Category Archives: gnus

Gnus multi-pane tricks, or I heart Planet Emacsen

The tips Joseph Miklojcik shared for reading e-mail in Gnus included this _really_ nifty thing that I hadn't come across when I set up my Gnus before: multi-pane reading.

You know how modern news readers have a folder pane, a summary pane and a preview pane?

Well, you can have that too.

   (horizontal 1.0
        (vertical 60 (group 1.0))
        (vertical 1.0
    (summary 0.20 point)
    (article 1.0)))))

   (horizontal 1.0
        (vertical 60 (group 1.0))
        (vertical 1.0 (summary 1.0 point)))))

This is good stuff. =)

On Technorati: ,

Random Emacs symbol: sacha/gnus-add-subject-to-bbdb-record - Function: Add datestamped subject note for each person this message has been sent to.

Faster mail with Emacs

I spent a few minutes getting offlineimap to synchronize my Gmail messages with dovecot, an IMAP server on my laptop. I also set up Gnus to work with the messages. Now I'm having fun speeding through my inbox. I don't know why, but my text-based terminal seems a lot zippier and a lot easier to work with than Gmail... =)

I'm glad I'm back to doing my mail in Emacs!

That’s my dad!

Beauty is in eye of autistic youth -, Philippine News for Filipinos
He has come up with “the kind of shots that have eluded some of us, even with years of training,” said ace advertising photographer John Chua, who introduced Ian to his new hobby by chance.
That's my dad - random acts of kindness turn into front-page news! =D

Geek: How to use offlineimap and the dovecot mail server to read your Gmail in Emacs efficiently

2015-12-24: Updated with config changes now that I'm back to using Gnus+dovecot+offlineimap+Gmail
2014-04-09: This post is from 2008. =) I think I used dovecot+offlineimap because Gnus and maildir weren't getting along properly and directly connecting with IMAP to Gmail's server was slow, but things have probably changed a fair bit since then. I eventually moved to using the Gmail web interface for most things, but I still miss my Gnus setup!
  1. Make sure you've set up Postfix or some other mail server that can send mail.
  2. Install dovecot (IMAP server) and offlineimap (IMAP synchronization). You can probably find binaries for your distribution.
  3. Edit /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-mail.conf and set the following:
    mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir:LAYOUT=fs
  4. Use the instructions from to set up GPG-encrypted passwords. (optional)
  5. Put the following in ~/.offlineimaprc, changing the details as needed.
    accounts = SachaGmail
    pythonfile = ~/bin/
    [Account SachaGmail]
    localrepository = Local
    remoterepository = Gmail
    status_backend = sqlite
    [Repository Local]
    type = Maildir
    localfolders = ~/Maildir
    [Repository Gmail]
    type = Gmail
    maxconnections = 2
    remoteuser = [email protected]
    realdelete = no
    folderfilter = lambda foldername: foldername in ['INBOX', '[Gmail]/All Mail', '[Gmail]/Sent Mail', '[Gmail].Starred', '[Gmail].Drafts', '[Gmail].Important']
    nametrans = lambda folder: re.sub('^INBOX$', '[Gmail].Inbox', folder)
    sslcacertfile = /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
    remotepasseval = mailpasswd("gmail")
    If you feel comfortable specifying your password in your ~/.offlineimaprc, you can do so by changing remotepasseval to remotepass. If so, you don't need the pythonfile line.
  6. chmod go-rwx ~/.offlineimaprc for a little bit of safety.
  7. Type offlineimap to start synchronizing.
  8. While that's synchronizing, use something like this as your ~/.gnus:
    (setq gnus-select-method
          '(nnimap "Mail"
    	       (nnimap-address "localhost")
    	       (nnimap-stream network)
    	       (nnimap-authenticator login)))
    (setq user-mail-address "[email protected]")
    (setq gnus-ignored-from-addresses "youruser")
  9. Start Emacs. Start Gnus with M-x gnus. If you don't see the INBOX group, press ^ (gnus-group-enter-server-mode), open nnimap:Mail, move your cursor to the INBOX, and either press RET to go into the group or press u (gnus-browse-unsubscribe-current-group) to toggle the subscription status until you're subscribed to the group. Then it should show up on the group screen (M-x gnus).
Hope that helps. Have fun!

