getting off this mailing list

Ed Cogburn edcogburn at
Sat Jul 2 08:18:56 UTC 2005

Tab Gilbert wrote:

>> Both are very, very wrong.
>> 1) I use mutt on my laptop. It is the best -- though perhaps
>> not the easiest-to-use -- email client that I've ever used.
>> 2) I download all my email from a remote server to my
>> laptop using fetchmail.
>> 3) I can leave my mail on that server or delete it off
>> there. This is all defined in ~/.fetchmailrc.
>> 4) Fetchmail works over all variants of POP, IMAP, SSL, and
>> ssh -- I download my mail using IMAP over SSH.
> I for one am in the idiot section of the book when it comes SSL, IMAP,
> mutt and fetchmail (but then again I bailed on pine as soon as I could
> way back when) and most of the linux world in general.  My laptop is
> still waiting for me to pick it up in where ever they come from.  If
> someone is overwhelmed by a mailing list it seems gmail is a good
> option for a newbie to quickly get a handle on the volume.  Digest is
> great if you do not mind the lag factor.

Given all of these reasons, you should be using gmane as Martin mentioned
earlier in this thread.  It lets you read this list as a newsgroup, which
by definition means its automatically threaded for you, depending on which
newsgroup reader you use.  And you don't need fetchmail AT ALL, because you
don't download all the mails, only the subject lines, and the post body get
downloaded when you click on the subject.  And again, depending on the
newsreader, you can filter mails by the subject line if you wish to cut
down the volume even further.

No offense guys, but this argument is starting to sound just a *little*
strange.  :)  It doesn't matter which is "better" to use, procmail or
fetchmail, because truthfully, to an end user they both *suck* as far as
ease-of-use (sorry, but I've used both).  As Martin said, the easiest way
for a newbie to track this list without being overwhelmed by the volume (or
overwhelmed by the setup requirements of his mail reader and filter) is to
not read this mailing list *AS A* mailing list at all, read it instead via
the newsgroup paradigm, where threading the conversations is the default,
NATURAL behavior, and the only posts you download are the ones you want to
read, with little or no need for filtering at your end at all (and good
newsgroup readers support both pre-download filtering on the subject line,
and post-download filtering on the post's body should folks want to go that
far).  Mozilla has Thunderbird, KDE has knode, and having used those two in
the past I know they can handle this job easily (I'm using knode right
now).  I'm sure GNOME has a decent newsgroup reader component in it as
well.  For newbies, THAT is the easiest way for them to get on the list and
stay on, because the list volume is no longer a factor since they're now
downloading just a fraction of the total posts.  Honestly, on a high volume
list, how many people actually read every single post?  Given the answer to
that question, why do people still download every single post?  Hmmmm... 
As for those who want to create a "database", well that's what a newsgroup
really *is*, a database, and good newsgroup readers will let you do that if
that's what you want, i.e. download all posts & never expire them so they
can be searched later.

And the nice thing is, we have freedom of choice.  The grognards can keep
their mailing list paradigm, and their meticulously crafted, arcane
procmail filters, while newbies can hop right on without needing to setup
anything beyond pointing their newsgroup reader to gmane.linux.ubuntu.user. 
So everybody wins.  And don't you just love happy endings?  :)

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