E-mail and Internet

Submitted by Tim on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 14:20

One of the first things you're going to want working on your new system is Internet access. This section walks you through the basic steps to get email set up, configure the web-browser and get chatting on IRC.

Configuring E-mail

Launch the default e-mail client from the main menu Internet > Icedove Mail Client
First you will be prompted to import Preferences, Account settings and Address Book. If this is a new install there will not be anything to import, so select Don't import anything and click Next. Icedove should open up with the New Account Wizard activated; you probabaly want to set up at least one email account. First you fill in the name you want others to see in the 'From' field when they receive your emails and the address that they will send emails to you by. Next choose whether you want POP or IMAP (POP mail is downloaded onto your computer and is the usual choice, IMAP reads mail from the server and requires being on line, this second option is less usual) and fill in your incoming and outgoing server with the addresses that were given to you by your ISP. Next, you need to fill in your actual user name as given by your ISP (this may be different from your Identity that you specified first). Lastly, you specify how you want Icedove to refer to this account. You can put whatever you like here, something nice and clear like Personal Email would work.

Assuming you have filled in all the details correctly, Icedove will immediately connect to your email server and attempt to download your emails. You will be prompted for the password given to you by your ISP.

Because of the problems of spam you may need to train Icedove to recognise junk. When you download your emails for the first time, Icedove will do its best to figure out what is spam, and what isn't. It is a very good idea to go through the mail once it has all been downloaded and correct Icedove's guesses. You will see that some mails have a junk icon in the 6th column, in between Sender and Date. Clicking in this space will toggle the setting. Once all the mails have been correctly identified, go to Tools > Delete mail marked as junk and move all the spam into Icedove's trashcan. If you are sure that you don't want to keep any of it you can get rid of it permanently by clicking on File > Empty Deleted.

Now might be a good time to consider signing up to the mailing list.

Make your web-browser use your email client

New users often find that clicking on email links in web pages brings up an unfamiliar interface. The fix for this is to set Iceweasel to mail links using Icedove. In Iceweasel, type about:config in the URL line and hit Enter. That results in a display of a long list of advanced preference settings. Then, perform these steps:

Right-click > New > String
in the dialog box, type network.protocol-handler.app.mailto and click OK
in the next dialog box, type /usr/bin/icedove and click OK

Finally, be sure there's a symlink at /usr/bin/icedove that points to your system's Thunderbird executable. Iceweasel's preferences are stored in /home/<username>/.mozilla/firefox/<profile>/prefs.js.

Configure Iceweasel to use ALSA

Edit /etc/iceweasel/iceweaselrc to include
# which /dev/dsp wrapper to use

Extending Iceweasel

Iceweasel's extensions are add-on programs which are installed within Iceweasel from the Mozilla web site. Extensions are available for Blogging, Web Developing, Dictionaries, Download Tools, Editing and Forms, Image Browsing, Languages, Message Reading, News Reading, Privacy and Security, Search Tools and lots more. To add an extension click on Tools > Add-ons to bring up the Extensions dialog.


Enabling Flash is now a simple job.
# apt-get install flashplugin-nonfree nspluginwrapper

The flashplugin-nonfree package is actually a wrapper which downloads the latest proprietary plugin from Adobe when you install it. You will need to restart the web browser before this takes effect.

You can test the plug-in by visiting a site that you know has flash content such as http://www.myspace.com/. If, for some reason installing the flash plug-in didn't work you have the option to click on the 'install missing plug-ins' button, which will appear at the top of the page, or you can also install it from the Tools > Add-Ons menu in Iceweasel, which will take you to the Firefox website https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/plugins/

Flash player is in the plug-ins section. The link takes you to the Adobe site and you will want to download the .tar.gz file which will be something like http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/current/install_flash_p.... Follow the instructions, extract the package and run the installation script as root. This will enable all users to take advantage of the plug-in. You will need to tell the installer where your copy of Iceweasel is located, which will be something like /usr/lib/iceweasel or /usr/lib/firefox if you're not using the Debianised version.

Firefox / Iceweasel what's the deal?

Iceweasel and Icedove are re-branded (i.e. Debianised) versions of Firefox and Thunderbird respectively. This is due to an ongoing argument over trademark issues, which I can't be bothered to go into here. We use Snowpigeon and Slushferret, or was that Frostchimp? If you don't like it, install something else. This is Linux, you're in control now, you'd better get used to it.

Chatting and Messaging

Messaging software can be found at Internet > Gaim Internet Messenger. Go to the Accounts menu and click Add/Edit. Gaim supports AIM/ICQ; Bonjour; Groupwise; IRC; Jabber; MSN; QQ; Simple and Yahoo. Gaim will then connect to the specified account and you can start messaging right away. This would be a good point to set up an IRC account. Just specify a nickname in the dialog provided in Accounts > Add/Edit with irc.freenode.net as your server. You don't need to create a password. Login to #64studio using Buddies > Join a Chat and say hi.

Next: Advanced configuration


Mozilla’s Thunderbird 2 email application
Firefox Web browser
Pidgin - a multi-protocol Instant Messaging client
What is IRC?
Internet Relay Chat (IRC) help archive