Forwarding emails using fetchmail and msmtp

My goal here was to forward emails from my GMX freemail account to my iCloud account. Up until now, I used GMX’s own forwarding capability, which is a bit hidden in the filters settings. However, iCloud cranked up its spam filtering, and is now using spamhaus blacklists, which very often label the GMX forwarding servers as bad.

Hence I would only get bounce mails instead of the actual mails. Since this is no good, I set up fetchmail and msmtp on my root server to do the forwarding for me. First, fetchmail will get all mail on GMX via POP3 and pass it on to msmtp, which will in turn pass it on to the iCloud mx server.

At first I tried to deliver it via authenticated SMTP, but iCloud refuses mails sent this way, if the header from field does not contain any of your own iCloud aliases. This will most of the time be a problem, since we are trying to forward emails that were sent to you, not sent from you.

So first let’s see the ~/.fetchmailrc (make sure to chmod 0600 it):

with proto POP3
user ""
there with password "secretpassword"
mda "/usr/bin/msmtp --"
no keep
sslcertpath /etc/ssl/certs
set daemon 300

This will poll GMX every 300 seconds and pass the received mails to msmtp for delivery to

The corresponding ~/.msmtprc looks like this:

account default
port 25
auto_from off
from "user@localdomain"
tls on
tls_starttls on
tls_trust_file /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
logfile ~/.msmtp.log
domain mx.of.localdomain

You can find out the valid mx entries for iCloud by running nslookup -type=mx

The settings above are assuming Debian stable. Other distributions or operating systems may have the SSL certs at different places in the file system.

How to copy Mails from iCloud to GMail

You can use the fabulous imapsync tool to copy mails between IMAP servers. For example you can copy a certain folder from Apple’s iCloud to Google’s gmail:

--noauthmd5 --ssl1 --ssl2
--host1 --user1 ''
--host2 --user2 ''
--folder 'your/folder/to/be/copied' --sep1 '/'
--prefix1 '' --prefix2 '[Google Mail]' --sep2 '/'

The important parts here are the user names for the IMAP servers. Note that you need to generate an application specific password, if you are using Google two factor authentication! Also important is the “[Google Mail]” IMAP prefix.

Edit: It seems gmail has a weird interpretation of all the IMAP folders and stuff. Since they are using labels, the above script might create a weird label for the copied emails, but they will be there nevertheless!

Conditionally rewriting mail subjects using exim4

Since MobileMe sadly does not support filtering using RegExps, and I get a lot of heterogenous system mails from our computer systems here, I implemented a workaround. I added some text like [System] to the subject, which can be filtered fine by MobileMe.

All of our machines here send their mail to a central smarthost running exim4. All the system mails are directed to “root” at some of our machines. What I did was first adding a file /etc/exim4/exim.filter containing this:

# Exim filter
if "$h_to:" matches Nroot@.*.your.domain.deN then
headers add "New-Subject: [System] $h_subject:"
headers remove subject
headers add "Subject: $h_new-subject:"
headers remove new-subject
Since we are running Debian, running exim4 in split configuration, I also added the file /etc/exim4/conf.d/main/80_exim4-config_system_filter, containing this:

system_filter = /etc/exim4/exim.filter

After that I had to run update-exim4.conf and /etc/init.d/exim4 reload. Then I was all set up.

Migrating from GMX IMAP to MobileMe IMAP

I am currently migrating my >4GiB of mail data from GMX to MobileMe. I have been using offlineimap regularly to backup my mail data. So first step was to update the backup. Now the next step is to run imapsync, which can migrate whole IMAP accounts. The full command I am using for this is:

imapsync –sep1 ‘/’ –prefix1 ”  –ssl1 –ssl2 –authmech1 PLAIN –authmech2 PLAIN –host1 –user1 “” –host2 –user2 “”

I will report back once the sync has finished, this might take a while.

Update: Yup, it worked. My mail is now hosted on MobileMe. More disk space. What is missing at MobileMe is that it does not support automatically expiring mail folders. I.e. for mailing lists, I sort the mails into subfolders for each list. The lists are often high volume traffic, and not very important. So I’d like the mails to expire after, say, 30 days. With GMX this was not a problem, but MobileMe does not yet have such a feature. However, I found a nice tool called imapfilter. It allows you to do all kinds of stuff, besides other things it allows you to filter mails according to date and to delete them. This is what I will do. I’ll write another post, when I found out how to do that exactly.