Wednesday, July 4 2007

Claws Mail doesn’t appear to suck

My friends keep whining about certain behaviors in Apple’s Mail.app. Specifically, the inept way it wraps URLs in allegedly plaintext email, which simply don’t work in most other mailers. I can’t really defend its behavior, because I think that Mail.app’s concept of “plain text” is pure shit and violently anti-WYSIWYG, obviously only tested against itself. [note: don’t bother complaining to Apple, the bug will be closed with “working as intended”]

Claws Mail seems to be much more sensible, and at this point I’d cheerfully send some cash to support a native port to Mac OS X. The X11 port works, but it’s a bit clumsy to use (especially for Japanese; Apple’s X11 server doesn’t support their own Kotoeri input method, so you have to use an external editor), and like virtually all Open Source applications, it’s in desperate need of user interface design. I need to poke around some more and see how it handles some of the features I rely on in Mail.app (particularly SpamSieve), but the initial experience is pretty good, and it sends honest-to-gosh plain text.

There’s a native Windows port available, but it hasn’t been updated in quite a while (2.4, current is 2.10).

[Update: Tip for the day: don’t open an IMAP folder containing 17,167 messages. Claws locks up until it finishes downloading and processing all of their headers, and then (at least on Mac OS X) the X server locks up for a few minutes when you try to scroll through the massive message list too quickly.

Mind you, until today I didn’t know that I had an IMAP folder with 17,167 messages in it (it was a trash folder full of spam, on a server I’d only been reading via POP), so I really can’t blame Claws Mail for being a bit overwhelmed. And to its credit, it recovered perfectly when the X server came back, and the memory footprint was still nice and lean.

It doesn’t look like the Mac port includes any plugins right now, so I need to keep something else around to handle spam. The account I most want to get mail from is of course the one with the most spam, so I need to continue processing it through SpamSieve for now. Most likely, what I’ll do is leave Mail.app running with SpamSieve on one of my machines, but turn off all of the other filtering rules and port those to Claws.]