Emailing on Linux: sticking to one

26 06 2009

outmalithunI use a lot of web-based email services, such as GMail.  But there’s not a whole to say about my experience with using web-based email on Linux since there really is nothing significantly different (Okay, I found out last night that Google Talk Audio/Video calling doesn’t work on Linux yet, but I wouldn’t consider that significant).  So long as the web browser works.

In the past, I’ve used Microsoft Outlook for work and Apple’s Mail App for personal email.  Both are terrific programs.  Outlook let our company easily schedule group appointments and manage contacts.  Apple Mail was dead simple to use and made attaching photos into emails a joy by showing you the picture you’re sending instead of some barely useful thumbnail with even less helpful filename as the description.

On Linux, I’ve ended up using Mozilla Thunderbird.  I tried Evolution, which feels a little like Outlook, but couldn’t really stick with it.  Why Thunderbird? My key reasons:

  • It’s simple. Plug in your email account information, and boom — you’ve got mail.  No complications.
  • It works. I have yet to experience any problems with Thunderbird, unlike Evolution.  Evolution messed up my email account box twice–I couldn’t delete some emails–so I finally gave up on it.
  • Multiple email accounts. This is not a reason exclusive to Thunderbird, bu tit is one personal reason for me to like Thunderbird.  My email accounts are laid out in a tree in the left pane window.  Easy.

There are a couple of annoyances with Thunderbird though, particularly:

  1. Attaching files isn’t totally intuitive. Dragging a file into the compose message window itself only places a text showing the filename and location.  You need to drag the file on the upper portion of the message window, beside the Fromt/To/CC/BCC/Subject area.
  2. Replying to emails with images is buggy.  I end up sending back all the images that were sent to me, which takes up unnecessary bandwidth and storage for myself and the recipient.  Need to manually delete those images.

Overall, Thunderbird is easy to get into. I feel the learning curve isn’t steep at all and it will meet all the major needs of regular users.

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6 responses

26 06 2009
Wayne

You liked Outlook? Wow. I really have a hard time believing anyone likes that pig. And, not only is it a total and utter klutz, it’s the most efficient virus propagation system ever invented. Unfortunately my company uses it, so I am stuck with it there.

I’ve never used Apple Mail, at home I moved to web based mail about 10 years ago, I do a lot of travelling, and web mail is more convenient. Also since I’m a nutcase, and my computers may not have the same operating system two months in a row (I love testing Linux distros) keeping email on my laptop is inefficient.

And I think that’s the thing I love most about Linux, that I can change my distro as often as I want, and each time I get something different. It’s really neat, as compared to being stuck with Microsoft’s idea of what the one true operating system should be.

26 06 2009
opendaily

Wayne, from a technical point of view, I can empathize and would tent to agree.

But from a daily working perspective, Outlook works fine. And I guess the paradox about it–as with other otherwise so-so software–is that a ton of other people already use it so things just generally work well together! (Bugs notwithstanding).

27 06 2009
srhegde

I could successfully use my gmail in thunderbird. But even before google came out with gmail, I had other free webmail accounts, like yahoo, msn, etc. I could not get them to work, I am not sure if they are even supported. I did not even try others, like kmail, evolution etc.

29 06 2009
Wayne

It’s really hard to get my head around the idea that “Outlook works fine” when my own experience is that it doesn’t work fine. But hey, everyone is different.

As to using Thunderbird with a webmail account, why would you do that? Why not just work online, that’s what I do. Saves a bit of drive space (I have 40 gigs worth of Linux distros saved on my laptop drive, for when I get bored).

29 06 2009
Links 28/06/2009: LiMux Effect, Firefox 3.5 Days Away | Boycott Novell

[…] Emailing on Linux: sticking to one Overall, Thunderbird is easy to get into. I feel the learning curve isn’t steep at all and it will meet all the major needs of regular users. […]

29 06 2009

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