Grappling with AOL's email server
July 10, 2005 10:59 AM   Subscribe

My client uses AOL for mail, which I have to sift through, and forward to various places. I want to set up scripts to automate some of it. Is there a good mail client for Macintosh capable of dealing with AOL mail, through IMAP, to let me set up clever filters for it?

Mozilla Thunderbird works OK for the basics, but doesn't seem to have the scripting capabilities I need. It doesn't help that AOL's mail system seems to refuse advanced requests like the IMAP "SEARCH" command. IMAP is better than the horror of the AOL Web mail interface, though.

Switching from AOL unfortunately not an option.
posted by inksyndicate to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Response by poster: Just to clarify, the first time I used the word "client" I meant "person I work for," the second time I meant "software." Thanks.
posted by inksyndicate at 11:00 AM on July 10, 2005

macintosh means osx? if so, you can use the standard unix utilities - fetchmail, procmail and sendmail, can't you? fetchmail gets mail from somewhere and can send it either to procmail or to sendmail. procmail will trigger scripts etc depending on the message structure and then deliver the results to unix pipes, mailboxes, or sendmail. sendmail sends mail to places.

these are monster pieces of software - a bit tough to learn, but standard (there must be a million books and websites about them).

if you want a lighterweight solution, getmail is a python package that will get mail from imap and send it to something. you could use that, procmail, and some extra scripts, i would guess.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:10 AM on July 10, 2005

I may be missing something, but it sounds like you can just use Mac's if you are using OSX. You can set up AOL as an IMAP mail account and then use the rules to do whatever you want with it.

If you are using OS9, I'm not sure what you can do.
posted by qwip at 11:19 AM on July 10, 2005

Response by poster: Oh, one thing I didn't get into was that didn't seem to work in a very friendly way with AOL's peculiar setup. I'm no IMAP expert but it didn't seem standard. Particularly, sending seemed to be a place where it hung.
posted by inksyndicate at 11:27 AM on July 10, 2005

Response by poster: Hey, you know what? Heartened by the replies here, I just gave another shot and figured out what was holding up the SMTP.


Don't you miss the days when an SMTP server would just send anything with no questions asked?

And why does AOL suck so bad?
posted by inksyndicate at 11:37 AM on July 10, 2005

SMTP servers won't send anytning with no questions asked anymore because of spammers. Blame the fucking spammers.

And AOL sucks so bad because they tie everything down because 99.9% of their users won't use advanced features anyway, and it's more secure for them, helps them keep spam out of the biggest concentration of gullible people on the internet, if they just turn the feature off.
posted by SpecialK at 11:41 AM on July 10, 2005

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