A mongrel; a mixed-breed animal. Most commonly used about dogs. It seems to have started out as a shortening of "muttonhead," which was a general insult for anyone or anything seen as stupid. The first recorded use of the abbreviated version of the insult is from 1901, but only a few years later the current meaning is recorded, 1904 or 1906 depending on the source.

Mencken, H.L. The American language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States, 2nd ed., rev. and enl.New York: A.A. Knopf, 1921. http://www.bartleby.com/185/27.html
"mutt." The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 05 Jul. 2010. .
"mutt." Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 05 Jul. 2010. .

Mutt is track ten off the Blink 182 album Enema of the State. Specifically Tom DeLonge, guitarist of the group, wrote this song about his friend Benji Weatherly. Apparently, according to interviews, Benji is a professional surfer that gets a whole lot of “action”. Benji earned the nickname “Mutt” and so the song, according to Tom, was about a guy and a girl who like to have a lot of “lovin’”. Looking at the lyrics and I am certain that it is no secret how much the song is simply about gettin’ your funk on.

Tom conceded that it is definitely not a deep song, supposed to be very shallowly referring to the horizontal mambo. However, he further concedes: “As long as it seems deep, that’s all that matters.”

This song was also featured in the 1999 film American Pie as well as the band during the scene it is playing. For those searching for this portion of the movie and unfamiliar with the band or the song: whenever Jim is switching houses while Nadia is changing clothes in his room the song Mutt is playing. Furthermore, the band watching the Internet broadcast is Blink 182.

I would include a personal meaning concerning this song but as most fans of the song would agree: there is nothing all that deep here, just a good song based on the music more than anything.

"All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less.", quote on mutt.org

Mutt is a highly extensible mail user agent for Unix, licensed under the GNU GPL. It is a purely text based client, like Pine or Elm, which can be a little hard for people to get used to if they are accustomed to graphical mailers like Outlook or Eudora.

Mutt is very extensible via keybindings and macros, and because you can usually have Mutt execute arbitrary programs to figure out option values, or in response to commands, you can have it do many useful things, assuming you have some proficiency with Perl, shell, or some other programming language. For example, by pressing ')' or '(', I can inform Spamassassin that a particular mail is or is not spam, to train the Bayesian filters. Note that Mutt has no idea what Spamassassin is, and out of the box it has no idea what '(' or ')' do. So it will work with basically any tool you want it to, given a little glue in your config.

Mutt's default keybindings are set rather like Elm's, but with some work you can also make it feel somewhat like Pine. In addition to customizing the interface, you can use nearly any editor you like in mutt, with most people choosing Emacs, Vim, or pico. Mutt also offers IMAP and POP3 support, nearly seamless PGP integration, threading, highlighting emails with certain subjects or senders, and all kinds of other stuff.

Mutt is non-trivial to configure; with the help and support of three coworkers who used it, and lots of examples found online, I managed to get a Mutt configuration that I wanted in about two weeks. At this point, I would never consider switching back to Pine. Many people put their muttrc configuration files online, and you can often learn a lot of neat new tricks from these.

Here are some things about Pine that annoyed me which Mutt does right. If they annoy you too, consider giving Mutt a try:

  • PGP integration: Mutt's is excellent, Pine's not so much. This was my original reason for switching.
  • MIME support in Mutt is much better.
  • Editors: Pico is not high on my list of favorite editors, and Mutt makes it easy to use whatever editor you like (even pico, if you happen to like it).
  • Custom commands / macros: these either don't exist in Pine, or are so limited that they're not really that useful.
  • Mutt has really good threading modes, which I don't use much. But if you've ever wanted good threading in Pine, take a look at Mutt.
  • Pine is not, technically, free software. In particular, the license prevents certain forms of patched distributions. Mutt is licensed under the GNU GPL. Probably not a big deal unless you are a zealot, though.
  • If you've ever tried building Pine from source code, you know how painful this is. Mutt uses GNU's autoconf, and it is trivial to install new versions.

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