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Emacs mailreader that doesn't move the spool

From: Hikaru Ichijyo
Subject: Emacs mailreader that doesn't move the spool
Date: 22 Oct 2013 19:05:56 GMT
User-agent: tin/2.0.1-20111224 ("Achenvoir") (UNIX) (Linux/3.3.4 (x86_64))

Every now and then, I consider migrating my mail and news reading to the 
wonderful wild world of Emacs, but every time I do, the main thing that 
always makes me decide to forget about it is that, as far as I can tell, 
there isn't a single Emacs mailreader that doesn't insist on copying 
your mailbox into your home directory and leaving it there.

For mail, currently I use Alpine, but I like occasionally using Mutt, 
and sometimes even Kmail.  All of these mailreaders have appropriate 
file locking mechanisms implemented to make it possible to operate on 
the system mailbox in place, in /var/spool/mail or wherever it happens 
to be.  Having it this way makes it so that even if I use Alpine most of 
the time, I can switch if I like, and the mail is always where it's 
expected to be.  Even my shell knows to give me the "You have new mail" 
notication by watching the system spool (where else should my mail be?).

Most UNIX newsreaders also seem to have a similar philosophy of sharing, 
since they all more or less have agreed to keep read/subscribed article 
information in ~/.newsrc, even ones that have more efficient mechanisms 
that they use for themselves, so you don't have to stay in one 
newsreader.  I mostly use Tin, but I also use Pan, and sometimes SLRN.  
None of them lock me in.

I've gone over the documentation for RMAIL, VM, and Gnus, and they all 
seem to require moving your mailbox to the home directory, apparently 
because none of them can lock the mailbox for exclusive access.  Emacs 
seems powerful enough that a kludge could probably be written that puts 
your mailbox back the way it was every time you close your mailreader, 
but that seems sort of ugly and unnecessary.

I'm strongly leaning toward either VM or Gnus if I did migrate, but I 
really want to keep my mailbox where it is.  Is there any way to do 

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from
oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent
that will reach to himself.
                                        --Thomas Paine

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