Screenshot of fetchmail launcher
|Original author(s)||Eric S. Raymond|
6.3.26 / April 23, 2013
|Type||Mail delivery agent|
|License||GNU General Public License|
Fetchmail is an open source software utility for POSIX-compliant operating systems which is used to retrieve e-mail from a remote POP3, IMAP, ETRN or ODMR mail server to the user's local system. It was developed from the popclient program, written by Carl Harris.
Its chief significance is perhaps that its author, Eric S. Raymond, used it as a model to discuss his theories of open source software development in a widely read and influential essay on software development methodologies, The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
By design Fetchmail's only means of delivering messages is by submitting them to the local MTA/Message transfer agent or invoking a mail delivery agent like procmail, maildrop, or sendmail; delivering directly to mail folders such as maildir is not supported.
Dan Bernstein, getmail creator Charles Cazabon and FreeBSD developer Terry Lambert, have criticized Fetchmail's design, its number of security holes, and that it was prematurely put into "maintenance mode". In 2004, a new team of maintainers took over Fetchmail development, and laid out development plans that broke with design decisions that Eric Raymond had made in earlier versions.
Fetchmail can be configured form .fetchmailrc file. Since it have sensitive information, it is always recommended to grant exclusive permissions to the owner.
chmod 600 ~/.fetchmailrc
Below are listed some useful configurations, more options are documented on Fetchmail official page.
Download emails from single server
poll SEVERNAME protocol PROTOCOL username “USERNAME” password “PASSWORD” is “LOCALUSER” here
Download emails from multiple servers
poll SERVERNAME proto PROTOCOL: user “USERNAME_1”, with password “USER_1_PASSWORD”, is “LOCALUSER” here; user “USERNAME_2”, with password “USER_2_PASSWORD”; user “USERNAME_3”, with password “USER_3_PASSWORD”; poll SERVERNAME proto PROTOCOL: user “USERNAMES”, with password “USERPASSWORDS”, is “LOCALUSER” here;
If we want to download at intervals we have two options, daemon mode: i.e: Every 2 minutes
fetchmail –d 120
or from cronetab, you have to edit the configuration file doing cronetab -e, there you need to add a new line with the frequency you want fetchmail to be executed. i.e: Every 2 minutes every day of the week
0-59/2 * * * * fetchmail
- "File Release Notes and Changelog". 2013-04-23. Archived from the original on 2013-06-18. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
- Raymond, Eric. "'Eric S. Raymond's former Design Notes On Fetchmail'". Retrieved 2007-04-03.
- "...or into an MDA program...", Section G1, The Fetchmail FAQ
- Lambert, Terry. "'UUCP must stay; fetchmail sucks (was list 'o things)'". Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- Cazabon, Charles. "'getmail frequently asked questions'". Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- "'Developer History'". Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- "'Design Notes On Fetchmail'". Retrieved 2007-04-05.
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