×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: Current State of Linux Email Clients?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the unfavorable-selection-pressure dept.

Communications 464

mcloaked writes "We get all kinds of news about new developments, but one subject has been lacking for some time and that is email clients for Linux (or Windows for that matter). A number of reviews (mostly not all that recent) have pointed to the main clients as Thunderbird, Evolution, Claws-mail, and Kmail as possibilities. Up to about a year ago, Thunderbird seemed to be 'the' email client with the best mix of positives. However there are no recent reviews that I have seen. In the meantime Thunderbird has moved to monthly releases, which are more maintenance releases containing security fixes but little functional change — and little new development. Thunderbird also won't be significantly altered in the future, if one interprets the available news information. Evolution is reported to be rather prone to bugs, and Kmail even more so. Claws-mail has limitations, as does Kmail. So where is the future of Linux email clients going, absent any real innovation? We need a well maintained and capable mail client, preferably with good calendar integration (webcal/Google calendar), properly supported HTML composing, good maildir format storage for local mail, and good security support (including the capacity to deal with both GPG and S/MIME encryption and signing). It needs a modern UI and good import/export facilities, as well as good integration with its address book, including import/export of addresses. Are we likely to see this kind of package as we move into the future, or will mail clients slowly disappear? At the moment it looks like email client support is dead — Are too many users moving into web mail and the cloud instead of having a properly functional mail client on their desktops?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

464 comments

All your mail belongs to GOOGL$!!! (1, Funny)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year ago | (#42228125)

If you aren't doing anything wrong you have nothing to hide from the NSA.

I prefer Cow-mail, a closed-source ultrasecret product that only I and my closest friends use, and only on leap-years.

no love for mutt? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228129)

IMO mutt is still king

Re:no love for mutt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228199)

I agree with parent. Mutt is still the best email client.

Answered in reverse order (2, Insightful)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year ago | (#42228133)

Yes

Re:Answered in reverse order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228175)

Yup. Nobody but the submitter wants a dedicated email client anymore. Submitter is over a barrel; he should prepare to shell out cash for an email client, because that's the only way he's going go get what he wants. The rest of us have moved on.

Re:Answered in reverse order (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42228417)

I like being able to access my email from anywhere, including my phone. I used to use a heavily modified Thunderbird but the few missing features in Gmail were not enough to stop me preferring the ease and freedom it offered.

Re:Answered in reverse order (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228651)

Gmail works fine for my personal email, and google apps for business works nicely for people that want more of the collaborative resources and management... but only for people that won't miss what they'll lose if they're coming away from something like Outlook+Exchange.

I think there's still a use for mail clients though, even if that's dwindling. For instance, IMAP in a traditional client doesn't quite solve the Exchange issue for anyone on a non-MS platform, and Evolution's Exchange connector is (or at least was for a very long time) very buggy and incomplete.

I'd still like a way to interact with our business system using a linux machine, without serious compromises. It might be a niche concern, but it'd be nice.

vm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228135)

on xemacs, not those clicky colory things. Get off my lawn

Thunderbird works (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228137)

Keep using Thunderbird, It works. Try add ons if you want more features.

Re:Thunderbird works (2, Interesting)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42228265)

Keep using Thunderbird, It works. Try add ons if you want more features.

When I set a Windows 7 machine for my mother and discovered Microsoft's new "Windows Live Mail" agenda, I wiped that an put in Thunderbird, which was judged as "just like the old computer". So now she spends nearly all her computer time using Thunderbird and Firefox, and a little bit of LibreOffice, so the obvious next step is step is, boot to KDE with an autologin and that will be one more soul saved from the grasping tentacles of Microsoft.

For my part, I suffered through the nasty port of Kmail to Akonadi, which was a truly awful experience, but I got through it with my folders intact and it's finally back to a state resembling usability, though not nearly as fast or solid as the original. The Kmail user interface is still the best going, and one day I might actually see some benefit from the new database backend, instead of just pain, races and nonsensical warnings.

Re:Thunderbird works (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228503)

I agree, the new functionality in Thunderbird is in the add-ons. I think it's great that the core client developers can work on, ya know, stability and bugfixes, while the community at large builds add-ons to extend functionality. Beats having bloatware like M$ outlook where everything is all inclusive, including what you don't need or want.

Re:Thunderbird works (2)

blackpaw (240313) | about a year ago | (#42228611)

I wiped that an put in Thunderbird, which was judged as "just like the old computer". So now she spends nearly all her computer time using Thunderbird and Firefox, and a little bit of LibreOffice, so the obvious next step is step is, boot to KDE with an autologin

Did exactly that with my wife, Thunderbird, Firefox and LibreOffice. She is very happy with the result, two years running now. Never crashed, every now and then I run updates. No problems.

