The Uncarved Block

My life (and mail) in subversion

Moving my mail into subversion gives me easy backups and all of my homedir in one place. Here's how I did it.

Inspired by 'Keeping your life in subversion' For some time now I have been slowly migrating all of my personal home directories into the subversion version control system and merging back so that I end up with a spartan configuration and everything gets backed up. Fool that I am, however, I want to take things one step further and also keep all of my mail in version control too.

The benefits of keeping mail in a version control system are marginal. Mails are not typically edited after they are received and sent, so a lot of people use a system such as unison and find it more than adequate. However, since everything else in my homedir is in subversion I wanted the mail in there too. Happily for my purposes this is not too hard.

The first thing is that I wanted a simple script that I can run after I have read or filed my mail that indexes the mail and syncs it to subversion. For indexing, I use mairix, which allows me to create virtual folders and cooperates well with mutt, my favourite email client. One possible solution to virtual folders is here. I decided to do things a little differently, and here's the shell script that does it all for me:


set -e

TODAY=$( date -Iseconds )
cd "${HOME}/mail"
echo "Updating mail index..."
mairix -p       #add '-v' for more verbosity
echo "Emptying search folder"
rm -rf "${HOME}/mail/mfolder/"{cur,new,tmp}/*
echo "svn syncup"
svn status | awk '/^\?/{print $2}' | xargs -r svn add
svn status | awk '/^!/{print $2}' | xargs -r svn rm
svn ci -m "Mail sync for ${TODAY}"

Here's my .mairixrc:


All that's needed to get it working in Mutt is to add ~/mail/mfolder to the mailboxes my .muttrc, and add

macro index \e\/"<shell-escape>mairix " "Run a mairix search"

at the same time. Now, in mutt to do a search I do Escape-/ and type a regex. All of the hits are in ~/mail/mfolder and I change to that like a regular mailbox.

...and to keep it all up to date I just run my mailsync script every now and again.

permalink Updated: 2006-05-18