Team Murder No Brain No Headache.

21Jun/05Off

Test Your Way To An Outbreak Of Jittery Impatience

Fuck. I finally ran out of patience with the horribly boring train wreck that Evolution becomes when pairing multiple IMAP mailboxes and a fairly extensive set of filters. I decided to switch all of my mail over to IMAP after realizing that I can barely keep up with one pile of mail much less multiple local copies spread out over too many machines. I really wish the filtering worked as well as it did with POP3 but that just isn't the case. Even if there was some consistent behavior that I could pinpoint and work around I probably wouldn't have gone looking for a replacement. There were a couple times that it chewed through 200 new pieces of mail exactly the way it was supposed to and others when the client choked on ten and delivered a whole bunch of spam that I haven't seen to my inbox. I'm tenuous enough about answering/reading the mail I get without doing any manual sorting so I went a-lookin'.

Sylpheed Claws has always been my second choice when Evolution is broken in portage or whatever. I like it because it has most of the features that the heavier clients have without all of that heaviness. It's fast as hell with POP boxes but felt really sluggish with IMAP. I'm also not a fan of the way that plug ins are handled in contrast with the pretty elegant way that theming is handled. I could not for the life of me make it play nice with GnuPG or even recognize that I had it or any other key handling software installed. I didn't find anything on the site or in Gentoo's bug database about anyone else having the same sort of problems so it was probably a mistake on my part. In any case it didn't feel quick with the new protocol so I moved on. I have to say that during the course of the experiment I did gain some respect for the way that filtering is organized in the project as I managed to recreate the more important filters in a matter of five minutes.

Spruce is freakishly close to ideal for a minimal mail client for me. I had an account set up with GnuPG working in under five minutes. It's a very straightforward configuration and, other than using a kind of strange method for setting up accounts, is less problematic than most mail clients. Unfortunately I have a huge address book that I'd prefer to keep in a portable format and Spruce doesn't have a slick address book function. For 99% of the worlds population it would probably be a wonderful fit as it is incredibly fast including IMAP and all and doesn't get in your way. My hat is off to the developers for making excellent choices and less annoying defaults.

I wish I could love Mutt but I really can't. In a text only world it would rock my own personal casbah but I get tired of handling mail with four different applications.

I settled on Mozilla Thunderbird in the end as the most comfortable compromise between feature bloat and speed. Tbird does nearly everything fast which was what made my usual second string mail client fail me on this outing. Even with the slew of filters that I apply to all of my boxes and the amount of shuffling around that I do based on that filtering was quick. Enigmail takes care of the keys and I'm set up and skimming mail in minutes. I'm not particularly crazy about the way that Junk mail filters work out of the box but I'm not using them. I'm going to stick with it for at least a couple of weeks and I'll probably find more things to whine about during that time. The defaults are as annoying as I've come to expect from mail clients but all of them are easily accessible without making a rat's nest of the menuing system. That is good design. I like a well ordered rat's nest. It also helps to have the same basic system of extensions that Mozilla and Firefox. Installing the extras is trivial. Tomorrow when mail starts flooding in will be the real test. I've also gotta see if I can find any sort of troubleshooting reference for Evolution from someone who has experienced the same weird disasters as I have. Switching clients is horrible if only because I can do most things within Evolution without using the mouse. When you're trying to deal with a couple hundred pieces of mail as quickly as possible that little advantage rapidly becomes huge.

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