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Email clients info for Linux
======================================================================
General Preferences
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Patches for the Linux kernel are submitted via email, preferably as
inline text in the body of the email. Some maintainers accept
attachments, but then the attachments should have content-type
"text/plain". However, attachments are generally frowned upon because
it makes quoting portions of the patch more difficult in the patch
review process.
Email clients that are used for Linux kernel patches should send the
patch text untouched. For example, they should not modify or delete tabs
or spaces, even at the beginning or end of lines.
Don't send patches with "format=flowed". This can cause unexpected
and unwanted line breaks.
Don't let your email client do automatic word wrapping for you.
This can also corrupt your patch.
Email clients should not modify the character set encoding of the text.
Emailed patches should be in ASCII or UTF-8 encoding only.
If you configure your email client to send emails with UTF-8 encoding,
you avoid some possible charset problems.
Email clients should generate and maintain References: or In-Reply-To:
headers so that mail threading is not broken.
Copy-and-paste (or cut-and-paste) usually does not work for patches
because tabs are converted to spaces. Using xclipboard, xclip, and/or
xcutsel may work, but it's best to test this for yourself or just avoid
copy-and-paste.
Don't use PGP/GPG signatures in mail that contains patches.
This breaks many scripts that read and apply the patches.
(This should be fixable.)
It's a good idea to send a patch to yourself, save the received message,
and successfully apply it with 'patch' before sending patches to Linux
mailing lists.
Some email client (MUA) hints
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Here are some specific MUA configuration hints for editing and sending
patches for the Linux kernel. These are not meant to be complete
software package configuration summaries.
Legend:
TUI = text-based user interface
GUI = graphical user interface
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Alpine (TUI)
Config options:
In the "Sending Preferences" section:
- "Do Not Send Flowed Text" must be enabled
- "Strip Whitespace Before Sending" must be disabled
When composing the message, the cursor should be placed where the patch
should appear, and then pressing CTRL-R let you specify the patch file
to insert into the message.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Evolution (GUI)
Some people use this successfully for patches.
When composing mail select: Preformat
from Format->Heading->Preformatted (Ctrl-7)
or the toolbar
Then use:
Insert->Text File... (Alt-n x)
to insert the patch.
You can also "diff -Nru old.c new.c | xclip", select Preformat, then
paste with the middle button.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kmail (GUI)
Some people use Kmail successfully for patches.
The default setting of not composing in HTML is appropriate; do not
enable it.
When composing an email, under options, uncheck "word wrap". The only
disadvantage is any text you type in the email will not be word-wrapped
so you will have to manually word wrap text before the patch. The easiest
way around this is to compose your email with word wrap enabled, then save
it as a draft. Once you pull it up again from your drafts it is now hard
word-wrapped and you can uncheck "word wrap" without losing the existing
wrapping.
At the bottom of your email, put the commonly-used patch delimiter before
inserting your patch: three hyphens (---).
Then from the "Message" menu item, select insert file and choose your patch.
As an added bonus you can customise the message creation toolbar menu
and put the "insert file" icon there.
Make the the composer window wide enough so that no lines wrap. As of
KMail 1.13.5 (KDE 4.5.4), KMail will apply word wrapping when sending
the email if the lines wrap in the composer window. Having word wrapping
disabled in the Options menu isn't enough. Thus, if your patch has very
long lines, you must make the composer window very wide before sending
the email. See: https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=174034
You can safely GPG sign attachments, but inlined text is preferred for
patches so do not GPG sign them. Signing patches that have been inserted
as inlined text will make them tricky to extract from their 7-bit encoding.
If you absolutely must send patches as attachments instead of inlining
them as text, right click on the attachment and select properties, and
highlight "Suggest automatic display" to make the attachment inlined to
make it more viewable.
When saving patches that are sent as inlined text, select the email that
contains the patch from the message list pane, right click and select
"save as". You can use the whole email unmodified as a patch if it was
properly composed. There is no option currently to save the email when you
are actually viewing it in its own window -- there has been a request filed
at kmail's bugzilla and hopefully this will be addressed. Emails are saved
as read-write for user only so you will have to chmod them to make them
group and world readable if you copy them elsewhere.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lotus Notes (GUI)
Run away from it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mutt (TUI)
Plenty of Linux developers use mutt, so it must work pretty well.
Mutt doesn't come with an editor, so whatever editor you use should be
used in a way that there are no automatic linebreaks. Most editors have
an "insert file" option that inserts the contents of a file unaltered.
To use 'vim' with mutt:
set editor="vi"
If using xclip, type the command
:set paste
before middle button or shift-insert or use
:r filename
if you want to include the patch inline.
(a)ttach works fine without "set paste".
Config options:
It should work with default settings.
However, it's a good idea to set the "send_charset" to:
set send_charset="us-ascii:utf-8"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pine (TUI)
Pine has had some whitespace truncation issues in the past, but these
should all be fixed now.
Use alpine (pine's successor) if you can.
Config options:
- quell-flowed-text is needed for recent versions
- the "no-strip-whitespace-before-send" option is needed
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Sylpheed (GUI)
- Works well for inlining text (or using attachments).
- Allows use of an external editor.
- Is slow on large folders.
- Won't do TLS SMTP auth over a non-SSL connection.
- Has a helpful ruler bar in the compose window.
- Adding addresses to address book doesn't understand the display name
properly.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thunderbird (GUI)
Thunderbird is an Outlook clone that likes to mangle text, but there are ways
to coerce it into behaving.
- Allows use of an external editor:
The easiest thing to do with Thunderbird and patches is to use an
"external editor" extension and then just use your favorite $EDITOR
for reading/merging patches into the body text. To do this, download
and install the extension, then add a button for it using
View->Toolbars->Customize... and finally just click on it when in the
Compose dialog.
To beat some sense out of the internal editor, do this:
- Under account settings, composition and addressing, uncheck "Compose
messages in HTML format".
- Edit your Thunderbird config settings so that it won't use format=flowed.
Go to "edit->preferences->advanced->config editor" to bring up the
thunderbird's registry editor, and set "mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed" to
"false".
- Enable "preformat" mode: Shft-click on the Write icon to bring up the HTML
composer, select "Preformat" from the drop-down box just under the subject
line, then close the message without saving. (This setting also applies to
the text composer, but the only control for it is in the HTML composer.)
- Install the "toggle wordwrap" extension. Download the file from:
https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/addon/2351/
Then go to "tools->add ons", select "install" at the bottom of the screen,
and browse to where you saved the .xul file. This adds an "Enable
Wordwrap" entry under the Options menu of the message composer.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
TkRat (GUI)
Works. Use "Insert file..." or external editor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gmail (Web GUI)
Does not work for sending patches.
Gmail web client converts tabs to spaces automatically.
At the same time it wraps lines every 78 chars with CRLF style line breaks
although tab2space problem can be solved with external editor.
Another problem is that Gmail will base64-encode any message that has a
non-ASCII character. That includes things like European names.
###
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