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Man Pages

Manual Reference Pages  -  WMBIFFRC (5)


wmbiffrc - configuration file for wmbiff(1)


See Also


WMbiff is a mail notification tool for the WindowMaker and AfterStep window managers. It can handle up to 5 mailboxes, more when run using other window managers. You can define actions on mouse clicks for the different mailboxes. This manpage explains the different options which can be specified in a user’s wmbiffrc.


Each option takes the form option[.mbox] = value. Comments must be preceeded by pound signs (#).

The supported configuration options are:

  File that holds TLS (SSL) certificates. If specified, wmbiff will check certificates and exit on a failure, so your password is secure. If not present, wmbiff will trust all certificates and may be vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack. WMbiff’s will not prompt if you want to accept new certificates. Instead, wmbiff expects your mail client to keep certificates in a file. For example, if mutt is your mailreader, you may add:


  Global interval between mailbox checking. Value is the number of seconds, 5 is the default.
  Program run to ask for IMAP passwords, if left empty in the configuration file. The default is /usr/bin/ssh-askpass. Can be specified on a per-mailbox basis.
  XPM pixmap file to load for the background. If not a full path, wmbiff will search /usr/local/share/wmbiff/skins, /usr/share/wmbiff, /usr/local/share/wmbiff, and the current directory for the pixmap file.
  Command to be executed when new mail is recieved in any mailbox. Set notify.n to override this option for mailbox n.
  Specifies the displayed label for a mailbox. It can be up to five characters long.
  Path to the mailbox, local or remote one. Path lines start with a prefix, which specifies the type of wmbiff box you’re setting up. The following types are supported:
mbox This is a local mbox mailbox. After the prefix, you only need to put the path to the mailbox wmbiff needs to read. Local mboxes may be specified using shell commands enclosed in back-ticks. (‘s.) mbox:/path/to/mail/debian-devel
  This works just like mbox above. maildir:[:flags:]/path/to/mail/bugtraq/
flags can one or more of:
  Flush directory caches by creating (then deleting) a temporary file in each maildir prior to checking. This hack speeds up checking network-mounted maildirs in cases where directory caching can cause unwanted delays (eg. SFS-mounted maildirs).
pop3 Using this type, WMBiff will check for mail on a pop3 server using the specified username, password, host and an optional port number (defaulting to 110). If your password contains a special character, eg. ’@’ or ’:’, use the second path format. See Authentication below for a description of the auth field. pop3:user:passwd@server[:port] [auth] pop3:user passwd server[ port] [auth]
pop3s Exactly like pop3, only uses TLS (SSL) when built with gnutls and defaults to port 995. This copy of WMBiff was not compiled with GNUTLS.
imap These are IMAP4 boxes. As with pop3, WMBiff will report the status of an IMAP4 mbox using the given values. This type accepts user, optional password, host and optional path to mailbox and port number. See Authentication below for a description of the auth field. The password may be left empty: see askpass above for information on password prompting. If your password includes a @, use the space delimited form. If it contains a space or #, use the askpass option instead. The mailbox field may be quoted, e.g., server/"Mail/Eggs and Spam". Mailboxes in subfolders may be described as /INBOX.subfolder by some servers and /Mail/subfolder by others. imap:user:passwd@server[/mailbox][:port] [auth] imap:user:@server[/mailbox][:port] [auth] imap:user passwd server[/mailbox][ port] [auth] imap:user:passwd@server[/"mail box"][:port] [auth]
imaps These are IMAP4 boxes wrapped in a TLS (SSL) connection. This copy of WMBiff was not compiled with GNUTLS. Parameters are the same as those for ordinary IMAP4 boxes. Port defaults to 993. If 143 is specified, WMBiff will attempt to connect unencrypted but negotiate TLS using IMAP’s STARTTLS command. TLS support uses GNUTLS, which is under development and may be insecure. See the imap format above for additional detail about specifying your password. imaps:user:passwd@server[/mailbox][:port] [auth] imaps:user:@server[/mailbox][:port] [auth] imaps:user passwd server[/mailbox][ port] [auth]
licq With this box type, wmbiff will read the given history file and track the number of messages in it. It just needs a path to a given licq history file. licq:/path/to/.licq/history/file.history
gicu With this box type, wmbiff will ask gnomeicu for the number of pending messages. If gnomeicu is not running, nothing will be displayed. gnomeicu-client must be in your path. The user’s icq UIN is optional. gicu:[UIN]
finger With this box type, wmbiff will finger an account to see if there is unread mail. Both finger and perl must be in your path, and your server must run a finger daemon. finger:user@host
shell With this keyword, wmbiff will launch the specified shell command and read its output (STDOUT) expecting an integer message count or a three-character string. If "new" is in the first line, the string or number will be displayed in yellow. The behavior of this experimental keyword is likely to change in future revisions. shell:::/path/to/command shell:::lpq | grep Queue | awk ’{print $2}’
  Command to be executed on new mail arrival in the given mailbox. Accepts the special keyword "beep" to use the pc speaker.
  Command to be executed on left mouse click on a mailbox label. Accepts the special keyword "msglst" to pop up a window of recent message headers from IMAP or POP3 mailboxes when the left mouse button is held.
  Command to be executed on middle mouse click on a mailbox level. Accepts the special keyword "msglst" to pop up a window of recent message headers from IMAP or POP3 mailboxes when the middle mouse button is held.
  Per mailbox check interval. Value is the amount of seconds between checkings, default is the global interval.
  Interval between mail auto-fetching. Values accept 0 to disable, -1 for autofetching on new mail arrival, and positive values for a given interval in seconds.
  Command to be executed to fetch mail. If not specified, fetching through wmbiff is disabled completely. Accepts the special keyword "msglst" to pop up a window of recent message headers from IMAP and POP3 mailboxes when the right mouse button is held down, though not when fetchinterval is nonzero.
  Show debugging messages from this mailbox. Currently supported values are "all" and "none". The -debug option to wmbiff overrides this setting. Since IMAP uses a single connection per server, per-mailbox debugging may not


