Exim4 mail server and Mutt for local and outgoing e-mails

Debian Squeeze

Exim4 is MTA (Mail Transfer Agent ) server, simply it’s a mail server that handles mails for users in local network. It can be as a mail server of internet website with static IP assigned to a domain.

Debian Squeeze offers Exim4 for default mail server of the system. It only delivers messages to local users, i.e root, normal users that use the system. In my case, there exists one user called penguin. The system monitoring daemons send error messages or status occasionally.

Whenever I finish a work or find valuable materials, I save them on e-mail servers. I used to log in gmail.com or daum.net for backing up important data. To send e-mails I used to log in web e-mail sites using Chrome web browser. Lately I tested few e-mail clients that fetch and send e-mails through the web e-mail site. They provides POP, IMAP for incoming e-mails, SMTP for outgoing e-mails.

I found setting IMAP for the e-mail client is good for backup purpose cause it leaves original e-mails on the e-mail website. However it takes few minutes every time to start the e-mail client, Evolution. I tested Claw which did exact same thing. I might use POP as incoming e-mail because it will delete e-mails on the server right after downloading them.

For data backup purpose, I thought it’s efficient to send a simple e-mail with file attachment in text terminal. I uses Gnome-terminal a lot. One single line will send a data file to other e-mail servers. 🙂 So, I set up a system to do this. The procedure is as below.

Mutt is a mail client in terminal mode. Mutt send an e-mail to Exim4
Exim4 negotiate a e-mail server by supplying the e-mail account information (user name and password.)
The e-mail server receives the e-mail and sends it to destination e-mail address either to itself or other e-mail servers.

Mutt –> Exim4 –> E-mail web server –> E-mail receiver

Now I can send simple e-mail with any types of data to others. Here is an example.

echo |: makes empty e-mail body
-a translationwork.tar: attaches file
-s “July-2011 translation backup”: title of e-mail
$ echo | mutt -a translationwork.tar -s “July-2011 translation backup” address@mailserver.net

Above command line can be short like this. remote-backup will be a little script that handles arguments for mutt.

$ remote-backup ‘July-2011 translation backup’ translation.tar [e-mail address]

About janpenguin

Email: k2.mountain [at] gmail [dot] com Every content on the blog is made by Free and Open Source Software in GNU/Linux.
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