Mutt has been reported to compile and run under the following Unix operating
Data General Unix (DG/UX)
Digital Unix (OSF/1)
Mac OS X
SCO Unix 3.2v4/5
- If you are building from Git, or if you are changing parts of mutt,
particularly the build system, do read doc/devel-notes.txt.
- A C99 compiler (such as GCC) is required.
- You must also have a SysV compatible curses library, or you must
GNU ncurses, ftp://prep.ai.mit.edu/pub/gnu/
- Mutt needs an implementation of the iconv API for character set
conversions. A free one can be found under the following URL:
- For building the manual, mutt needs the DocBook XSL stylesheets
as well as the DocBook DTD as of version 4.2 installed locally.
For details, please see the section "Generating Mutt Documentation
From Source" in doc/devel-notes.txt.
Installing Mutt is rather painless through the use of the GNU
autoconf package. Simply untar the Mutt distribution, and run the
``configure'' script. If you have obtained the distribution from
the Git repository, run the ``prepare'' script with the same command
line parameters you would pass to configure. It will set up mutt's
build environment and add the files which are present in the tar
balls, but not in the Git repository.
In most cases, configure will automatically determine everything it
needs to know in order to compile. However, there are a few options
to ``configure'' to help it out, or change the default behavior.
To view them all, type ``configure --help''. Some of the important
install Mutt in DIR instead of /usr/local
enable autocrypt 1.1 <https://autocrypt.org/> support.
enable GPGME crypt backend support.
Build with sidebar functionality. The sidebar can show a list of all
your mailboxes at... *drums roll* ...the side. Visibility of the
sidebar can be turned on and off as desired.
enable compressed folders support.
enable POP3 support
enable IMAP support
enable built in SMTP client support
enable debug flag '-d' support.
use flock() to lock files.
by default, Mutt uses fcntl() to lock files. Over NFS this can
result in poor performance on read/write. Note that using this
option could be dangerous if dotlocking is also disabled.
disables inotify support for faster local mailbox monitoring.
The filemonitor option is only available on Linux.
some implementations of NFS do not always write the
atime/mtime of small files. This means that Mutt's ``mailboxes''
feature does not always work properly, as it uses these
attributes to work out whether the file has new mail. This
option enables a workaround to this bug.
on some systems, the result of isprint() can't be used reliably
to decide which characters are printable, even if you set the
LANG environment variable. If you set this option, Mutt will
assume all characters in the ISO-8859-* range are printable. If
you leave it unset, Mutt will attempt to use isprint() if either
of the environment variables LANG, LC_ALL or LC_CTYPE is set,
and will revert to the ISO-8859-* range if they aren't.
If you need --enable-locales-fix then you will probably need
--without-wc-funcs too. However, on a correctly configured
modern system you shouldn't need either (try setting LANG,
LC_ALL or LC_CTYPE instead).
By default, Mutt will rewrite all addresses in the form
Personal Name <firstname.lastname@example.org>
regardless of the input. By enabling this option, Mutt will write
addresses in the same form they are parsed. NOTE: this requires
significantly more memory.
Enable header caching support. If no backend library is
specified via a --with option (e.g. --with-kyotocabinet), Mutt
will scan in the order: kyotocabinet, tokyocabinet, lmdb,
qdbm, gdbm, bdb. To skip scanning one or more of these
libraries, use the corresponding --without option.
This switch disables mutt's native language support.
Turns off building the Mutt manual. This can be helpful if you
don't have all the DocBook dependencies installed.
use the curses lib in DIR/lib. If you have ncurses, ``configure''
will automatically look in /usr/include/ncurses for the include
use the S-Lang library instead of ncurses. This library seems to
work better for some people because it is less picky about proper
termcap entries than ncurses. It is recommended that you use at
*least* version 0.99-38 with Mutt.
specify where the spool mailboxes are located on your system
treat file in the user's home directory as the spool mailbox. Note
that this is *not* the full pathname, but relative to the user's
home directory. Defaults to "mailbox" if FILE is not specified.
Enable GSSAPI authentication to IMAP servers. This should work with
both MIT and Heimdal GSSAPI implementations - others haven't been
tested. Note that the Cyrus SASL library also supports GSSAPI,
and may be able to encrypt your session with it - you should use
SASL instead if you can.
enable SSL support with IMAP and POP. SSL support requires you to
have OpenSSL headers and libraries properly installed before
compiling. If the OpenSSL headers and libraries are not in the
default system pats you can use the optional PFX argument to
define the root directory of your installation. The libraries
are then expected to be found in PFX/lib and headers in
Use the Cyrus SASL library for IMAP or POP authentication. This
library provides generic support for several authentication methods,
and more may be added by the system administrator without recompiling
mutt. SASL may also be able to encrypt your mail session even if
SSL is not available.
