A few months ago I wrote about a feature-rich open source application for monitoring your Gmail inbox – CheckGmail.

CheckGmail displaying a new message

I know a few of you, like me, have been continuing to use it since. Unfortunately, a few days ago CheckGmail stopped working with a Error: Incorrect username or password dialog. I’ve found a solution for this. Skip down this post if you’ve already installed CheckGmail.

Installing CheckGmail in Ubuntu 8.04

Install CheckGmail from the package checkgmail (click the link to install), or by running the command below in your terminal:
sudo apt-get install checkgmail

CheckGmail has an optional dependency that adds password encryption. Install the package libcrypt-simple-perl (click the link to install) or by running the command below in your terminal:
sudo apt-get install libcrypt-simple-perl

Start CheckGmail for the first time from Applications->Internet->CheckGmail. You can get started by entering your Gmail credentials and clicking OK. Note that unless you installed the optional dependency, using the password saving option will store your Gmail password on your disk in plain text. The CheckGmail icon will appear in your notification area.

CheckGmail configuration

You can start CheckGmail automatically when you log in. Open System->Preferences->Sessions and click Add. In the Add Startup Program dialog, set the name value to CheckGmail and the command to checkgmail.

CheckGmail fails to log in – three options for fixing the authentication bug

  1. The quick fix is to run CheckGmail with the -no_cookies command line option. The downside is that you lose some functionality (actions such as mark as spam and archive). You’ll need to update your startup or menu item to start CheckGmail using this option.
    checkgmail -no_cookies
  2. The latest development version of CheckGmail includes a real fix. The CheckGmail developer wisely included an update feature for just a case like this. Simply open a terminal and run:
    checkgmail -update

    However, SourceForge.net has been having performance issues lately and has disabled their ViewVC interface which is required for the CheckGmail update function to work. In the meantime, here’s another alternative.

  3. To work around SourceForge.net’s issue, you’ll need to use subversion to download the latest CheckGmail version.

    Install subversion from the package subversion (click the link to install), or by running the command below in your terminal:
    sudo apt-get install subversion

    Run the command below in a terminal (it’s one line) to use subversion to download the latest version of CheckGmail:
    svn co https://checkgmail.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/checkgmail checkgmail

    Run these to commands to copy the new version over the old one and clean up (you may be asked to confirm deletion of some write-protected files):
    sudo cp checkgmail/checkgmail /usr/bin
    rm -r checkgmail

Run CheckGmail normally and it should log in successfully.


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