Emacs Gnus: Searching Mail

There are several ways to find messages in Emacs. From the summary buffer, you can use / o (gnus-summary-insert-old-articles) to display all or some old messages. You can then scan through the headers in the summary buffer by using C-s (isearch-forward), or you can limit the displayed messages with these commands:

Messages from a given author/ agnus-summary-limit-to-author
Messages whose subjects matching a given regular expression/ /gnus-summary-limit-to-subject
Messages that match a given extra header/ xgnus-summary-limit-to-extra-headers
Messages at least N days old/ tgnus-summary-limit-to-age

Limits work on the messages that are currently displayed, so you can apply multiple limits. If you make a mistake, use / w (gnus-summary-pop-limit) to remove the previous limit. You can repeat / w (gnus-summary-pop-limit) until satisfied. To remove all the limits, type C-u / w (gnus-summary-popl-limit).

If you specify a prefix, the limit's meaning is reversed. For example, C-u / a (gnus-summary-limit-to-author) will remove the messages from the matching author or authors.

You can use Gnus to search the currently-displayed messages by using M-s (gnus-summary-search-article-forward) and M-r (gnus-summary-search-article-backward).

If you want to search a lot of mail, you'll find NNIR handy. NNIR is a front-end to mail search engines which can index your mail and return search results quickly. If you want to use NNIR with a local or remote IMAP server, you will need to use nnir.el and imap.el. If you download your mail using fetchmail or connect to a POP3 server and use an nnml backend, you can use NNIR with a search engine such as swish-e to search your ~/Mail directory efficiently. Setting up IMAP and NNIR

If you use IMAP, then your mail is stored on the mail server and you'll need to use the IMAP search interface to search through it. Download nnir.el from and save it to your ~/elisp directory. You will also need an imap.el that is newer than the one that comes with Emacs 22. Download imap.el from and save it to your ~/elisp directory as well. Because Gnus comes with an older version of imap.el, you will need to make sure that the new version of imap.el is loaded. Add the following to your ~/.gnus:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/elisp")
(load-file "~/elisp/imap.el")
(require 'nnir)

Restart your Emacs. You can check if the correct version of imap.el has been loaded by typing M-x locate-library and specifying imap.el. If Emacs reports "~/elisp/imap.el", then Gnus is configured to use the updated imap.el. Setting up POP3 and NNIR

If you use the configuration for POP3 that is suggested in this chapter, then your mail is stored in the nnml backend, which uses one file per message. To search this using NNIR, to install nnir.el and an external search mail engine. The Namazu search engine runs on Linux, UNIX, and Microsoft Windows, so that's what we'll talk about here. To find and configure other mail search engines supported by NNIR, check out the comments in nnir.el.

First, you'll need to download and install Namazu. If Namazu is available as a package for your distribution, install it that way, as it depends on a number of other programs. An installer for Microsoft Windows can be found at . If you need to build Namazu from source, you can get the source code and instructions from .

After you've installed Namazu, create a directory for Namazu's index files, such as ~/.namazu-mail. Then index your mail by typing this at the command-line:

mknmz --mailnews -O ~/.namazu-mail ~/Mail

and add the following to your ~/.gnus:

(add-to-list 'load-path "~/elisp")
(require 'nnir)
(setq nnir-search-engine 'namazu)
(setq nnir-namazu-index-directory (expand-file-name "~/.namazu-mail"))
(setq nnir-namazu-remove-prefix (expand-file-name "~/Mail"))
(setq nnir-mail-backend gnus-select-method) Searching your mail with NNIR

From the group buffer displayed by M-x gnus, you can type G G (gnus-group-make-nnir-group) to search your mail for a keyword.

