1. 22

So, I’ve been a long-time Thunderbird user looking for something new, more modern. I’m interested in what mail clients people use these days (if they haven’t succumbed the charms of webmail).

Please share your mail clients and the respective operating systems they are being used on :)

I myself am using

  • K9 on android with openkeychain for gpg
  • Thunderbird on Linux with enigmail for gpg
  1.  

  2. 20

    mutt

    1. 4

      how often do you receive email that is HTML-only and what do you do when that happens?

      1. 8

        I pass it to w3m using a mailcap entry. It makes most HTML mails readable. For the ones that still don’t display correctly, I ignore them and ocassionally send a response back to the sender asking them to stop sending unreadable mails.

        1. 7

          I also use mutt exclusively.

          Typically, HTML-only emails aren’t actually emails I want to receive. If, for some reason, I do need to view the email in rendered HTML, you can have the HTML attachment rendered in your browser. But most of the time it’s good enough to just pass it through to w3m and render the content in mutt.

          1. 1

            Are you able to sync address books from IMAP servers?

            1. 3

              I use lbdbq from lbdb with Mutt’s query_command and then configure whichever backed I need, i.e. abook, finger, LDAP, etc.

              1. 1

                Mutt can use an external command/program to query for contacts. As long as you can get them out of whatever external system, mutt can use them.

                For example, here’s how you can set it up so that mutt reads from your contact book on OS X: http://stevelosh.com/blog/2012/10/the-homely-mutt/#contacts (I don’t use this particular setup, but it’s well explained).

                1. 2

                  When I use any other email client such as Thunderbird with my institution, once I configure the IMAP and server, the client is able to automatically fetch the relevant addresses (from some LDAP server I guess) for my institution. Thus, it is able to autocomplete the addresses even if I had never emailed a person before so long as they are an employee of that institution. However, I am unable to figure out where exactly Thunderbird (or apple mail) is getting this information from. I do not see any LDAP configuration in its settings.

                  So my question then is, how do I figure out which LDAP is associated with a particular IMAP, and is there any way to retrieve this information from other email clients?

                  1. 1

                    That is something I’m unaware of. I’ve always configured my contact syncing (from whatever source) separately from my IMAP configuration.

            2. 4

              HTML-only is usually SPAM, but I have a server-side html2markdown filter to add a text part in these cases, which works out maybe half the time. In (very rare) cases when I need to read an HTML-only email where the filter didn’t produce something useful, I hit the button in mutt to open in firefox

              1. 1

                isn’t opening it in Firefox is worse than opening in a HTML-mail reader (like Thunderbird)? Firefox will run scripts, load remote images etc. Thunderbird disallows scripts and only loads remote resources through opt-in.

                1. 2

                  What’s your threat model here? Do you think this hacker-ish setup is common enough to become a target? I think if a person is savvy enough to setup their email client this way, then they’re also savvy enough to quickly spot 99.9%+ of fraudulent emails.

                  1. 1

                    Mostly concerned about read tracking really. So this isn’t for targeted attacks but re-enabling the common threats

                  2. 1

                    On spam and newsletters? Yes. But those go in the trash long before getting opened :)

                2. 2

                  I use mutt exclusively, but I do care about being able to read HTML.

                  When I get an email that doesn’t render in mutt, I hit H and it renders the email in Google Chrome.

                  I synchronise my email server (Fastmail) with mbsync, so I always have my stuff even if I’m offline. I use notmuch for searching.

                  1. 1

                    Non-sarcastic counter-question: Are people who read HTML email not worried about the privacy implications?

                    1. 5

                      I was under the impression that Thunderbird’s “don’t display images” feature is good enough to avoid this - please enlighten me if it isn’t.

                      I get by with seeing only the HTML body sans external media 90%. For some rare providers I do allow to load stuff, but usually I can “click to open website” and yes of course, they can then track that I read that mail - but I signed up for that newsletter and I am actively looking, so I guess that’s fair then.

                      1. 3

                        I, for one, am.

                        Honest question: do mutt or other non-HTML email systems handle typographical things you’d want from HTML? For me, the minimum would be underlining, italics, mono-spaced and proportional fonts. I’ve not yet discovered what to search in the manual.

