29 Nov 2020, 11:33

Aerc

Speaking of CLI mail programs, this is one I’ve been meaning to tour. It’s actively developed, seems a bit more ambitious about reaching for the future, and the original author is Drew DeVault, whose outspoken software freedom stuff speaks to me, as an old dork who cares about that sort of thing.

Anyway, there are no binary releases, so you gotta go get it the old fashioned way-

git clone https://git.sr.ht/~sircmpwn/aerc
cd aerc
PREFIX=$HOME/.local make install
~/.local/bin/aerc

There is a first-time-setup wizard, which was pretty great. The tutorial help that pops up immediately is very useful, and you can get it back at any time with :help tutorial or by running man aerc-tutorial in some other terminal window.

jk or ↑↓ go up and down through messages, JK go up and down through folders in the sidebar. A archives messages, D deletes them.

Anyway- aerc is fast, stays fast with large imap mailboxes, integrates well with vim, which makes me happy, and generally has safe & sane defaults that you don’t need to configure. I did have to set this in my ~/.config/aerc/accounts.conf-

copy-to       = [Gmail]/Sent Mail

but uh, that was it.

HTML emails

For person-to-person emails, plain text is fine, but a lot of automated emails, newsletters, etc., are… very html heavy. That also seems like the general trend of things, which makes it ever-harder to do mail outside & unrelated to a web browser. There’s a knob to turn on w3m for text/html mails, but I don’t know- it isn’t amazing. It’s not going to be an experience that sparks joy.

tiny software soapbox

It’s kind of a grim time to be a computer user. Lightweight UIs are all TUIs now, because the terminal is documented, stable, well understood, and portable. Heavyweight UIs are really heavyeight, and bundle a whole damn browser. Gtk+ now wants to be the toolkit of choice for a tiny network of friends, and I haven’t seen a Qt project in years. Apple doesn’t even document their desktop APIs now- and you couldn’t port any of that if you wanted to. Microsoft’s UI things get abandoned every 2 years.

So anyway… if you want a portable program, not a website, you have two options: * Write Electron apps. People who buy a new $3,000 dollar macbook every other year will love it. * Write terminal apps. People with slower computers will love it. It will not be accessible to non-turbonerds, but you know, what are you gonna do.

Trapped inside of this paradigm, aerc is pretty great.