Notmuch -- Just an email system
If you've been looking for a fast, global-search and tag-based email system to use within your text editor or in a terminal...
If you're the kind of person that gets excited about being able to write shell scripts for exploring and manipulating your email...
If you're a developer of an existing email program and would love a good library interface for fast, global search with support for arbitrary tags...
If you want the convenience of fast, reliable search of all your email, but don't want to give a 3rd-party access to your email...
Then notmuch may be exactly what you've been looking for.
Why is it named Notmuch?
"Not much mail" is what Notmuch thinks about your email collection. Even if you receive 12000 messages per month or have on the order of millions of messages that you've been saving for decades. Regardless, Notmuch will be able to quickly search all of it. It's just plain not much mail.
"Not much mail" is also what you should have in your inbox at any time. Notmuch gives you what you need, (tags and fast search), so that you can keep your inbox tamed and focus on what really matters in your life, (which is surely not email).
Notmuch is an answer to Sup. Sup is a very good email program written by William Morgan (and others) and is the direct inspiration for Notmuch. Notmuch began as an effort to rewrite performance-critical pieces of Sup in C rather than ruby. From there, it grew into a separate project. One significant contribution Notmuch makes compared to Sup is the separation of the indexer/searcher from the user interface. (Notmuch provides a library interface so that its indexing/searching/tagging features can be integrated into any email program.)
Notmuch is not much of an email program. It doesn't receive messages (no POP or IMAP support). It doesn't send messages (no mail composer, no network code at all). And for what it does do (email search) that work is provided by an external library, Xapian. So if Notmuch provides no user interface and Xapian does all the heavy lifting, then what's left here? Not much.
To get started with notmuch, just run "notmuch" at the command line. This command will walk you through initial setup, including specifying the location of your mail store and how to start the initial indexing. After that, come back and checkout our documentation:
- Notmuch manual pages
- General how-tos
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Excluding and deleting messages
- Initial tagging
- Tips for using notmuch within Emacs
- Remote usage
Apart from the wiki, help is available via email and on IRC (see below). Join the mailing list. Read the archives. Ask questions.
Email clients and front ends
Notmuch source releases are available as source tar balls.
Notmuch is packaged for at least the following distributions:
Development and Contributing
git clone git://notmuchmail.org/git/notmuch
Contributions, such as patches, to Notmuch are most welcome. Please refer to the guide to contributing.
Troubleshooting and reporting bugs
For hints about troubleshooting and bug reporting see bugs.
For a list of known bugs see the nmbug status page
Contact: Email & IRC
Comments? Please feel free to email the notmuch mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org (subscription is not required, but you can also subscribe to the notmuch mailing list). You can also browse the online list archives, read them as a web forum (nabble), or download an mbox file of the entire mailing-list.
mb2md utility can be used to convert the archives to maildir
format which is convenient for reading the archives within notmuch
If you prefer real-time chat, there is often someone on the #email@example.com IRC channel.
If you have a feature idea/request, please send it to the mailing list. You don't have to be subscribed to send, although there might be a delay for non-subscribers.