In my last email-related post, I discussed Disciplined Email via Gnus. I theorized that reading email like a newsgroup would enforce more disciplined, efficient email use. I stand by that philosophy, but changed my email client to Notmuch.
Why Switch from Gnus to Notmuch
Reasons for switching from Gnus to Notmuch include:
- Local copy of email
- I had been doing email over IMAP, both work and personal. I was interested in getting a local copy of my email for backup and availability purposes. For this, I use OfflineImap, which synchronizes IMAP email with a local maildir. This integrates nicely with Notmuch, while I found Gnus maildir support slow and clunky.
- Fast search
- Search lives at the core of Notmuch. As a response to the Sup email client (get it?), Notmuch provides indexing, and searching, while search seems peripheral to Gnus.
- Unified email
- I like the unified inbox I get with K9 mail on my Android phone. I find separation between email accounts unnatural. Notmuch provides a single “inbox” tag for new messages, regardless of the account; I did not figure out how to do this easily in Gnus.
Nits About this Setup
A couple smaller things bug me about my current setup, though possibly not enough for me to spend time fixing:
- OfflineImap occasionally goes to lunch
- I think this happens when OfflineImap is running when I put my laptop to sleep. When it wakes up again OfflineImap eats a CPU, so I go kill it. I run OfflineImap via cron, so I don’t need to restart anything.
- Email forwards sent from default account
- When responding to email via the Notmuch emacs mail client (which uses Message Mode) does the right thing–if you have multiple email accounts, it sends the response from the account that received the email. However, email forwards send from the default account, even if a different account received the original email.
I find email with Notmuch + OfflineImap superior to Gnus + IMAP.
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