Re:Thunderbird works (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42228419)

It works, but not well.
It frequently uses a lot of disk space, RAM, and CPU. All of which abnormal.
It also still sucks at searching, and there are frequent problems with the editor.

Re:Thunderbird works (1)

Malc (1751) | about a year ago | (#42228657)

It kind of works. Addressbook contacts can only have two email addresses, which took on a new level of irritating recently when my wife changed her name. More annoying is the use of mbox format instead of maildir, which results in whole mail folders being selected for backup every time, so for me that could be an unnecessary few hundred MB every hour with Time Machine.

Thunderbird also won't be significantly altered (5, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | about a year ago | (#42228143)

Thunderbird also won't be significantly altered in the future,

Thunderbird can sync with Google Calendar, via plugins... Here's How [techiecorner.com]. There is really only so much you can do to an email client before the only updates are security. In my opinion, that is a good thing. You want a good core client that's not over-featured (buggy) and has good security support. Thunderbird fits that bill, and with a huge constellation of plugins I don't see what the fuss is about.

Re:Thunderbird also won't be significantly altered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228291)

"but it cannot sync with Carddav, so owncloud is no option right now." ... is what I wanted to write. But I checked before I submitted.

http://inverse.ca/downloads/extensions/nightly/ can be used to sync with any CardDav server (for Contacts) and the Lightning can sync with CalDav servers for Calendar data.

Re:Thunderbird also won't be significantly altered (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#42228453)

"but it cannot sync with Carddav, so owncloud is no option right now." ... is what I wanted to write.

Even if the Carddav plugin did not exist, if you would have written that then I would have called you a fool.

There is a difference between "cannot", and "does not yet support" AKA: "No one's written a plugin for X yet" vs "No plugin for X can be written". If the difference seems too subtle to you, then consider that to a developer it's the difference between: Impossible, and Possible.

Furthermore: Missing a plugin? Croud-source some funds and pay some devs to make it. That's the beauty of open source. Try to keep this in mind next time your software or plugin search comes up empty.

Why do we need a desktop client? (5, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | about a year ago | (#42228145)

I really haven't used a desktop client for email in years. Where's the gain for the user?

I want my mail and calendar wherever I am. So why keep multiple copies of gigabytes of mail on multiple machines. I just don't see the gain for the average user. I think the lack of demand from users who are moving to webmail is why the Thunderbird is getting less developer attention.

What I'd really like to see is improvement in the webmail interfaces available to us. Gmail is fast, but I find the interface limiting and clunky. The best I have experienced was Zimbra, but it really prefers to be run on a standalone machine and is pretty resource intensive.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (5, Informative)

yelvington (8169) | about a year ago | (#42228167)

I want my mail and calendar wherever I am. So why keep multiple copies of gigabytes of mail on multiple machines.

Somebody should invent IMAP.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (2)

Anrego (830717) | about a year ago | (#42228271)

Personally I've had terrible luck with IMAP.

Ultimately while I'm not usually a fan of web apps in general, they are a perfect solution for email (which is probably why webmail is so popular).

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228339)

Personally I've had terrible luck with IMAP.

You're doing it wrong.

Ultimately while I'm not usually a fan of web apps in general, they are a perfect solution for email (which is probably why webmail is so popular).

I like to be able to right-click things and drag things. Plus, I can have "folders" in Thunderbird even when using Gmail as the host. Finally, Gmail's message threading thing is weird.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#42228461)

You can drag things in Gmail, and labels are superior to folders (objectively so--they do the same thing as folders, only with an added feature). I...really don't understand how threading is weird. It's the primary reason I switched to Gmail in 2004.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about a year ago | (#42228587)

Personally I've had terrible luck with IMAP.

What problems did you have? Not trolling, genuinely curious.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228337)

The original IMAP server, unfortunately, was crapware. And the ongoing problems with storing, and synchronizing, multiple IMAP clients on multiple hosts are simply horrific for someone who wants to see the same email no matter what machine they log in on. It's admittedly much better than POP3, but IMAP's original version had horrific issues with SSL (which had to be added as a deliberately rejeced patch), its use of $HOME/ as the root directory for all stored email messages even though the "Pine" package it was published with insisted on storing messages in $HOME/imap, and fixing one would break the other and break other IMAP clients used on the same host running the IMAP server. (This was common in small environments.)

