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#1 2019-10-24 14:45:45

Geoff 42
Member
Registered: 2016-12-15
Posts: 277  

Choosing an email client

I like my email client to have a fairly simple gui and when I was first choosing an email client on Linux, the first one to try was Thunderbird. This seemed to work ok and I got the ssl settings working, but I thought that I should check that this was ok. I therefore tracked the network traffic with Wireshark (or whatever it was called then!). The initial conversation to encrypt the traffic could be seen, but it then went and passed the username and password over in clear! It may be that I had not got the settings quite right and/or the situation may have improved since then, but I looked for something else and found Claws-mail.

Claws seemed to do everything I wanted. It showed messages as plain text, but could display the html if I requested. It also seemed to encrypt the traffic correctly. The display of html is handled by the "fancy" plug-in, which seems to work very nicely. However, as we move towards Beowulf, this plug-in is deprecated as there is a security problem with the web-kit engine that it uses. The replacement for "fancy" is Dillo. Dillo will also work as a stand alone browser and for some web sites with simple html requirements works quite well. It is, however, fairly restricted in what it will display. In the more recent versions of Claws there is also another plug-in available called LiteHTML.

LiteHTML is not avalable in Beowulf but is avalable in Ceres. I thought that I should test this out and enabled the ceres repository. I then installed the most recent claws and litehtml and let it pull in its dependencies. I then removed ceres from the repository. This is probably not a recommended practice, but it looked as though it was not going to pull in very much and in fact, it does actually work in this case, also my Beowulf laptop is not mission critical for me! The LiteHTML plug-in does indeed seem to work nicely. One thing which works with LiteHTML and used to work with "fancy" was "cid:" references to other mime segments. This does not work with Dillo. I think that the LiteHTML plug-in is a bit more permissive with what it will display when compared with "fancy", which, say, would not load remote html content until specifically requested.

I wonder what other mail clients people like. kmail seems to get nice comments, although I do not use KDE. I use lxde or lxqt and use IMAP to access my mailbox.

Geoff

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#2 2019-10-24 20:51:14

James1138
Member
Registered: 2018-09-27
Posts: 24  

Re: Choosing an email client

I use Evolution over all the many years - I found it integrates well with both Devuan/Debian (also Ubuntu) and Google Calender/Contacts. As for Claws Mail and Thunderbird... I had to install so many addons and tweak settings to make it come close to what Evolution does. Evolution even has built-in contact management. FYI - Claws does NOT play well with Google Calendar (will not sync and will not import). I can add things from my Droid phone from on the road or workplace and know Evolution with sync up next time I fire it up. Granted - Evolution maybe too much for some people and it does use a little more resources that Claws or Thunderbird - but for me it is more than worth ut. I just install 3 or 4 files for Evolution vs 20 plus files for Claws Mail or Thunderbird with at-least 13 addons/extension from Mozilla addons website... among the extensions is "Lightning" to give Thunderbird ability to work with calendars. But then... do not take my word for it - fire up Synaptic package manager or install from terminal and see for yourself how many files you have to sudo apt-get install.

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#3 2019-10-24 22:54:33

sgage
Member
Registered: 2016-12-01
Posts: 181  

Re: Choosing an email client

I use Thunderbird, have been for years. It runs on everything. I typically have several OSes on my system, and all of them share a Thunderbird email database on my data partition, and they all share the Google calendar. I have years and years of old emails that once in a while it's good to be able to search through.

I've tried them all, and nothing beats TB for me. For me it's all about interoperability. No matter what OS I boot up, my mail/calendar presents as identical, and functions identically.

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#4 2019-10-25 01:30:02

Ron
Member
Registered: 2018-04-22
Posts: 208  

Re: Choosing an email client

Another option is Interlink Mail & News: https://binaryoutcast.com/projects/interlink/

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#5 2019-10-26 16:45:33

Geoff 42
Member
Registered: 2016-12-15
Posts: 277  

Re: Choosing an email client

Thank you for your comment, they are very helpful.

I have started by having another look at Thunderbird and a look at Evolution, as they are simple installs.

