Configuring Alpine 2.0 to Access Gmail on Ubuntu x64

December 5, 2010

Continuation of from the last post

Installing Alpine 2.0 in Ubuntu Linux is a fairly simple process but can be rather confusing and elusive as there is no GUI to help you out. I ran into a few hitches along the way so I thought I’d help out future command line enthusiasts who might run into the same issue.

Installing Alpine is as simple as:

sudo apt-get install alpine

A few seconds later you’ll have Alpine up and running. Type “alpine” into your terminal and then follow the prompts. To configure it to use Gmail you’ll go into the Setup menu by pressing “S” and from there you’ll go into Config by hitting “C”.

This is how I configured mine for Gmail:

Personal Name                     = <No Value Set: using "Your Friendly Name">                                    
User Domain                       =                                                                 
SMTP Server (for sending)         =                       
NNTP Server (for news)            = <No Value Set>
Inbox Path                        = {}Inbox     
Incoming Archive Folders          = <No Value Set>                                                            
Pruned Folders                    = <No Value Set>                                                            
Default Fcc (File carbon copy)    = <No Value Set: using "sent-mail">                                         
Default Saved Message Folder      = <No Value Set: using "saved-messages">                                    
Postponed Folder                  = <No Value Set: using "postponed-msgs">                                    
Read Message Folder               = <No Value Set>                                                            
Form Letter Folder                = <No Value Set>                                                            
Trash Folder                      = <No Value Set: using "Trash">                                             
Literal Signature                 = <No Value Set>                                                            
Signature File                    = <No Value Set: using ".signature"> 

One thing worth noting there is the Inbox Path I set. Every other guide I read said to use
which simply did not work for me. I struggled with this one for a good 20 min or so until I found this post which did it slightly different than most. Not sure why, but my computer needed that a bit different and if anything I’d guess it’s because I’m using the x64 build.

While you’re in the config menu you’ll also want to fix a few other things which were suggested on the Ubuntu Forums.

[Advanced User Preferences] 
[x] "Save Will Not Delete"

[Pruning Rule]
[x] "Don’t rename, don’t delete" 

At this point you want to save your settings and exit Alpine. So hit E and then YQ to exit and once again Y to confirm.

Now before you start Alpine again I suggest setting it to save your password. Doing this is a bit convoluted but basically what you’re going to do is create an empty file in your home directory which will store your encrypted password.

cd ~
touch .pine-passfile

When Alpine starts back up enter your Gmail password and it will then ask if you want to save it locally, hit Y. You will have to do this once more the next time you send an outgoing mail but after that you will not be prompted again for your Gmail password.

Now Alpine is all installed and you can be elite and say you read your email in the command line. You can of course take it one step further and add it to your screen profile and then attach it every time you SSH in. I’ve always got screen windows running for things like IRSSI and Hellanzb and Emacs, and now Alpine.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Ahoy,

    It’s my blog you listed as a guide. Just wanted to comment that my way might ahve worked while others weren’t because other guides are likely showing you how to setup POP3 mail, whereas mine is for IMAP.

    So if you weren’t trying to use IMAP, my solution might not be what you wanted. If POP3 is your goal, ensure you have it enabled and NOT IMAP in your Gmail settings and try the other way again.

    Either way, thanks for the pingback, and hope it works out well for you in either case!


  2. The ones I were looking at were definitely IMAP as they used as the server name. But that reminds me, I should add something to my post about enabling IMAP in GMail as I had already done that long ago and didn’t think to mention that such a thing was required for all of this to work.

  3. thanks. i had to use the imap address for inbox path on my maverick 32 bit machine too.

  4. Thx much — esp. for the passwd tip. I’ve searched around, none of what i saw worked, but it must be the special filename you chose that pine uses by default to store the passwd.. (?) Whatever it was, it worked, and it’s wonderful to be getting this going locally!!


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