Offline Mail in Linux

This page describes my offline mail setup, which is based heavily on Joey Hess' setup, as he described it to me. (Well, that was true when I first wrote this doc, before I moved away from isync).


IMAP4 is capable of working in "disconnected" mode. This allows you to manipulate messages in your local mailbox while you are offline, and have your changes synced up with the server upon reconnect. In fact, you can keep multiple offline clients in sync in this manner.


I use the following packages (from the Debian/GNU Linux distribution) for this setup:

Aron Griffis uses a modified version of this approach, documented here.


I use courier-imap as my imaps server. Authentication occurs over ssl, so no plain text passwords are sent. Each of my clients periodically runs offlineimap (either by hand, or via a cronjob) in order to communicate changes back to the server and receive any new messages.

Recent versions of courier support an "Outbox" enhancement. When a client uploads a message to the Outbox folder on the server, courier can be configured to hand that message off to your MTA. This allows you to compose messages offline, and have them transmitted from your imap server when you reconnect.

The Details

Configuring Mutt

Mutt is very configurable, and it is quite easy to integrate into this setup.

Multiple Accounts

I like to be able to read both my personal mail and my work mail on my laptop. However, I like to keep the two separate as much as possible. Here's what I do to maintain this separation:

dann frazier
Last modified: Mon Aug 6 13:26:01 MDT 2007