linux/Documentation/email-clients.txt
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   1Email clients info for Linux
   2======================================================================
   3
   4General Preferences
   5----------------------------------------------------------------------
   6Patches for the Linux kernel are submitted via email, preferably as
   7inline text in the body of the email.  Some maintainers accept
   8attachments, but then the attachments should have content-type
   9"text/plain".  However, attachments are generally frowned upon because
  10it makes quoting portions of the patch more difficult in the patch
  11review process.
  12
  13Email clients that are used for Linux kernel patches should send the
  14patch text untouched.  For example, they should not modify or delete tabs
  15or spaces, even at the beginning or end of lines.
  16
  17Don't send patches with "format=flowed".  This can cause unexpected
  18and unwanted line breaks.
  19
  20Don't let your email client do automatic word wrapping for you.
  21This can also corrupt your patch.
  22
  23Email clients should not modify the character set encoding of the text.
  24Emailed patches should be in ASCII or UTF-8 encoding only.
  25If you configure your email client to send emails with UTF-8 encoding,
  26you avoid some possible charset problems.
  27
  28Email clients should generate and maintain References: or In-Reply-To:
  29headers so that mail threading is not broken.
  30
  31Copy-and-paste (or cut-and-paste) usually does not work for patches
  32because tabs are converted to spaces.  Using xclipboard, xclip, and/or
  33xcutsel may work, but it's best to test this for yourself or just avoid
  34copy-and-paste.
  35
  36Don't use PGP/GPG signatures in mail that contains patches.
  37This breaks many scripts that read and apply the patches.
  38(This should be fixable.)
  39
  40It's a good idea to send a patch to yourself, save the received message,
  41and successfully apply it with 'patch' before sending patches to Linux
  42mailing lists.
  43
  44
  45Some email client (MUA) hints
  46----------------------------------------------------------------------
  47Here are some specific MUA configuration hints for editing and sending
  48patches for the Linux kernel.  These are not meant to be complete
  49software package configuration summaries.
  50
  51Legend:
  52TUI = text-based user interface
  53GUI = graphical user interface
  54
  55~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  56Alpine (TUI)
  57
  58Config options:
  59In the "Sending Preferences" section:
  60
  61- "Do Not Send Flowed Text" must be enabled
  62- "Strip Whitespace Before Sending" must be disabled
  63
  64When composing the message, the cursor should be placed where the patch
  65should appear, and then pressing CTRL-R let you specify the patch file
  66to insert into the message.
  67
  68~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  69Evolution (GUI)
  70
  71Some people use this successfully for patches.
  72
  73When composing mail select: Preformat
  74  from Format->Heading->Preformatted (Ctrl-7)
  75  or the toolbar
  76
  77Then use:
  78  Insert->Text File... (Alt-n x)
  79to insert the patch.
  80
  81You can also "diff -Nru old.c new.c | xclip", select Preformat, then
  82paste with the middle button.
  83
  84~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  85Kmail (GUI)
  86
  87Some people use Kmail successfully for patches.
  88
  89The default setting of not composing in HTML is appropriate; do not
  90enable it.
  91
  92When composing an email, under options, uncheck "word wrap". The only
  93disadvantage is any text you type in the email will not be word-wrapped
  94so you will have to manually word wrap text before the patch. The easiest
  95way around this is to compose your email with word wrap enabled, then save
  96it as a draft. Once you pull it up again from your drafts it is now hard
  97word-wrapped and you can uncheck "word wrap" without losing the existing
  98wrapping.
  99
 100At the bottom of your email, put the commonly-used patch delimiter before
 101inserting your patch:  three hyphens (---).
 102
 103Then from the "Message" menu item, select insert file and choose your patch.
 104As an added bonus you can customise the message creation toolbar menu
 105and put the "insert file" icon there.
 106
 107You can safely GPG sign attachments, but inlined text is preferred for
 108patches so do not GPG sign them.  Signing patches that have been inserted
 109as inlined text will make them tricky to extract from their 7-bit encoding.
 110
 111If you absolutely must send patches as attachments instead of inlining
 112them as text, right click on the attachment and select properties, and
 113highlight "Suggest automatic display" to make the attachment inlined to
 114make it more viewable.
 115
 116When saving patches that are sent as inlined text, select the email that
 117contains the patch from the message list pane, right click and select
 118"save as".  You can use the whole email unmodified as a patch if it was
 119properly composed.  There is no option currently to save the email when you
 120are actually viewing it in its own window -- there has been a request filed
 121at kmail's bugzilla and hopefully this will be addressed.  Emails are saved
 122as read-write for user only so you will have to chmod them to make them
 123group and world readable if you copy them elsewhere.
