Linux Daily Driver (Part 2): Are They Any Good (GUI) Email Clients on Linux?

Linux Daily Driver (Part 2): Are They Any Good (GUI) Email Clients on Linux?

I asked a question. I’ve yet to find an answer, are they ANY good email clients on Linux? Don’t say Mutt. Don’t do it. GUI email clients. Outlook on Windows (and Mac) has me spoiled. Email. That was the first task I needed to solve on this, my quest to use Linux daily, in a decidedly Windows (and Mac) environment. I have five email addresses total, 3 for work, and 2 personal, and ultimately I’d love to be able to access them all in the same client, I’m needy, but let’s see where this leads. Theoretically, I could just access these all in Webmail, even using the user switching in Gmail, (3 accounts are Gmail, 1 exchange, 1 IMAP), it would still take 3 tabs to view my mail, less than ideal.


1. Thunderbird

First up, the ever present Thunderbird. Mozilla was the name of the game in years past. Firefox was the go-to, and I spent a decent amount of time using Thunderbird as my mail client on Linux machines in my early first run with Linux and even on my MacBook Pro in college, before Apple Mail became usable, but alas, the years haven’t been kind to this once strong contender.

Everything looked good at the start, set up all my accounts, imported my signature, (plain text, didn’t bother with HTML). 2 or 3 days into my experiment my machine locked up. Completely. No killing apps, no switching spaces, I was frozen HARD. A hard shotdown later, I rebooted, logged in and returned to my work. No hard no foul, things happen.

And happen. And happen again. Every day for the next 3 days or so I had a lockup, full machine, hard shutdown, try again. I decided to keep a “top” running in the terminal, always on screen, just to see. The culprit was Thunderbird, it just ran away, sometimes after sending a message, sometimes after deleting a folder. (Full disclosure, I used plugins to access Google calendar, and Microsoft Exchange, this may have caused an issue). Sometimes I was left with a zombie process, but the machine remained usable, sometimes, as mentioned before, full stop.

Maybe I could tolerate it on a home machine, but for my daily drive for work it was a non-starter. No-go. So Thunderbird was sent to the back burner. Gone but not forgotten. It’s a huge bummer, I love Mozilla, I love what they do for the internet community, but until Thunderbird is a little more stable (and maybe Firefox too) I just can’t drive from it 8 hours a day. It’s still installed, I open it once or twice a day to sync mail and see how it performs, but I’m not ready to re-commit. (I do hope to sit down, disable all add-ons, and work through them and see if there is a single culprit).


2. Geary

That lead me to where I’ve currently landed. Geary (taken from their website) “is an email application built around conversations, for the GNOME 3 desktop.” Well that sound ok. I like conversations, I can deal with that. Now believe me when I say this thing is light on features. Email, that’s it. No calendars, no reminders, nothing. (Not saying those are must haves, obviously not, just stating).

Now their website states that they support Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook and other IMAP servers. That being said, I haven’t gotten it to accept my IMAP account (which truthfully is the account I use least), but I may be migrating to Fastmail or a similar service, so I can let it slide. Maybe I’ll file a bug report if further testing fails.

So I guess here we are, found an email client. I haven’t tried out Evolution, I had poor experiences in the past. CLAWS never appealed to me….and that’s it I think? Kmail, N1, the list doesn’t get that long. So for now, I’ll stick with Geary, it fills a need, isn’t terrible to look at, and hasn’t taken my CPU and RAM for a ride, while my computers fans spin fast enough to enter orbit.

I think I need to find a decent calendar program now…

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