Frequently Asked Questions
Balsa cannot lock my INBOX under /var/spool/mail -- my INBOX is opened readonly.
I see many compilation warnings. Is Balsa broken?
Balsa refers some ldl libraries. What are they?
Does Balsa currently support IMAP?
How do I configure IMAP?
Does Balsa have an address book?
Does Balsa support filters?
Does Balsa support file attachments?
When I click a gif I see this message in the preview pane...
How do I nest mailboxes?
What libraries does Balsa require?
Why do I get "SMTP server problem: SMTP Server dropped connection"?
How can I continue postponed messages?
How can I perform a search on a mailbox?
How do I forward attachments?
How can I paste mail addresses into the To-Field? It always disappears!
Why can't I compile Balsa?
Why does Balsa defaults to the HTML-Part?
Is there any way to change the default browser that Balsa calls?
How do I reply to mailing lists?
How can I use Sendmail with Balsa?
Whats up with GnuPG/ PGP/ S/MIME support?
Balsa claims that my passphrase is incorrect!
How can I set Balsa as the default Gnome E-Mail client?
Why can't I find an answer for my question?
How can I modify my shortcuts?
Why does Balsa miswrap and misquote my replies?
- Balsa cannot lock my INBOX under /var/spool/mail -- my INBOX is opened readonly.
- Balsa uses flock+dotfile for mailbox file locking. It does not
use fcntl (although it can be enabled) since this locking method is
very fragile and often not portable.
Make sure that your spool directory has drwxrwxrwt (01777) access
privileges. Presently, dotfile locking requires this unconditionally.
In the future, we may relax this requirement and will allow you to
shoot yourself in your leg.
- I see many compilation warnings. Is Balsa broken?
- It is really a problem with gcc. Upgrade gcc or
configure Balsa with --disable-more-warnings.
- Balsa refers some ldl libraries. What are they?
- You need to install libtool package. Make sure it comes
with header files (or install respective devel package)
If you want to recompile Balsa.
- Does Balsa currently support IMAP?
- Yes, although it does not cover 100% of the capabilites offered by the
protocol. We support CRAM-MD5 and GSS authorization methods.
Currently not supported are features such as listing all IMAP folders
on the server, or subscribing to new folders on the server.
- How do I configure IMAP?
Right click on a blank area of the mailbox list. Click
on add mailbox. Select IMAP, and click OK. From here simply
fill in the server name, user name, password, and folder name, and click
OK. Note that the folder name above is the name of the folder
that you wish to subscribe to. You will have to KNOW this in
advance, as Balsa cannot currently manage folders on the server.
If you are not sure what folders you have, try adding "INBOX"
for the first one, as this one always exists. :)
- Does Balsa have an address book?
- You can specify a GnomeCard address book of your choice for balsa
to use. Go to Settings->Prefernces->Addressbooks->Add->VCard->YourVCardProgram
name and choose "~/.gnome/GnomeCard.gcrd" as the File name. Balsa can
also use LDAP to access a remote e-mail directory.
- Does Balsa support filters?
- Yes. You can set up filters which will match on any message header
(even on user headers, eg like X-Mailer header), or on message body, on
message date, message flag (read, replied, flagged...). Moreover you
can use simple substring look up or full regular expression search.
Each filter has an associated action: every message that matches
the filter conditions can be either copied, moved, trashed.
You can also use the POP3 filtering backend based on
procmail. When the respective POP3
'mailbox' has the 'filter' box checked, the downloaded mail is passed
on to procmail which will use ~/.procmailrc file as its configuration,
so you can share it between Balsa and fetchmail and get consistent
behavior no matter you use Balsa or fetchmail for downloading.
Simple example ~/.procmailrc file:
It is recommended to read procmail(1) and
procmailrc(1) for more real-life examples and syntax
- Does Balsa support file attachments?
- Yes. Balsa does support attachments. You can drag files
from GNOME compliant file managers into the compose window or
select them from a file selection box.
- When I click on a jpg in Balsa it immediately displays the
image for me in the preview pane. When I click a gif I see this
message in the preview pane:
No open or view action defined in GNOME MIME for this content type
- Basically, images should be sent with content type set to:
image/jpeg or image/gif and so on. Content
type application/octet-stream is just a binary data.
To make it a little easier (it saves a few steps, such as saving
the file to disk then finding a viewer), in the Control Panel for
Balsa, under Mime Types, find application/octet-stream - highlight it,
select "Edit" and in the entry for View, put in "xv %f" (without the
quotes). Any other quick graphic viewer will do. Now when you get a
message as you've described, when you click on the image, you'll have
a new button for the message saying "View part with xv %f" (or
whatever viewer you've decided to use).
