Most of the open source email clients I have tested require you to run a local webserver and access the mail using a web browser with very limited features. All I want/need is a desktop app that can be customized to work similar to Gmail, pulls and deletes emails from remote SMTP/IMAP servers and allows me to create backups locally.
Thunderbird gives me that.
-edit- found it, it's kube: https://kube.kde.org/
Everything I've seen in the software industry suggests that these two qualities are at odds. The more config parameters there are, the more bugs and crap there will be. Unless by "best" you mean "most configurable" in which case, sure.
These days I run away from customizability. I'm actively choosing the least customizable software I can find.
Do you have examples?
Postbox unfortunately doesn't support Linux, besides that while I don't mind paying licences for great software, it doesn't look like Postbox is fully opensource .
I use gmail because of the labels (no, folders are inadequate), full-text search, and the fact that it runs in browser which I keep always open anyway. I wish there was a comparable open-source solution.
For me it is the fact that setting up a GUI client takes 10 minutes and learning to use it even less. If it was the same with mutt, I would switch in a heartbeat.
I tried gnus and mutt in the past, but gave up on them after a few days. I was spending too much time tweaking the config, trying to remember shortcuts or googling how to get it to work the way I wanted to. IIRC even displaying Greek with an ok font was a problem on gnus. That was 10+ years ago, could be that the documentation is better now and a good-enough setup is easier to achieve.
By way of contrast, people who use Outlook or Thunderbird feel comfortable in ten minutes, but they never make much progress.
If you deal with a lot of email, using the right tools is important. If email is not your primary communications method, there's no point in putting in the time to learn more advanced tools.
If you use a not-busted mail client (like mentioned above) you can actually participate in project mailinglists.
TUI clients are where it's at.
I wish. My mailbox is 80% attachments or embedded image nonsense.
Something like Mailspring (successor of Nylas N1) also allows for sending an e-mail later during the day.
I've been looking for ways to prevent it from opening tabs all around as this change to tabbed UX was forced upon users and confuses most of the people I maintain TB for, even to this day years later.
I also don't think I understand your tab stance. You don't have to base your usage on tabs, do you? Personally, given the volume and types of mail I deal with, I was waiting for tabs for years. I just want the context menu option to "view message in conversation" to always exist. It dropped off a couple of builds ago and I can't seem to get it back. Usability of mail without this is decreased exponentially.
So after a while their Thunderbird has hundreds of tabs open, without them noticing.
For them, it would be an improvement if tabs could be turned off (basically simplifying the UI).
But I do understand the tab stance. When anything changes in UIs that directly affects the entire experience it is almost always a hurdle, for sure, no matter how savvy, no matter how willing.
With regard to the Photon UI, I'm weary of the calendar button being in the application header like that. It's just not where I would look for it, and I don't see what's different between it and the other buttons that would merit some of them being in the header and some of them not.
Either way, I'm happy that Thunderbird isn't dead. Even version 52 has some nice features that I couldn't find in other clients.
I see this very much as a Microsoft problem rather than a Thunderbird problem, although I appreciate that doesn't make your situation better.
I use davmail to solve this problem at work. Davmail sits in your tray, connects to exchange and turns the exchange traffic into standards-compliant mail traffic for your email client.
Of course, you lose some features in the process. About once a month I have to remind HR that the "vote" buttons in exchange are not part of any email client except outlook. Still, it works well for sending/receiving mail and tolerably for handling calendar invites.
In a away yes, but is also a Standards Problem. the Email Standards are shit and have needed to be updated for atleast 2 decades now but no one can agree on what should replace them.
For all of Microsoft failings, EWS and even ActiveSync is superior for syncing a users Mailbox, Calendar and other communication data between a central mail server and many clients...
The calendar stuff is a bit rockier, but there is project to keep it alive here: https://github.com/ExchangeCalendar/exchangecalendar/
Many organizations do not enable IMAP on Exchange (I know at least one that disabled it). So supporting the native Exchange API would be a big win.
For many people "lack of calendar" means "can't use it".
seems to be a solution but not free ($10/year/user) and some reviews say that the extension is broken recently.
It even works with the calendar!