WMBiff will automatically size its window to the number of configured mailboxes. While WindowMaker’s Dock and AfterStep’s Wharf expect square, 64x64 applets, other window managers, such as Blackbox or Openbox do not have this limitation. This uncharacteristic "dockapp" behavior is intended to help those users who don’t have exactly five mailboxes to watch.

To preserve the old-style five-mailbox window even when you have only two, add path.4=<space><space> to configure a blank 5th mailbox.

To use the new-style sizing, just configure as many mailboxes as you want.


Authentication methods include "cram-md5", "apop" (for Pop3), and "plaintext". "cram-md5" and "apop" are only available when wmbiff is compiled with libgcrypt. This copy of WMBiff was not compiled with gcrypt. Authentication methods are tried in the following order: cram-md5, apop, plaintext.

Each authentication method will be tried unless a list is included in the [auth] field. For example, append "cram-md5 apop" if you don’t want your password to be sent in cleartext over the network. Conversely, append "plaintext" if you don’t want wmbiff to bother with other authentication methods. Leaving authentication methods unspecified should be reasonably safe. The order of entries in the [auth] list is not currently considered.


For problems authenticating to servers, try specifying the authentication method explicitly as described above: sometimes a failed attempt to authenticate can cause later failures. Some servers claim to support cram-md5 but fail: telling wmbiff not to try can help.

For other problems, run wmbiff with the -debug option. See wmbiff(1) for details.

While editing .wmbiffrc, you may find it useful to restart wmbiff using either control-shift mouse button 1, or killall -USR1 wmbiff.


  per-user wmbiff configuration file.


This manual page was written by Jordi Mallach <>, originally for the Debian system (but may be used by others).


/usr/share/doc/wmbiff/examples/sample.wmbiffrc (or equivalent on your system)
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wmbiff WMBIFFRC (5) November 11, 2002

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