On Sat, Nov 02, 2019 at 12:31:29PM -0400, Patrice Levesque wrote:
> > […] virtually all of the people who use mutt either as their only
> > email client or along with others, chose mutt because of its
> > simplicity.
> People who want a simple text mail client will use Alpine or similar.
> Mutt's possibly the most “complicated” text MUA.
> I don't use mutt because of its “simplicity”, I use it because of its
> power and flexibility.

Yes.  There is simple and then there is simple.  I choose Mutt because
I can adjust it to be simple in the ways I want it to be simple, and
sophisticated in the ways I want it to be sophisticated.  That exacts
a cost in configuration complexity which I'm quite willing to pay.

I like that Mutt presents emails simply.  It ignores all the fancy
to-the-pixel formatting, pointless images, distracting backgrounds,
and flashing multicolored nonsense.  I find that reading mail with
Mutt is more restful than with other MUAs.  Occasionally I do
encounter a message whose text/plain part says only "you must enable
HTML mail to read this message."  I interpret this as "you do not need
or want to read this message," and I happily hit "d" and move on.

I like that Mutt can be configured to handle signing and encryption
well using the tools that I use for these operations in other

I like that Mutt gives me ready access to the structure of MIME
messages.  I like that Mutt understands me when I add an attachment,
and sets the Content-Type correctly instead of just blowing it off as

I like that Mutt just asks me what I want to do with this funky
attachment, instead of trusting it and performing it without my
leave.  I like that Mutt makes me stop and think about following that

I like that Mutt lets me choose my editor and just accepts what I have
composed with it.  For some messages I really need EMACS.

I like that Mutt treats me as someone who takes the trouble to
understand the medium, and facilitates my use of that knowledge.

Most of that was not simple to achieve but, having achieved it, Mutt
makes sending and reading email *my way* simple for me, and that is
the simplicity which I value most highly in a MUA.

What it boils down to is that Mutt is a tool rather than an appliance,
and I prefer tools.  An appliance does the work for me, the same way
it does it for everyone else; a tool enhances my ability to do the work
using my skills and expressing my intent.

Mark H. Wood
Lead Technology Analyst

University Library
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
755 W. Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202

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