I'd love to be able to ditch Evolution for Thunderbird but without Exchange it won't happen. I can manage without built-in calendar since Gnome calendar works well and I have my tablet too.
(In a slight twist of dramatic irony, we have had the same problem with Outlook 2016 trying to talk to an Exchange 2007 server... ;-) Upgrading the server is on our TODO list for 2018, but for the moment, we have to live with it.)
If any of the team are reading, I hope the search interface is on the radar for when the project is on stable footing again. That's Thunderbird's main area of weakness in my opinion.
This is pretty much the only fly in my Thunderbird ointment. Otherwise it's been a great client for years and I look forward to using it for years more.
Basically, they're still under the Mozilla umbrella for legal and fiscal reasons, but all development and operations are completely separate from Mozilla and Firefox.
Thunderbird has always been and continues to be a viable email client-- it just hasn't seen any meaningful development for a heck of a long time. It still _works_. Anyway, hopefully this means development will pick up. It's kinda amazing that it doesn't have multirow views yet.
In Thunderbird, when using a 3-vertical panel layout, the columns get squished (especially long subject lines). It's not a big thing, but I would gladly trade half the vertical space for the ability to fit a couple more fields, like tags and size.
"Reported: 15 years ago"
That bug epitomizes how Thunderbird development has stalled for a very, very, very long time.
I read the comments in the bug linked above. It’s funny that some of the rants mention “I’m switching to X” where X isn’t even around anymore today. TB still works after all this time.
It could even be something said about other projects who also have bugs sitting for years.
Tell Google that. :/ Most of my email woes doing support over the years have been Gmail related. Google changes something, suddenly happy email clients cease working as users expect.
Google is, on a number of topics, dancing very close to the EEE behavior that MS has gotten lambasted for in the past.
You could probably plaster the colorful G over top of Vader's helmet in the old scene between him and Lando.
This make thunderbird unfit for deployment in places.
Secure your entire account, instead of individual applications.
How about, once all the maintenance is done,
- Exchange support
- Native Calendar with Exchange and CalDAV support
- Native Contacts with Exchange and CardDAV support
(I'm currently using Evolution, and it mostly works. But elegant or polished it is not.)
Sadly I have not gotten around to guestblogging about my TB testing (done over the course of 3 months).
I knew a major rewrite was going to be required with Gecko and XUL being abandoned by Mozilla: is this a step in that direction? Or just a stopgap measure while still relying on legacy code?
Guess it is time to renew my donation.
I still use Firefox as my main browser, and Thunderbird as my mail and news client and have been using their earlier incarnations since the Netscape days.
I wish someone would make an open source replacement to Mailspring's sync engine. I'd switch to that as soon as available. I just don't like the thought of someone having hidden code touching my email.
If this means what I think it does, it's provided by the Thunderbird Conversations addon.
Seems its just SquirrelMail under the hood though plus a web browser to browse the mail? Or was that Nylas N1?
I also thought it was open source?
I remember back in the days Modest running on Nokia N-series running Maemo. That used a frontend and backend architecture. Why can we not adopt such in the e-mail world? That way, we abstract the data from the clients.
I have been a heavy thunderbird users for years until about half-year ago, I now move/forward all my email to outlook.com instead, so far it works for me well.
I'd like to see Thunderbird focus on separating their mail handling engine from the UI aspects. Much like how the Chrome V8 engine can be used by a variety of projects, it would be nice if a separate open source project could take the Thunderbird engine, and experiment with their own UI.
It would also allow the adoption of newer replacements for IMAP. My hope would be that it could also lead to the replacement of proprietary messaging networks such as Slack, Discourse, etc., with something based on the newer open email format.
I'm probably part of a very small group, but I don't really care for the visual updates (I feel like the average user gets lost with new UI, anyway). I want a tool that can handle a very large amount of email, snappy and quality search, and I do appreciate some of the little "smart" features (reminding to add attachments, delayed/undoable send, calendar integration suggestions). All of those things seem to be smaller bullet points on the product page, each with a lot of work behind them.
Modern features are snoozing messages, automatic grouping of emails by type (promotions, spam, important, finance, family, etc.), and fewer buttons and options.
