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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Mon, 18 Jul 2011

Yes, I use e-mail client software

At times I've use web interfaces to access most or all of the various e-mail accounts I happen to be using.

This is not one of those times.

My work account, my "personal" account, even my Gmail account (half personal, half "other") -- I tend to use e-mail client software for all of them. I do occasionally dip into the terrible web interface for my work account, the not-terrible web interface for Gmail and the also-not-terrible Roundcube web interface for my own domain's mail account.

But for the most part I use mail client software.

Right now I have the following set up on my Debian Squeeze laptop:

  • Thunderbird (aka Icedove in Debian)
  • Evolution (the default mail client for the GNOME desktop)
  • Claws Mail (lighter-weight GTK mail client for Linux/Unix)

I use Thunderbird about 90 percent of the time. My main work account is on a horrible server that does IMAP poorly and slowly -- and I do not use POP, it's IMAP or nothing for me. For one thing, it's just about impossible to run more than one e-mail client on a single account if you are using POP, which brings all the mail down to your hard drive. IMAP leaves everything on the server where you can access it any number of ways.

I can't use a mail client that doesn't make the best of a bad IMAP situation. Evolution is horrible in this regard. It doesn't seem to multitask well at all, and often a long IMAP operation locks the whole thing up for minutes at a time.

Claws is better. When I first installed it, I added a couple dozen extensions. When I didn't end up using any of them, I removed them all. Still, I like Claws.

As I say above, I use Thunderbird most of the time. This is where I occasionally save messages to the hard drive. It's where my address book(s) live. It runs as fast as anything I've tried. I don't think even Claws can beat it.

I'm writing this because today I tried all three programs. As usual, I was quickly frustrated by Evolution. I wish it was better. It looks great.

Claws ran better than I remember it. There are a million things you can do to configure the program, but I can't seem to wrap my brain around the ultra-configurability of Claws.