As near as I could tell, Mark Crispin used to *deliberately* edit the c-client library with every minor release (which he refused to list as releases!) just to break my published patches for this problem, insisting that an IMAP server should have $HOME/ as only the user's IMAP directory and every file present there should be treated as a mail file. God forbid you were on one of the old Solaris systems, where the root user home directory was "/" !!!

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228357)

MS will only support https connections in the next version of Exchange. That means you will need Outlook 2007 and up, no more MAPI clients.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228409)

IMAP is shit if you have ever had to support multiple users. With Outlook doing https connections and MAPI being removed why can't someone develop a standard way of communicating over https for desktop clients?

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42228443)

Then someone should make a web interface and mobile client for it so you can use it anywhere. Oh, wait...

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (4, Insightful)

QilessQi (2044624) | about a year ago | (#42228211)

Agreed. But one problem I have with web-based solutions is that the provider is free to tinker with the interface at any time. And you know engineers... they love to change things. :-)

What I want is for some reputable, responsible company to offer a cloud-based webmail solution with a decent interface and a very good API that supports search, address book integration, etc. Then I want a variety of clients for that API -- some open-source and maybe some not; some fully-browser-based, some standalone, some written for Android... you get the idea.

In short: universal access everywhere, but I decide what UI I'll be using.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Anrego (830717) | about a year ago | (#42228243)

In short: universal access everywhere, but I decide what UI I'll be using.

You can always run your own mail server with one of the free webmail scripts out there. Assuming you can find one that doesn't suck (I've been considering this.. does anyone have any recommendations?)

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (4, Informative)

I'm just joshin (633449) | about a year ago | (#42228405)

Roundcube (http://roundcube.net/) seems to work pretty well. And it has some nice add-ins for changing passwords & Fail2Ban.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (3, Informative)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42228429)

Zimbra [wikipedia.org] has a very slick, Ajaxy web interface that looks and feels a lot more like a traditional email client than Gmail does. I haven't tried to install it yet, but I will. I can't yet comment on whether it is easy or hard to make it work with my existing exim setup.

They have improved... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228237)

Improvements are happening to your webmail all the time, it's just they are for the advertisers and buyers of your personal data ;)

Re:They have improved... (5, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | about a year ago | (#42228533)

Improvements are happening to your webmail all the time, it's just they are for the advertisers and buyers of your personal data ;)

Now Google sends ads to your Gmail inbox, and claims you opted into that. You can go to settings and turn it off, but then it displays ads at the top of the screen. This is obviously going to get worse and worse. Like Youtube, where ad infestation is nearly intolerable already and rapidly deteriorating. And it is just downright creepy when Google snoops my mail and runs the same pushy, stupid ad in Youtube over and over. Moral: there is no such thing as a free lunch. Second Moral: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Third Moral: the writing is on the wall, the way of Google is the way of pain for the average netizen. Something needs to be done. Not sure what. Google is rapidly becoming what Microsoft always wanted to be: proprietor of the internet. We're probably saved from a worse fate if Microsoft or horrors, Apple managed to secure that position, but it's still bad. This kind of infrastructure needs to be a kind of commons like the highways, power grid, sewage system and so on. A life under the gaze of Google, dancing on Google's string, is just not a life I can accept, and by now it is abundantly clear, that is just where this is all heading, veneer of benevolence notwithstanding.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228269)

First, I /don't/ want my mail wherever I am. The quiet of being 'away' from the email and the phone is quite worth having. Puts a nice balance on things. Makes living in the city more placid.

But second, well, what are you talking about? I've got a desktop client, but I've also got a webmail option at my mail server. Doesn't everyone these days? That's not new. I've got mine configured to hold copies for seven days, so wherever I am I can, as desired, pick up an active thread and deal with it.

You don't need to use a desktop client if you don't want to, but I don't think you quite know what they do. If I may say so, "you're holding it wrong."

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | about a year ago | (#42228287)

I want my mail and calendar wherever I am.

1) Please, please, please, for the love of the FSM, stop trying to integrate mail and scheduling. They are two different tasks.

2) My mail is on my home Linux box. At home I've got Sylpheed on the desktop; on the road, I have alpine over ssh (from my phone or laptop). Done.

3) Anyone who hands their mail over to a webmail provider to mine for privacy-invasion (i.e., marketing) purposes, or to hand over to governments without any oversight, is either naive or ignorant.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (2)

Anrego (830717) | about a year ago | (#42228335)

1) Please, please, please, for the love of the FSM, stop trying to integrate mail and scheduling. They are two different tasks.

I tend to think they are linked well enough. I want to schedule a meeting, I email it out to people, they add it to their calendar. Most of my scheduling is a combination of email and adding stuff to calendar, makes sense to integrate it.

