Michael J. Radwin

Tales of a software engineer who keeps kosher and hates the web.

Moving from Pine to PC-Pine

PINE - a Program for Internet News & Email I hate email almost as much as I hate the web.

I’ve found that I’m using my Windows 2000 laptop a lot these days, but I’m still doing my email on my 4.5-year-old FreeBSD machine (running a vintage 2.2.7 kernel, complete with the a.out runtime linker bug). Switching back and forth between the two has turned into too big of a pain in the neck, especially since I seem to be getting tons of resumes (and various other attachments) in Word and PDF formats.

So it’s high time to switch to a Windows email reader. What’s the path of least resistance? PC-Pine.

Yes, it still has an olde-school xterm-like interface. No, it doesn’t display HTML or graphics. But it’s what I’ve been using for the past 8 years, and I’m not about to switch again. I made the great leap forward from good ol’ /usr/bin/mail to Pine back in 1995 and it took weeks to get used to a new interface. I don’t want to repeat that pain.

Our corporate IS department doesn’t support IMAP (only POP3), so I initially tried to get an IMAP server running on my ancient FreeBSD box and use fetchmail to pull from our POP server. But I couldn’t really get UW’s imapd to work. Instead of wasting time trying another IMAP server (folks here have suggested Inter7’s Courier-IMAP), I instead decided to use Pine’s native POP3 support in conjunction with the Mail Drop feature.

Porting my pinerc file from Unix to Windows was pretty easy. I had to make a few tweaks (looking up names in our corprate LDAP server instead of getting them from /etc/password, switching forward-slashes to back-slashes in folder names, moving my filtering from procmail to Pine’s built-in filtering feature, etc.) After a couple of hours, I’m up and running in an environment that feels really familiar.