Managing e-mail is made easy with the use of e-mail client, also known as e-mail reader. Some e-mail clients can also function as feed reader and can support plug-ins and themes.
When it comes to picking the right e-mail client, Linux users have tons of choices. I have here a list of 8 of the best free and open source e-mail clients that are available for Linux.
Mozilla Thunderbird is my favorite e-mail and news client. I love it for its speed and simplicity, and for its all important features like:
*Message management – Thunderbird can manage multiple e-mail, newsgroup and RSS accounts and supports multiple identities within accounts;
*Junk filtering – Thunderbird incorporates a Bayesian spam filter, a whitelist based on the included address book, and can also understand classifications by server-based filters such as SpamAssassin.
*Standards support – Thunderbird supports POP and IMAP. It also supports LDAP address completion. The built-in RSS/Atom reader can also be used as a simple news aggregator.
*Security – Thunderbird provides enterprise and government-grade security features such as SSL/TLS connections to IMAP and SMTP servers.
Evolution combines e-mail, calendar, address book, and task list management functions. It has been an official part of GNOME and its development is sponsored primarily by Novell.
Its user interface and functionality are similar to Microsoft Outlook. It has some distinguishing features: iCalendar support, full-text indexing of all incoming mail, powerful email filters writable in Scheme, and a “Search Folders” feature (i.e., saved searches that look like normal mail folders).
Evolution can be connected to a Microsoft Exchange Server using its web interface and an Evolution add-on formerly called Ximian Connector. Using gnome-pilot, it may be synchronized with Palm Pilot devices, and OpenSync enables it to be synchronized with mobile phones and other PDAs.
KMail is the e-mail client of the KDE desktop environment. It supports folders, filtering, viewing HTML mail, and international character sets. It can handle IMAP, dIMAP, POP3, and local mailboxes for incoming mail. It can send mail via SMTP or sendmail. KMail allows manual filtering of spam directly on the mail server, a very interesting feature for dial-up users. Emails that exceed some threshold size (standard is 50 kb, but it may be set any value) are not automatically copied to the local computer. With “get, decide later, delete” options, KMail lists them but does not download the whole message, which allows the deletion of spam and over-sized messages without wasting time.
Mutt is a text-based e-mail client for Unix-like systems. It was originally written by Michael Elkins in 1995 and released under the GNU General Public License.
Mutt is a pure Mail User Agent (MUA) and cannot send e-mail in isolation. To do this, it needs to communicate with a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) using, for example, the common Unix sendmail interface. More recently, SMTP support has been added. It also relies on external tools for composing and filtering messages. Also in latest Mutt versions you can use smtp_url config vars to send your mail directly from Mutt.
The mutt slogan is “All mail clients suck. This one just sucks less”. The authors of mutt claim that while all e-mail clients are flawed, mutt has fewer flaws than any of the competition.
Alpine, the replacement of Pine, is a fast, easy to use email client based on the Pine Message System. Alpine boasts that it is suitable for both inexperienced email users and the most demanding of power users. Alpine is developed at the University of Washington, as was Pine before it. Alpine can be learned by exploration and the use of context-sensitive help. The user interface is highly customizable.
Balsa is a lightweight e-mail client for GNOME. It has a graphical front end, support for MIME attachments coming and going, directly supports POP3 and IMAP protocols. It has a spell checker and direct support for PGP and GPG for encryption. It has some basic filtering capabilities, and natively supports several e-mail storage protocols. It also has some internationalization support, including Japanese fonts.
Balsa builds on top of these other open source packages: GNOME, libtool, libESMTP, aspell, and gmime. It also can optionally use libgtkhtml for HTML rendering, libkrb5 for GSS, and openldap for LDAP functionality. It can optionally be configured to use gpg-error and gpgme libraries.
Claws Mail, (formerly known as Sylpheed-Claws), is a GTK+-based e-mail client and news client for Linux. It started in April 2001 as the development version of Sylpheed, where new features could be tested and debugged, but evolved enough to now be a completely separate program. It forked from Sylpheed in August 2005.
Claws Mail provides the following features:
* Search and filtering
* Security (GPG, SSL, anti-phishing)
* Import/export from standard formats
* External editor
* Foldable quotes
* Per-folder preferences
* Face, X-Face support
* Customisable toolbars
* Themes support
Gnus is a message reader running under GNU Emacs and XEmacs. It supports reading and composing both news and e-mail.
Some Gnus features:
* simple or advanced mail splitting (automatic sorting of incoming mail to user-defined groups)
* incoming mail can be set to expire instead of just plain deletion
* custom posting styles (eg. From address, .signature etc) for each group
* virtual groups (e.g., directory on the computer can be read as a group)
* an advanced message scoring system
* user-defined hooks for almost any method (in emacs lisp)
* many of the parameters (e.g., expiration, posting style) can be specified individually for all of the groups