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C'est la Z

Using Emacs 64 - Notmuch

I've been using the gmail web interface for a long time. My first email or at least the oldest one still in the system dates back to Oct 18, 2004 7:29am. It was a letter to a buddy about an indoor turkey fryer and if he needed a lift to Fairway the following morning to shop.

Before that, I used my Panix shell account - probably with PINE. Work email was using my own servers at Stuy along with either PINE or Emacs using VM mode which has long been deprecated.

I haven't bitten the bullet and left gmail yet but I thought it was time to move my personal email over to an Emacs client. I currently use MU4E and am pretty happy with it but figured I'd give another contender a try - Notmuch. Both rely on some other backend to pull email form an imap server. I'm currently using mbsync. I'm not thrilled with it but then, I'm not thrilled with offlineimap which is, as best I can figure the only other alternative.

In the video I'll show a bit about notmuch and how it comapres to mu4e. Both are nice packages and I'd love one email client that combined the best of both and maybe added a bit more shine.

At their cores, both mu4e and notmuch are built on top of xapain and leverage search to manage your emails. Here are a few of the key differences:


  • Folder based
  • Easier to handle separate email accounts (and keep them separate)
  • Better org-mode integration
  • Automatically calls your IMAP sync program
  • Changes things on the server (moves, deletes etc.)


  • Tags based
  • Doesn't touch or change anything on the serer (doesn't delete or move things there, just tags locally)
  • Combines multiple accounts to appear as one

Both have a nice search based interface.

Right now, the fact that notmuch doesn't seamlessly delete emails from the server might be a deal breaker for me. I have a limited quota at Hunter so I really do have to watch the overall amount of storage I use.

For now, I'm going to start pulling down my email and seeing how I like mu4e for all my email needs. I'll probably play a bit more with notmuch as well and who knows….

Here's my post and video on setting up and using mu4e:

And here's the current one on notmuch:

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