Outlook is one of the few things Microsoft does right (at least from the user perspective) imo.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | about a year ago | (#42228303)

>I want my mail and calendar wherever I am.

You mean, you want your email *wherever you have an internet connection*.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#42228471)

You mean, you want your email *wherever you have an internet connection*.

Gmail has an offline mode. I'd imagine other webmail providers offer something similar.

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

udippel (562132) | about a year ago | (#42228309)

I really haven't used a desktop client for email in years. Where's the gain for the user?

The best I have experienced was Zimbra, but it really prefers to be run on a standalone machine and is pretty resource intensive.

Now let's start to think for a somewhat longer moment:

1. The gain is there. Not in carrying around GBs, but in a constant and consistent interface, without adcrap, without changes to the whims of the writer, and without the need to download totally everything evrytime; plus the opportunity to download IF someone so desires. No, these are not asked too much.

2. Zimbra is not Exchange, and is neither FREE.

3. Sorry, I forgot: which was the FOSS client to connect to all intricacies of Exchange?

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228473)

without the need to download totally everything evrytime

Yeah, I really hate when my webmail client starts downloading all my emails!

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year ago | (#42228315)

I use a desktop email client (Evolution) for a few simple reasons:
1) I have multiple email accounts which I want to access all from the same place.
2) More than one is legacy, with a provider that I no longer trust. I expect it to do something nasty any year now. I have downloaded all email from these accounts and deleted it from the server.
3) IMAP works mostly OK, which allows me to use webmail when I need to.

---
Problems with Evolution:
Not as good as Outlook (Lookout!) when it comes to integrating tasks and email (no tasks list in the same window as the email).
Search is not so good.
When I hit reply, I want the "from address" to be the same as the address the email was sent to. Rather than having to manually change it in the accounts place...

Re:Why do we need a desktop client? (4, Insightful)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42228435)

Desktop clients are just much more powerful, don't require an Internet connection, and are not tied to a particular email service provider.
If you're not using one, you just aren't a power user. That's all there is to it.

Who's "we"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228153)

I'm sure there's also a large amount of users who would consider HTML composing, calender integration, "modern" UI, and other features you want as bloat in their lean email clients.

Re:Who's "we"? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228213)

In case you haven't heard, Linux has been taken over by niggers and jews.

Thanks for the good times Linux, RIP.

FYI: In 2012 niggers doesn't mean black people and jews doesn't mean people with hebraic dna so the problem isn't i am a racist, it is you are an imbecile.

Resistance is Futile. You Will be Assimilated. (3, Informative)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about a year ago | (#42228165)

I spent several years letting Gmail handle everything for me, but in the last few months I decided to go back to running my own IMAP server, using Fetchmail, and reading my mail on a standalone client.

So far the state of standalone clients compared to webmail is pretty dismal. I'm using Thunderbird now but I really miss a search function that works, as well as an addressbook that doesn't have arbitrary limitations such as a maximum of two email addresses per contact.

Re:Resistance is Futile. You Will be Assimilated. (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#42228371)

I've never had any problems with the search feature. There are buttons that let you decide between searching the subject, to email, body, etc. What problems do you have with it?

Re:Resistance is Futile. You Will be Assimilated. (1)

houghi (78078) | about a year ago | (#42228379)

I am also using fetchmail, but as client I use mutt. Filtering into different mailboxed is done using procmail. With the sidebar I get all that I want.

Remote access I get using ssh and can be done with putty or any other ssh client on any device that is able to run an ssh client.

It saves me the time for setting up imap. And when I want a quick look remotely at new mail, I just run a small script:

#!/bin/bash
# read only new mail messages
#set -x
bold=`tput bold;tput setaf 4`
offbold=`tput sgr0`
for M_BOX in $MAIL `find ~/Mail/ -maxdepth 1 -type f`
do
    MESSAGES=`grep "^From " $M_BOX|wc -l`
    READMESS=`grep "^Status: RO" $M_BOX|wc -l`
    if [ "$MESSAGES" -ne "$READMESS" ]
    then
        echo "Changes for the mailbox ${bold}`basename $M_BOX`${offbold}:"
        mutt -f $M_BOX
        echo
    fi
done
echo "No more new messages."
echo ""

I have no need in making things more complicated then they are. KISS is what I am after. Works great for me, but then other people will have other needs.

Re:Resistance is Futile. You Will be Assimilated. (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about a year ago | (#42228401)

Given that you gave up Gmail's excellent reliability, scalability, and accessibility, why would you want to run your own private system?

