Fast Convenient Mail for Travel: OfflineIMAP
E-mail is for many people the single-most important feature of the Internet. We read e-mail at home, at work, while traveling and on many different computers. But it's difficult to see the same mail from all of those places. If you delete a message from home, it may not show up as deleted when you look at the same account from work. Worse, you might be able to view a given message on only one machine. And if you sometimes want to download mail to your laptop and read it without any Internet connection, things get even more complex.
Some people try to solve these problems by using IMAP in their mail clients. But IMAP can be slow and poorly supported; especially on a slow connection, it tends to make mail reading unpleasant. I recently faced exactly this situation—I was a very annoyed programmer. Many programs come about because a programmer somewhere was annoyed. Thus, I wrote OfflineIMAP.
OfflineIMAP is designed to let you read the same mailbox from many different computers, with or without an active Internet connection. It performs a bi-directional sync, which means that any changes you make eventually are reflected on all your machines. In its most common form, OfflineIMAP works by connecting to an IMAP server and synchronizing your folders to a series of Maildir folders on your local machine. Despite its name, OfflineIMAP is useful even if you never read mail off-line.
OfflineIMAP installation is easy. Visit the OfflineIMAP home page at quux.org/devel/offlineimap, and download the .deb or the tar.gz file. Debian users simply can run dpkg -i offlineimap.deb to install it, and then use apt-get -f install to fix any missing dependencies. If you're not running Debian, make sure you have Python 2.2 or above installed. If you do not have Python already, check with your distribution or visit www.python.org to download it.
When you're ready to install OfflineIMAP, run tar -zxvf offlineimap_4.0.2.tar.gz to unpack the source. Change into the new directory and then, as root, run python setup.py install. If you get stuck, the OfflineIMAP manual contains some more installation hints.
OfflineIMAP configuration is done in the ~/.offlineimaprc file. That file has three different sections: general, which controls overall behavior of OfflineIMAP; repository, which describes a place where mail is stored; and account, which describes how two repositories are synchronized together. A basic, simple setup requires only a small configuration file. Here is an example:
[general] accounts = MyMail [Account MyMail] localrepository = MyMailLocal remoterepository = MyMailRemote [Repository MyMailLocal] type = Maildir localfolders = ~/MyMail [Repository MyMailRemote] type = IMAP remotehost = hostname.example.com remoteuser = my-username-goes-here ssl = yes
This example defines one account, MyMail. The MyMail account is synchronized from the hostname.example.com server to the ~/MyMail directory on your local machine. All remote folders are copied. If your IMAP provider does not support SSL encryption, delete the ssl = yes line. Now, run offlineimap. You are asked for your password, and then it synchronizes your mailboxes once and exits.
If you're connected to the Internet while you read your mail, you can have OfflineIMAP continually keep your local tree synced up with the server. To do this, simply add an autorefresh line to your account section. For instance, you might modify your account section to look like this:
[Account MyMail] localrepository = MyMailLocal remoterepository = MyMailRemote autorefresh = 5
When you run OfflineIMAP now, it synchronizes your mailbox like before. But when it's done, instead of exiting, it keeps running, synchronizing your mail every five minutes.
OfflineIMAP is quite capable of synchronizing multiple accounts. For instance, you might want to be able to read mail from both your work e-mail and your home e-mail. To do this, add one account and two repository sections for each account, making sure to use unique names. Then, add the account to the accounts list in the general section. Separate the names by commas.
On the local side, you should make sure that each account synchronizes into a different directory. Otherwise, confusion and corruption may occur.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide