Installing Mutt on Mac OS X

Apple’s Mac OS X has a beautiful graphical user interface, but under that there is a solid unix foundation. OS X is based on FreeBSD. This unix foundation has allowed OS X to have a native unix command line interface support.

I was using mutt as my primary email client for many years. But from the past three years or so I chose to move to Mail, the native OS X MUA, primarily due to my requirement of managing my calendar. However, very recently I decided to make another attempt to move to mutt and today is the day when I am installing mutt in my MacBook.

Unfortunately mutt is not available natively for OS X, so I had to use MacPorts. The MacPorts project is an open source community initiative to make the other open source software available for the Mac OS X operating system. To install any software available from the MacPorts repository I needed a command line client for the same. I installed pkg version of the client for lion. The port pkg is installed in the /opt/local hierarchy.

MacPorts have a feature called variants which allows one to customize the installtion of a given port. Each variant name preceded by a + sign, represents an option that can be enabled during the compilation. In order to find out the variants available, the variants command can be used as below:

 $ port variants mutt-devel
mutt-devel has the variants:
   compress: Compressed folders
   date_conditional: Allow the format of dates in the index to vary based on how
                     recent the message is
     * requires deepif
   db4: Use Berkeley DB database
     * conflicts with gdbm qdbm tokyocabinet
   debug: Debugging support
   deepif: Allow nested if-else sequences in strings
   gdbm: Use GNU dbm database
     * conflicts with db4 qdbm tokyocabinet
   gnuregex: Use the GNU regular expression library
   gpgme: Enable GPGME crypto support
   headercache: Enable header caching (requires gdbm, qdbm, or tokyocabinet)
     * conflicts with db4
   idn: Internationalized Domain Name support
[+]imap: IMAP support
   nntp: NNTP support
     * conflicts with sidebar
[+]pop: POP support
   qdbm: Use QDBM database
     * conflicts with db4 gdbm tokyocabinet
   sasl: Simple Authentication and Security Layer support
   sidebar: Add a sidebar with a list of folders
     * conflicts with nntp
   smtp: Include internal SMTP relay support
   ssl: Secure Sockets Layer support
   tokyocabinet: Use Tokyo Cabinet database
     * conflicts with db4 gdbm qdbm
   trash: Add a Trash folder
   universal: Build for multiple architectures
   xlabel: Custom message-tagging - X-Label:

I installed mutt-devel version because the stable version was quite old. However, according to what I had experienced in the past and what I have read the development version is quite stable.

$ sudo port install mutt-devel +compress+gdbm+gnuregex+gpgme+headercache+imap+pop+sasl+smtp+ssl+trash

This completes the installation of mutt using ports. There are other useful open source software available in the ports which are not present in OS X like wget. In a future post, I will be writing about the detailed configuration of my mutt setup. Till then explore ports.

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2 Responses to Installing Mutt on Mac OS X

  1. source says:

    sudo port install mutt-devel +compress+gdbm+gnuregex+gpgme+headercache+imap+pop+sasl+smtp+ssl+trash

    That saved me so much time. Thanks. I found the stable package to be out of date and my config files from another mutt build were not happy, this should fix it nicely.

  2. John says:

    There’s also homebrew package manager.

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