Mutt will be built using the GNU gettext library included in
the intl/ sub-directory. You may need to use this switch if
your machine has something which looks like gettext to the
configure script, but isn't able to cope with mutt's catalog
use bundled GNU regex instead of local regexp routines. Many systems
don't have the POSIX compliant regcomp/regexec/regfree
routines, so this provides a way to support them.
by default Mutt uses the functions mbrtowc(), wctomb() and
wcwidth() provided by the system, when they are available.
With this option Mutt will use its own version of those
functions, which should work with 8-bit display charsets, UTF-8,
euc-jp or shift_jis, even if the system doesn't normally support
those multibyte charsets.
If you find Mutt is displaying non-ascii characters as octal
escape sequences (e.g. \243), even though you have set LANG and
LC_CTYPE correctly, then you might find you can solve the problem
with either or both of --enable-locales-fix and --without-wc-funcs.
on some versions of unix, /bin/sh has a bug that makes using emacs
with mutt very difficult. If you have the problem that whenever
you press control-G in emacs, mutt and emacs become very confused,
you may want to try using a Bourne-derived shell other than
/bin/sh here. Some shells that may work are bash, zsh, and ksh.
C shells such as csh and tcsh will almost certainly not work right.
Note that this option is unrelated to what shell mutt gives you
when you press '!'. Only use this option to solve the above problem,
and only specify one of the above shells as its argument.
(If you encounter this problem with your platform's native
Bourne shell, please send a short report to email@example.com,
so a short note on this topic can be added to the Platform notes
Once ``configure'' has completed, simply type ``make install.''
Mutt should compile cleanly (without errors) and you should end up with a
binary called ``mutt.'' If you get errors about undefined symbols like
A_NORMAL or KEY_MIN, then you probably don't have a SysV compliant curses
library. You should install either ncurses or S-Lang (see above), and then
run the ``configure'' script again.
Please note that "VPATH" builds currently only work with GNU make (gmake).
Character set support
Mutt no longer contains functions for doing character set conversion.
Instead, it expects the iconv functions (iconv_open, iconv,
iconv_close) to be provided. Most up-to-date systems provide these
functions, often as part of the C library. If you are installing Mutt
on a system which does not have them, it is recommended that you
install Bruno Haible's portable libiconv library, which you can obtain
Even if your system does provide the iconv functions, you might want
to install libiconv, as some systems provide only a very limited
version of iconv.
If you decide to use your system's iconv implementation, you may
need to tell mutt about implementation-defined names for some
character sets. Sample configuration files for various systems can
be found in the directory contrib/iconv/ in this source
distribution, and will be installed in the samples/iconv directory
as part of mutt's documentation.
In order to use these sample configuration files, just put a line
into your system's global Muttrc, which normally resides in /etc or
If you really want to, you can configure Mutt --disable-iconv, but
there will then be no character set conversion.
There is a bug in most (if not all) S-Lang versions which
prevents the Meta key from working with mutt. A patch can
be found in the file contrib/patch.slang-1.2.2.keypad.1 in
this mutt distribution.
The system regcomp() and regexec() routines are very badly
broken. This should be automatically detected by the
configure script. If not, use the --with-regex switch when
We are also hearing reports that Solaris 2.4's NLS libraries
dump core with mutt when using a locale different from "C".
Use the --with-included-gettext configuration switch if you
experience this problem.
Color does not work right with Solaris curses. You will
have to compile with either ncurses or slang to get working
There are reports that mutt behaves strangely when linked with
the system regexp library. Please use the --with-regex switch
when configuring on this platform.
For the real fix, applying Sun patches # 105490-05 (linker
patch) and # 105210-17 (libc and malloc patch) from
sunsolve.sun.com has been reported to stop these problems
On recent Linux systems, flock() and fcntl() locks don't mix. If
you use the --enable-flock switch on such systems, be sure to
give the --disable-fcntl argument as well.
Redhat 4.2 Sparc users reported problems with some system
include files when building mutt. Configuring mutt with the
--disable-warnings switch is said to help against this problem.
Digital Unix (OSF/1)
The system curses library is said to be badly broken. Use GNU
ncurses or SLang instead.