Email Client Choice

Story: A KMail Breakthrough.Total Replies: 4
Author Content

May 01, 2016
8:43 AM EDT
The first GNU/Linux distro I tried was Gnome based, and so I had always used Evolution. At some point I became frustrated with Evolution and went in search of a fast and more transparent email client. This search ended at 'sylpheed':

Just like you, I was unfamiliar with the general ideas behind and between maildir and mbox. And just like you, I discovered that mbox is the 'universal' export/import-able format. It just happens that sylpheed uses the mbox format directly, so this made the export/import tasks less complex.

In any case, I have about 15 different email accounts that I monitor throughout the day... Evolution was very slow in checking each and my system would sometimes strain if a given folder had many messages. I have no such problems with sylpheed. However, what I do have now is a problem with integrated calendars...

Without the Evolution or Kmail calendar function I have searched, without much success, for an acceptable stand-alone calendar...


Quoting:The first is to use the "mbox" export method and keep that set of files as an "unreadable but savable" copy.

mbox is definitely readable. In fact, it's plain text... that's why the import function is so fast. The documentation in sylpheed contains a justification for the use of mbox due to speed considerations. So, if you have an old computer, it may be a good idea to use an email client which stores local email in mbox -- the speed of storage, retrieval, and search is much faster than maildir or the various DB methods.

As a side note: I really am unsure why 'heavy' email client developers are so enthralled with sorting all data through a single metadata 'engine'. It makes everything more difficult to unravel when workflows need to be adjusted.

May 01, 2016
9:22 AM EDT
mbox versus maildir:

Most people consider maildir to be a better format, and as far as technical reasons go, I'd have to agree. That said, unless I'm dealing with extremely large mail files, mbox seems to work fine for me, and it's the default for the mail clients I use .

May 01, 2016
9:49 AM EDT
I note the quote dotmatrix. The reason I wrote that text was that when I selected one of those mbox files, the result was that a "first in line" message popped up with an additional bit of info which said that "the mbox file contained lots of these messages but only the first could be presented" I assumed that the file as a whole was not directly readable. Thanks for the comment though.

May 01, 2016
10:02 AM EDT
Well... I have corrections to make to my claims.

Sylpheed does not use mbox. It does export and import mbox. However, the storage of local mail is one plain text file per message... similar to maildir.

My basic point was:

The 'heavy' email clients all seem to be rather slow and resource intensive, especially considering that most of email is plain text with no attachments.

sylpheed is very fast. I think 'Claws' is a 'heavier' version, and may include a calendar -- it's been awhile since I've looked.

I think it's important to remember that a 'preferred' application may not be appropriate for lower spec machines. And I would usually recommend sylpheed or claws on an older platform.

EDIT: to include simultaneous above post...

>so I assumed that the file as a whole was not directly readable.

Since I had to export everything to mbox... all my old emails are stored in mbox...

I've found this very convenient because I can use 'grep' to quickly find anything I want -- all the way back to emails from the '90s -- in just a few seconds.

However, I still am unsure why there seems to be a dearth of high quality stand alone calendar applications... one that uses caldav and does not use Google or assume that the end user has a gmail account... and other yada, yadas ...

May 01, 2016
4:24 PM EDT
from my experience the advantages for mbox are:

* less diskspace, especially if you have lot's of small files.

* much faster to open and read by the mail client, as only one file needs to be opened

the downsides are:

* easier to corrupt. more likely to happen if you have multiple applications accessing the mbox file. (like maildelivery to mbox and your mailclient updating the mail status. i once lost a years worth of emails because of that)

* need to be reindexed every time mails are updated, because offsets change. again more likely to happen if accessed by multiple applications at the same time.

i am still using mbox on my inbox, but since i switched from mutt to sup, i no longer get the speed advantage because sup keeps a separate full-text index, it also doesn't like it at all when another process (like imap) messes up the offsets it has stored.

greetings, eMBee.

greetings, eMBee.

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