Re:Resistance is Futile. You Will be Assimilated. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228537)

When something goes wrong, I can fix my own mail system. Google offers a *great* service, for free (or now, for a very low price of $50/year if you're a small business). However, when something goes *wrong* it can be very difficult to actually get Google to give you real honest-to-goodness end-user support. More often than not you're directed to their community forums. One of my coworkers lost access to her Google Apps/Domain account for nearly a month.

Remember: Google's customers are the advertisers. If you have a problem with your AdSense account, it's easy to pick up a phone and talk to a real, live Google support person. But it's not so easy for everyone else.

Re:Resistance is Futile. You Will be Assimilated. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#42228491)

as well as an addressbook that doesn't have arbitrary limitations such as a maximum of two email addresses per contact.

Oh! For want of a Linked List! Alas, William Richard, ye shall henceforth additionally be dubbed: Bob Dick

Webmail (1)

tramp (68773) | about a year ago | (#42228185)

Most people I know go the webmail route: Gmail, Hotmail etc. Personally I prefer Thunderbird with IMAP and because I run my own mailserver I also installed Zarafa for use on the road.

pine & (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228193)

title says it all

Re:pine & (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#42228251)

Pine is good, but I would recommend alpine over it. Pine has been discontinued for many years now and has license issues, development has more or less stopped on alpine as well but has a lot of important features missing in pine like at least som support for Unicode.

Re:pine & (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228267)

Why would you run pine in the background?

Re:pine & (1)

costing (748101) | about a year ago | (#42228313)

Missing points today ... But please mod parent up, even if myself I use TB and cry in frustration when it slowly draws on getting the focus back, I know quite a lot of people that use pine everywhere, even on Android phones via ssh ... If there's one mail client that will outlive all others, it is pine ...

Maildir support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228197)

I'm using GNUS (under emacs). My wife is using Balsa. Not many mail clients appear to support Maildir anymore.

Thunderbird (5, Informative)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | about a year ago | (#42228219)

Thunderbird does a perfectly fine job of handling email for most users. It handles a decade or more of email for me, in a number of imap accounts for different addresses, totalling perhaps 6 to 7 gig of mail, without any problem at all.

What exactly is it about TB that is not capable of handling your need?

If an email client already does what you need, is complaint about slower development valid, or is it just wanting change for change sake.

Re:Thunderbird (1)

mcloaked (2791017) | about a year ago | (#42228255)

Have you tried composing an html mail in Thunderbird? - and changing the font in the compose window? - it often produces a real mess with unwanted incorrect fonts. That bug has been around for many years and never got fixed. Thunderbird is currently the best on offer but it is not perfect and quite a lot of bugs remain that will likely never get fixed.

Re:Thunderbird (1, Interesting)

thetoastman (747937) | about a year ago | (#42228395)

And you are composing mail in HTML, why? I read all of my mail as plain text. If you've done some fancy formatting in HTML to call attention to a particular point, I won't see it.

Try organizing your text in a clearer fashion. Try using lettered or numbered points. Even dashes for underscores work as long as you are not reading / writing in a proportional font.

If you cannot tell by now, I really dislike HTML mail. Use plain text, you'll know how it looks for everyone, it's lighter in weight, and doesn't distract from the information you're trying to send. Besides, many mailing lists discourage if not expressly prohibit HTML mail.

/ I know, get off my lawn
// Seriously, HTML is for web pages, text is for email

Re:Thunderbird (1, Insightful)

mcloaked (2791017) | about a year ago | (#42228445)

HTML email has a function for passing data tables and not just to change the appearance of the email. In a corporate environment replying to html mail and altering a table you have received to pass on an edited table is a standard requirement. If you are sending mail to a person who has vision problems then changing fonts and colours can be very valuable too - so there can be very good reasons to compose html mail.

Re:Thunderbird (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228547)

> If you are sending mail to a person who has vision problems then changing fonts and colours can be very valuable too

People with vision problems will already have their mail client set to a large easy to read font. Forcing html fonts onto them may make the text unreadable to them. Html mail in this case is a disservice to the recipient.

If you are passing them a table of data they should be able to edit and return to you, then include an attachment of the proper document type.

Re:Thunderbird (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228553)

Oh my god...

After reading your post about HTML email, I realized how *lucky* I was to get out of system administration when I did.

You sound exactly like I did, back when I was sporting the goatee and beer gut.

Wow, that was close! ;-)

Re:Thunderbird (2)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#42228573)

> And you are composing mail in HTML, why? I read all of my mail as plain text.

Do you buy chicken? Why? I'm a vegetarian.

