In the end, alpine was just easier

I tried, I really tried. I wanted to be one of the cool guys, but mutt didn’t love me. My e-mail would send, but it wouldn’t sort properly and just sat in /var/spool/mail staring at me blankly. Maybe it was procmail. Maybe it was fetchmail. Maybe it was just mutt, and bad karma.

But for as much time as it took me to almost get my four-plus e-mail accounts working with mutt, it took me all of 30 seconds with alpine. Now I can peacefully graze away on the Elysian fields of console-based e-mail clients, without pulling out my hair over the quadruple threat of muttrc-fetchmailrc-procmailrc-msmtprc.

Because honestly, this was all it needed for me to read from an account.

  1. Install alpine. That’s the part that took the longest, if you can believe that.
  2. Start it, and go to the configurations page with M-S-C. Page down until you see “Enable Incoming Folders Collection.” Press return to select it, then E to exit and Q to quit.
  3. Restart alpine.
  4. Press L for the folder list. Highlight “Incoming-Folders” and press return. Press A for a new folder.
  5. When asked for the name of the server to contain the added folder, enter this for a GMail account.

  6. At the “Folder on ‘…’ to add:” prompt, enter “Inbox”.
  7. For the “Nickname for folder ‘Inbox’:”, enter whatever you want to call the folder locally. I called mine
  8. When you press return you’ll be prompted for your password, or given an warning screen about certificates and asked for permission to continue. Enter yes, or your password or both, as needed.

That’s all, once for each account. 😦 I still had a little setting up to do to send e-mails, but it was all described on this slightly out-of-date but still accurate page.

I wish it hadn’t been so simple. I wish I wasn’t so dunderheaded sometimes. I really wanted to get mutt working and I’m sure if I had, we would have had a long, happy relationship together.

But in the end, alpine was just easier. 😐


12 thoughts on “In the end, alpine was just easier

  1. Mikko

    I have to confess that having used pine for more than 15 years I had to add alias pine=’alpine’ to my .bashrc 🙂

  2. Pingback: Fixing alpine’s TCP timeouts « Motho ke motho ka botho

  3. JD4200

    I’ve been using Alpine for a while; it’s great.
    However, How do I got about emails in a folder?

    Alpine asks me on every exit whether I want to save in my mail folder, I answer yes, but it says: “Intermediate folder format” Saving failed.

    Any ideas why? Or how I can save email?


  4. bsdhacker

    Haha, I loved your post – Mutt didn’t love me either. I spent a great deal of time on it, and finally got it working… but I ended up ditching it for alpine because it drove me nuts.

  5. brett


    I’m wondering, I’ve just started using alpine and I love it, but is there a way to import your other folders besides the inbox from gmail?



  6. Russell

    Hi, I love your blog, but I just have one question, I want to set up sending Mail in Alpine, but the link you gave doesn’t seem to work. Is there another place I can look?

    1. K.Mandla Post author

      Uh-oh, if it’s not there, we’re both in trouble. Let me check and see if my settings are any help. Please stand by …


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