An Easy Way to Download Your Email in Maildir Format

As you all know, I spent considerable time configuring mbsync to download my email in Maildir format so that I could try out mu4e and move one more function into Emacs. It wasn’t, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done but I did spend a lot of time on it and had to beg for help from Irreal readers. It was, when you think of it, a bit of a risk. A lot of effort and research for something I might not like all that much. As it turned out, I like mu4e a lot so it was worth the effort for me but your mileage may vary.

There turns out to be an easier way: just let Thunderbird download your email. The writer of the linked reddit piece sometimes likes to read his email in Thunderbird anyway so using it means

  1. He didn’t have to configure mbsync.
  2. He has only one copy of his email on his machine.

Since I did, in fact, get mbsync configured, I haven’t tried this on the Mac but I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work. If you’re not already using Thunderbird it might end up being easier to just install mbsync and configure it. If you do have Thunderbird installed and want to try mu4e, you can do it easily without worrying about getting your email downloaded. If you like mu4e and don’t need Thunderbird anymore, then you can go through the pain of getting mbsync running.

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