Uh..who gives a shit, mate. Keep your opinions to yourself. He wants to compose email in HTML, ok?

Re:Thunderbird (1)

mcloaked (2791017) | about a year ago | (#42228327)

One other thing that Thunderbird is bad at is handling large numbers of emails in a folder - it uses mbox for internal storage which is inefficient in the extreme when very large amounts of mail have to be handled - there has been some token effort to find a thunderbird-specific form of maildir that was being coded but it never got to the mainstream and is not in any current version as far as I know - maybe the casual user doesn't know or doesn't care about this - but if you have used Thunderbird to handle large volumes of mail in a folder you will have seen the problems that arise.

Re:Thunderbird (1)

udippel (562132) | about a year ago | (#42228359)

Me too. But perfect?? Search is long, if not lengthy. Does it provide the features that our Exchange server offers? Did it not slow down significantly with and after 3.0? Yes, here it still does. For some years now I have been getting used to sometimes waiting 10 seconds or more for a (e.g.) 7kB mail coming in. What's it doing there?

I for one would love a client that is as capable as Google online mail. It must be possible to be even better, since all data are local. Yes, I'm waiting impatiently for that client.

Back in the day ... Mail format, MH , EXMH ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228233)

It has been over 10 years since I used more than Pine (Alpine now) regularly, I still use Alpine daily, but for good clients EXMH was outstanding. It allowed extensions via TK and TCH and used the Mail format so procmail (very very powerful) was essential. Yes it was a little clunky but you could add buttons to do whatever you needed regularly and with relative ease. The clients mentioned by the originator, front ends ... but really ... with the exception of Thunderbird , tried, tested , but just never quite as good.

Things move on, and it was never for the faint hearted in skill or experience, and of course moving into a more 'corporate' environment meant Windows etc, so never really moved back as the incentive to push to wasnt there ....

The 'cloud' as much as it is a joke term which is used to explain away cost, operational or otherwise, does have one benefit, mail anywhere by any device. The tin foil hats will come out and of course if you are doing something dubious (illegal or not) perhaps it is not for you. For the rest of the population, embrace and move on.

What else does a mail client need to do? (3, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | about a year ago | (#42228239)

What features does a mail client need that the existing ones don't already have?
I'd rather have a relatively lean (read fast) client that performs it's core function very well, rather than a monstrosity that does a thousand things in a kinda half-assed way.

Re:What else does a mail client need to do? (1)

sylvandb (308927) | about a year ago | (#42228381)

I'd rather have a relatively lean (read fast) client that performs it's core function very well, rather than a monstrosity that does a thousand things in a kinda half-assed way.

You mean like mutt or just basic file system access with cat, awk, base64, w3m and less?

Or do you really mean that you want core function plus your feature set, and you don't want to be bothered by or care what other people want?

Gnome's Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228261)

I've been using Fedora 17 since release, and I have to say that Gnome's integration with online accounts (I used gmail) is incredibly good. By entering your account details in 1 place, it enables both empathy (IM Chat) and Evolution mail, calendar, and address book. It easily handles GPG and S/Mime, though it does better automatic signing & encryption using S/Mime certificates. The new mail notifications and chat notifications are both easy to use and unobtrusive to your active application ( I don't know how it works with full screen gaming.)

If you can get over the "ZOMG GNOME 3 SUCKS, IT'S SO LAME, BLAH BLAH BLAH" crowd, it really is a great desktop experience to have everything just work together. Combined with the Deja Dup backup application, all of my new installs of Fedora are easy. Install, update packages, sign in to online accounts, and activate automatic backups (optionally, install rpmfusion and install kmod-nvidia for binary blob for GPU, and download the flash player plugin, extract it to /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins and you're done.)

I wouldn't recommend Fedora if you're wanting stability, as it is still a testbed, but the whole system works good if you're not doing anything crazy.

KMail (1)

spacenet (2555388) | about a year ago | (#42228281)

It works fine for me at least, though it loads a bit slow. Has all the features you describe except calendar integration, but you can get that by using Kontact (which gives access to both Kmail, calendar and contacts in the same interface). Integrates with KDE address book, syncs with Google contacts/Google Calendar, PGP+S/MIME encryption/signing, modern UI, import/export, Sieve rules editor, modern UI (threaded message list, though no Gmail-like threading).

Going nowhere (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about a year ago | (#42228301)

Claws kept losing its configuration on ubuntu so I went back to sylpheed but that integrated badly with unity so now I am using thunderbird but it is full of bugs even after however many years of development. So yeah, pretty crap.