                        1. 3

                          mutt itself doesn’t handle he html stuff at all: it just pipes the html to some other program which pipes back text to display. So you can do that if you want by piping it through a converter program and using a terminal that supports it, though personally I like not having any of those things. I like to be able to just read it.

                          1. 1

                            Honest question: do mutt or other non-HTML email systems handle typographical things you’d want from HTML?

                            I generally don’t want those in my emails either. I prefer plain text.

                            1. 3

                              You may prefer that, but my desire for more is well-founded.

                              The vast majority of systems for conveying textual information other than the limited world of terminals has supported the things I’m asking for, because they are useful. My personal most frequent use is monospace for referencing classes or code examples.

                            2. 1

                              mutt is a command line program, so whatever your command line can display is what you get in mutt.

                            3. 3

                              I use Fastmail’s web interface and the built-in Mail app on macOS and on iOS, and all of these have options to prevent images from being loaded unless and until you click a button to show them. My point being, defense against tracking pixels is a widespread feature at this point.

                              1. 2

                                Any modern email client doesn’t load remote resources (images) by default, there’s a “show images” button.

                                1. 2

                                  I have disabled auto-loading external images in gmail

                              2. 3

                                How do you manage the address books? That is, are you able to hook into Gmail and other IMAP address books? (LDAP). This is the largest pain point for me

                                1. 2

                                  I have a script that adds every email address I send email to to my mutt aliases file for easy tab completion

                                  1. 2

                                    I’m using vim-notmuch-address where CTRL+X CTRL+U completes email addresses (also works by name).

                                2. 9

                                  I use Thunderbird and I haven’t been able to find anything better.

                                  GNOME’s Evolution was kind of okay, though.

                                  1. 9

                                    I personally use Thunderbird, mainly because I’ve been using it for years.

                                    Personally, I’m curious about what people use who regularly work with OpenBSD. Their mailing list netiquette requires 72 characters per line, but when setting up Thunderbird to do that, diffs get mangled because they may stretch to 80 characters. So I’m curious how people working with these restrictions – possibly in other projects – deal with that.

                                    1. 2

                                      I compose emails in vim. :set tw combined with :gq solves this easily. Piping just the paragraphs you want through fmt -72 will also do the job.

                                      1. 1

                                        Yeah, thunderbird is hopeless here. I use some webmail, but I have git set up so that I can send git patches from the command line. I guess you can do the same with OpenBSD by piping through mail(1).

                                        1. 1

                                          My primary gripe with thunderbird is how difficult it is to get line-wrapping set up correctly, especially with enigmail. Other than that it’s a great client.

                                        2. 5

                                          Gmail and Protonmail

                                          Don’t like either of them - but at the same time I don’t like email period.

                                          Are there any decent solutions that let me… Host a mail server to collect everything and let me access my mail using either a self hosted webserver or a mail client? I’d like to be able to view mail on my phone for example and a web client seems like the only sane solution for that.

                                          1. 2

                                            Any mobile email client should support IMAP servers

                                          2. 4

                                            fastmail webinterface and thunderbird for my mail email account. Also gmail webinterface at work.

                                            1. 1

                                              Yup I’m using the fastmail web UI and mutt for all my personal mail (This neatly solves the “What happens when you get HTML mail and w3m won’t parse it?” problem.) and full bore fetchmail/procmail/mutt at work because that’s the only toolset I’ve found that can handle E-mail at Amazon scale :) (Other people have succeeded with Outlook. Its filtering rules aren’t fine grained enough for me.)

                                            2. 4

                                              On macOS, I use Apple Mail when I need a GUI, and Mutt when I don’t. These mail clients both consistent PGP signing support, and being able to sign emails with the same key that I sign my open-source commits and releases with is pretty sweet. Mutt is pretty hard to configure, but once you get it working there’s almost no feature that it can’t work with.

                                              On iOS, I use Edison Mail. It doesn’t sign anything with PGP (does any mail client on iOS support it?), but it has some nice features like automatically sorting my emails into package/ticket notifications, receipts, etc. It also has FaceID/TouchID protection, and it’s stable and fast.

