There is an easy way to send git patches via gmail’s SMTP server using
git send-email. A similar easy to set up cmdline utility to send mails from the terminal is sendEmail. There are other options (or sendmail, mutt) but they are bulkier or have a steep learning curve for the casual user.
In this article we will explore how to send emails and attachments (using your gmail account) with sendEmail. Though it’s a very smart utility with minimum dependencies written in perl, using sendEmail is not so easy because of the overwhelming number of options and somewhat inconvenient shortcuts. A few steps to greatly improve the experience follow.
- Quickest way to send mails via gmail
- Option to use TLS
- Add CC, BCC
- Add multiple attachments
- Edit message body in standard input (STDIN) for long messages
- Minimal dependencies
- Works with Linux, Windows and Mac
To install sendEmail from Ubuntu, run:
$ sudo apt-get install libio-socket-ssl-perl libnet-ssleay-perl sendemail
sendEmail has many options. Have a look:
$ sendemail --help
A sample mail from the cmdline with 2 attachments:
$ sendemail -f firstname.lastname@example.org -t email@example.com -u "Subject line goes here" -s smtp.gmail.com:587 -o tls=yes -xu myusername -a attachment1.pdf attachment2.mp3 Password: mypassword Reading message body from STDIN because the '-m' option was not used. If you are manually typing in a message: - First line must be received within 60 seconds. - End manual input with a CTRL-D on its own line. Hi! Just a test mail with attachments. Regards, User Sep 09 19:30:59 localhost sendemail: Message input complete. Sep 09 19:31:04 localhost sendemail: Email was sent successfully!
We used STDIN for writing the message in this example. In case of a short message, the
-m option is more convenient. Adding attachment is optional, used for a more complete example.
- As you can see, remembering (and typing) so many options is a pain. On a personal laptop you can set an alias in ~/.bashrc for the constant fields:
alias mail='sendemail -f firstname.lastname@example.org -s smtp.gmail.com:587 -o tls=yes -xu myusername -t '
-tat the end to avoid typing the token each time. No problem even if you include
-bcc) works as well.
- sendEmail doesn’t care if you miss the subject. In real life, we seldom send mails without a subject. At the same time, you may not want to remember the
- sendEmail shows the password and it’s a security concern (and don’t even think of using the
Download this small patch I wrote to prompt for a subject (if
-u is missed) and turn password echo off. If you intend to use an empty subject, simply hit
<Enter>. The patch is for version 1.56-5 available on Ubuntu 14.04 at the time of writing. To apply the patch on the original sendEmail file, run:
$ sudo patch /usr/bin/sendEmail < sendEmail-1.56-5.patch
In case you have a newer version and applying the patch fails, check the patch details and make the changes manually. It’s not a complex modification.
Here’s the same example with the alias set and the patch applied:
$ mail email@example.com -a attachment1.pdf attachment2.mp3 Subject: Subject line goes here Password: Reading message body from STDIN because the '-m' option was not used. If you are manually typing in a message: - First line must be received within 60 seconds. - End manual input with a CTRL-D on its own line. Hi! Just a test mail with attachments. Regards, User Sep 09 20:48:38 localhost sendemail: Message input complete. Sep 09 20:48:49 localhost sendemail: Email was sent successfully!
Coloured success message
While using sendEmail we noticed that in some cases it is difficult to figure out an error because of the long messages. Here’s a second patch (on top of the previous one) to print the success message in green. Use it on a colour-aware display and a terminal that understands colour (most of them do nowadays).
Here’s the simplest use-case with this modification:
$ mail firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Subject line goes here Password: Reading message body from STDIN because the '-m' option was not used. If you are manually typing in a message: - First line must be received within 60 seconds. - End manual input with a CTRL-D on its own line. Hi, Just a mail without attachments. Regards, User Sep 09 20:59:08 localhost sendemail: Message input complete. Sep 09 20:59:12 localhost sendemail: Email was sent successfully!