Configuring an EMail Client

GUI mail clients frequently launch into configuration screens the first time they're run. If yours doesn't, the configuration tool can be accessed from a menu option, such as Sylpheed's Configuration O Create New Account (see Figure 8.11) or KMail's Settings O Configure KMail. Text-based programs are typically configured through text files, such as Mutt's -/.muttrc.

Figure 8.11: You must tell your mail reader how to send and receive mail.

Mail readers must know how to send and receive mail. Some mail readers—especially text-based programs—default to using the local mail queue. This default setting works well if your Linux system is permanently attached to the Internet and runs its own mail server. Most desktop systems, though, don't run their own mail servers, or at most, run a mail server only for outgoing and local mail. Therefore, you must usually tell the mail program about yourself and your mail configuration. Specific data you may need to provide includes:

Account Information You may need to tell the program what name and address to associate with outgoing mail. In Figure 8.11, you enter this information in the Full Name and Mail Address fields. You may also need to name the mail account you're configuring—that's the Name of This Account field in Figure 8.11. If you use multiple mail accounts—say, one for each of several ISPs you use—the ability to handle multiple accounts from one program can be handy.

Incoming Mail Server You can configure most mail clients to read mail from the local mail spool, from a Post Office Protocol (POP) server, or from an Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) server. In the latter two cases, you must specify the server name (in the Server for Receiving field in Figure 8.11), a username (in the User ID field), and a password (in the Password field). Some mail readers and protocols provide additional receive options. These are accessible from the Receive tab in Figure 8.11.

Outgoing Mail Server When you send mail, the mail reader must know how to do the job. Many mail readers default to using the sendmail program on the local computer, which is usually a mail server that can accept and send mail. Some workstations and networks aren't configured to allow such access, though, so you may need to specify another mail server. In Sylpheed (see Figure 8.11), this is done in the SMTP Server (Send) field. Some mail readers provide additional options on a tab such as Figure 8.11's Send or Advanced tabs.

Note Not all mail readers provide all the primary options described here in a single dialog box or tab, as shown in Figure 8.11. You may need to open multiple dialog boxes or click multiple tabs to configure all the necessary features.

If you're not sure what to enter for any of this basic information, consult your ISP or network administrator. As described in the upcoming section, "Combining Many Mail Accounts: Fetchmail," you can configure your system to provide your mail via a local account even when you must use one or more external POP or IMAP servers.

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