All Unkept
Posted in: Internet  —  November 23, 2004 at 09:58 PM

Abusing GMail

by Luke Plant

I got a GMail invite from a friend, so I've been testing it out - or rather, abusing it. I've installed GMailFS for Linux, which allows you to mount your GMail 1 Gb message space as part of your Linux file system (there is a Windows port, which allows you to have gmail a 'drive' in Windows).

Here are my steps to get the working - the successful ones. It includes installing a kernel module, so it's a bit more complex than the usual Debian install procedure.

Some of these came from rene, cheers!

sudo apt-get install gmailfs   
sudo apt-get install fuse-source
mkdir ~/build/fuse
cd ~/build/fuse
tar -xvzf /usr/src/fuse.tar.gz -C .
cd modules/fuse/
./configure && make 
sudo /sbin/insmod kernel/fuse.o 
sudo mount -t gmailfs /usr/share/gmailfs/gmailfs.py /mnt/gmail/ -o username=luke.plant@gmail.com,password=*****,fsname=******

For some reason it wouldn't let me mount in my user area. Odd.

But anyway, it works - obligatory screenshot, that doesn't show much:

gmailfs in action in Konqueror

It's very slow and inefficient of course - the author comments that it has to download the entire file just to do a list, which obviously he's trying to fix. But I can indeed manipulate files just like they were part of my normal filesystem, very cool! It means, for example, I could write a script to run overnight that could backup important files to gmail, or sync from gmail, or whatever I want - anything that can be done with files.

As for the actual mail functions, I haven't tried them out much, I'm not sure if I will as they don't work perfectly with Konqueror. Also, I can imagine using up 1 Gb reasonably quickly - I curently have nearly 600Mb on my hard drive from the past 4 years, all of which I want to keep, and can search pretty quickly (using mairix). I think also that my current e-mail client has far too many features and customisations for me to be able to switch fully to a web client.

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