Setting up mutt


Recently, I attended a workshop organized by IEEE Delhi Section Student Network about Open Source Software. The speaker was none other than Tapasweni Pathak. It turned out to be an amazing workshop which helped many people getting started with OSS.

Since the workshop was about Open Source, a good mailing client for sending out the patches was to be used. Linux kernel contributors prefer mutt so we went for that. Why? Because mutt is fast, powerful and easy to use. There I saw many people were having trouble setting up mutt using the kernel newbies tutorial. I found out that the problem was probably with the configuration of esmtp and mutt.

The solution to all problems is the following:

  1. Allow access to less secure apps in your gmail account.

How do you do that?

  • Go to My Account on your gmail.

Screenshot from 2016-05-01 19:44:15

  • Go to Connected apps & sites.

Screenshot from 2016-05-01 20:37:58

  • Turn Allow less secure apps -> ON

Screenshot from 2016-05-01 19:54:56

All this has to be done because mutt uses less secure sign-in technologies as compared to google mail which is not really considered healthy by Google.

2. Use a non-buggy configuration file. The best that I have come across can be found here on fosshelp. This is one script that has not thrown any kinds of errors (Child exited with code #/ Mail not sent/…) for any people whom I suggested this. Try this one out. Thanks fosshelp!

Now, try typing in your terminal

$ mutt

You will see your entire inbox connected to your e-mail account getting fetched.

And that’s it. Congratulations! You have your mutt working absolutely fine now.

Still getting errors? Try using some other configuration file. This website provides an awesome facility to create a configuration file as per you need. You can use it. Do post your errors in the comments if they’re still not fixed. Post any other configuration or some particular setting that you had to use in your particular distro.

Thanks for reading.


2 thoughts on “Setting up mutt

  1. Nice Post!
    I am facing a similar issue in setting up mutt and esmtp. Even after using the correct config files and allowing access to less secure apps, when I amtrying to send a file I am getting an error that gmail server cannot be connected (No route to server). What can be the reason for this error?


    • Hello,
      Thanks! 🙂 Are you accessing internet from college? Or some place where there might be special firewall or network proxy settings? If yes, mutt might not work for you at all in that situation. In case you’re using some flavor of Linux other than Ubuntu, you might have to look up for some settings particular to your distro.


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