[clug] Thunderbird and 'fetchmail' support removed. Pointers?

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Tue Oct 22 23:21:44 MDT 2013

steve jenkin wrote on 21/10/13 4:32 PM:
> I wanted to manage my own inbound Maildirs for some accounts, not
> connect to remote servers with the usual SMTP and POP3/IMAP.
> It seems that Thunderbird has silently removed support for 'fetchmail'
> type programs in its latest series [some time back from my searching].
> Questions:
>  - Does anyone use a current GUI email client that supports direct
> updating of INBOX files by 'fetchmail' or similar?
>  - If anyone has hacked current T'bird to support 'fetchmail', how did
> they do it?
>  - If not, anyone got pointers on simple SMTP & POP3 servers I can run
> on the local host (on a loopback address), preferably not as super-user?
> cheers
> steve

I didn't say this was for OS/X.

Brett Worth sent me a nice screen grab of how to do it in Linux...
Fair enough for a Linux List.

For the record, here's what's needed for OS/X. For Linux, it's all there
and working, just make sure you're in the 'mail' group (/etc/group via

tested with commandline: 'date|mailx -s test $USER'

It seems Thunderbird _knows_ where the system user mailboxes are
(/var/mail, /usr/spool/mail, ...) and _only_ looks there.

Can't point it to a random directory/file.


Step 1. found 'movemail.rdf' in T'bird 1.5, copied to 3.18 directory,
now see 'Movemail' option
Apparently no longer shipped in OS/X build.

sudo cp -p

Step 2. redacted. [see below]

Step 3. useradd $USER mail.
--> OS/X uses LDAP/netInfo for normal account info, not the /etc/ files
(which do have content as well)

mini-mac:Downloads steve$ sudo dscl . -append  /Groups/mail
GroupMembership steve

mini-mac:Downloads steve$ dscl . -read /Groups/mail
AppleMetaNodeLocation: /Local/Default
GroupMembership: _teamsserver steve
Password: *
PrimaryGroupID: 6
 SMTP Mail
RecordName: mail
RecordType: dsRecTypeStandard:Groups


This page, for Ubuntu, suggested the next step, setting dir to System
Spool Dir.


Step 2. Set directory to /var/mail...
Not happening yet [can't browse there in T'bird]
[I made this work by putting a symlink to /var/mail in my Home
directory. T'bird displayed it and followed it...]

==> NO!!! BAD advice... exactly the wrong place.
Drops 'Inbox' directories, files there, the whole box and dice...

--> Movemail knows where to find the spool file, don't have to do anything.

Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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