Introduction to Balsa

The Balsa package contains a GNOME-2 based mail client.

Package Information

  • Download (HTTP):

  • Download (FTP):

  • Download MD5 sum: a1c7fe3454243f1719a19fcdb0905948

  • Download size: 2.4 MB

  • Estimated disk space required: 52.2 MB

  • Estimated build time: 0.7 SBU

Balsa Dependencies


libgnomeui-2.14.1, libgnomeprintui-2.12.1, ScrollKeeper-0.3.14, Aspell-0.60.4, and GMime-2.2.2



libgtkhtml-2.11.0, gtksourceview-1.6.2, OpenSSL-0.9.8d, OpenLDAP-2.3.27, PCRE-6.7, Compface-1.4, GtkSpell (provides on-the-fly as you type spell checking), an MTA (that provides a sendmail command), Heimdal-0.7.2 or MIT Kerberos V5-1.6, and SQLite

Optional to Build Experimental S/MIME Support

Libksba, GnuPG-1.9.x, and GPGME

User Notes:

Installation of Balsa

Install Balsa by running the following commands:

./configure --prefix=$(pkg-config --variable=prefix ORBit-2.0) \
            --sysconfdir=/etc/gnome/2.14.3 \
            --localstatedir=/var/lib \
            --mandir=$(pkg-config --variable=prefix \
                    ORBit-2.0)/share/man \
            --with-gtkhtml=no &&

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

make install

Command Explanations

--prefix=$(pkg-config --variable=prefix ORBit-2.0): Setting the prefix using this parameter instead of with $GNOME_PREFIX will ensure that the prefix is consistent with the installation environment and the package will be installed in the correct location.

--sysconfdir=/etc/gnome/2.14.3: This parameter causes the configuration files to be installed in /etc/gnome/2.14.3 instead of $GNOME_PREFIX/etc. Additionally (if applicable), the parameter ensures that the GConf-2 database is correctly updated.

--localstatedir=/var/lib: This parameter is used so that all ScrollKeeper files are installed in, and the ScrollKeeper database is properly updated in /var/lib/scrollkeeper instead of some files being installed in $GNOME_PREFIX/var/scrollkeeper.

--mandir=$(pkg-config --variable=prefix ORBit-2.0)/share/man: This parameter causes the man.(X) files to be installed in $GNOME_PREFIX/share/man/man(X) instead of $GNOME_PREFIX/man/man(X).

--with-gtkhtml=no: This parameter is used if you don't have libgtkhtml installed. Remove this parameter if the package is installed. Note that you won't be able to read or write HTML formatted mail messages if you use this parameter.

--with-esmtp=no: Use this parameter if you don't have libESMTP installed.

--with-ssl: Use this option to enable SSL support if OpenSSL is installed.

--with-ldap: Use this option to enable LDAP address book support if OpenLDAP is installed.

--with-sqlite: Use this option to enable SQLite address book support if SQLite is installed.

--with-gpgme: Use this option to enable GPG support if “GnuPG Made Easy” (GPGME) is installed.

--enable-smime: Use this option to enable S/MIME support if Libksba and GnuPG-1.9.x is installed.

Configuring Balsa

Configuration Information

All configuration of Balsa is done through the Balsa menu system, with mailbox configuration done with the Settings—>Preferences menu.

If you are unable to connect to your ISP, they probably don't support APOP. Disable it in Settings/Preferences/POP3/advanced.

If you enable filters for your incoming POP3 mail, you must have Procmail-3.22 installed, as the incoming mail will be handed off to procmail for processing.


Installed Programs: balsa and balsa-ab
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: The following subdirectories of $GNOME_PREFIX/share/: {gnome/help, omf, sounds}/balsa

Short Descriptions


is a GNOME-2 based mail client.

Last updated on 2006-10-01 10:50:00 -0500