Hands Down Winner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228311)

Sylpheed:

http://sylpheed.sraoss.jp/en/

It works. It is simple though highly configurable. I cannot envision anyone asking for more.

Thunderbird does all those things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228319)

All the things the author wants, Thunderbird does. The reason TB isn't gaining new features is because it doesn't need them. E-mail hasn't evolved in ages and calendars aren't changing either. The Thunderbird developers have done exactly what they should, implement all the features we need and then switch to maintaining the code. If I wanted a huge, buggy client that was always changing I'd switch to Outlook.

Geary (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#42228325)

I think Geary [yorba.org] will be good once released.

In the meantime, nothing beats Thunderbird for me. The plugins are the new developments and features. Evolution works great out of the box, but it's still too slow and unreliable. I get tons of emails with Thunderbird at work and have never had a problem. The calendar plugin works mostly and even LDAP for the address book; it just takes a little bit of time to configure. For any advanced calendar functions, I just use my android phone. In fact, my coworker who is on Windows and uses Outlook has to rely on his phone because Outlook crashes once a day for him.

Zimbra Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228329)

Zimbra desktop, Even if you don't have a zimbra on the other side it's pretty cool for gmail and the like. full calendar integration....

Kontact/KMail (2)

blackpaw (240313) | about a year ago | (#42228331)

Covers all the request features. However since the move to akonadi it does have a terrible reputation for bugginess, unrelalibility and resource hogging, unfortunately a not undeserved one.

However it has been improving steadly, even drastically since kde 4.7. I've been using it as my primary even despite the problems because when its working :) it is just so good. Fantastic integration with KDE, really good handling of multiple accounts and identities. PGP & SMIME, integration with Google calendar and contact, as well as other 3rd parties. An open plugin system for extending it. And it looks *really* good, the perfect blend of functionality and sexiness - when its working :)

I just upgraded to KDE 4.10 Beta 1 (via Kubuntu raring). There seems to be another qualitive improvement in reliabilty. Akonadi hogging the CPU seems to be fixed. Message searches are working - full text content and attributes.

There's still progress to be made, but its made huge steps and I finally feel confident in saying Kontact is back and will make it. The developers have the feature sets done and are just focusing on bug fixing now.

Re:Kontact/KMail (1)

mcloaked (2791017) | about a year ago | (#42228393)

I am looking forward to using kmail again - currently I can't import my s/mime certificate because of a bug in gpgsm but that has a fix that will be available to me in a few days and then I can check it out for signed/encrypted email. Yes the combination kontact/kmail I used to use in KDE when it was version 3 but since the initial move to KDE4 I abandoned KDE until about a year ago when KDE4 became usable again - with KDE 4.8 and later it is my favourite Desktop Environment and with the latest KDE 4.9 stability release it is generally working very well - hopefully with the release of KDE 4.10 Kontact/Kmail will be workable and your comments above are encouraging.

Re:Kontact/KMail (1)

overshoot (39700) | about a year ago | (#42228459)

However it has been improving steadly, even drastically since kde 4.7.

But it's still slower than an arthritic sloth on sopors. Which doesn't seem to even be on the developers' radar.

Re:Kontact/KMail (1)

blackpaw (240313) | about a year ago | (#42228585)

Its quite snappy for me.

Devs are working on these issues. Broken functionality and bugs get the highest priority, but speed issues are most definitly being looked at.

Exchange access would be nice (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | about a year ago | (#42228343)

I have yet to find a Linux email client that supports it, although my Android phone does it just fine. I tried Evolution once. Initial setup was most interesting. It wanted me to fill out fields with single character labels (???). Googling yielded little more than instructions that were years old and outdated for the newest version. I still don't know what it wanted and it crashed as I was guessing. It was immediately deemed worthless and uninstalled. When I'm using Linux, I'm using Thunderbird, but I can't access my school's email server because Thunderbird can't do Exchange.

Switched to a webclient, never looked back (1)

FlyveHest (105693) | about a year ago | (#42228367)

About two years ago, I had been stalwarthily been using Eudora, and could not imagine ever changing from a desktop-based client.

But then Eudora started to show its age (specifically, problesm with SSL certificates), and I started to look around for other alternatives, and found none what so ever.

I dug into a webclient, Roundcube, and have never looked back since, and so have a lot of my friends, so yes, i'm definately thinking that the desktop-based client is dying.

"We need a well maintained and capable mail ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228373)

... client, [...] properly supported HTML composing"

Troll?

If not: Shiny does not correlate positively with capable or efficient.

