Mutt (email client)

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Mutt in action
Original author(s) Michael Elkins
Developer(s) Brendan Cully
Initial release 1995; 21 years ago (1995)
Stable release (June 9, 2007; 8 years ago (2007-06-09)) [±]
Preview release 1.5.24 / (September 1, 2015; 5 months ago (2015-09-01))
Written in C[1]
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Email client
License GPLv2+[2]

Mutt is a text-based email client for Unix-like systems. It was originally written by Michael Elkins in 1995 and released under the GNU General Public License version 2 or any later version.[2]

The Mutt slogan is "All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less."[3]


Mutt supports most mail storing formats (notably both mbox and Maildir) and protocols (POP3, IMAP, etc.). It also includes MIME support, notably full PGP/GPG and S/MIME integration.

Mutt was originally designed as a Mail User Agent (MUA) and relied on locally accessible mailbox and sendmail infrastructure. According to the Mutt homepage "though written from scratch, Mutt's initial interface was based largely on the ELM mail client". New to Mutt were message scoring and threading capabilities. Support for fetching and sending email via various protocols such as POP3, IMAP and SMTP was added later. Mutt relies on external tools for composing and filtering messages.

Mutt has hundreds of configuration directives and commands. It allows for changing all the key bindings and making keyboard macros for complex actions, as well as the colors and the layout of most of the interface. Through variants of a concept known as "hooks", many of its settings can be changed based on criteria such as current mailbox or outgoing message recipients. There are also many patches and extensions available that add functionality, such as NNTP support or a sidebar similar to those often found in graphical mail clients.

Mutt is fully controlled with the keyboard, and has support for mail conversation threading, meaning one can easily move around long discussions such as in mailing lists. New messages are composed with an external text editor by default, unlike pine which embeds its own editor known as pico.

Mutt is often used by security professionals or security conscious users because of its smaller attack surface compared with other clients that ship with a web browser rendering engine or a JavaScript interpreter.[4] It can also be configured to trust certificates on first use, and not use older versions of the Transport Layer Security protocol, and because it ships with GnuPG support.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The mutt Open Source Project on Ohloh : Languages Page". Retrieved 2013-03-22. 
  2. ^ a b "COPYRIGHT file". Retrieved 2009-07-17. either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. 
  3. ^ Elkins, Michael R.; Blosser, Jeremy (2008-06-08). "The Mutt E-Mail Client". Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  4. ^ "Why Security Experts Are Using an Ancient Email Format in 2015". 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  5. ^ "GPG / Mutt / Gmail". Retrieved 2015-09-14. 

External links[edit]