Software Development

5 Best Email Clients for Open Source Environment

An email client, also known as Mail User Agent (MUA) is an application used to manage the emails. Linux has a lot of email clients, terminal and GUI based. I have collected the top 5 GUI based email clients and compared them in various aspects.  Standard formats normally used by most of the mailboxes are maildir and mbox.

Outlook and Windows Live Mail are 2 of the most awesome mail clients for windows platform. However, newly evolved open source mail clients like thunderbird are found to work quite well with these mail clients across the platform.

Following are the top email clients that work perfectly across the platform and support numerous plugins/addons.

1. Mozilla Thunderbird

Thunderbird is a free application that is easy to setup and customize. It is loaded with tons of features, some features that even the top mail clients like outlook don’t provide.

We have been using thunderbird for a user base of over 10k here in Ericsson on the Linux platform, Ubuntu. It gets better with each update and believe me, it works well in sync with the windows platform outlook email client. Being an open source application, it is customizable and there are tons of addons/plugins available which make it even more awesome.

HDFC - Local Folders - Mozilla Thunderbird_043

There are lots of forums where you can get support related to this open source application.

Download latest stable version of Mozilla Thunderbird

2. Claws Mail

Claws Mail is an email client (and news reader), based on GTK+, featuring

  • Quick response
  • Graceful, and sophisticated interface
  • Easy configuration, intuitive operation
  • Abundant features
  • Extensibility
  • Robustness and stability

The appearance and interface are designed to be familiar to new users coming from other popular email clients, as well as experienced users. Almost all commands are accessible with the keyboard. The messages are managed in the standard MH format, which features fast access and data security. You’ll be able to import your emails from almost any other email client, and export them just as easily.
Lots of extra functionality, like an RSS aggregator, calendar, or laptop LED handling, are provided by extra plugins.
Claws Mail is distributed under the GPL.

vaibhav_parakh@gmail_com - Claws Mail 3_8_0_040

Download the latest version of Claws mail

3. Zimbra Collaboration Suite

Zimbra Collaboration Suite is a groupware email server and web client, currently owned and developed by Zimbra, Inc. Zimbra was initially developed by Zimbra, Inc., and first released in 2005.
Zimbra powers collaboration for the way you work. Zimbra connects people and information with unified collaboration software that includes email, calendaring, file sharing, activity streams, social communities and more. With technology designed for social, mobile and the cloud, Zimbra gives individuals the flexibility to work from virtually anywhere, through nearly every computer, tablet and mobile device.

Download the latest Open Source version of Zimbra

 4. Sylpheed

Sylpheed is a simple, lightweight but featureful, and easy-to-use e-mail client.
Sylpheed provides intuitive user-interface. Sylpheed is also designed for keyboard-oriented operation, so Sylpheed can be widely used from beginners to power users.
Sylpheed runs on many systems such as Windows, Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and other Unix-like systems.
Sylpheed uses GTK+ GUI toolkit. The newest version of Sylpheed works with GTK+ 2.4 or later (2.6 or later is recommended).
Sylpheed is a free software distributed under the GNU GPL (the library part is GNU LGPL). You can freely use, modify and redistribute it under the license.

vaibhavparakh@gmail_com - Sylpheed 3_2_0beta5_041

 5. Evolution

Evolution (formerly Novell Evolution and Ximian Evolution, prior to Novell’s 2003 acquisition of Ximian) is a personal information management application that provides integrated mail, calendaring and address book functionality. It has been an official part of GNOME since Evolution 2.0 was included with the GNOME 2.8 release in September 2004. It combines e-mail, address book, calendar, task list and note-taking features. Its user interface and functionality is similar to Microsoft Outlook. Evolution is free software licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

Inbox (500 total) - Evolution_042

Download the latest version of Evolution

Comparison of Email Clients:

Here is the technical and general comparison between the email clients i have discussed:


Recommended email clients:

  • Claws Mail – Highly recommended for individual users due to lightweight usage and interface is designed to be familiar to new users coming from other popular email clients.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird – Good for the corporate environment with large user base, highly compatible with cross platform email clients
  • Zimbra Collaboration Suite– Open Source Edition or Businesses Editon – One of the best for business and corporate users due to its support for a broad range of email clients

These are the email clients i have used at some point or the other and have rated them accordingly. If you think, there are email clients that work better and should be in the list above, feel free to leave us a comment.

Reference: 5 Best Email Clients for Open Source Environment from our JCG partner Saurab Parakh at the Coding is Cool blog.
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