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Gmail on Home Linux Boxes using Postfix and Fetchmail

If you have a Gmail account and would like to use it in conjunction with your personal computers, this tutorial will walk you through configuring and installing the latest version of Postfix with SASL authentication and TLS encryption necessary for connecting and relaying mail to and configuring fetchmail with STARTTLS to fetch messages from your Gmail account to your local system. It will also discuss how to forward mail to other computers and how to automatically backup copies of email messages.

Quick Background

Postfix is a mail server,or MTA (Mail Transfer Agent). It accepts messages and delivers them. fetchmail is a remote mail retrieval system, providing home users like you, who don't have corporate accounts, the ability to pull mail from an ISP, or in this case Gmail, to your local Linux box. All the examples below have been made with the fake domain name "squeezel", which is my four-year-old's word for the concatenation of "squeeze" and "wheezel".

Safety First: Configure fetchmail with STARTTLS

It is very important to set up fetchmail with some type of encryption. Otherwise, your Gmail password will be broadcast over the Internet every time the fetchmail daemon tries to pick up mail, which could be every 90 seconds. In addition, this tutorial will walk you through building and configuring the latest version of Postfix with TLS and SASL support.

Getting the Postfix Source: Latest Version, More Toys

1. Downloading the Postfix Source

Get the latest version of Postfix. As of this writing, the latest version is 2.2.3, which was released on May 3, 2005. You can find out what version you have with the following command:

  $ postconf mail_version
   mail_version = 2.2.3

From the Postfix homepage, download the latest version.

NcFTP is a popular alternative to ftp. If you don't have it, ftp or wget will do. This example is done with postfix-2.2.3. Again, check for updates.

    $ ncftpget
    $ ncftpget
    $ ncftpget

Next, import the PGP key.

    $ gpg --import wietse.pgp
    gpg: key C12BCD99: public key "Wietse Venema <>" imported
    gpg: key D5327CB9: public key "wietse venema <>" imported
    gpg: Total number processed: 2
    gpg:               imported: 2  (RSA: 2)

Verify that the source is valid:

    $ gpg --verify postfix-2.2.3.tar.gz.sig postfix-2.2.3.tar.gz

Extract the files:

    $ tar -xzf postfix-2.2.3.tar.gz

2. Compiling Postfix with TLS and SASL support

Since you're connecting to Google's Gmail, you'll need to compile Postfix with TLS (for encryption) and SASL (for authentication).

2.1 First Upgrade OpenSSL and SASL

Special note: Some older versions of Red Hat 8 and 9 may not have an updated version of openssl. Check to see what version you have with the following command:

    $ openssl version
    OpenSSL 0.9.7g 11 Apr 2005

If you need to upgrade openssl, find out where the current "openssl" directory is located. The default settings for openssl put it in /usr/local/ssl, but Red Hat and Fedora users will find it in /usr/share/ssl. Since my computers are Red Hat 9.0 and Fedora Core 2 and 3, I'll put the executable in /usr/bin/openssl and the related directories in /usr/share/ssl. Therefore, I'll compile it with the following settings:

    $ ./config --prefix=/usr  --openssldir=/usr/share/ssl
    $ make
    $ make test
    $ make install

2.2 Upgrading Cyrus SASL

You may have authentication problems without the latest upgrade. I had the following error in my /var/log/maillog with the default Fedora 3 install; however, the cyrus-sasl package from source fixed the problem.

    Authentication failed: cannot SASL authenticate to server[]: no mechanism available

You can get the latest cyrus-sasl package from Make sure you search for the latest package. As of this writing, the following is the latest:

    $ ncftpget

Again, you will probably want to upgrade these two packages, as they provide new tools for creating certificates. Also, some older versions may cause problems when Postfix is compiled, since there is an outdated "ssh.h" file.

