Reply To: Splain me email programs and evaluation thereof

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They could work concurrently. I could see a few avoidable pitfalls.

If you use POP which downloads mail, and the programs are configured to delete mail from the server once downloaded, you could wind up with some messages in one program, some in another, and you might have a tough time moving them to whatever program you eventually settle on. You should be able to avoid this by using IMAP which always leaves the mail on the server. If you want POP, you could always change it latter, even if you have to delete the old configuration first, with IMAP you shouldn’t lose mail.

If the programs are set to automatically check for and download new mail every so often, and they’re running concurrently, you could annoy your email provider. I have mail clients installed on three computers at home. At one point, they were all on and all checking for new mail. Because of this, the server would actually block me for about 20 minutes. I finally realized what was happening and changed it so only one computer does the auto-checking, the others require me to press the “get new mail” button.

The programs need to have their own unique place to store the downloaded mail, but since they’re different programs, I’d assume they would each have a different default location. Otherwise you could run in problems if two programs try to write to the same mailbox concurrently – corrupted messages and duplicates.

If you’re looking for suggestions, I’ve been happy with Thunderbird. I also use Mutt and Apple Mail. I don’t really need much from my mail clients. I run my own mail server at home so the receiving, sorting, filtering, and notifications are all done externally with Exim and Procmail.