KMail Frustrations

Posted by jamhitz on Mar 28, 2011 1:58 PM EDT
LXer Linux News; By James Mundu
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LXer Feature: 28-Mar-2011

Upgrading the default KDE email client (KMail) was supposed to be a trivial task, but it ended up as a divorce of sorts forcing me to re-kindle old flames from days gone past... in having to flirt with Google.

Editor's note: Please read Mr Stephenson's (of OpenSuse's KDE team) reply to this article here - hkwint

I have been a great fan of the KDE desktop from days of yore, and I consider myself to be quite versed with its workings but since I am not a KDE developer (I do Qt though), my KDE knowledge is largely from a user perspective. A few months back I switched from Thunderbird to Kontact, because it offered a unified PIM solution which I considered to be great. The days of relying on disparate extensions to achieve simple tasks was gone.... or so I thought!

For one reason or another I have been unable to keep apace with the new OpenSuse releases. As such, while the new kid on the block (as at the time of writing) is 11.4 and I am still stuck with 11.2. So when I got a little time on my hands recently I decided to grab me the latest KDE and I was generally a happy dude... until I opened KMail!!

To my dismay KMail was complaining about unresolved dependencies! KMail wanted Akonadi (does that sound like anaconda to you?), which in turn required Nepomuk, which wanted MySQL... Darn!!!

While I did not know what the first two items were at the time, and would have gladly accommodated, I was not... and will not.. allow my email to reside in MySQL. Not that I have any beef with MySQL, but because I use MySQL (and PostgreSQL if that matters) for so many projects and I often change the Data Directory (datadir directive in /etc/my.cnf) depending on the project I am working on. While I could accommodate a PIM database within a project, I was not sure what would happen when changing from Project A to Project B.

Of course if I really wanted to I could have configured a diffent instance of MySQL listening on a different TCP/IP port... but I did not feel inclined to do so. Not inclined because I did not like the idea of tinkering with config files, firewall rules, and all the works; but mostly because I was pissed off at the good guys at KDE.

What were they thinking? Why did they not use SQLite which in my opinion would have been best suited for such a task? Why did they not provide an easily configurable mechanism of achieving what was required? Why did they assume that I would have MySQL installed? Why should installation and configuration of an email client be as taxing as if it were an ERP? Why? Why? Why?

After many hours of trying to cajole KMail to work I got so frustrated I dediced to downgrade to the previous version. Well, at least now KMail (and the rest of the Kontact family) would open, but alas!! My mails were showing in the "Messages List" pane, but clicking on a message was not showing the mail contents in the "Preview" pane.... Now What?

I tried Google, but It (can I say She?) did not give much love. At least not with this.


To heck with it! I decided to go back from whence I came. Fired up Thunderbird, upgraded that to 3.1.8 and decided to import the messages from KMail. Easy!... or so I thought. KMail did not have export to Thunderbird, and Thunderbird did not have Import to KMail.

After a little more Googling (this time She did show me some love), I learned that KMail messages were just standard .eml messages. I could indeed open the files in Thunderbird, but they were not stored *within* Thunderbird. So, how do I import these messages *into* Thunderbird?

A little more love from Google and voila! I made a copy of ~/.kde4/share/apps/kmail/mail, renamed the files in the subdirectories to *.eml (I used Krusader for this) and I was ready to rock and roll. But still, in Thunderbird there was no option to import eml messages. Are you kidding me!?!

Luckily there is an extension called ImportExport Tools (MboxImport Enhanced) that has the requisite magic! Phew!!!

I am now back home; relaxed and downloading the emails. I have taken a glass of Tropical juice and can breathe easy. All I can say is God bless the Mozilla family to which Thunderbird is a first class citizen. Oh no! Did I remember to import the address book (Kontact)? Gotta go!


I still love KDE but KMail is a no-go zone for me, at least for now. Also, I read (much later from the guys at Gentoo) that the default backend for Akonadi can be easily switched to SQLite so I guess there is a precedent but come on... like all end users, I am lazy.

This is actually my first post on LXer, and I am sorry if it is not very well formatted. Tried to find a page showing the accepted markup with little success. Could someone kindly append some notes on the story_howto.php page showing how to do basic markup?

Editor's note: LXer switched to BB-code recently, but it's a work in progress. Updating the "Story Howto" is definitely a good idea though, we'll be looking into this - hkwint

» Read more about: Story Type: LXer Features; Groups: KDE, Linux, MySQL

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Subject Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
the fix.. Serapis 0 1,054 Mar 31, 2011 5:07 AM
openSUSE KDE Team responds wstephenson 9 3,191 Mar 30, 2011 7:56 PM
bad approach hilander 3 1,055 Mar 29, 2011 7:32 AM
Migration macias 1 1,283 Mar 29, 2011 7:26 AM

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