                                              1. 2

                                                regarding mutt…how often do you get email that mutt can’t parse because it’s HTML-only? I’m afraid that might happen to me more often (though I have no data to back this and I could likely find out for my own mailspool….)

                                                1. 1

                                                  not very often, if at all. I use w3m to view text/html emails, it’s a text-based browser that can parse HTML, so you can use mailcap to feed it the .html file and render the content of the email to the Mutt preview pane. got the idea from http://jasonwryan.com/blog/2012/05/12/mutt/

                                                  1. 1

                                                    mutt doesn’t parse html, it will show it as an attachment. You can then configure it to automatically pipe that to a converter function (like lynx -dump or w3m are common choices) or save it as a file and open it in a browser, or whatever else. You could also pipe the entire email to another viewer.

                                                    So, you can put on whatever converter you need and open it elsewhere if necessary.

                                                    1. 1

                                                      I have not encountered HTML-only email that often, and when I do, it’s usually spam that gets through. In my experience, most HTML email also includes the plain text as well, but for those that don’t, it was easy enough to pipe it through to a program for viewing/conversion.

                                                  2. 4

                                                    claws-mail since ages, i just can’t really use anything else. i used alpine for some time, but i like interfaces with mouse support. the only thing missing from claws is a feature like alpine has to store the configuration in an imap folder on the server.

                                                    1. 3

                                                      K9 and Thunderbird. K9 is the least bad option (I’m not a fan of mobile apps in general, I don’t mean to say bad things about K9 - I guess it does as good as it gets on mobile).

                                                      I use Thunderbird on Windows and I’m 100% happy. I also use it on Linux, but it always feels a little more sluggish, which is kind of unfortunate. It sucked while I used it with my company gmail address, then I used a mix of mutt (yes, really) and the web interface (I hate webmail in general).

                                                      From time to time I try out other email clients, but so far I’ve not seen anything that even comes close as a replacement. Geary might work for some people (and I’d use it for anything besides my main account with 10 years o history and a million folders) - but for me it’s inferior than TB. Claws is also worth trying out.

                                                      TLDR: I think there is no “best” - people use email in such a different way that most clients without very open problems can be useful.

                                                      1. 3

                                                        On my desktop & laptops, I use notmuch.el, with OfflineIMAP to fetch the mail and store it locally. I’ve got some scripts I’ve written to tidy some of it up. I highly recommend it.

                                                        On my phone, I use K9. It’s good, not great, but it gets the job done. I miss Inbox. I also use Gmail, about which the less said the better.

                                                        1. 3

                                                          emacs + notmuch. Though, I may write my own gmail syncing program though as my mailbox has gotten so large it cannot successfully sync w/mbsync under ~10 minutes.. which makes emails disappear and do lots of weird stuff between sync states.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            I’m not sure this is a problem you can solve. I think it’s just gmail that’s slow.

                                                            I know that syncing with gmail over either mbsync or offlineimap was always very slow for me, and both Fastmail and hosting my own iRedMail are rapid.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              I’m not sure this is a problem you can solve.

                                                              Gmail has a custom API I’m thinking about writing a syncing client for which apparently is much faster and also has notifications, but we’ll see how much I want to invest in that. I have a fastmail account for personal mail which works great with mbsync, though it’s still slow due to my mailbox sizes.

                                                          2. 2

                                                            Six IMAP accounts, delivered via mbsync to the local, indexed by mu, and read in mu4e. I do no filtering, just archive everything and trust in mu to find what I need. On the iPad/iPhone, I use the native mail client. I’ve tried a bunch of others, and while I actually like Outlook for iOS the best, it also includes calendaring, which is dumb and unnecessary.

                                                            I segregate work stuff to a different set of clients — the gmail web app on the desktop, and the gmail app on iOS.

                                                            My personal and our family email, the only really important ones, are hosted at Fastmail.

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Similar setup (msmtp, msync, mu, mu4e) this gives me a fast, unified inbox for both home and business emails. Very happy with it

                                                            2. 2

                                                              Geary + the material design fork of K-9 on Android

                                                              1. 2

                                                                Mods or OP, please correct typo in subject (s/mai/mail/).

