Linux: Using Google Without Using Google

technology.pngI really do like Google Reader and Gmail – most of the time.  Mostly.

But sometimes I want something local.  Or offline.  Or speedy.  Luckily (and with a wee bit of elbow grease) I now have that – while keeping my web access intact.

Here’s the steps (I’m running Ubuntu 10.04 with Openbox):

Desktop Google Reader: Download and install RSSOwl from the website (I don’t have the dependencies for Liferea 1.7+).  RSSOwl synced up my Google Reader account right out of the box.

Desktop/Offline Gmail:

1.  Configure Postfix (if you’re running Ubuntu, it’s probably already running) following this guide.  Read the comments.
2.  Get OfflineIMAP.  Install it.  Use this guide for configuring .offlineimaprc
2a.  If you’re fine with a CLI interface, install mutt.  See above guide for configuring mutt.  You’re done.
3.  Install Dovecot.  I installed 1.1.2 from the Ubuntu repositories.  Note that Dovecot will not work at all with an encrypted directory.  It just fails and doesn’t tell you why.  Believe me.
4.  Point Thunderbird (or anything that works with IMAP) at localhost.  No password, no encryption.  Make sure that it shows unsubscribed folders as well.

This takes some tweaking – and probably a bit of frustration here and there – but once it’s done, you’ll be surprised at how much time and frustration you were losing waiting for messages to load or deal with the latest web interface overhaul.