I don’t know exactly what caused me to fall into this rabbit hole, I have been a fan of plain text encrypted email for a while already. I have used Thunderbird for almost a year now, and K-9 Mail too has been a great email client for my phone.
Funnily enough, I never got to talk about Thunderbird, but I have recommended it multiple times and you might have seen an email reply of mine, with my signature saying “Sent from Thunderbird” if you ever sent me an email.
I have tried some other terminal clients such as pure mutt, alpine and aerc, but I was not really convinced about any of them.
Regardless, I have decided to test Neomutt once and for all, and in order to make that as easy as possible for myself, I installed mutt-wizard, a program created by Luke Smith that helps you do it, with a nice default config, keybindings, password management with
pass (which I already use) and I gotta admit, its pretty good! But I have some points I would like to explain, as well as the changes I had to do to deal with some things.
Passwords are stored with
pass, that’s not a problem for most people, but I am a bit finicky,
mw, which is the program you call via the terminal, creates a new pass gpg entry, so I have duplicated things, and yeah I guess I don’t like that. Thankfully it’s a matter of changing the
msmtp configuration file, which is used by the program of the same name which is a dependency to actually send the emails I write. it should have something like this:
account firstname.lastname@example.org # content passwordeval "pass email@example.com" # other things account firstname.lastname@example.org # content passwordeval "pass email@example.com" # more content indeed
So I just have to change the values of the
passwordeval of each account, which is not hard to do at all!
Another small detail I was unable to figure out is that I could not encrypt email to send and I also could not self-encrypt it, so once I managed to send one, I was unable to open it.
To fix that, I had to ultimately trust the public keys I tried, I think I could do full trust instead, but I don’t really understand why I can’t just have the keys as they are, I guess its just Neomutt being finicky.
In order to self encrypt email, it looks like there is no real way to adjust that with Neomutt, there is this
set pgp_self_encrypt = yes option but it looks like it no longer works, and most variables start with
set crypt_*, so maybe it gets re-implemented one day.
I also added these lines to the config file in
set crypt_opportunistic_encrypt = yes set crypt_replysign = yes
There are some other settings and I don’t actually get how the ones I’ve enabled work, but well, encryption works, I just have to trust the keys of people I encrypt messages to.
Email management problems
I had created a few nested folders using Thunderbird, but none of them seemed to work properly. I could probably have made them work but I didn’t want to bother trying, some of those folders were not important or I just moved them to the “root” directory instead of having it under the Inbox.
I had to remove my account and set it up again, but it worked just fine.
Another thing I wanted to fix was setting up Neomutt as default XDG email app, so I could open
mailto links with it.
Editing the Neomutt desktop file was necessary, I changed the Exec line to
alacritty -e neomutt %u. It all looks like this:
[Desktop Entry] Categories=Office;Network;Email; Comment=Simple text-based Mail User Agent Comment[de]=Einfaches, Text-basiertes Mailprogramm Exec=alacritty -e neomutt %u Icon=neomutt Name=neomutt Name[de]=Mutt MimeType=x-scheme-handler/mailto; NoDisplay=false # Terminal=true Type=Application
So far, happy with it, I still have some keybindings to learn, but it worked out just fine.
Mailing lists and formatting
I really like mailing lists, although I kinda hate the archaic interfaces of some web archives (if you know some good looking ones other than source hut’s, let me know via email).
This is another thing that I struggled a bit to understand, but only because I could not find the Reply All keybinding, once I did, it worked out alright.
Another detail was that K-9 was displaying emails wrong, but that’s because the
format_flowed option was not set, once I did that, everything turned out fine.
A small Neovim configuration
I created a simple config file specific for email writing and formatting, so I am also sharing it here. I just works. Notice the color set for comments, since quotes were hard to read with the Nord color scheme, so yeah I changed the color of them and its alright.
❯ cat ~/.config/nvim/ftplugin/mail.vim " ftplugin/mail.vim setl tw=72 setl nojs setl nosmartindent setl noautoindent " Flowed format setl fo=watqj set comments-=fb:- setl list set listchars=trail:• highlight Comment ctermfg=green cterm=italic
I have to credit Rinzewind for helping out a lot, I found a blog of him talking about the mail formatting, sent an email to ask some questions and gave me a lot of tips and tricks to fix a lot of problems.
I have managed to adapt quite nicely. I still haven’t moved all of my accounts yet, but if it all goes fine, maybe I will try. Quite promising.
This has been day 82 of #100DaysToOffload.