2.3 Add the Postfix User (postfix) and Group (postdrop)

At this stage, you've upgraded openssl and sasl. If you have authentication failures, upgrade those packages. I had problems with Fedora Core 3 RPM installs, so I had to go back and upgrade.

Next, you will add "postfix" as a user. Normally, you don't want this user to have a home directory ("-M") or login capability ("-s /sbin/nologin"), so these two commands can be used:

    # useradd -M -s /sbin/nologin postfix
    # groupadd postdrop

2.4 Make Options

You do not need to add "postfix" to the group "postdrop"; it lives alone.

Now you are ready to run make. If you need to re-run make, you should issue the "make tidy" command to clean up the old files.

Choose "Option 1" if you don't have MySQL. Postfix can work with MySQL tables, so it may be something you want to try later, after you get Gmail working.

  Clean Everything if Needed

    $ make tidy

  Option 1: TLS and SASL2. You need at least this for Gmail.

    $ make makefiles CCARGS="-DUSE_TLS -DUSE_SASL_AUTH -I/usr/include/sasl" \
          AUXLIBS="-lssl -lcrypto -lsasl2"

  Optionx 2: TLS, SASL2, and MySQL.

    $ make makefiles CCARGS="-DUSE_TLS -DUSE_SASL_AUTH -I/usr/include/sasl  -DHAS_MYSQL -I/usr/local/include/mysql" \
          AUXLIBS="-lssl -lcrypto -L/usr/local/lib/mysql -lmysqlclient -lz -lm -lsasl2"

  Or, if MySQL libs are in "/usr/lib/mysql", something like this:

    $ make makefiles CCARGS="-DUSE_TLS -DUSE_SASL_AUTH -I/usr/include/sasl  -DHAS_MYSQL -I/usr/include/mysql" \
          AUXLIBS="-lssl -lcrypto -L/usr/lib/mysql -lmysqlclient -lz -lm -lsasl2"

    $ make
    $ make install

2.5 Installation Questions

After the "make install", you will be asked questions on where to place files. Unless you need to do otherwise, take the defaults. This will make it easy to follow the directions later.

        Warning: if you use this script to install Postfix locally,
        this script will replace existing sendmail or Postfix programs.
        Make backups if you want to be able to recover.

        Before installing files, this script prompts you for some definitions.
        Most definitions will be remembered, so you have to specify them
        only once. All definitions should have a reasonable default value.

    Please specify the prefix for installed file names. Specify this ONLY
    if you are building ready-to-install packages for distribution to other
    install_root: [/]

    Please specify a directory for scratch files while installing Postfix. You
    must have write permission in this directory.
    tempdir: [/home/src/postfix/postfix-2.2.2]

    Please specify the final destination directory for installed Postfix
    configuration files.
    config_directory: [/etc/postfix]

 ... [SNIP] ...

    pages. You can no longer specify "no" here.
    manpage_directory: [/usr/local/man]

    Please specify the destination directory for the Postfix README
    files. Specify "no" if you do not want to install these files.
    readme_directory: [no]

2.6 What Libraries are Linked?

Once you are done, as a check to see if ssl has been compiled into postfix, you can ldd the postfix binary as follows, which will show linked libraries.

    $ ldd /usr/sbin/postfix => /lib/ (0x007ae000) => /lib/ (0x006bb000) => /usr/lib/mysql/ (0x00b28000) => /usr/lib/ (0x00bf1000) => /lib/tls/ (0x00afd000) => /usr/lib/ (0x005f6000) => /lib/ (0x00d46000) => /lib/tls/i686/ (0x00201000) => /lib/ (0x007e4000) => /lib/ (0x00d30000) => /lib/tls/ (0x009d1000) => /usr/lib/ (0x006a5000) => /usr/lib/ (0x0061b000) => /lib/ (0x005f1000) => /usr/lib/ (0x00682000) => /lib/ (0x00b22000) => /lib/ (0x032cb000)
        /lib/ (0x009b7000) => /lib/tls/ (0x00c13000)

The first line with "" shows that I have ssl installed, then, six lines down after the command, see "". In my version, did I choose MySQL? The best way to tell is with the postconf -m option. But, yes, some of you may have a sharp eye and notice the "libz" and "libm" links, which go with the MySQL installation.

