I switched from Thunderbird to the much more lightweight Mutt on my minilaptop, and recently, my Macbook as well.

One of it’s biggest advantages is that it’s not going to eat up all my memory when I just want to check my mail (my browser will do that though) and it has many ways to be configured and suited to your needs.

Here I will describe how I’ve setup Mutt on both Ubuntu, and Mac OS X (Snow Leopard).

My setup


I’m offering my files so you can download them and put them in place a little easier, the only thing you need to do is configure them for yourself:

  • ~/ *
  • ~/.mailcap
  • ~/.muttcs
  • ~/.muttkb
  • ~/.muttrc
  • ~/.signature
  • ~/.urlview *
  • ~/etc/urlview/
  • ~/Mail/postponed
  • ~/Mail/sent
  • ~/Mail/trash
  • ~/var/mail/[USERNAME]

The aterisked ones are only needed for Mac OS X.

General configuration

  • .muttrc: Like many UNIX programs, there is a dotfile for general program configuration settings. I’ve put the colorscheme and keybindings in their own seperate files, so it’s easier to configure and tell things apart.
  • .muttcs: I’m not too fond of many colours in my terminal, so I’ve put a minimum of colours in my colorscheme.
  • .muttkb: Since I’m a huge fan of the VIM-like keybindings, I searched around if someone has taken the trouble of setting Mutt up with VIM-like keybindings. It turns out there are a few people who’ve done that.
  • .signature I’m simple when it comes to mail signatures, I just want to show my name and my website for the time being. Needs some fixing with GPG soon.
  • .mailcap & Opening attachments directly with programs is being done with the mailcap. On Mac OS X you’ll need the helper to do that, I rarely receive anything viewable except for images mainly, so I configured that script to open images with Quickviewer.
  • .urlview & On Mac OS X, only the .urlview file is needed to open an URL in your preferred browser. On Linux, you’ll to do that. (There’s other settings in that config file like setting preferred mail programs and things like that as well).