If you're using the Namazu search engine, then you can use more sophisticated search queries such as:

Linux Emacsmessages that contain both "Linux" and "Emacs"
Linux or Emacsmessages that contain either "Linux" or "Emacs"
Emacs not Linuxmessages that contain "Emacs" but not "Linux"
Emacs and (Linux or Windows)messages that contain "Emacs" and either "Linux" or "Windows"
"apple pie"messages that contain the phrase "apple pie"
{apple pie}messages that contain the phrase "apple pie"
+from:[email protected]messages with [email protected] in the From: header
+subject:"apple pie"messages with the phrase "apple pie" in the Subject: header
+subject:apple +subject:piemessages whose Subject: headers contain both "apple" and "pie"

If matching messages are found, then you will see a temporary group with the results. Although you can't delete messages from this view, reading and replying to these messages is the same as reading and replying to regular messages.

To see a message in its original context, type G T (gnus-summary-nnir-goto-thread) from the summary buffer. This opens the message's original group. If Gnus asks you how many articles to load, press RET to accept the default of all the articles.

This is a draft for the Wicked Cool Emacs book I'm working on. =) Hope it helps!

Emacs Gnus: Organize Your Mail

People handle large volumes of mail in different ways. Keeping everything in one mailbox can quickly become unmanageable because messages you need to read get lost among messages you don't need to read.

You can move mail manually by selecting them in the summary buffer and typing B m (gnus-summary-move-article). Then type the name of the group to which you would like to move the message. The group will be created if it doesn't exist.

To move multiple messages, mark them with # (gnus-summary-mark-as-processable) and then type B m (gnus-summary-move-article). To unmark a message, type M-# (gnus-summary-unmark-as-processable). To unmark all messages, type M P U (gnus-summary-unmark-all-processable).

Automatically filing mail

Moving messages by hand is tedious and time-consuming. One way to deal with this is to set up rules that automatically file mail into different groups (or folders, as they're called in other mail clients). Gnus calls this "splitting" mail, and you can split mail on IMAP servers as well as mail downloaded from POP3 servers to your computer.

For example, if you're using Gnus to read mail from an IMAP server, you can split your messages by adding this to your ~/.gnus:

 (setq nnimap-split-inbox "INBOX") ;; (1)
 (setq nnimap-split-predicate "UNDELETED") ;; (2)
 (setq nnimap-split-rule
         ("INBOX.emacs" "^Subject:.*emacs")
         ("" "^To:.[email protected]")    
         ("INBOX.personal" "^To:.[email protected]")    
         ("INBOX.errors" "^From:.*\\(mailer.daemon\\|postmaster\\)")   

If you use a different inbox, change the value of nnimap-split-inbox(1). Any messages in the inbox will be split according to nnimap-split-rule(2), which is a list where each element is a list containing the group's name and a regular expression matching the header of messages that should be filed in the group. In this example, Gnus will move mail with subjects containing the word "emacs" to INBOX.emacs, mail directed to [email protected] to the group, mail directed to [email protected] to the INBOX.personal group, and mail error messages to INBOX.errors. All other messages will be stored in INBOX.

If you're downloading your mail from a POP3 server and storing it in nnml, add this to your ~/.gnus instead:

 (setq nnmail-split-methods
        ("mail.emacs" "^Subject:.*emacs")
        ("" "^To:.[email protected]")    
        ("mail.personal" "^To:.[email protected]")    
        ("mail.errors" "^From:.*\\(mailer.daemon\\|postmaster\\)")   

All other messages will be stored in mail.misc.

Start M-x gnus again, and your mail will be split into the different groups.

Where are my groups?

If you don't see your new groups in the group buffer displayed by M-x gnus, type A A (gnus-group-list-active) to see all the groups. Go to the group that you would like to add to the group buffer, then type u (gnus-group-unsubscribe-current-group) to toggle its subscription. In this example, INBOX.automated is not subscribed to, but INBOX is.

 U    13: INBOX.automated 
      76: INBOX 

When you type M-x gnus again, you'll see your subscribed groups if they have unread messages.

nnimap-split-rule and nnmail-split-methods allow you to filter interesting or uninteresting mail into different groups based on their headers. Gnus comes with an even more powerful mail splitting engine. In fact, Gnus comes with "fancy mail splitting."

