I'm trying to configure Thunderbird to read local mail, as described in the answer in similar question: How do I read local email in thunderbird?

However my mail is stored in /var/mail/username file. Thunberbird is looking for mail in /var/spool/mail/ and I get errors that this directory can not be read.

How to configure Thunberbird to read mail from /var/mail/username?

1 Answer 1

$ ls -l /var/spool/mail
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 7 Feb 14  2012 /var/spool/mail -> ../mail

As displayed, my /var/spool/mail is just a symlink back to /var/mail. I didn't create that but if you don't have it, and it's causing you significant grief in Thunderbird, I wouldn't hesitate to add a link:

sudo ln -s '../mail' /var/spool/mail

And now I read the original answer, it does suggest to use /var/mail/username and shows a screenshot of how to specify it (in the Server Settings tab).

If you're getting read errors and /var/spool/mail exists check:

  • file /var/spool/mail to make sure it's the right thing
  • stat /var/mail/$USER is it accessibly by your current user? Is it owned by the right person? Have you copied this from a filesystem with different UID/GIDs? If in doubt, reset the permissions back to the correct ones:

    sudo chown $USER:mail /var/mail/$USER
    chmod 0600 /var/mail/$USER
  • Changing the storage dir as in the original answer does not change anything, still the same error message. Also my /var/spool/mail/ dir exists, and contains /var/spool/mail/username file.
    – Sfisioza
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:31
  • I've added an if-all-else-fails section.
    – Oli
    Jul 3, 2014 at 9:37

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