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Which introduce and explain that the traditional *nix approach to email is generally more complex than the more recent dos/Windows clients' approach to email. The difference, in a nutshell, is that *nix expected to be a full email server node on the Internet (or Intranet) while dos/Windows expected to work as a client to a full email server node on the Internet (for example, your ISP's email server).

Dos/Windows clients expect to retrieve mail from the (ISP's) email server via the POP3 or IMAP and send mail back to the email server via the SMTP protocol. The original *nix email clients (Pine, Mutt, Elm) expected a MTA (the main component of an email server) to put mail into a local file for the *nix email client to access it, and they put outgoing mail in an outbox, expecting the MTA to pick it up and deliver it wherever required (relaying from one email server to the next as required).

<editorial comment: I was hoping to use small pages to deal with email, and minimize redundancy between them, but most of what I've written above so far is covered somewhere else. Need to consider ways to deal with this better.>

Newer *nix email clients can work with the POP3, IMAP, and SMTP protocols and behave just like the dos/Windows email clients, and that makes the installation of mail on a workstation that much easier -- you just need the email client, not the email client and an MTA (and perhaps other components like fetchmail, etc.).

IIUC, some or all of the traditional *nix email clients (aka MUAs -- I should introduce this acronym earlier) (like Mutt, Pine, Elm?) can now work with POP3, IMAP, and SMTP just like the Windows and newer *nix clients.


  • () RandyKramer - 01 Sep 2002
  • <If you edit this page: add your name here; move this to the next line; and include your comment marker (initials), if you have created one, in parenthesis before your WikiName.>

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Topic revision: r1 - 2002-09-01 - RandyKramer
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