I've wanted to switch my email program to Mozilla Thunderbird for a while, but I always gave up when trying to import my old mail. My old email client used the MH mail format, which Thunderbird cannot easily import. Luckily, I found a blog post that describes how to use the packf command to convert MH email to the MBOX mail format that Thunderbird uses.
I spent some time this weekend writing a shell script to process all folders and subfolders automatically. The script generates a parallel "mbox" folder structure that you should be able to copy into your Thunderbird profile and use directly. I copied the contents of the generated "mbox" folder to "~/.thunderbird/sjx2fsf.default/Mail/Local Folders/".
If you're running Ubuntu, you'll need the "nmh" package, but the package will fail to install with this message:
The hostname -f command returned: $1 Your system needs to have a fully qualified domain name (fqdn) in order to install the var-qmail packages.
The fix is to temporarily set up a FQDN by editing /etc/hostname. Change line 2 from:
127.0.1.1 mymachine.example.com mymachine
Once you've done this, you can install the nmh package:
sudo apt-get install nmh
Save this script in yout ~/Mail folder, then execute it. It will generate a new "mbox" folder with the converted mail.
# # mh2mbox.sh # By Eric Lathrop <firstname.lastname@example.org> # # Convert MH mail folders to MBOX files # Useful for switching to Mozilla Thunderbird # # Copy this script to ~/Mail/ and execute. # # Requires the "packf" command from the nmh package in Ubuntu DEST="mbox" # Note: in Ubuntu, packf gets installed under /usr/bin/mh/ so it's not normally in the $PATH PACKF="/usr/bin/mh/packf" (IFS=' ' for DIR in `find . -type d`; do if [ "$DIR" = "." ]; then continue fi if [ "$DIR" = "./$DEST" ]; then continue fi CONVDIR="." if [ `dirname $DIR` != "." ]; then CONVDIR=`dirname "$DIR" | sed -e "s/\.\///" | sed -e "s/\//.sbd\//g"`'.sbd' fi mkdir -p "$DEST/$CONVDIR" MAILBOX=`basename $DIR` MBOXPATH="$DEST/$CONVDIR/$MAILBOX" # create an empty file in case there aren't any messages # this fixes a thunderbird problem where it won't show subfolders # for a folder that doesn't have a matching file touch $MBOXPATH yes | $PACKF +"$DIR" -mbox -file $MBOXPATH done )
I ran into a strange issue with Thunderbird displaying the sender email address in the subject line. After much head scratching, I determined that there were strange "S:" headers that Thunderbird was misinterpreting as subject lines. A quick grep filtered those out:
grep -v "^S:" Inbox >Inbox.new mv Inbox.new Inbox