How do I use Pine or Alpine with G suite?
This article provides instructions on how to install Alpine, formerly Pine.
Alpine downloads are available at: https://alpinelinux.org/downloads/.
Once you have alpine installed, you should be able to start the application by entering
alpineinto your Terminal prompt. You’ll see the welcome screen. Go ahead and hit
returnand let the creators know you’re using Alpine
Now to get Alpine configured to work with your Gmail, select
Setup (S)and then
CollectionList (L). You’ll see a screen like the one below:
You can put whatever identifier you want in the
Nicknamefield. The most important field to configure is the
serverinformation. As you can see, you need to reference the gmail server in a very particular way:
Once you’ve done that, you’ve done the most difficult part of the Alpine configuration process. Really!
I would advise leaving
pathblank as otherwise I’ve found that my gmail folders don’t show up properly. Now tell alpine you’re ready to
ctl-Xand you’ll be prompted for your gmail password. Go ahead and enter it so that Alpine can test the connection. (Later you can change your settings to make Alpine remember your password or you can go with the default and aways be prompted).
When alpine first attemtps to connect to the Gmail server, you are likely to get an error. Gmail is going to give you a security warning saying that it blocks applications which is considers to be “less safe”. Google does not quite define what these categories of “safe” and “less safe” mean, but it’s likely that the reason Alpine is considered “less safe” is because you can change the account password from the application. Whatever the actual reason, you alone, dear reader, will have to make the call about whether to let your google account allow “less secure apps” in order to use alpine.
If you choose to allow it, you will need to go to your Google account settings:
Once you’ve enabled “less secure apps”, Alpine should be able to connect.
However, if you’re like me and one of the biggest advantages of Alpine to you is that it’s fast to flag a bunch of unimportant email for deletion than by clicking all those little boxes in the Gmail web interface, then there’s one more Gmail setting you will probably want to change.
In your Gmail settings (not your Google Account settings as above!) look for the
Forwarding and POP/IMAPsection. Now turn
Move the message to the Trash. Lastly, go the
Labelstab in the Gmail settings and chose
hide the All Mail folder from IMAP.
What this does is allow Alpine’s delete function to move emails to the Trash folder where Gmail will eventually expunge them for you. If you don’t do this, every time you
(D) Deletean email in Alpine, all you’ll really be doing is removing all of Gmail’s labels from that message. What this means is that you’ve “archived” it in Gmail-terms by relegating it to only existing in the “All Mail” folder. If you like Gmail to store a copy of every email you’ve ever received, then by all means leave this alone. I, however, like to delete old/unimportant emails but don’t always keep up with purging them. So Gmail’s default behavior in this situation is very annoying to me. You can read a bit more discussion about how this all works at the google product forums
Ok, now you’ve finished with all the unintuitive Gmail settings, there’s just one more bit in Alpine that you have to configure, and that’s the server for outgoing email messages.
In Alpine, select
Config (C). Look for the
SMTP Server (for sending)field and hit
Cto edit the field, or
Change Valuein Alpine lingo. Now, much like before, add your Gmail server path in the following way:
Exit setup to save and there you go! Alpine should be able to see all your Gmail folders. You can now check your Gmail with Alpine, send emails from your Gmail with Alpine, and (most importantly to me) easily flag unwanted messages for deletion and sent them to your trash folder. All from a console-based application. No web-GUI’s need apply!
Spend some time getting to know Alpine and see if you don’t find the simplicity and speed of a text-based email application appealing.