I'm trying to retrieve my mail from command line, and they use mu4e to read them. However, it turns out to be a nightmare to find a program that can do the following stuff:

  • downloads the mail from an IMAP server into a maildir folder
  • uses SSL/TLS when the server provide it
  • can deal with IMAP IDLE in order to avoid dirty loop to get the messages, if possible efficiently
  • provides a way to get the password from a GPG encrypted file for security reason (I don't want to need to trust the people that can get physical access to the computer)
  • can deal with several accounts in parallel, if possible with just one execution to save ressources


  • efficient (I would like to avoid to install a full IMAP server)
  • reliable
  • still maintained
  • simple to configure
  • packaged into regular linux distributions, as well as nix

I tried lots of solutions, but it seems that none of them can deal with these tasks...

  • offlineimap : officially has beta for IDLE, but I was not able to configure it to use it (bug or maybe I just missed something important...), offlineimap just stop after one scan even with the idle options. Moreover, it seems to be quite slow and buggy according to the community
  • mbsync : no IDLE
  • mbsync + mswatch : need to have access on the server, so not possible
  • mbsync + imapnotify : maybe the best solution so far... but imapnotify is not packaged in debian and nix
  • imapsync : does not deal with mailbox format
  • fetchmail : cannot deal with PGP encrypted password

Any solution?

  • gist.github.com/boris-arzur/ad91a3b4a0a6900fedef claims to do the same as imapnotify. It should be simple to extend that to use your gpg2 password, though of course your password would have to be cached in memory while that's running (or it would have to pop up a dialog every so often) – unhammer Apr 10 '18 at 6:49
  • Interesting, I'll give it a look thank you. That's so strange that no complete tool has been written before while the libs already exists, and that we need to manually deal with that... – tobiasBora Apr 10 '18 at 20:28

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