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Re: email without vm

From: Kalyan Mukherjea <kalyan.infinity@gmail.com>
Subject: email without vm
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 18:04:58 +0530

> Hello all,
> This is a delayed response to something Tim raised a few days/weeks
> ago. (I have had a crash and am still trying to achieve the pre-crash
> status! Hence the delayed post.)
> Tim mentioned that the maintainer of VM is threatening to stop
> supporting GNU Emacs; apparently he has done this in the past and
> resumed support after some time. Tim had asked about alternatives to
> VM and there was a suggestion about using gnus. This I had found very
> difficult to set up which is why I use VM. Asking around amongst Emacs
> users I learned that there is a elisp file `mutt.el' which allows mutt
> to be used from inside emacs. Does anybody on the list have any
> experience with this "mutt mode"?

Just a bit of clarification - I didn't say the maintainer of VM was threatening
anything or make any reference to his past behavior and if I somehow gave that
impression that is totally wrong. I did say I was concerned about the future of
VM as it appears the author/maintainer has stopped supporting VM. Kyle Jones
has not responded to e-mails, bug reports or provided any updates to VM for the
past couple of years. I don't know if he has done this in the past or not, but
it does seem that for whatever reason, he is not actively developing or
maintaining VM. I did see a posting that claimed he had said he needed a break
for a few months, but that was over 2 years ago. 

I have managed to confirm that VM does have a problem with mime attachments in
mail composed by apple mail. The problem is that apple mail embeds the mime
attachment in the HTML part of a mail message. If you have VM configured to
select the text part, there is no way to get to the mime attachment. Even
hitting D to show the MIME parts, you only see a text/plain and text/html part
with no way to get to the embedded attachment in the text/html part. Others
have confirmed this behavior and found the same problem. There is a fork of VM
out there which has modified behavior for handling mime which doesn't have this
problem, but I've not yet tried it out and don't know how well it will work
with the existing emacspeak-vm.el module. 

With respect to mutt-mode, I'm not familiar with any mode to give full mutt
integration within emacs. I do remember seeing a mode which did provide some
integration - mainly for composing messages. I doubt you will find mutt-mode
particularly user friendly - it certainly wouldn't have the potential of a
native emacs mode such as rmail, gnus, mew or wonderlust. 

I have been using mew - in fact, this mail is being sent using it. I have put
together some speech support, but have had problems with some aspects and need
to do a bit more work. I'm still not convinced I like it as a user mail agent
though. Probably the best bet is either rmail or gnus, both of which are
already emacspeak enabled. I plan to try out gnus when I get the time to
configure it. However, I have a reasonably complex mail setup and having gone
through the configuration info for gnus, I've realised considerable work is
required for my setup and I've not yet had time to spend on it. 

I'm also undercided on which direction to take. I'm very use to and like VM and
its the mua I'm use to and comfortable with. Part of me thinks the best
strategy would be to just try and modify VM so that it can handle apple mail
attachments. However, while I'm quite familiar with mail from the perspective
of SMTP and mail servers, the world of MIME and interpretation of the various
rfcs relating to it would require considerable time an effort to understand.
The fact so many mail clients appear to have different interpretation of these
standards makes me wary as they must be complex enough to allow different
interpretations. I think it would be necessary to understand all of that world
before attempting to modify VM behavior in this respect, so its not something
to rush into.



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