                                                                • Gmail - cross platform
                                                                • Outlook - Windows (for work)
                                                                • mutt - on my VPS, general output from cron etc.

                                                                I can count the number of times I’ve had to write an email in Gmail on the fingers of 2 hands… and the interface has gotten terribly bloated.

                                                                1. 2

                                                                  typo fixed, thanks

                                                                2. 2

                                                                  I like MailMate on macOS. It’s a commercial product developed by one guy, but it has GPG, is still developed, lets you use markdown for composition, and just generally works.

                                                                  On iOS I’ve switched to Outlook recently, and it’s decent. It makes good choices about what mails are important and refreshes faster and more reliably than Spark.

                                                                  1. 2

                                                                    I am currently using ProtonMail exclusively. It can use my custom domain with encryption with little to no hassle.

                                                                    The client however still needs some polishing and fundamental features (calendar etc.), but all in all I am liking it.

                                                                    For my work e-mail I have to use Outlook, so the best way I could get my head around it was to use Rambox for several mailboxes (I know that you can make it work with various clients, but it’s just not worth it for me).

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      mutt, alot (at work, because of native notmuch support), and k9

                                                                      1. 2

                                                                        I use K9/openkeychain and Evolution (also its calendaring functionalities) Evolution is…vaguely acceptable, I suppose - it works well enough, but has a lot of rough edges. However, it’s a lot faster than Thunderbird.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          Currently I’m only reading my mail on my laptop. I have two accounts, one for university and a personal one, both connected via Gnus + nnimap. It’s a bit slow, so I thought about switching to nnmaildir recently, and in fact I just finished a shell script to extract authinfo entries to use with mbsync.

                                                                          My current set-up is described here: https://zge.us.to/emacs.d.html#sec-3-1-4-1 It’s pretty comfortable overall, and I’ve been to lazy to switch to another client. The only downsides are speed (which I hope to fix), absent Mnemonics and bad in-text-searching. Maybe I will be able to use nnir+notmuch with a maildir setup to improve that issue.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            Apple Mail.

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              We’re a heavy MS shop at work and have the full Office 365 suite. I will admit I do not hate the Outlook desktop client at all.

                                                                              For my personal stuff I just use Thunderbird and the Gmail app on my phone. Mostly for familiarity.

                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                I use neomutt in a jail on HardenedBSD. I have separate jails for my different email accounts.

                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                  Do you ever need to pull email attachments out of your jail? If so, how do you handle that?

                                                                                  1. 3

                                                                                    I occasionally need to both push and pull to/from the jails. I use scp for that. Essentially, I treat the jails as if they’re full VMs.

                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                  Outlook at work, gmail at home.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    i use Sylpheed because it is super lite and fast.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      I’m using the same setup on my laptop. I have considered using something else, but I just don’t want to deal with extra steps involved. I do use mutt when logged in over SSH on one system, but it’s not my daily driver.

                                                                                      I have used K9 on android before, but I stopped using e-mail on mobile when I started using GPG in combination with smartcards. I do read my unencrypted e-mails on my phone and leave the encrypted mails for when I’m at a station. I rarely send a reply from my phone, unless it’s a very short one.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        I use Outlook on Mac.

                                                                                        It allows me to get the office365 account on a couple customers, and the gmail accounts on a couple other customers.

                                                                                        The search is good, and it’s pretty fast. However the fact it lets me overlay my calendars across multiple providers (and contact availability when I need to cross-invite people) is a killer feature.

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          Good question, I couldn’t find any good GUI e-mail client.

                                                                                          Requirements:

                                                                                          1. It should send plain text only.
                                                                                          2. It should make it easy to word wrap at 72 characters.
                                                                                          3. …but it should word wrap only when I tell it to, so that it doesn’t mangle patches
                                                                                          4. should work well with millions of e-mails
                                                                                          5. a GUI app, with mouse and everything

                                                                                          I use a combination of Google Apps and Fastmail for most of my emails. I compose in my text editor (acme), pipe through fmt and (manually) paste in the HTML form.

                                                                                          When I need to send a patch I send it from the command line through git.

                                                                                          Mutt/alpine work much better in general but have their other share of problems.

                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            Work:

                                                                                            • Tutanota web client on desktop.
                                                                                            • Tutanota client for Android on my hardened AOSP device.

