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E-Mail Basics

This tutorial covers the basics of accessing E-mail on SDF. Topics include command-line and remote access. Configuration of mail retrieval programs (fetchmail, getmail) and Mail User Agents, aka E-mail programs–such as Mozilla Thunderbird–will also be covered.

Introduction, and what you will not find here

For basic info about e-mail (addresses, reader programs, file size, etc), please read the corresponding FAQ entry. Continue reading for more information about using E-mail services at SDF.

If you want to use a SDF's SMTP server to send mail, you must either log in and use one of the clients as described in e-mail beginners, or register at an appropriate membership level to be able to connect using SMTP AUTH. See the email access overview for what membership levels have access to what email capabilities.

Reading E-Mail on SDF from Shell and Web

Multiple mail clients are available to be used from the shell, including pine and mutt.

There are also two webmail clients available for users.

For both of the above, see email access overview for more information.

Accessing SDF E-mail via Webmail
General users visit, MetaARPA members visit if you've forwarded your mail to the MetaArray.

Configuring Graphical Mail User Agents Running on Your Computer or Phone

Mozilla Thunderbird Configuration

Server Settings Server Type: IMAP Mail Server
Server Name:
Port: 993
User Name: remote.username

Security Settings Connection security: SSL/TLS
Use secure authentication: (unchecked)

Apple Mail

Mail » Preferences » Accounts
Click +

Enter your name and SDF E-mail address, then click “Continue”.

Incoming Mail Server Account Type: IMAP
Description: SDF
Incoming Mail Server:
User Name: remote.username
Password: remote.password
Click “Continue”

Use your ISP's SMTP server for outgoing mail - unless you opt for an SDF membership level that allows SMTP, in which case see the smtpauth tutorial.
Click “Continue”

You should now see an account summary page. Verify the summary and click “Create”.
You can now return to the Accounts preferences, select “Advanced”, and if necessary add:
IMAP Path Prefix: INBOX

Outlook 365 for Windows 10

This one's not as obvious as you'd think. You'll need to close Outlook to begin with, and run this command. Click Start and then type:

outlook.exe /manageprofiles

then click on Email Accounts… » New… » Manual setup or additional server type » Next » POP or IMAP » then fill in the form:

Your Name: Filbert Exampleton
Email Address:
Account Type: IMAP
Incoming mail server:
Outgoing mail server: fill this in with a valid SMTP
User Name: efilbert
Password: ednaedison123

then click More Settings… » Outgoing Server » My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication » Log on using » fill in the fields witn your smtp » OK » next

Outlook will perform a connection test, and after it passes, you can exit the wizard and configuration program. When you start Outlook back up, the SDF mail account should appear. What a friggin headache.

Configuring Mail in iOS (as a MetaARPA member)

This can likely be done as an ARPA member, refer to system help or “bboard” for more information.

  • Open Settings and select Mail, Contacts, and Calendars
  • Select Add Account, then Other
  • Select Add Mail Account and fill in the relevant information.

Automatic setup will fail. Once prompted, enter the following server information:

  • Incoming Mail Server
    • Host Name: “”
    • User Name: “your sdf username”
    • Password: “your sdf password”

Fetching E-Mail with fetchmail, getmail or offlineimap

Sample .fetchmailrc

You can use “fetchmail” to retrieve messages from your SDF account. The “fetchmail” example below is configured to use POP3 to retrieve E-mail. Note that this configuration does not use SSL. Also note that you will need to provide your user names and the path to procmail. You may omit the “pass” line to be prompted for your password. “fetchmail” can be run in daemon mode to retrieve mail at a desired interval: “fetchmail -d 900”.

       proto pop3
       user "sdf.username"
       pass "secret"
       is "local.username" here
       mda "/path/to/procmail -f- ~/.procmailrc";

Sample .getmail/sdf supports IMAPs in addition to POP3. This configuration will use SSL. A IMAP configuration (sans SSL) is commented out below. Use getmail to collect messages. Note that you will have to provide local and remote user names and you will be prompted for your password. Also note that this configuration uses procmail as a delivery agent.


You could alternatively configure, for instance, a Maildir destination if you would prefer not to use “procmail”:

  type = Maildir
  path = ~/Maildir/

Sample .offlineimaprc

Another option to retrive E-mail is “offlineimap”. The example below uses it to retrive messages with IMAP, using SSL for encryption, and storing them in Maildir format. The first option “accounts” contain a comma separated list of accounts to sync, “acc1” and “acc2” are given as an example, they are not needed if you are only syncing the sdf account. You may also need to adjust the value of “cert_fingerprint” from time to time.

  accounts = acc1,acc2,sdf
  [Account sdf]
  localrepository = sdf-local
  remoterepository = sdf-remote
  [Repository sdf-local]
  type = Maildir
  localfolders = ~/Maildir
  restoreatime = no
  [Repository sdf-remote]
  type = IMAP
  ssl = yes
  cert_fingerprint = 204b2c6188ce0d38fa1eb3e5db6e88af4e05f868
  remotehost =
  remoteport = 993
  remoteuser = isf

How To Fix E-Mail Disappearing From Webmail After Opening Alpine

If Alpine is opened, it moves mail from /var/mail to ~/mbox. This means that the moved e-mails will not be viewable in mutt, neomutt or webmail. One way of solving this is to copy the mbox file into the /var/mail/ as a new folder. Then the mail from that new folder can be moved back into inbox.

To create the folder:

cd /var/mail/

ln -s ~/mbox MyOldMailBox

Note: MyOldMailBox can be any name you want.

Then use the webmail interface to copy e-mail from the new folder back to the inbox.

$Id: e-mail-basics.html,v 1.20 2023/02/19 18:41:39 membership Exp $ E-Mail, Basics - traditional link (using RCS)

email_basics.txt · Last modified: 2023/07/29 06:03 by hc9