2.7 Accessible Shared Libraries

By the way, if you get odd MySQL errors during the "make install" and your MySQL libraries live in /usr/local/lib/mysql, you may need to add an entry in your /etc/ file to include /usr/local/lib/mysql as follows:

     $ cat /etc/

After adding this line, you must run the ldconfig command, then all those odd MySQL libraries will be found. It's a good technique if you install a lot of software from source.

    $ ldconfig

At this stage, there are still some Postfix configuration settings. We'll get back to them, but first, it makes sense to generate the certificates.

3. Generating Certificates

Again, before getting started, make sure you have the latest version of openssl. See the steps above if you decide to upgrade.

    $ openssl version
    OpenSSL 0.9.7g 11 Apr 2005

3.1 Creating Your Own CA

You can get signed certificates from Thawte and VeriSign, but you don't have to for your home system. Instead, you will become your own "Certificate Authority", and sign your own SSL certs.

Below is the command to create your own CA. Hit return for the first prompt to create the CA. It will prompt you for a password, and prompt to confirm. Remember the password. Also, it's important that the "Organization Name" matches when you create the "server" certificate. I show my answers in bold, so you can see how they will match when creating and signing certificates.

    $ /usr/local/ssl/misc/ -newca
      CA certificate filename (or enter to create)

      Making CA certificate ...
      Generating a 1024 bit RSA private key
      writing new private key to './demoCA/private/cakey.pem'
      Enter PEM pass phrase: password123
      Verifying - Enter PEM pass phrase: password123
      You are about to be asked to enter information that will be incorporated
      into your certificate request.
      What you are about to enter is what is called a Distinguished Name or a DN.
      There are quite a few fields but you can leave some blank
      For some fields there will be a default value,
      If you enter '.', the field will be left blank.
      Country Name (2 letter code) [US]:US
      State or Province Name (full name) [Pennsylvania]:Pennsylvania
      Locality Name (eg, city) []:Elkins Park
      Organization Name (eg, company) []:Chirico_Widgets


If, after doing the above command, you find that you want to extend the key (say you didn't change the "default_days = 3650", or you did and want to change it back), you can issue the following commands:

    $ openssl x509 -in demoCA/cacert.pem -days 1024 -out cacert.pem -signkey demoCA/private/cakey.pem
    $ cp cacert.pem demoCA

Or you could hard code values in /usr/openssl.cnf if you find that you're doing this over and over for testing. However, as you can see from the above command, it is easy enough to change the values.

3.2 Generate the Server Certificate

This is the server cert request that will be signed by the CA Authority. Note that the "-nodes" option is used so that the certificate will not require a passphrase each time the secure daemon is started. I have also added my fake domain name "".

    $ openssl req -new -nodes \
      -subj '/ Park' \
       -keyout FOO-key.pem -out FOO-req.pem -days 3650

Note above that "/0=Chirico_Widgets" must match the name given in the the original CA. For example, "/0=Widgets co." will not work. It must be exact.

3.3 Sign the Server Certificate

The following step will sign the certificate.

    $ openssl ca -out FOO-cert.pem -infiles FOO-req.pem

3.4 Copy Signed Certificates to /etc/postfix/certs

The next step copies all the required certificates to where Postfix can find them. In addition, the correct rights are enforced on each file.

   $ cp demoCA/cacert.pem FOO-key.pem FOO-cert.pem /etc/postfix
   $ chmod 644 /etc/postfix/FOO-cert.pem /etc/postfix/cacert.pem
   $ chmod 400 /etc/postfix/FOO-key.pem

4. Configuring Postfix

The files /etc/postfix/ and /etc/postfix/ are the two basic Postfix configuration files.

