2 hints helped me (the second one is in german). But I think, that
they don't make me really understand things, they only help me fix the
configuration problem somehow.
But it disturbs me, that every distribution community make their own
documentation. It would be much more efficient, if there would be one
reference manual and then at most some different tutorials or alike,
which are specialized in their didactical way. Doing the same work
several times is a waste of resources for the user community.

Therefore I will look thoroughly, what went wrong when I tried or what
could be done better.

@yubin, erik: this is my muttrc NOW. and now it works.

set imap_user=kalle at
set spoolfile=imaps://
set folder=imaps://
set editor=ed

I didn't have a .muttrc-file before. That's why it didn't work. It was
only that when I started mutt, the program told me that I didn't have
any mailbox and if didn't want any, if I remember right. But I didn't
know what to answer.

As you see, I have a spoolfile now.My mutt-version is 1.5.21.

Am 08.02.2018 um 03:19 schrieb Erik Christiansen:
> As you are using linux on your host, try:
> $ ls /var/spool/mail/
> to see what is there. (And go from there.)

The directory was empty. How should it, since I didn't have any
MailRetrievalAgent to put it there and didn't configure mutt to use it's
imap-feature. And now, while I started using fetchmail I also got some
mails in /var/mail.


Am 08.02.2018 um 05:39 schrieb Cameron Simpson:
> Ok, it sounds like mutt is presenting the local default UNIX mailbox on
> your system.
> If you are using Thunderbird then it is likely that either your mailbox
> is an IMAP service hosted at your ISP or at some place like Google Mail.
> Is this the case?
> Without some configuration, mutt looks in your local machine's mail
> system. It is likely that nothing is using that if it is a personal
> machine such as a laptop, so you have no local mail.

You were exactly right.

my conclusion at this state of reflection, at which I am:
i suppose that if in the manual.txt it would've been clearly
referenced/explained the different functions of Mail exchange and that
Mutt is generally only the MUA-part while it can also have some
MRA-features, which are in chapter 6 - Optional Features (e.g. 6.4 IMAP
Support)  I would've found the IMAP-configuration there.
But as I started from the beginning of the document, where the it is not
talked about the necessary configuration, I could not follow, and
continued the chapters, passing the "Configuration"-chapter until
reaching the "Advanced Features"-chapter and there at latest abandoning,
without having found a good hint about it.


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