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26 Reading Mail

SXEmacs provides several mail-reading packages. Each one comes with its own manual, which is included in each package.

The recommended mail-reading package for new users is VM. VM works with standard Unix-mail-format folders and was designed as a replacement for the older Rmail.

SXEmacs also provides a sophisticated and comfortable front-end to the MH mail-processing system, called ‘MH-E’. Unlike in other mail programs, folders in MH are stored as file-system directories, with each message occupying one (numbered) file. This facilitates working with mail using shell commands, and many other features of MH are also designed to integrate well with the shell and with shell scripts. Keep in mind, however, that in order to use MH-E you must have the MH mail-processing system installed on your computer.

The Everything including the kitchen sink package ‘Gnus’ is also available as an SXEmacs package. Gnus also handles Usenet articles as well as mail.

MEW’ (Messaging in the Emacs World) is another mail-reading package available for SXEmacs.

Finally, SXEmacs provides the Rmail package. Rmail is (currently) the only mail reading package distributed with FSF GNU Emacs, and is powerful in its own right. However, it stores mail folders in a special format called ‘Babyl’, that is incompatible with all other frequently-used mail programs. A utility program is provided for converting Babyl folders to standard Unix-mail format; however, unless you already have mail in Babyl-format folders, you should consider using Gnus, VM, or MH-E instead.