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For a quick start, build and install locally:

 PREFIX=~/.local make install

Available subcommands:

  • meli (builds meli with optimizations in $CARGO_TARGET_DIR)
  • install (installs binary in $BINDIR and documentation to $MANDIR)
  • uninstall Secondary subcommands:
  • clean (cleans build artifacts)
  • check-deps (checks dependencies)
  • install-bin (installs binary to $BINDIR)
  • install-doc (installs manpages to $MANDIR)
  • help (prints this information)
  • dist (creates release tarball named meli-VERSION.tar.gz in this directory)
  • deb-dist (builds debian package in the parent directory)
  • distclean (cleans distribution build artifacts)

The Makefile should be portable and not require a specific make version.


After installing meli, see meli(1) and meli.conf(5) for documentation.


meli requires rust 1.39 and rust's package manager, Cargo. Information on how to get it on your system can be found here: https://doc.rust-lang.org/cargo/getting-started/installation.html

With Cargo available, the project can be built with

make meli

The resulting binary will then be found under target/release/meli


make install

to install the binary and man pages. This requires root, so I suggest you override the default paths and install it in your $HOME:

make PREFIX=$HOME/.local install

See meli(1) and meli.conf(5) for documentation.

You can build and run meli with one command:

cargo run --release

While the project is in early development, meli will only be developed for the linux kernel and respected linux distributions. Support for more UNIX-like OSes is on the roadmap.


Some functionality is held behind "feature gates", or compile-time flags. The following list explains each feature's purpose:

  • notmuch provides support for using a notmuch database as a mail backend
  • jmap provides support for connecting to a jmap server and use it as a mail backend
  • sqlite3 provides support for builting fast search indexes in local sqlite3 databases
  • cli-docs includes the manpage documentation compiled by either mandoc or man binary to plain text in meli's command line. Embedded documentation can be viewed with the subcommand meli man [PAGE]
  • svgscreenshot provides support for taking screenshots of the current view of meli and saving it as SVG files. Its only purpose is taking screenshots for the official meli webpage.
  • debug-tracing enables various trace debug logs from various places around the meli code base. The trace log is printed in stderr.

Building in Debian

Building with Debian's packaged cargo might require the installation of these two packages: librust-openssl-sys-dev librust-libdbus-sys-dev

A *.deb package can be built with make deb-dist

Using notmuch

To use the optional notmuch backend feature, you must have libnotmuch5 installed in your system. In Debian-like systems, install the libnotmuch5 packages. meli detects the library's presence on runtime.

Building with JMAP

To build with JMAP support, prepend the environment variable MELI_FEATURES='jmap' to your make invocation:

MELI_FEATURES="jmap" make

or if building directly with cargo, use the flag `--features="jmap"'.


Development builds can be built and/or run with

cargo build
cargo run

There is a debug/tracing log feature that can be enabled by using the flag --feature debug-tracing after uncommenting the features in Cargo.toml. The logs are printed in stderr, thus you can run meli with a redirection (i.e 2> log)

Code style follows the default rustfmt profile.


meli by default looks for a configuration file in this location: $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/meli/config.toml

You can run meli with arbitrary configuration files by setting the $MELI_CONFIG environment variable to their locations, ie:

MELI_CONFIG=./test_config cargo run


How to run specific tests:

cargo test -p {melib, meli} (-- --nocapture) (--test test_name)


perf record -g target/debug/bin
perf script | stackcollapse-perf | rust-unmangle | flamegraph > perf.svg

Running fuzz targets

Note: cargo-fuzz requires the nightly toolchain.

cargo +nightly fuzz run envelope_parse -- -dict=fuzz/envelope_tokens.dict