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E-Mail, Basics

This tutorial covers the basics of accessing E-mail on SDF. Topics include command-line and remote access. Configuration of mail retrieval programs (fetchmail, getmail) and Mail User Agents (such as Mozilla Thunderbird) will also be covered.


  1. Introduction, and what this is not
  2. Reading E-mail on SDF
  3. Fetching E-Mail with fetchmail or getmail
  4. Accessing SDF E-mail via Webmail
  5. Configuring Graphical Mail User Agents
  6. Configuring Mail in iOS (as a MetaARPA member)

Introduction, and what you will not find here

For basic info about e-mail (addresses, reader programs, file size, etc), please read the corresponding FAQ entry. Continue reading for more information about using E-mail services at SDF.

If you want to use a SDF's SMTP server to send mail, you must either log in and use one of the clients as described in the previous tutorial, or register at an appropriate membership level (VPM, VHOST, or MetaARPA) and connect using SMTP AUTH.

Reading E-Mail on SDF

Multiple mail clients are available to be used from the shell, including pine and mutt.

Fetching E-Mail with fetchmail, getmail or offlineimap

Sample .fetchmailrc

You can use fetchmail to retrieve messages from your SDF account. The fetchmail example below is configured to use POP3 to retrieve E-mail. Note that this configuration does not use SSL. Also note that you will need to provide your user names and the path to procmail. You may omit the pass line to be prompted for your password. fetchmail can be run in daemon mode to retrieve mail at a desired interval: fetchmail -d 900.

poll mx.sdf.org
     proto pop3
     user "sdf.username"
     pass "secret"
     is "local.username" here
     mda "/path/to/procmail -f- ~/.procmailrc";

Sample .getmail/sdf

mx.sdf.org supports IMAPs in addition to POP3. This configuration will use SSL. A IMAP configuration (sans SSL) is commented out below. Use getmail to collect messages. Note that you will have to provide local and remote user names and you will be prompted for your password. Also note that this configuration uses procmail as a delivery agent.



You could alternatively configure, for instance, a Maildir destination if you would prefer not to use procmail:
type = Maildir
path = ~/Maildir/

Sample .offlineimaprc

Another option to retrive E-mail is offlineimap. The example below uses it to retrive messages with IMAP, using SSL for encryption, and storing them in Maildir format. The first option accounts contain a comma separated list of accounts to sync, acc1 and acc2 are given as an example, they are not needed if you are only syncing the sdf account. You may also need to adjust the value of cert_fingerprint from time to time.

accounts = acc1,acc2,sdf

[Account sdf]

localrepository = sdf-local
remoterepository = sdf-remote

[Repository sdf-local]

type = Maildir
localfolders = ~/Maildir
restoreatime = no

[Repository sdf-remote]

type = IMAP
ssl = yes
cert_fingerprint = 204b2c6188ce0d38fa1eb3e5db6e88af4e05f868
remotehost = mx.sdf.org
remoteport = 993
remoteuser = isf

Accessing SDF E-mail via Webmail

General users visit mx.sdf.org, MetaARPA members visit ma.sdf.org if you've forwarded your mail to the MetaArray.

Configuring Graphical Mail User Agents

Mozilla Thunderbird Configuration

Server Settings Server Type: IMAP Mail Server
Server Name: mx.sdf.org
Port: 993
User Name: remote.username

Security Settings Connection security: SSL/TLS
Use secure authentication: (unchecked)

Apple Mail

Mail » Preferences » Accounts
Click +

Enter your name and SDF E-mail address, then click Continue.

Incoming Mail Server Account Type: IMAP
Description: SDF
Incoming Mail Server: mx.sdf.org
User Name: remote.username
Password: remote.password
Click Continue

Use your ISP's SMTP server for outgoing mail - unless you opt for an SDF membership level that allows SMTP, in which case see the smtpauth tutorial.
Click Continue

You should now see an account summary page. Verify the summary and click Create.
You can now return to the Accounts preferences, select Advanced, and if necessary add:
IMAP Path Prefix: INBOX

Outlook 365 for Windows 10

This one's not as obvious as you'd think. You'll need to close Outlook to begin with, and run this command. Click Start and then type:

outlook.exe /manageprofiles

then click on Email Accounts... » New... » Manual setup or additional server type » Next » POP or IMAP » then fill in the form:

Your Name: Filbert Exampleton
Email Address: efilbert@sdf.org
Account Type: IMAP
Incoming mail server: mx.sdf.org
Outgoing mail server: fill this in with a valid SMTP
User Name: efilbert
Password: ednaedison123

then click More Settings... » Outgoing Server » My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication » Log on using » fill in the fields witn your smtp » OK » next

Outlook will perform a connection test, and after it passes, you can exit the wizard and configuration program. When you start Outlook back up, the SDF mail account should appear. What a friggin headache.

Configuring Mail in iOS (as a MetaARPA member)

This can likely be done as an ARPA member, refer to system help or bboard for more information.

Automatic setup will fail. Once prompted, enter the following server information:

$Id: e-mail-basics.html,v 1.20 2023/02/19 18:41:39 membership Exp $

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