Re: split display?
Hm, I need to split this mail because I got it back with a message
telling me that only 20k characters are allowed.
This is part 1-1/2. Part one was a bit too long, so I had to send it
On Thu, Jul 16, 2009 at 09:34:49AM -0500, Derek Martin wrote:
> > Well, I wouldn't want to separate working with categories from working
> > with incoming mail. Using different maildirs to simulate categories
> > creates such a separation. That is precisely what I'm trying to avoid.
> I don't see that at all.
But I see it. Just watch, for example, what a book keeper does: They
have shelves full of folders with bills, sorted by the number of the
bill, sorted by month and year. They keep a year or two on the shelves
in reach, and once every year they move old folders into the basement
for final storage. It sits in the basement for 10 years or however
long they are required to keep them --- and eventually longer until
they run out of room and throw away what's old enough.
I'm not a book keeper, but it's sort of what I'm doing: Keep mail in
reach until I can move it into the basement. Once it's in the
basement, it's out of sight and reach and not easy to find and to
But mutt doesn't have those shelves. You can either leave the bills on
your desk or move them right away into the basement. That's just
> I use procmail to filter my mail into "categories" (based mostly on
> the sender, I admit, though not entirely) and I have no trouble to
> handle new mail. As I've pointed out repeatedly, Mutt will tell me
> when any of my "categories" has new mail in it.
How do you predict from which senders you will get mail? Like when you
send a mail to sales@xxxxxxxxxx, you may get an answer from
thomas@xxxxxxxxxx or a delivery error message or an automatically
generated mail from info@xxxxxxxxxx telling you that they received
your mail, or whatever.
How do you teach spamassassin (or another software) to figure out if
you're getting a mail from an unreachable address so that you can deny
receiving it? (Following RFC821, you're required to deny mail from
unreachable addresses.) Exim can do it to some extend, but when you
don't have a static IP, you're screwed.
> > Separation is for mailing lists and for final storage. That's what I'm
> > using different maildirs for. It's not applicable to mail in the inbox
> > I'm not done with.
> What is "final storage" if not a categorization of the mail?
The basement --- it's not categorized, but somewhat organized to help
me eventually finding something even after a long time. Categories
probably won't work for that. Mail might fit into many categories at
the same time, and I would probably have to have too many categories
and/or to have many copies of a mail so that I would find it in those
categories. But mutt doesn't support creating links, you can only copy
the mail. It doesn't matter much considering block sizes, but that is
only a side effect that could go away with technical changes.
Ok, you could say it's somewhat categorized, but it's a mixture of
categorizing and organizing.
> This line of thought doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If you're
> categorizing your mail, why should you need a "final storage" folder
> that's anything other than the category?
There are several ways to organize mail. One way is to use categories,
others may use the size of the mail, the sender, the date/age, the
origin (like mailing list, type of organization). For example, I would
have a category "sata controller" and assign a number of mails to
that. These mails could come from many different origins, like mailing
lists, manufacturers, persons, vendors, myself (when I forward a mail
from a mailing list to myself because it contains some information I
want to keep). As long as this category is relevant to me, I keep the
mails assigned to that. Once I'm done with it, the mails go into
storage, like =Per/done for personal mail I'm done with and don't want
to have an extra folder for the sender for, =Com/[manufacturer] if I
want to have a folder for that particular manufacturer or =Com/done,
or a mail would go into =Edu/done ... and so on.
That storage in the basement is very different from categories I would
use --- you might say it's more generalized because if it wasn't, I
would be overwhelmed by the huge number of different categories I
would have to have. And I would be prevented from reusing a category
because I wouldn't want to have mails in a category like "sata
controller" from 10 years ago at the time I might investigate about
sata controllers again.
Categories would be a means of structuring information I'm about to
work with. Final storage is a means of keeping information I'm not
about to work with in a manner that (hopefully) allows to find that
information even after a very long time, if the need to should arise.
Simply put, mutt is missing the shelves. It has only desk and
> Besides which, you can easily move and copy mail anywhere you want
> to, right from inside Mutt, so this also seems like a non-problem to
> me... or rather, it's a problem that you're inventing for yourself.
