Fred Stluka on 9 Jan 2013 14:26:38 -0800

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: [PLUG] good linux mail clients

On 1/9/13 2:37 PM, Michael Lazin wrote:
Hi, I have been using Thunderbird and ubuntu at work for many years, and I am starting to feel like Thunderbird is inadequate for my needs. I used to keep every email I received using imap, but I am getting more and more emails with large attachments and am running into quota problems. When I try to delete my years of back emails Thunderbird freezes and stutters and sometimes locks up my pc. Does anyone have a recommendation of a better mail client for linux than thunderbird? At this point I'm willing to try something new if I can find a mail client for linux that can easily sort through years of emails and make mass deletes easy. I think it might be time for a change, as I believe mozilla is no longer supporting thunderbird officially (from what I understand there will be patches but no new releases).

I too am dismayed that Thunderbird has gone in to fix-only
mode with no new features, so I'd love to find a good

However, other than that, Thunderbird has been ideal for
years.  I have copies of every non-spam e-mail message I've
sent or received for the past 15+ years in Thunderbird.
I have about 400 folders in my e-mail folder tree, holding mail
to/from different clients, interests, activities, contacts, etc.

I have about 100 folders in the folder tree of my Inbox, with
about 150 mail filters sending the incoming messages into
the various folders.  PLUG, AgilePhilly, JUG, various of my
corporate clients, various automated monitoring e-mails,
etc., plus "Known" (for people in my address book after all
the groups and such above are filtered out), and "Unknown"
(spam, plus friends sending from newly created addresses).

Thunderbird makes it all quite manageable.  I read the client
Inbox subfolders first, then Known, then quickly scan
Unknown for non-spam, then read the PLUG messages all
together, then the Agile messages, etc.  I accomplish this
all by firing up Thunderbird occasionally and simply hitting
"n" (next message) until I've seen and replied to all of my
various categories of e-mail in the order described above.
Very simple, very organized and customized to my needs,
and blindingly fast.

I never empty my Trash folder, so I can mindlessly delete
things that I don't want to bother filing away into a specific
folder and can find them again in the Trash if I ever need
them.  My Sent and Trash folders get big, so every year or
so, I move them to a name like Sent_2012 and Trash_2012
and let Thunderbird create new ones for me.  That keeps
any one folder from getting to be much bigger than 20,000
messages or 100MB.

Since I have lots of automated messages coming in just to
show that my various servers are running smoothly, and I
don't need to keep such messages once I've confirmed that
they've arrived, I delete them with Shift-Delete instead of
just Delete, and they bypass the Trash folder entirely.  I do
the same with spam and with any messages to lists like PLUG
where archives exist on-line.

I can review and Shift-Delete about 1000 such messages in
a minute or less.  The reviewing takes most of the time.
The Shift-Delete takes a second or two.

In this way, I can easily manage the 2000 or so e-mails that
I get every day.

Even with this volume of e-mail, I don't have any speed
problems with Thunderbird.  Interactions are all instantaneous.
Working with a Web-based client like Gmail (my 2nd favorite
e-mail) is noticeably slower since it has to do a round trip to
the server for each operation.

If I ever mis-file a message and have to search for it, no
problem!  Searching all 15+ years worth of e-mail across 400
folders to find a message based on even a complex combination
of sender, recipient, subject line etc., takes less than 10 seconds.
Even if I have to search all of the bodies of all of the hundreds of
thousands of messages, it takes only a minute or so.

The only thing I've explicitly done to make things smaller and
faster is that I make very little use of e-mail attachments.  When
I have to send or receive an attachment, I later go to the trouble
of explicitly telling Thunderbird to "detach"  the attachment from
my saved copy and put it in a file in my regular directory tree.
That saves a lot of space, especially with large binary
attachments like Word docs, PDF files, etc., because saving such
a binary file as a base64-encoded e-mail attachment takes
about twice as much disk space as saving it as a simple binary
file.  So it saves me half the size overall, and none of that size
is inside the Thunderbird mail files/folders.

An additional advantage to this approach is that all such
attachment files can reside in my regular directory tree, where
I can open/edit them as usual.  I'm not stuck using my mail
tree as a filing cabinet for non-mail items.  However, I can
still access them through the mail interface, by clicking on the
attachment icon of a mail message as usual.  It's the best of
both worlds.

I'm not sure why some of you are saying Thunderbird is slow.
Do you have even more e-mail than I do?  Or lots of big
attachments?  Or is the Linux version of Thunderbird just
slower than the Windows version I used for many years, and
the Mac version I've used for the past 4 years?

BTW, another huge advantage of Thunderbird over bloated
e-mail clients like Outlook, is that it it follows the Unix/Linux
convention of keeping all of the messages in plain text
(standard Unix mbox format) in a normal tree of files/folders.
The address book, mailing lists, filters and settings are also
stored in simple files.  Therefore, in the true Unix tradition,
moving my entire mail configuration (address book, lists,
messages, folders, filters, preferences, etc.) was a simply
rsync command of a single directory tree from Windows to
Mac.  Each mbox file has an associated binary index file,
but if you delete the index files they are recreated
automatically and again instantaneously.

And since the messages are spread across multiple files (one
per folder), there is no Outlook-style huge monstrosity of a
binary file that can get corrupted, and that takes forever to
backup.  My backups only copy the individual files that have
been modified recently.

And if I do ever have a corruption issue, I can directly edit the
mbox-style text file and fix it.  Or, more commonly, before
Thunderbird added the ability to delete or "detach"
attachments, I used to occasionally edit a mail file directly to
delete the base64 text that represented an attachment if I
wanted to keep the mail message but not keep the huge

Are there other mail programs that would give me all of this,
and run on a Mac, and provide a way to import all of the
data (address book, lists, messages, folders, filters) from

Please let me know.  I HATE the idea that Thunderbird is being
eased out.

Fred Stluka -- --
Bristle Software, Inc -- -- Glad to be of service!
Open Source: Without walls and fences, we need no Windows or Gates.

Philadelphia Linux Users Group         --
Announcements -
General Discussion  --