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barbie (2653)

  reversethis-{ku. ... m} {ta} {eibrab}

Leader of [] and a CPAN author []. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [] and the QA Hackathon [] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.

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Journal of barbie (2653)

Monday October 31, 2005
11:59 AM

Wanted: Linux Mail User Agent

[ #27389 ]

Last week proved to be a bit traumatic for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that my Windows box, has finally decided it won't boot into Windows except under safe mode. SFC fails with a general protection fault, which I'm sure is not good. I was going to try and repair the damaged files from the install disk, but even that won't boot. I'll get around to fixing it eventually, but at the moment the only immediate problem is reading my mail locally. Having been meaning to transfer my mail to my Linux development box for some time, I guess now the time has finally come to bite the bullet. However, before I install anything and start down the long road of configuring it just for me, I thought I might ask some advice from anyone reading this journal entry who has their favourite Linux mail client.

I only have a few requirements, so I'm sure there is quite a choice out there that might suit me. However, I would prefer to have one app that does both a GUI and Command Line implementation, but I'll settle for two that will talk to each other.

  • GUI Interface
    • Able to create nested folders
    • Able to create rules based on at least subject, but potentially any header.
    • Able to move blocks of messages to other folders easily
    • Able to order mail by sender/subject/size/date
    • Able to configure multiple accounts
    • Able to configure multiple signatures
  • Command Line Interface
    • Able to read attachments (text files only)
    • Able to navigate the folders created by the GUI interface
    • Able to configure multiple accounts
    • Able to configure multiple signatures

Ultimately I'll plug in some anti-spam and anti-virus apps in along the way, so something that already has plugins for that sort of thing would be nice. Also name lookups for both would be a nice to have.

The last time I used a *nix mail program it was 'mail', and still was up until a couple of years ago, whenever I had to go and retrieve my mail when I was offsite from the mail server directly at QIIS. I know there are a wide variety of mail apps out there and have seen a few, but I've never actually played with them to see if they do what I want.

So what are your choices and how well can they do what I want?

PS: Any suggestions for a decent binary newsreader would also be welcome.

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  • I use KDE, and KMail [] has the GUI features you mention. (I don't use any command-line mail client, so I can't say anything about that.) It integrates nicely with other KDE apps, and comes with a SpamAssassin plugin. I'm quite happy with it, although of course YMMV. Particularly if you prefer Gnome or some such.

  • For the GUI reader, I use Mozilla Thunderbird. As far as I can see, it will support all items on your GUI wishlist. I use it against an IMAP server, but local mbox/maildir storage should fine. It even works fine unde Windows, should you want to return there :)

    For stuffing incoming mails into folders, I use procmail, which also drives a spamassassin filter. Since I read my mail over IMAP, I want as much mail handling as possible to be local to the server, independent of the client. Anyway, doing the mail fil
  • As far as GUI MUAs are concerned, I would take a quick peek at Mozilla Thunderbird, or Evolution. I've used both for work mail in the past and both are extremely reliable and seem to do what you want. You could do a lot worse than mutt if you want to go with a CLI MUA.
  • I don’t use a GUI mailer, so I can’t help you there.

    mutt [] is an excellent choice for a terminal mailer. It does all you require and much more. Beware, though:

    • The defaults aren’t overly useful, so you’ll have to wade through the configuration.
    • It’s purely a MUA and does no filtering or delivery duties. You’ll probably want to configure fetchmail+procmail to pick up your mail.
    • This goes so far as to not include SMTP-talking facilities; you’ll need something that
  • Just to back up other suggestions. I use mutt and Thunderbird. mutt is really the only command line mail client worth considering. It's the most powerful mail program I've ever used. Thunderbird is nice when you want that GUI stuff, but it's still not as powerful as mutt.