Claws Mail: The unsung powerhouse email client
I have used so many email clients over the years. For the last few years my go-to email client has been Thunderbird. Lately, however, I have really been taken in by Claws Mail. Claws Mail is an email client for power users looking for more than just your average email client. Claws Mail has more features than the average email client and is just as reliable as anything you have used.
Claws Mail is based on GTK+ so it will install on nearly any Linux machine running X Windows. It features:
- Multiple Accounts
- Threaded Display
- IPv6 support
- Mbox import/export
- Clickable URLS
- Granular configuration
- Pre and Post processing filters
- SSL Certificate Manager
- Address Harvesting via folder or messages
And much more.
Getting and installing
If you open up your Add/Remove Software utility and do a search for “claws” (no quotes) you will find numerous listings. Many of these listings will include a vast array of plugins available. The minimum you want to install is:
jWhat the “extra-plugins” will do is install a number of the basic plugins for you. Outside of that you will want to go through the list of all the possible candidate to see what you will need. I also installed:
Your needs may dictate other installations. There are thirty-three possible packages to install.
Once you have made your choices click Apply to finish up the installation. Once installed you will find the Claws Mail menu entry in the Internet menu of your Main menu.
When you first open up Claws Mail you will have to walk through a very straight-forward wizard to set up your account. Once you are finished with the account set up you are ready to rock.
The user interface
As you can see (in Figure 1) the interface will be familiar to anyone that has used any email client of any nature.
One of the first things that might be of issue (at least it was for me) is the date. Notice that the form of the date is YY/MM/DD. If you want to edit the date format you have to open up the Preferences window by click the Configuration menu in the main window. Once inside that window click the Summary sub-section of the Display section. Scroll all the way down until you see the Date Format text area. The default is set up as:
You can arrange this any way you like. My preference is:
NOTE: The (%a) displays the day of the week.
Importing mail box
I had 100% success at importing my Thunderbird Inbox with Claws. To do this click on the File menu and select “Import mbox file”. A small window will open up where you need to locate your Mbox file and a Destination folder. For a Thunderbird Inbox file you will need to then navigate to:
and select Inbox (or whatever folder you need to import).
Where XXX is a random string of characters created upon installation of Thunderbird.
In Figure 1 you will see some 8,000 imported emails. It worked perfectly.
This is one of my favorite features of Claws Mail. When I have had to move from installation to installation, one of the things I tend to forget it to export my address book. This isn’t a problem with Claws Mail. With all of the email imported into Claws Mail I can then just harvest all of the addresses I need from within a folder. To do this I allow email to collect in my Inbox and then click on the Tools menu and select the Harvest submenu and then the “From Folder” entry. A small window will open (see Figure 2) where you give your address book a name, a size, and tell the harvester which header field to harvest from. Once you do that click OK and the harvesting will begin.
From within my 8,000+ emails the Harvester grabed over 1,400 addresses. The only problem is the Harvester isn’t terribly intelligent as to how to label these addresses. So most likely you will have to go back through and edit each address.
You can go through all of the features, one by one, of Claws Mail and spend all day tweaking and tinkering. As I said, Claws Mail will make the power user feel right at home. But don’t think this client is only for the elite user…Claws Mail can be used by anyone. It’s easy, it’s powerful, it’s reliable, and it’s all about Linux. Give Claws Mail a try…you most likely won’t turn back.