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Communications Software Linux

Ask Slashdot: Current State of Linux Email Clients? 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?"
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Ask Slashdot: Current State of Linux Email Clients?

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  • Thunderbird works (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:52PM (#42228137)

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

  • by Bananatree3 ( 872975 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:52PM (#42228143)

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

    Thunderbird can sync with Google Calendar, via plugins... Here's How []. 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.

  • by Wonko the Sane ( 25252 ) * on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:56PM (#42228165) Journal

    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.

  • by yelvington ( 8169 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @05:56PM (#42228167) Homepage

    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.

  • Thunderbird (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bitsy Boffin ( 110334 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:01PM (#42228219) Homepage

    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.

  • by grnbrg ( 140964 ) <> on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:20PM (#42228377)

    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. []


  • by I'm just joshin ( 633449 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:23PM (#42228405)

    Roundcube ( seems to work pretty well. And it has some nice add-ins for changing passwords & Fail2Ban.

  • by Tough Love ( 215404 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:25PM (#42228429)

    Zimbra [] 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @06:40PM (#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:Thunderbird (Score:4, Informative)

    by The Moof ( 859402 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @07:46PM (#42229063)

    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.

    I have never seen this happen. If people are passing data around, I typically receive Excel files, not tables within HTML.

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

    This should most definitely be done in the recipient's client, not in the message's composition. Not to mention other accessibility problems in which the HTML content isn't even used - their accessibility software uses the plain text version of the message.

  • Re:Thunderbird works (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 08, 2012 @08:52PM (#42229481)

    Now she received Thunderbird's "Chat" feature in recent updates which includes Facebook chat, Google talk, IRC, Twitter and XMPP.
    I'm not sure why people are saying Thunderbird is not getting new features, that one came from a module for the InstantBird IM client, and Thunderbird will get all the new core features that Firefox gets in future.

  • Re:no love for mutt? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Unnngh! ( 731758 ) on Saturday December 08, 2012 @09:05PM (#42229567)
    Development on the ASCII standard started in 1960 FWIW :D
  • Claws-mail (Score:4, Informative)

    by mpol ( 719243 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @06:27AM (#42232307) Homepage

    Claws-mail is the successor of the old Sylpheed-claws. It really is a nice and simple mailclient, which in the meantime does almost everything. Imaps, RSS, filtering, whatever. And with good usability, the buttons are all at the right place.
    I even use the Windows version at work.

    There are some thing Thunderbird is particularly bad at in my opinion. Like sorting threaded mails. I know there are extensions, but they suck.
    I also don't like the autodetection of mailserver settings. You cannot save something in a non-working state, while sometimes I just want to do that.

  • Re:no love for mutt? (Score:4, Informative)

    by dutchd00d ( 823703 ) on Sunday December 09, 2012 @10:57AM (#42233443) Homepage

    It might not have helped that my work's server used a custom IMAP namespace either.

    I suspect that may have been your only problem. I set "folder" to "imaps://hostname.of.mailserver", set an imap_user and an imap_pass and away it goes. No external program required.

    You do need an external program (muttprofile) to switch between profiles/servers though, and that does take some setting up.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.