Mail archiving

Matthew Hawkins matt at
Thu Sep 5 15:08:29 EST 2002

Martijn van Oosterhout (kleptog at wrote:
> Hi,
> As everyone knows, mutt doesn't handle large mailboxes very well (at least

Strange, I've had mutt open a 50,000+ message bugtraq mbox with no
problems.  What you might like to do is increase the size of $read_inc
and $write_inc (from memory).  This can be done on a per-mailbox basis
with hooks if you don't want to make the changes global.

With the default settings, mutt will spend too much time updating the
display and not enough parsing the mailbox.

If you want to see an MUA that truly is notoriously bad at handling
large mailboxes, run Pine.  It loads each mailbox into memory,
completely (I think it mmaps it).  So if you have a 400Mb mailbox,
you'll need at least 400Mb of ram or Pine will lock the system up.  Been
there, done that :-)

> not in mbox format). What I would like to do is to automatically move mail
> older than 3 months to another folder. While this is possible in mutt by
> typing the right commands, does anyone know a non-interactive way of doing
> it?

I've got procmail automatically delivering my mail into a per-month
directory hierarchy.  I use Maildir format, but there's no reason why
mbox wouldn't work either.  Mutt then uses a couple of scripts to
determine which mailboxes have new mail, and which month is going to be
"current" (so '=' points to the right spot, for example).
I obtained this setup from and customised
it for my needs.


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