Postfix configuration is particular to the hostname of your computer. You can have a fake hostname, like "". Pick a name and set it up as follows. (You can actually use "" if you want, since it's not a real domain name, though you might want to use something more descriptive. The point is that it doesn't have to be registered to you, but does have to be unique.)

4.1 Configure the Hostname

The computer that these examples are taken from is "", and it exists on IP address The short name is just squeezel. Another computer, on IP address "" is "". here's /etc/hosts:

    # Do not remove the following line, or various programs
    # that require network functionality will fail.       localhost.localdomain           localhost           squeezel               tape

You may also want to edit /etc/sysconfig/network and add or check the following:

Finally, to put all changes into effect, run the following command with root privileges:

   $ hostname

Some of the settings in the Postfix file depend upon the hostname.


The following settings can be added to the end of the /etc/postfix/ file. Postfix reads this file from top to bottom, taking the last values assigned.

    ##   Add these lines to the bottom on

    ## TLS Settings
    smtp_tls_CAfile = /etc/postfix/cacert.pem
    smtp_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-cert.pem
    smtp_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-key.pem
    smtp_tls_session_cache_database = btree:/var/run/smtp_tls_session_cache
    smtp_use_tls = yes
    smtpd_tls_CAfile = /etc/postfix/cacert.pem
    smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-cert.pem
    smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-key.pem
    smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
    smtpd_tls_session_cache_database = btree:/var/run/smtpd_tls_session_cache
    smtpd_use_tls = yes
    tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom

    ##  SASL Settings
    # This is going into THIS server
    smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = no
    # We need this
    smtp_sasl_auth_enable = yes
    smtp_sasl_password_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
    smtpd_sasl_local_domain = $myhostname
    smtp_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
    #smtp_sasl_security_options =
    smtp_sasl_tls_security_options = noanonymous
    smtpd_sasl_application_name = smtpd

    ## Gmail Relay
    relayhost = []

    ## Good for Testing
    # sender_bcc_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/bcc_table

    # Disable DNS Lookups
    disable_dns_lookups = yes
    # Great New feature Address Mapping
    #  for example may mchirico@localhost to
    smtp_generic_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/generic
    transport_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/transport

The TLS settings are pretty standard, and the above code is taken from the documentation, which is worth a read. The "*.pem" files appear to be listed twice, but notice the difference between "smtp" and "smtpd". One is for client connectivity and the other is for connecting to this server.

4.3 sasl_passwd

In the above file, there are references to several hashed files, or Berkeley DB files, which will have to be created. Look again at the recommended entries in, and you will notice hash: in front of these values. For example, hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd.

Below is a sample sasl_passwd file. This will log into with username mchirico, using the password pa33w0r8.

    # Contents of sasl_passwd

This file must be converted to hash format with the following commands:

    $ cd /etc/postfix
    $ postmap sasl_passwd

The postmap command must be run any time sasl_passwd is changed, because this creates the sasl_passwd.db file that Postfix reads.

After you've executed the above command, run this simple "hash" key test:

    $ postmap -q [] sasl_passwd

4.4 generic

The file /etc/postfix/generic contains the following entries:

4.5 transport

    # Contents of /etc/postfix/transport
    # This sends mail to Gmail               smtp:[]
    # Except mail going to the tape and closet servers        relay:[]      relay:[]

The transport file sends all email to Gmail or "", except for internal mail on my network, which is relayed to the appropriate servers. Sending email to "root@tape" does not send it out to the Google account. Note that the return address is "" because of the following entry in


This file must by owned by root. Whenever changes are made to this file, Postfix should be reloaded with postfix reload.

   smtp      unix  -       -       n       -       -       smtp
   relay     unix  -       -       n       -       -       smtp
        -o smtp_generic_maps=

Note the empty smtp_generic_maps= with nothing after the equals sign. This means anything relayed, anything going to "" or "", will not have an address translation. Only email going out to Gmail will. What about mail from "" to itself? There's no address translation either, which is a feature of "smtp_generic_maps".