 124
 125~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 126Lotus Notes (GUI)
 127
 128Run away from it.
 129
 130~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 131Mutt (TUI)
 132
 133Plenty of Linux developers use mutt, so it must work pretty well.
 134
 135Mutt doesn't come with an editor, so whatever editor you use should be
 136used in a way that there are no automatic linebreaks.  Most editors have
 137an "insert file" option that inserts the contents of a file unaltered.
 138
 139To use 'vim' with mutt:
 140  set editor="vi"
 141
 142  If using xclip, type the command
 143  :set paste
 144  before middle button or shift-insert or use
 145  :r filename
 146
 147if you want to include the patch inline.
 148(a)ttach works fine without "set paste".
 149
 150Config options:
 151It should work with default settings.
 152However, it's a good idea to set the "send_charset" to:
 153  set send_charset="us-ascii:utf-8"
 154
 155~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 156Pine (TUI)
 157
 158Pine has had some whitespace truncation issues in the past, but these
 159should all be fixed now.
 160
 161Use alpine (pine's successor) if you can.
 162
 163Config options:
 164- quell-flowed-text is needed for recent versions
 165- the "no-strip-whitespace-before-send" option is needed
 166
 167
 168~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 169Sylpheed (GUI)
 170
 171- Works well for inlining text (or using attachments).
 172- Allows use of an external editor.
 173- Is slow on large folders.
 174- Won't do TLS SMTP auth over a non-SSL connection.
 175- Has a helpful ruler bar in the compose window.
 176- Adding addresses to address book doesn't understand the display name
 177  properly.
 178
 179~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 180Thunderbird (GUI)
 181
 182By default, thunderbird likes to mangle text, but there are ways to
 183coerce it into being nice.
 184
 185- Under account settings, composition and addressing, uncheck "Compose
 186  messages in HTML format".
 187
 188- Edit your Thunderbird config settings to tell it not to wrap lines:
 189      user_pref("mailnews.wraplength", 0);
 190
 191- Edit your Thunderbird config settings so that it won't use format=flowed:
 192      user_pref("mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed", false);
 193
 194- You need to get Thunderbird into preformat mode:
 195. If you compose HTML messages by default, it's not too hard. Just select
 196  "Preformat" from the drop-down box just under the subject line.
 197. If you compose in text by default, you have to tell it to compose a new
 198  message in HTML (just as a one-off), and then force it from there back to
 199  text, else it will wrap lines. To do this, use shift-click on the Write
 200  icon to compose to get HTML compose mode, then select "Preformat" from
 201  the drop-down box just under the subject line.
 202
 203- Allows use of an external editor:
 204  The easiest thing to do with Thunderbird and patches is to use an
 205  "external editor" extension and then just use your favorite $EDITOR
 206  for reading/merging patches into the body text.  To do this, download
 207  and install the extension, then add a button for it using
 208  View->Toolbars->Customize... and finally just click on it when in the
 209  Compose dialog.
 210
 211~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 212TkRat (GUI)
 213
 214Works.  Use "Insert file..." or external editor.
 215
 216~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 217Gmail (Web GUI)
 218
 219If you just have to use Gmail to send patches, it CAN be made to work.  It
 220requires a bit of external help, though.
 221
 222The first problem is that Gmail converts tabs to spaces.  This will
 223totally break your patches.  To prevent this, you have to use a different
 224editor.  There is a firefox extension called "ViewSourceWith"
 225(https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/394) which allows you to
 226edit any text box in the editor of your choice.  Configure it to launch
 227your favorite editor.  When you want to send a patch, use this technique.
 228Once you have crafted your messsage + patch, save and exit the editor,
 229which should reload the Gmail edit box.  GMAIL WILL PRESERVE THE TABS.
 230Hoorah.  Apparently you can cut-n-paste literal tabs, but Gmail will
 231convert those to spaces upon sending!
 232
 233The second problem is that Gmail converts tabs to spaces on replies.  If
 234you reply to a patch, don't expect to be able to apply it as a patch.
 235
 236The last problem is that Gmail will base64-encode any message that has a
 237non-ASCII character.  That includes things like European names.  Be aware.
 238
 239Gmail is not convenient for lkml patches, but CAN be made to work.
 240
 241                                ###
 242
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