Alpine vs mutt?

Tomasz Rola rtomek at
Thu Feb 22 15:40:07 CST 2018

On Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 12:38:56PM -0800, geneb via cctalk wrote:
> >Before that, I have been using pine (nowadays named alpine), which had
> >configuration edited via builtin options editor and before that, elm,
> >never configured by me (AFAIR - about 20yago). So, with this
> >perspective, I can say mutt is not bad and I intend sticking to it for
> >a while.
> What about mutt do you prefer over alpine?

Maybe I cannot give one strong argument for mutt over alpine, but:

 - I used pine on a "Unix shell" account attached to my address, then
   after upgrade I decided to try mutt; alpine is installed but
   somehow I never again ran it here

 - I still have alpine installed at home "Unix shell account" and use
   it for minor mail processing, but for longer reading of my huge
   mailboxes mutt feels a bit nicer to me, so I use it 

 - in mutt, I can press "l" in "mailbox view"/"index view" and limit
   displayed items only to those matching given expression; so for
   example, if I want to see only mails with "[name of certain group
   in subject]", I can do this - I have first learned about such thing
   after switching to mutt, so I have no idea if alpine can do such
   trick, too; when I am done I switch back with "l all"

 - in mutt, I can send a mail through a preconfigured script in Python
   (some kind of preprocessor written by me), which is bound to
   certain key; I had no idea how to achieve this in alpine; I
   understand I can have more such programs bound to more keys in
   mutt, never tried in alpine

 - for a while, I used to repair broken threads in my inbox using
   mutt's "link thread"; no idea about similar thing in alpine

 - I have found out that I really like the 256-color mode; it took me
   a bit of trying, and maybe not all colors are nice enough for my
   eyes, so I will have to redo some configuration later, but I find
   it easier to plow through few hundred mails a day when they are
   colored (also, some are colored differently based on certain
   properties, like "sent from family member" or "from a buddy" - I
   have set it in muttrc, for each member of the group by name or
   other factor); perhaps I could color mails based on mailing list,
   but I have to try it yet - not sure if it would do me any good,

Please note, I do not claim that alpine cannot do those things. I have
been using mutt while each of the needs arose and have been satisfied
by finding relevant mutt-based solution. I never looked for
alpine-based solution, so my preference for mutt might come from
ignorance. But I am now dug deeply in this hole.

What I dislike about mutt:

 - No built-in scripting language, for more advanced mail
   processing. But it is not really hard to go around this
   limitation, so dislike is not very strong.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at             **

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