Fancy mail splitting

With fancy mail splitting and some configuration, you can split mail based on a combination of criteria. You can even manually file a message and have Gnus automatically file incoming replies in the same group.

To configure an IMAP connection to use fancy mail splitting, add the following to your ~/.gnus:

 (setq nnimap-split-inbox "INBOX")
 (setq nnimap-split-predicate "UNDELETED")
 (setq nnmail-split-fancy ;; (1)
       '(|                                ;; (2)
         (: gnus-registry-split-fancy-with-parent) ;; (3)
         ;; splitting rules go here       ;; (4)
         "INBOX"                          ;; (5)
 (setq nnimap-split-rule 'nnmail-split-fancy)
 (setq nnmail-split-methods 'nnimap-split-fancy) ;; (6)
 (gnus-registry-initialize) ;; (7)

This configures IMAP to use the nnmail-split-fancy function to determine the group for messages. Note that we're setting the nnmail-split-fancy variable here. If you want to process your IMAP mail separately from your other mail, you can set the nnimap-split-fancy variable instead. If so, also set nnimap-split-rule to 'nnimap-split-fancy. Using nnmail-split-fancy here makes the other examples easier to understand, though.

The nnmail-split-fancy variable controls the splitting behavior(1). The "|" symbol means that that the first matching rule is used(2). For example, if the message being processed is a reply to a message that Gnus knows about, then the gnus-registry-split-fancy-with-parent function will return the name of the group, and nnmail-split-fancy will file the message there(3). You can add other splitting rules as well(4). If messages don't match any of these rules, the last rule specifies that the messages will be filed in INBOX(5). Set nnmail-split-methods to nnimap-split-fancy as well in order to work around some assumptions in other parts of the code(6). After that, initialize the Gnus registry(7), which is responsible for tracking moved and deleted messages. This allows you to automatically split replies into the same folders as the original messages.

To configure fancy mail splitting with an nnml backend (suggested configuration for POP3), add the following to your ~/.gnus instead:

 (setq nnmail-split-fancy                 
         (: gnus-registry-split-fancy-with-parent)
         ;; splitting rules go here       
         "mail.misc"                          ;; (1)
 (setq nnmail-split-methods 'nnmail-split-fancy)    

This code is similar to the IMAP example, except that the default mailbox name for nnml is mail.misc(1).

Here's how the previous rules in nnmail-split-methods would be translated to nnmail-split-fancy rules for an IMAP configuration:

 (setq nnmail-split-fancy
        (: gnus-registry-split-fancy-with-parent)
         ;; splitting rules go here       
        (from mail "INBOX.errors")   ;; (1)
        (any "[email protected]" "")   ;; (2)
        (any "[email protected]" "INBOX.personal") ;; 
        ("subject" "emacs" "INBOX.emacs") ;; (3)
        "INBOX"    ;; or "mail.misc" for nnml/POP3

The from keyword matches against the "From", "Sender", and "Resent-From" fields, while the mail keyword matches common mail system addresses(1). The corresponding to keyword matches against the "To", "Cc", "Apparently-To", "Resent-To" and "Resent-Cc" headers, while any matches the fields checked by the from and to keywords(2). You can also compare against the subject and other headers(3).

You can use logic in splitting rules, too. For example, if you like reading the jokes on [email protected], but you don't like the ones sent by [email protected] (he not only has a bad sense of humor, but also likes picking on Emacs!), you can use a rule like this in your nnmail-split-fancy:

         ;; ... other splitting rules go here...
         (any "[email protected]"   ;; (1)
              (| (from "[email protected]" "INBOX.junk") ;; (2)
                 "INBOX.jokes")) ;; (3)
         ;; ... other splitting rules go here

The first rule matches all messages with "[email protected]" in from- or to-related headers. Matching messages are processed with another split rule, which moves messages from [email protected] to a separate group(2) and files the other messages in INBOX.jokes(3). To learn more about creating complex rules, read the Gnus Info manual for "Fancy Mail Splitting".