Given my email address they were both able to set up my account. Thunderbird came up with the same settings as I use on Claws, using ports 465 and 993 while evolution wanted to use 587 and 143. I chose to change the settings on Evolution to 465 and 993 and this seems to work nicely. I then checked all 3 by running Wireshark to look at the network traffic and all 3 seemed to encrypt the logon and data conversations with the imap server.

Geoff

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#6 2019-10-27 15:15:18

Geoff 42
Member
Registered: 2016-12-15
Posts: 277  

Re: Choosing an email client

I Used top to get some idea of the size of the program in memory, looking at the resident set size as the measure.

Claws was about 125 MB
Evolution    c. 133 MB
Thunderbird  c. 370 MB

Although further observation spotted that Evolution has quite a number (8?) of other processes between 20 and 80 MB.

I have the impression that Claws is the most responsive, although Evolution and Thunderbird are not very far behind.

On the subjective question of the look and feel, I am used to Claws and I like that it seem tight and compact in its use of screen space. When I had tidied up the layout of the other two and lined them up side by side, however, it turns out that the other two were no worse.
I thought that Evolution looks a bit more elegant, although it is currently displaying links in white. On the grey background of the headers this is not very good, but on the white background of the message body, they are invisible! After fiddling with the preferences>Mail Preferences and turning off and then on the "use the same fonts as other applications", the links are now showing in black!
Thunderbird shows the links in blue, while Claws shows links in green.
When I first ran Thunderbird I was unhappy with the way the menu and toolbars were arranged around the top of the window which I found untidy and unhelpful. With a little bit of tidying up I am more relaxed about it, although this not my favourite arrangement.

On the security front, Claws have the Webkit based "fancy" html plugin deprecated, because of its use of Webkit. As far as I can tell Evolution also uses Webkit and one of its dependencies is libwebkit2gtk-4.0-37. It also appears to have a couple of other processes running, which have Webkit in their names.
I do not know what Thunderbird uses for HTML rendering.

Geoff

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#7 2019-10-27 16:03:27

yeti
Member
Registered: 2017-02-23
Posts: 146  

Re: Choosing an email client

Ron wrote:

Another option is Interlink Mail & News: https://binaryoutcast.com/projects/interlink/

Nope:

Reasonably modern 64bit Linux Distribution (32bit is NOT and will never be supported)

I will not use use software that discriminates 32bit architectures.
But since Debian6 days or even earlier I'm happy enough (the keyboard shortcuts should be better) with Evolution and so I just can forget it.


"I toggle, therefor I am." - Clock Bit.
"There is no PLANET-B!" — ???
"Vrijdag voor VT100!" — Yeti.
"Stop slavery! Free all mitochondria!" — Yeti.

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#8 2019-10-27 21:06:17

Ron
Member
Registered: 2018-04-22
Posts: 208  

Re: Choosing an email client

32-bit Linux is going the way of the Dodo bird. How long will it be before Devuan drops it?

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#9 2019-10-28 16:37:59

Geoff 42
Member
Registered: 2016-12-15
Posts: 277  

Re: Choosing an email client

I have just installed Interlink Mail (the GTK2) version, and it looks quite nice.

I get the impression that Interlink is to Thunderbird as Pale Moon is to Firefox. As a Pale Moon user this is pleasing.

I had to set up my mail account manually, but simply copying the settings from Claws is quite easy!

I'm not sure where would be a sensible place to install it, maybe /usr/local/.

The memory size is under 200 MB and seems very responsive.

I also came across the web site "Alternatives to"

https://alternativeto.net/software/inte … -and-news/

Which offers alternative software offering.

Geoff

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#10 2019-10-29 16:07:49

Geoff 42
Member
Registered: 2016-12-15
Posts: 277  

Re: Choosing an email client

I had a look at using /usr/local as the location for interlink. The steps were :-

create the directory /usr/local/interlink owned by me
as me unpack the tar file into /usr/local/interlink
create a link /usr/local/bin/interlink to /usr/local/interlink/interlink

This then still works and interlink wanted to update, so I let it do this and then let it restart and this also worked. I do not know if there are security problems with having the program owned by me rather than root.

I checked the network traffic with wireshark and it does seem to be encrypted as I would expect.

Geoff

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