In case the dates below aren't enough of a clue, this project has stalled. These days I use mutt to read my mail, including my mailing list mail. It's not 100% what I want, but it's pretty close to what I was trying to achieve with slrn. I'll leave this page up in case it's of interest to anyone...

[Written 1997-02-12; Updated 1997-03-07, 1997-03-10; Major overhaul 1997-07-11; Updated 1997-07-14, 1997-07-15, 1997-08-24].

Using slrn to read mail

The slrn local spool backend can be used to read mail stored in MH-style mailfolders (folders are directories of numbered files, each file holds one message). I've been reading most of the mailing lists I'm subscribed to like this for quite a while now, but replying to the list is awkward - you need to use reply and then edit the To: header to the list address.

Since mailing lists are essentially news with a different transport, it would be great if slrn could be used to read mailing lists and they would appear to be much the same as newsgroups.

So I've written a patch for slrn which achieves this. Older versions still available: There are a few caveats at present, which I hope to fix with time:

So for the slang workers mailing list, I would create a directory /home/olly/Mail/ and use a procmail rule like this:
* ^TOslang-workers
And in my .slrnrc I add these lines:
server "/home/olly/Mail" ".newsrc-mail"
set spool_root "/home/olly/Mail"
This tells slrn where to find the spool, and what .newsrc file to use for it.

Then I just run: slrn --spool --mail and away I go. The slrn follow-up command replies to the list (with the usual slrn cc:-ing options) and reply replies to the sender only.

Known bugs

Only one at the moment:

What about mbox mail folders?

Mbox folders store all messages in the folder in one file, separated by lines starting "From " (with a minor nasty variation thanks to Sun). They aren't greedy on inodes like MH folders are, and don't suffer from rounding up each message to the size of a file allocation unit. They're also supported by more mail readers than MH folders are.

Sometime last year I wrote a slrn backend which could read an mbox file (or a directory of mbox files). It's something of a prototype though, and has a few niggles. I haven't had a chance to sort it out.

At some point, I'll probably rewrite it for current versions of slrn. In the meantime, I'm happy to send a copy provided you're aware of its status. You'll need to do quite a lot of work to get the patch to apply to a recent version of slrn, since I patched and a lot has changed since then.

Other desirable features

This is a list of features which would be useful for reading general mail with slrn: My thinking is that something usable can be produced fairly quickly, with the less vital parts being added later.

If you're interested in helping out and/or testing send me an e-mail.