Modern design looks nice, and it makes buttons for more common actions more prominent: new message is huge, reply is big, add label very small, etc., while in Thunderbird there are 10 times more buttons, and they're all the same size.
It just needs a lot of work.
I'm not a designer, so I can't pinpoint exactly what's wrong, but those I mentioned are the things that I notice and that I would start from.
As for Google Inbox specifically, it gets rid of all spam and hardly ever gets it wrong. It also encourages you to get rid of useless emails thanks to grouping done well and a few related features, which made me achieve inbox zero for the first time.
Automatic grouping of emails by type reeks of deep privacy invasion, a trademark of google. Besides this is something you can achieve by setting your inbox with a few folders and filters, this has been available in email clients before gmail existed so it's hardly modern.
WTH is snoozing message ? How does this help with dealing with your email ? Just implement a proper GTD flow and sorting of your email if you cannot refrain from constantly checking your emails when you are not ready to act on it.
Google gets it wrong about spam close to 85% of the time when you are on the sending side from somewhere else than gmail or one of the large centralized email services. Trying to reach someone on a gmail address is guaranteed to give you headache and soon you'll find yourself jumping through many hoops google has set for you, even then it's not uncommon that your recipient never see your very much valid email.
Then again google inbox is not a cross platform desktop email client and is out of bound for anyone caring about privacy or preserving the internet.
A lot of the things you called out sound like "smart features" more than an overhaul to the app (or significant UI changes). I think a lot of the trendy email applications that came out around 2012 (Sparro and Mailbox), were really interesting, but niche. They've seemed to have all gone away and only nudged the email clients most people use everyday.
I do like Gmails categorization, but I don't know of another client that does it. I also assume it requires a server-side component to look at and categorize email by looking at everyone's. Maybe it could work like spam detection? Again, it sounds difficult to get right--not just a design choice.
Regarding the button size, looking at Google Inbox all of the buttons look proportional to me. Phones lend themselves to multiple rows of varying size icons. Desktops usually have a single vertical or horizontal row. Mixing up the size can waste space. It's funny looking back at screen shots from Thunderbird v1. It had a row of huge icons. They've since been replaced by smaller text-only buttons. Phone and web interfaces have less strict standards and consistency (which I think discourage a lot of people).
I do think they could get rid of some clutter by ditching Chat, Address Book, Tags and Filters, and hide "Get Messages" under a mouseover (like Fastmail's client). Leaving "Write" on the left and and a text box for filtering on the right--perhaps ditching that whole row by integrating those two widgets into other places in the UI. But I also wouldn't mind if they improved the backend, added some of those "smart features" both you and I mentioned, and left the UI as it was years ago.
Does any client other than Inbox have these?
Do the Sieve scripts do the grouping automatically? Or is it based on rules you've set? They are definitely different things...
More like same things, only difference is one you are in control and the other you are submitting to a third party who has control over your emails (and probably invades your privacy, profiles you, etc.).
Any chance you can give me your list? I haven't found any desktop e-mail client that rivals Thunderbird. Thanks.
I used to use Mailbox (which I think became Google Inbox? or was it Sparrow that did), Sparrow, Airmail.
Thunderbird turns managing emails into a full-time job. No shortcuts whatsoever to help you getting rid of unimportant emails, awful spam protection.
Of course, if you're productive in Thunderbird who cares and why not just use that, this is just my opinion :-)
Airmail is also apple only so useless to most people.
Mailbox was a phone only app that stopped operating last year, again not a cross platform desktop client.
You're welcome to try again, but AFAIK there are no such "modern" cross platform desktop email client that you throw around as a model to follow.
Even your current Inbox by google is a phone only / web only application and not a cross platform desktop email client.
Claws, sylpheed are such cross platform desktop email client competing with thunderbird and I don't any of the features you're complaining about
I do not know what you are referring to when you mention thunderbird has awful spam protection. I maintain a dozen of TB installs and they do a great job of filtering spams for those who do not know better email hygiene.
You should try experiencing email outside of the giant mega centralized repository that is killing the web and internet and see how it's done in the outside world that you seem to not visit often.
Thunderbird is the best for Linux.