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A collection of utilities for maildirs





E-mail is the 'flow' in the work flow of many people. Consequently, one spends a lot of time searching for old e-mails, to dig up some important piece of information. With people having tens of thousands of e-mails (or more), this is becoming harder and harder. How to find that one e-mail in an evergrowing haystack?

Enter mu.

'mu' is a set of command-line tools for Linux/Unix that enable you to quickly find the e-mails you are looking for. First, a tool called mu-index fills a database with information about all your e-mails. After that, you can easily search for them, using mu-find and its dedicated query language.

For example:

 # get smith's mails with attachments from the last few weeks
 $ mu-find d:1m- F:a

 # get the mails mentioning some book on a mailing list
 $ mu-find x:'Fall of Hyperion' M:'BookClub'

The way to express the searches is a bit cryptic at first, but easy to learn (in the author's humble opinion); the mu-find manpage discusses syntax and usage, and has lots of examples.

Periodically, you can do a quick update of database by running mu-index again. You can combine mu searching with your existing e-mail program (e.g. mutt); the mu documentation has the details.

mu is free software released under GPLv3, that runs on Unix/Linux-based systems, and combines the power of the SQLite database and the Xapian text indexing engine. Important: for mu to work, your mails must be stored in a set of maildirs

For a practical introduction, there is a short HOWTO which might be helpful. For technical discussion, the author's blog might be interesting, as it goes through various aspects of designing and implementing mu.
Last updated on April 1st, 2013

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