I want to like KMail (1)

overshoot (39700) | about a year ago | (#42228437)

I've been using it since KDE 1.1, after all. But I don't know what gives with it any more.

It used to be the compatibility champ -- all of its message stores were open format. Now it's all stashed in a binary database.
It used to be blinding quick. Now it takes minutes to switch between one local folder and another.
It used to update flawlessly, but the last couple of upgrades have hosed the previous mail repositories and anything that wasn't backed up offline was gone.

KMail has some very nice features (including excellent spam filters) but the usability factor is heading for zero real fast. If there were a decent alternative that doesn't have the same problems I'd switch in a heartbeat.

Evolution. (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | about a year ago | (#42228449)

Having tested many, my current vote is for Evolution. Mostly because it can do RPC over HTTPs and talk to Exchange 2003 and later email servers. Which is kind of a big deal.

Re:Evolution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228511)

Plus, Evolution can set the Receiving Email Server Type to "None".
Which, believe it or not, many other clients (inc. Thunderbird) won't allow you to do.

little functional change (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year ago | (#42228457)

Thunderbird has moved to monthly releases, which are more maintenance releases containing security fixes but little functional change â" and little new development.

You know what else hasn't had much functional change in a while but I still use regularly? Wow, that really sounds like the beginning to a "your mom" joke. But I digress. I'm talking about furniture. Tables, wooden chairs, desks. Bookshelves too. To bring it back around to written communication, my postal mailbox hasn't upgraded in the past T-bird release cycle. When something's not broken, don't fix it.

Still Haven't Found One I Like (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#42228469)

My favorite E-Mail client in the past couple of decades has been Gnus, written in Elisp and running in Emacs. The only thing that keeps me from using that or its little brother, vm, is that my mail spools always seem to eventually end up getting corrupted and completely deleted with them. I keep a lot of really useful information in E-Mail and having messages around from a year (or several years) earlier has really saved me a lot of trouble several times now. I could just sync a backup somewhere, but other mail clients don't suck quite enough for me to bother setting all that up.

I'll tell you what, though, kill that entire thread about the company holiday party from one E-Mail in the middle of the thread and you'll realize just how nice good threading features really are. And just how primitive all current mail clients are, comparatively...

I've been wondering the same thing (1)

js33 (1077193) | about a year ago | (#42228475)

At the moment it looks like email client support is dead â" Are too many users moving into web mail and the cloud instead of having a properly functional mail client on their desktops?"

I, too, am looking for decent e-mail client support, and I think you hit the nail on the head here. There is a lot of pressure this way in any case. Spam filtering has become "too" effective, and now GMail, Yahoo, et al. want us to look at "unobtrusive" ads along with our e-mail. I really tire of "the cloud" and the concomitant expectation that I should sacrifice what little is left of my privacy to Big Data and ever more intrusive marketing analytics just to read my e-mail.

Thunderbird was a mature product not in need of drastic innovation or indeed much of anything but "maintenance," but unfortunately its creators ruined the manual account configuration interface before dropping support for the product. I don't know if it's been fixed in the mean time because I left for claws-mail.

Expecting us to use webmail doesn't cut it. The truth is we don't have a decent web browser in the free software world either. I am not a fan of Firefox: crash-and-restore-tabs makes for a horrible garbage collection algorithm, but I find the web unusable without the equivalent of AdBlock Plus, Ghostery, and NoScript, and moreover I am neither willing nor able to run Adobe Flash on OpenBSD.

thunderbird has the same problem as firefox... (1)

IpSo_ (21711) | about a year ago | (#42228479)

thunderbird has the same problem as firefox, the UI is horribly slow its almost unusable.

I use Thunderbird because its the only real email client in Linux with decent calendar integration that isn't Evolution (which itself has both eaten email and crashed several times to the point where it won't start again without having to clear out all my settings and start fresh).

Thunderbird with IMAP and the lightning extension installed routinely (like 20x per day) locks up for 5-10 seconds and shows wrong messages (or no message) when quickly switching between new emails. If they actually used multiple threads/processes for the UI so it respond to user interaction while doing other things it would be much better.

Evolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42228497)

Email contacts, calendaring, notes, tasks... The only thing I wish for is an easy way to sync with my Android or iPhone WITHOUT a Google/Gmail account in the mix. If you're willing to accept GMail then that synching is no problem.

Otherwise, Evolution is the Outlook of the Linux desktop. It is also compatible with Exchange and GroupWise, if that's what you have.

Kmail (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about a year ago | (#42228539)

Works fine for me. But yes, everyone is moving to cloud. I have even considered doing this, and i store my mail locally. Why drag a fat client around with me everywhere?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...