That's it for the server certificate. Postfix will still have to be configured to connect to your ISP.

4.7 Utilizing "postconf -n"

To see if all the changes went into effect, here is the output of the postconf -n command:

    [root@squeezel ~]# postconf -n
    command_directory = /usr/sbin
    config_directory = /etc/postfix
    daemon_directory = /usr/libexec/postfix
    debug_peer_level = 2
    disable_dns_lookups = yes
    html_directory = no
    mail_owner = postfix
    mailq_path = /usr/bin/mailq
    manpage_directory = /usr/local/man
    newaliases_path = /usr/bin/newaliases
    queue_directory = /var/spool/postfix
    readme_directory = no
    relayhost = []
    sample_directory = /etc/postfix
    sendmail_path = /usr/sbin/sendmail
    setgid_group = postdrop
    smtp_generic_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/generic
    smtp_sasl_auth_enable = yes
    smtp_sasl_password_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
    smtp_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
    smtp_sasl_tls_security_options = noanonymous
    smtp_tls_CAfile = /etc/postfix/cacert.pem
    smtp_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-cert.pem
    smtp_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-key.pem
    smtp_tls_session_cache_database = btree:/var/run/smtp_tls_session_cache
    smtp_use_tls = yes
    smtpd_sasl_application_name = smtpd
    smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = no
    smtpd_sasl_local_domain = $myhostname
    smtpd_tls_CAfile = /etc/postfix/cacert.pem
    smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-cert.pem
    smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/postfix/FOO-key.pem
    smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
    smtpd_tls_session_cache_database = btree:/var/run/smtpd_tls_session_cache
    smtpd_use_tls = yes
    tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
    transport_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/transport
    unknown_local_recipient_reject_code = 550

4.8 Common Postfix Commands

    $ /etc/init.d/postfix restart   # restarts postfix needed for inet_interfaces changes
    $ postfix reload                # reloads most changes in
    $ postfix check                 # checks postfix configuration
    $ postconf -n                   # dumps setting that went into effect
    $ postconf -m                   # shows the map types: mysql, hash, regexp ...
    $ postmap <filename>            # creates a map file for transports, sender_canonical etc.
    $ postqueue -p                  # checks the queue
    $ postsuper -d ALL              # deletes all messages in the queue
    $ postsuper -d AC8231EDA2D      # deletes message AC8231EDA2D
    $ postconf mail_version         # this tells you what version of Postfix you are using

4.9 MySQL

Instead of using the hash type, you can leverage MySQL. Below is a sample smtp_generic_maps configuration for converting addresses. The text below is the /etc/postfix/generic_mysql file. Note that it contains the MySQL username, the password for MySQL, and the database "dbname". The comments show how this table was created in MySQL.

    #  The entry in is
    #    smtp_generic_maps = mysql:/etc/postfix/generic_mysql
    # This is the MySQL table definition
    # create table smtpg_maps (
    #  pkey int NOT NULL auto_increment,
    #  address varchar(50),
    #  smtp_address varchar(50),
    #  timeEnter timestamp(14),
    #  PRIMARY KEY (pkey));
    #  insert into smtpg_maps (address,smtp_address) values ('','');
    #  insert into smtpg_maps (address,smtp_address) values ('','');
    #  insert into smtpg_maps (address,smtp_address) values ('','');
    # Test this with
    #  $ postmap -q "" mysql:/etc/postfix/generic_mysql
    hosts = localhost
    user = mysqlmail
    password = S0m3paSSw0r9
    dbname = mail
    query = SELECT smtp_address  FROM smtpg_maps WHERE address = '%s'

4.10 Additional Items

If you are using Fedora Core, which defaults to sendmail, you may need to make a few configuration changes. For example, you may be picking up the incorrect version of sendmail.