- How do I nest mailboxes?
- Easy as pie. Just create a directory under your "local mail
directory", then move your mailbox files inside it. (If you
move your inbox, outbox, sentbox, draftbox, or trash, you will
need to hack your .balsarc to reflect the changes. Simply search
and replace the old path to your mailbox with the new one.) In
the process of autodetecting your mailboxes Balsa will recurse into
the subdirectory and put the mailboxes in their own subdirectory.
- What libraries does Balsa require?
- (see the requirements section)
- Why do I get "SMTP server problem: SMTP Server dropped connection"?
- Balsa's default is to use the "submission" service on port 587. But
most servers still use the SMTP protocol on port 25, so just put ":smtp"
or ":25" behind the server, ie. "smtp.addcom.de:25".
- How can I continue postponed messages?
- Just go to the Draftbox, click on the message, and then click
- How can I perform a search on a mailbox?
- You have a dedicated dialog box which allows you to look for messages
that contains a given substring either in the common headers (From, Subject,
To, CC) or in the message body.
- How do I forward attachments?
- Right click the message you want to forward and choose Forward
Attached instead of Forward Inline.
- How can I paste mail addresses into the To-Field? It always
- Press <RETURN> after pasting.
- Why can't I compile Balsa?
- Have you checked that there is a -dev or -devel version of all necessary
libs? Configure will tell you the names of the missing libs.
- Why does Balsa defaults to the HTML-Part?
- A multipart/alternative message is ordered from least to most faithful
rendering of the alternative versions of a document. A mail client is expected
to select the highest quality versions of the document that it supports. If
a text/html version is after the text/plain in multipart/alternative, then from
the sender's perspective, the text/html is the higher quality version and Balsa
is correct to select it. See RFC 2046.
- Is there any way to change the default browser that Balsa calls?
- Yes, there is. Start by checking settings in your Gnome Control Center.
If your version of gnomecc does provide option to change the default
browser, you will need to create a file named gnome-moz-remote in your .gnome
directory. It should contain the following:
One has to use the gconf editor to set the browser with more recent GNOME versions that use GConf. Run:
gconftool-2 -t string -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command 'mozilla "%s"'
By the way, you can similarly set balsa as the mailto handler:
gconftool-2 -t string -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/mailto/command 'balsa -m "%s"'
- How do I reply to mailing lists?
- You should use the "Reply to group" feature by clicking on the button on
the message menu.
- How can I use Sendmail with Balsa?
- There are ways to skin this cat:
- Configure Balsa to use your local sendmail as a SMTP server
- Compile Balsa with the --without-esmtp option.
- Whats up with GnuPG/ PGP/ S/MIME support?
- It is not yet supported but is planned for one of the next versions.
- Balsa claims that my passphrase is incorrect!
This is more a feature than a bug, as all Gnome 2
applications, including seahorse and gpa, use utf-8 and will therefore
reject this passphrase.
The solution (if you want to call it a solution ;-)) is changing the
national characters in the passphrase to utf-8 plus a consistent setup
of all Gnome 2 *and* terminal applications, i.e. to configure the
terminal to use utf-8 (this is of course not necessary if you never use
command line gpg, but *always* seahorse and/or gpa to e.g. encrypt real
files). Some information about that is included in the FAQ's on
Albrecht Dreß's balsa GPG page.
- How can I set Balsa as the default Gnome E-Mail client?
- Go to the Control-Center to the URL-Handler. There add a new Protocol
"mailto"(without ":") and, as the handler "balsa -m".
- Why can't I find the answer to my question?
- Probably because it isn't a frequently asked question.
Feel free to contact the Balsa mailing list
with questions that aren't addressed on this page.
- How can I add a shortcut?
gconftool-2 -t bool -s /desktop/gnome/interface/can_change_accels true
There is also a bugzilla report discussing
edition of keybindings.
- Why does Balsa miswrap and misquote my replies?
- Balsa and some other mailers, including Eudora, MacOS X's mailer,
and Mozilla Thunderbird, use a protocol defined in
RFC 3676 to indicate
portions of the text in a message that can be reflowed or displayed as
quoted. They do this by adding the "Format=Flowed" and "DelSP=Yes"
parameters to the content-type header. Mail that is exchanged between
"flowed-aware" mailers should be reflowed and quoted intelligently.
When you reply to a message sent by another mailer and quote the
original, Balsa has no way to know whether the sender used line
breaks to convey information. To avoid changing the meaning of the
content, Balsa avoids changing the line breaks, except to break
over-long lines. It does allow you to select part of the reply and
reflow it, marking it as flowed, but that involves your judgment about
what the sender meant.
Copyright (C) 1997-2001 Stuart
Parmenter and others