                                                                                            Private:

                                                                                            • Basic mailserver on OpenBSD with OpenSMTPD for important stuff. No web client, just Thunderbird or K9. Some people here do let me think of trying Mutt though. How does it compare to clients like Thunderbird?
                                                                                            • Free Zoho account for non-important domains.

                                                                                            But to be honest, I don’t like email that much.

                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                              Presently, using Mail.app on macOS, Opera Mail on Windows and Thunderbird on Linux. Have used kmail and mahogany previously. Don’t remember why I switched from Mahogany as I don’t recall having problems with it.

                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                AquaMail on my phone. Thunderbird/Gmail on my computer, but I’m thinking about trying mutt.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  Thunderbird, since forever.

                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                    Thunderbird (for many many years) and I don’t plan to switch soon.

                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                      Fastmail web UI for personal email, on Linux, OSX, and iOS.

                                                                                                      GMail web UI for work email on Linux.

                                                                                                      I’ve tried Claws a couple times, but webmail’s too convenient when using multiple devices.

                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                        Are you concerned about Fastmail’s security given the recent developments in Australia?

                                                                                                        1. 3

                                                                                                          I assume anything hosted can get my data. If it’s secret, I use E2E crypto on top.

                                                                                                          Biggest concerns for email for most people are integrity and availability, not confidentiality. Cant miss or loose emails. Gmail is best there. FastMail folks say theyre just as good. I dont trust various small players, even E2E, to be as reliable.

                                                                                                          So, Im on Gmail now considering FastMail at the moment for business and government stuff. FastMail should consider setting up independent organization in Switzerland that reuses their stack and expertise but resists Australia’s bullshit.

                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                            Personally I don’t think anything has changed; they already had the capability to hand over my emails if served with a warrant.

                                                                                                            The new law means they can be compelled to develop such a capability, but since they already have it…

                                                                                                            More relevant to anyone offering e2e crypto out of Australia.

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              No. By virtue of hosting a web interface, they already have full access to all your data, and it’s always been just a subpoena away from law enforcement. Here’s their blog post about it.

                                                                                                              However, I am (and everyone should be) extremely concerned about the law in general.

                                                                                                          2. 1
                                                                                                            • claws-mail at work, it’s small and fast but gives me readable HTML mails (most use outlook at work)
                                                                                                            • webmail (Gmail/Yahoo/Hotmail) for personal mail
                                                                                                            1. 1
                                                                                                              • MailMate on the desktop
                                                                                                              • Apple Mail on my phone
                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                I am also interested in email clients on Android. Personally I use MailMate on my main computer (macOS) and the Gmail App on my Android phone. I can only read and send gpg mails from my laptop at the moment.

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  MacOS/iOS mail.app; Alpine; occasionally mutt. Recently gave up trying to work with Thunderbird, it does most things fine but there’s just a few key things that really annoyed me about it, mostly glitchy on imap connection management and the text formatting stuff is not good

                                                                                                                  1. 1

                                                                                                                    Saw Spark mentioned once but I am using it on both iOS and MacOS. I’ve found that the smart inbox and pinning work really well for the way I like to manage my email. Haven’t really used any of the other functionality but group editing of an email sounds interesting. Does have calendar integration as well.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      evolution. Linux.

                                                                                                                      super iffy for calendaring

                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        Apple Mail on MacOS and iOS.

                                                                                                                        Sorry I’m boring 😂.

                                                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                                                          Emacs + VM + BBDB. Main inbox via imap (and a few others) so they’re also accessible via iOS/OS X clients. Plus a big pile of topic-specific mail saved locally in mbox files.

                                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                                            Phone: K9

                                                                                                                            Laptop: fdm → (custom scripts) → PostgreSQL → (custom FUSE tool — QueryFS) → Vim → mimedecode.py & ripmime & lynx –dump as needed

                                                                                                                            My preferred protocol is POP3 (because I do not want syncing the «read» status between phone and desktop), I do use webmail from time to time, mainly to mark SPAM/not-SPAM for on-server spam filters.

                                                                                                                            (considering migration from lynx –dump to a custom HTML dumper that I now have)