How to Make Mail.app, Pine, and Webmail all Happily Play Together
This mini-guide will get you up and running with all the mail systems
of your heart's desire, simultaneously, through the magic of IMAP.
The above works well enough for my purposes, but is not without a few
- Get your CalMail
account configured as your primary email account. Colby has
some good instructions
for this; see the section "Combining Calmail with Astro E-Mail". With
this done properly, you can use either email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com,
You'll almost certainly want to increase
your available storage space in Calmail, by paying a small fee.
- Configure your Mac's Mail.app to access CalMail. Again, Colby
comes to the rescue with these
- Configure your Pine to access CalMail. This time, the
instructions are mostly written by me, but Colby kindly put them on
his web page. Here are some alternative instructions
for doing this through the Pine GUI; they were written for Pine
users on socrates.berkeley.edu, but apply equally well to
An important note re Pine: The default version of Pine on the astro
network Solaris boxes is ancient and lacks the security features needed
for CalMail. You'll need to install your own more recent version, or
use mine from ~mperrin/software/bin/pine.
The version installed on (most/all of?) the astro Linux boxes is fine.
- A potentially tricky bit is getting everything to agree on common
folders for your Sent, Drafts and trash mailboxes. The easiest way to
deal with this is to configure Mail.app to match the folders which Pine
wants to use. This is done with the Mailbox menu in Mail.app. In the
left-hand mailbox window, select the mailbox you want to use for a
given task (such as 'sent-mail' or 'postponed-msgs'), then from the
Mailbox menu select the desired task ('Sent' or 'Drafts', in those
cases). Now Mail.app and Pine will happily share sentmail and saved
drafts. Here's a screen shot:
- (Optional, but highly recommended) Now you can transfer all your
old saved messages from Pine's local storage into CalMail. In my
experience, Pine does this better than Mail.app does. My method was,
for each folder "foo", move into the folder Astron/foo, select all
"save as" to all messages into folder CalMail/foo, check that it
then delete the folder Astron/foo. Note that you'll need to have
enabled Pine's 'aggregate command set' in the Advanced menu to do this,
but you should do that anyway since it's so useful.
- (Also optional) Configure filters on your Calmail account to sort
incoming mail into various folders. Mail.app is good about noticing
which folders get new mail added to them; in Pine you can configure the
'incoming-folders' option so you can quickly tab through each folder
with new mail.
- For some reason, in IMAP mode, Pine appends an exteraneous "/" to
all your folder names. This clutters up the screen and sometimes makes
tab completion not do what you wanted it to, but it's mostly just a
- Pine doesn't handle nested folders well, though webmail and
Mail.app both are fine. The solution is to add additional
folder-collections lines to your .pinerc.
- I haven't tried to get web mail to use the same Sent and Drafts
folders. This is not necessarily because it's hard, it's because I so
rarely use webmail that it hasn't been worth it.
- Each application still keeps its own address book. Oh well, can't
be helped, as far as I know.
- Mail.app is shockingly bad at recognizing how many new messages
there are in a folder. Most of the time it seems to overestimate by a
factor of two, until you click on the folder and then it corrects
itself. I have no idea why this is, but it's easy enough to mentally
Last updated by Marshall Perrin, 2006-03-14