Simo's Blog


Bye bye Evolution - welcome claws-mail

After more than 8 years of service I finally abandoned evolution for my work mail.

I used evolution with great satisfaction for many years, but recently it has got in the way.

I am still using evolution for my personal email on my personal desktop but not for work anymore.

Many small things got worse in the last year. Calendaring with Zimbra stopped working even half decently no less than 2 moths ago, changes in the way messages are displayed or threaded I didn’t like a bit and got in my way of managing email.

As of late I kept using evolution mostly for the integrated calendar, although it never worked perfectly it was still decent and the best compromise I could find. But since calendaring stopped working (appointments alarms do not fire, evolution prevents me changing stuff etc…) the last reason to keep sticking to evo faded.

So I looked out again and decided to give another try to claws-mail. Last time I tried it was 3-4 years ago and compared to evolution it was simply way to poor in features.

But recent releases are just all evolution should be for me. The only thing claws-mail lacks is the graphical polish evolution has. But I can live with an ugly tool as long as it does the job.

And claws-mail just does the job.

It lets me configure just about every single behaviour and every single item in the interface the way I like. I finally found again the joy of configuring a tool so that it maximized my way of doing things instead of having to bend my habits to a rigid tool like evolution is gradually becoming.

If I were to make the usual dreaded car analogy, evolution is more and more looking like the typical cheap sports car that has a very nice line and nice features, but is fragile.

Claws is more like a Van or a Truck, it ain’t pretty, but when I have to use it for my work it just is about perfect, it get’s the job done, without fear of scratching the paint either.

Claws-mail lacks a decent calendaring support and has no way to integrate with Zimbra, and the optional calendaring plugin it has is pretty poor, but given evolution is broken in that regard I can hardly say that’s a show-stopper. For calendaring I am now also experimenting again with sunbird.

But for mail it supports all I need, GSSAPI auth works, IMAP works great and looks like offline support works as well. Search does its job and so on.

But again the main feature is that I was able to configure just about any aspect I wanted.

I can tell it exactly how to behave when I change a folder (I prefer it to select the last mail I’ve read)

It doesn’t jump hectically when I get in a folder just because I like to keep new mails at the bottom and not at the top like evolution does.

It is generally faster at rendering messages.

One difference with evolution is how it manages attachments, I think I like how it does it though. Does not cause again all the view pane to flicker like evolution does just because it has to recalculate the page layout to show the attachment content when you select it.

In short I got in love by how well it configures and although it lacks calendaring and it is not much multithreaded (sometimes you have to wait for another operation to finish) it looks solid and didn’t have a problem with my multi-gigs IMAP repository.

All in all, right now I feel it much power-user friendly, and is making my use of email enjoyable again like it was with evolution up to 2-3 years ago.

Let’s see how long the honeymoon will last :-)

Mail me if you have comments. They will be posted online after review.