     $  alternatives --config mta

      There are 2 programs which provide 'mta'.

      Selection    Command
      *+ 1           /usr/sbin/sendmail.sendmail
      2           /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix

      Enter to keep the current selection[+], or type selection number:

You will want to select 2. If you then do an "ls" on sendmail, you will see the following results:

     $ ls -l /usr/sbin/sendmail
      lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root 21 Jan 13 20:53 /usr/sbin/sendmail -> /etc/alternatives/mta

     $ ls -l /etc/alternatives/mta
      lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root 26 Apr 28 10:34 /etc/alternatives/mta -> /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix

Now try sending mail. The "correct" sendmail will build a report that you can view with mutt or your email package. Below is an example test.

    $ sendmail -bv
4.10.1 Backups with bcc

Any mail sent from "" can be blind copied to another server. In this case, the server is "chirico@tape".

    In /etc/postfix/
      sender_bcc_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/bcc_table

Remember to postmap bcc_table after editing the bcc_table file.

    In /etc/postfix/bcc_table: chirico@tape

If you want to get copies of everything coming in and going out, use the always_bcc option. I normally create a special user for this, "allmail". That way, I can forward email easily, if needed.

    In /etc/postfix/
      always_bcc = allmail

It's not a completely blind copy, since it will show up when users on the system do a sendmail -bv test.


Fetchmail pulls messages from Google's Gmail, since for a home user with a fake domain and changing IP address, their email server will not forward the mail.

5. Safety First: Configure fetchmail with STARTTLS

Again, it is very important to set up fetchmail with some type of encryption. STARTTLS encryption works well, since you have already installed the necessary openssl files. You just need to pick up the necessary keys and put them in the proper format.

5.1 Google Gmail Certificates

    $ openssl s_client -connect -showcerts

The command above will return the certificate from Google's Gmail as follows:

Certificate chain
 0 s:/C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/
   i:/C=ZA/ST=Western Cape/L=Cape Town/O=Thawte Consulting cc/OU=Certification Services Division/CN=Thawte Server CA/
Server certificate
subject=/C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/
issuer=/C=ZA/ST=Western Cape/L=Cape Town/O=Thawte Consulting cc/OU=Certification Services Division/CN=Thawte Server CA/
No client certificate CA names sent
SSL handshake has read 994 bytes and written 332 bytes
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is DES-CBC3-SHA
Server public key is 1024 bit
    Protocol  : TLSv1
    Cipher    : DES-CBC3-SHA
    Session-ID: 99413B0588D17E638E5F2992DEE68393F1B4FF477A0B4318B8B2651E85C63D77
    Master-Key: 97BD90B0EF9F3C77013CF8F42077838C518A30EBAD18BDD9E6B8500E8221BC0B82DD2CC4F9DFC84814960E1EF609EB1C
    Key-Arg   : None
    Start Time: 1117819950
    Timeout   : 300 (sec)
    Verify return code: 21 (unable to verify the first certificate)
+OK Gpop g2pf1372524wra ready.

5.2 Extract the Certificate

Next, you need to copy the certificate part, which is everything between "BEGIN CERTIFICATE" and "END CERTIFICATE", and save this to a file.


Notice that the CA for this certificate is, which means you need that certificate as well. This is a very common certificate. You can copy and paste it from /usr/share/ssl/cert.pem, or you can copy it from below.

