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Welcome to mu!

Given the enormous amounts of e-mail many people gather and the importance of e-mail message in our work-flows, it’s essential to quickly deal with all that mail - in particular, to instantly find that one important e-mail you need right now.

mu is a tool for dealing with e-mail messages stored in the Maildir-format. mu’s main purpose is to help you to quickly find the messages you need; in addition, it allows you to view messages, extract attachments, create new maildirs, … See the mu cheatsheet for some examples.

Searching works by first indexing your messages into a Xapian-database, which can then be queried using a custom query language.


  • 2011-09-03: mu 0.9.7 is now available; compared to the -pre version there are a few small changes; the most important one is a fix specifically for running mu on MacOS.
  • 2011-07-31: mu 0.9.7-pre is now available with a number of interesting new features and fixes, many based on user suggestions. mu now supports mail threading based on the JWZ-algorithm; output is now automatically converted to the user-locale; mu view can output separators between messages for easier processing, support for X-Label-tags, and last but not least, mu now has bindings for the Guile (Scheme) programming language - there is a new toy (toys/muile) that allows you to inspect messages and do all kinds of statistics - see the README for more information.

    Note, the repository name has changed, it’s now at:

  • 2011-06-02: after quite a bit of testing, 0.9.6 has been promoted to be the next release – forget about the ‘bèta’. Development continues for the next release.
  • 2011-05-28: mu-0.9.6 (bèta). A lot of internal changes, but also quite some new features, for example:
    • wild-card searching for most fields: mu find ‘car*’
    • search for message with certain attachments with ‘attach:/a:’: mu find ‘attach:resume*’
    • color for mu find, mu cfind, mu extract and mu view

    Everything is documented in the man-pages, and there are examples in the mu cheatsheet.

  • 2011-04-25: mu-0.9.5 a small, but important, bugfix in maildir-detection, some small optimizations.
  • 2011-04-12: mu 0.9.4 released - adds the cfind command, to find contacts (name + e-mail); add flag:unread which is a synonym for flag:new OR NOT flag:seen. Updates to the documentation and some internal updates. This is a bèta-version.
  • 2011-02-13: mu 0.9.3; fixes a bunch of minor issues in 0.9.2; updated the web page with pages for mug (the experimental UI) and the mu cheatsheet.
  • 2011-02-02: mu 0.9.2 released, which adds support for matching on message size, and various new output format. See NEWS for all the user-visible changes, also from older releases.
  • Old news


  • fast indexing for Maildir, Maildir+ and Maildir-on-VFAT
  • search for messages based on the sender, receiver, subject, size, priority, words in the message body, attachments, date range, flags (signed, encrypted, new, replied, unread, …), message-id, maildir
  • known to work on Linux (Ubuntu/Fedora/Debian/GenToo), FreeBSD, MacOS, Solaris, …
  • fully documented (man pages)
  • can be integrated with e-mail clients; documentation has examples for mutt and Wanderlust.
  • output in plain text, xml, s-expressions (experimental)
  • extract message parts, attachments, open them using their default application

In addition, there is a toy UI for mu called mug; the plan is to slowly evolve this into a full-featured UI.

Development & download

Some Linux-distributions already provide pre-built mu packages; if there’s no packagage for your distribution, or if you want the latest release, you can download mu source packages from Google Code. In case you find a bug, or have a feature requests, please use the issue tracker.

If you’d like to work with the mu source code, you can find it in Gitorious; also, see the notes on HACKING the mu source code.

There’s also a mailing list.

License & Copyright

mu was designed and implemented by Dirk-Jan C. Binnema, and is Free Software, licensed under the GNU GPLv3

© 2011 Dirk-Jan C. Binnema
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