You can do that, but that doesn't mean that it is appropriate for what
What would you tell the book keeper who can't have shelves? That he
can make as many copies of the bills as he wants to and put them
anywhere he wants to? That's pretty much the last thing he would
want! --- What he wants is not having bills on paper at all, he wants
to have them in his book keeping software, and he wants a book keeping
software that makes it easy to deal with large amounts of bills. He
doesn't want to carry folders into the basement or put folders on
shelves, but he wants to be able to find any bill he might be looking
for with ease in his book keeping software.
His problem with the bills is a lot simpler than organizing mail is:
The number of customers is limited, customers have a copy of the bill
and can tell him the number, he can get an overview of what has been
sold to a customer which can lead him to the bill he's looking for, he
may know an approximate date of a bill he's looking for.
All that doesn't apply to mail. The number of "customers" is
unlimited, and there are no clues that would lead one to the right
mail. The only clues available are those one remembers and those that
can eventually be obtained from how the mail storage is organized.
You may have found a way to organize your mail (storage) that works
perfectly for you. I have not, and I have started thinking that a MUA
could have some particular capabilities that would make it easier for
me --- and maybe others --- to organize mail.
I haven't tried sup yet, but from what I've been reading about it, the
idea behind it is to abandon all attempts to organize mail and instead
to rely on powerful search features. That's probably not something I
would want. Searching has the significant disadvantage that you have
to have at least some idea what to search for, and usually you have to
have a very good idea what to search for to actually find it (unless
you have a very small amount of information to search through). I
rather organize the mail because the better it's organized, the less
good the idea of what I'm searching for needs to be to find it.
> > > And of course, you can always manually edit both incoming and
> > > outgoing messages, to add custom headers to them, to make it easier
> > > for various programs to automatically sort them for you, either
> > > before or after you've seen them.
> > But that is very tedious
> It doesn't have to be. You can write a script that does it, and have
> Mutt process the mail with your script.
Well, I don't know how write a script that reads a mail and
understands what it is about and figures out into what category it
might fit or what category it should create for the mail. If I could
do that, I should sell that script to google ...
> > --- and I don't want to edit mail I have received. It's like faking
> > it.
> That's kind of naive. Mail clients do this all the time, any time the
> status of your message changes (e.g. from new to read, for example, if
> you use mbox). The mail system does it too, to indicate various
> status information. Mailing lists do it, filtering programs do it, etc...
> There's no reason you can't too. Mail was intended to be handled this
> way from the very beginnings of e-mail.
There's a difference between software automatically adding header
lines to mails and a person editing a mail. If I were to send you a
letter, the post office might make a stamp on it saying it's payed for
or put a sticker on it to forward it to your new address when you have
moved. But the post office isn't supposed to open the letter and edit
it. You're not supposed to do that, either.
If mail was supposed to be edited by the recipient all the time, then
why wasn't it invented with a mandatory way for the sender to sign it
so that it can be proved when the recipient edited it? Why doesn't the
mail format support editing, like storing all the revisions so that
you can keep track of the changes? Why isn't there support for
automatically informing the sender when the recipient edits the mail?
Mail was never intended to be edited like that, and it still isn't.
> > > Your requirement to keep mail in your inbox until you've decided what
> > > to do with it is artificial and self-imposed;
> > Yes, you could describe it like that. It's how I'm doing it since I'm
> > using mutt, 10 years or more. It's a way that has developed and been
> > used over a long time, and I would like to have a better way.
> I've offered you a better way, but you aren't interested. =8^)
I'm not seeing it as a better way, but as a more complicated and
It's like telling the book keeper that he should use more folders for
the bills. That just won't make any sense to him. And yes, you could
say that his way of dealing with bills is artificial and
self-imposed. It goes like this:
Book keeper: "I need a place to keep bills at hand other than my desk
and the basement."
You: "Put them into the basement."
"I won't have them at hand anymore once they are in the basement."
"Make many copies of the bills and put them where ever you want."
"I don't want to have to deal with even more bills. Having bills
everywhere only makes the problem worse."
"Use more folders to store the mails in the basement."
"My desk doesn't even support using folders. I would have to put all
the bills into the basement where they are not at hand, and after a
while there would be so many folders in the basement that I couldn't
find anything anymore."
"Your way of dealing with bills is artificial and self-imposed."
"So what am I supposed to do with all the bills? I don't want to leave
them on my desk because it flows over, and I can't put them into the
basement because I need to keep them at hand. I think I need some
"You can't have shelves unless you go and buy some yourself. Nobody
needs shelves. Use folders in the basement."
"You're not being reasonable ..."
*** see part two ***