5.3 Certificate of the CA - Thawte

Thawte Server CA
MD5 Fingerprint: C5:70:C4:A2:ED:53:78:0C:C8:10:53:81:64:CB:D0:1D
PEM Data:

To recap, you should have the two certificates saved to separate files. In my case, I've labeled them googlepop.pem and thawte.pem

5.4 Rehash or Creating Symlinks

Once you have created these files, you will need to run the c_rehash command to create the necessary symlinks. I've copied the files to /home/chirico/certs/.certs. Then, I do this:

    [chirico@squeezel certs]$ c_rehash .certs
    Doing .certs
    googlepop.pem => 34ceaf75.0
    thawte.pem => ddc328ff.0

5.5 Checking the Certificate

It's possible to check the certificates as with the openssl s_client command as follows:

    $  openssl s_client -connect -CApath /home/chirico/certs/.certs/
    depth=1 /C=ZA/ST=Western Cape/L=Cape Town/O=Thawte Consulting cc/OU=Certification Services Division/CN=Thawte Server CA/
    verify return:1
    depth=0 /C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/
    verify return:1
    Certificate chain
     0 s:/C=US/ST=California/L=Mountain View/O=Google Inc/
       i:/C=ZA/ST=Western Cape/L=Cape Town/O=Thawte Consulting cc/OU=Certification Services Division/CN=Thawte Server CA/
    Server certificate
    ... [SNIP] ...
    +OK Gpop ready.

5.6 The Fetchmail .fetchmailrc

Note that the fetchmail option sslcertck, seen below in the .fetchmailrc file, causes fetchmail to strictly check the server certificate against a set of local trusted certificates.

Below is a sample ".fetchmailrc" file, the file that should be stored in your home directory.

    # Sample /home/chirico/.fetchmailrc file for Gmail
    # Check mail every 90 seconds
    set daemon 90
    set syslog
    set postmaster chirico
    #set bouncemail
    # The Gmail username is mchirico, but on this computer, it is chirico.
    #  To keep mail on the server, put "keep" at the end.
    # user '' with pass "pa33w0r8"  is 'chirico' here options ssl sslcertck  sslcertpath '/home/chirico/certs/.certs' keep
    poll with proto POP3 and options no dns
         user '' with pass "pa33w0r8"  is 'chirico' here options ssl sslcertck  sslcertpath '/home/chirico/certs/.certs'
         smtphost localhost
    # You would use this to by-pass Postfix
    # mda '/usr/bin/procmail -d %T'

5.7 Fetchmail Commands

Here are some of the more common fetchmail commands:

    $ fetchmail -q           # quits the fetchmail daemon
    $ fetchmail -v           # start the fetchmail daemon in verbose mode
    $ fetchmail -c           # checks for email only
    $ fetchmail -S localhost # delivers mail to your Postfix server

Normally, you want to start fetchmail with the "-v" option and take a look at the /var/log/maillog files for any problems.


Your home computer should now be all set to send and receive mail through Google. Happy Gmailing!

Recent comments

09 Apr 2007 23:48 Avatar myspace

Re: pop3 ssl?

> Thanks, Mike.



> Also, if you don't have c_rehash you can

> do this:




> (and of course if you want it to create

> a link instead of a new file change the

> first openssl to ln -s etc.).



my norton internet secrurity alerts me on this page

is it clean?

23 Aug 2006 00:37 Avatar CollegeStudent

GMail rocks because of the interface
Cool but... isn't the greatest thing about GMail the interface? It's simple, clean, and not geeky.


daniel _AT_ (

16 Aug 2006 07:14 Avatar nobrowser

Correct if I'm wrong (and I'd _love_ to be corrected), but AFAIK fetchmail does not actually use the STARTTLS mechanism to initiate a SSL/TLS connection. Instead it uses the old &quot;protocol&quot; called alternate port, which simply amounts to the assumption that a POP3 server is SSL encrypted when running on port 995, and the analogous convention for IMAP.

In fact I am looking for an alternative to fetchmail for this reason. Suggestions welcome.

22 Jan 2006 15:21 Avatar mchirico

Re: Things have changed...
An update on this article can be found at

16 Dec 2005 07:07 Avatar palentir

Re: Things have changed...

> The cert for has changed,

> as has the signing authority: Equifax

> Secure Certificate Authority instead of

> Thawte.

> Maybe an update on this great article?

Try this link out...


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