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Text email clients revisited

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Software

Lately, I've been pining for the simplicity of a text email client. Though Sylpheed has been a reliable workhorse, I decided to survey today's text email clients to see if I should go back to reading email in an xterm. I tested Pine, Cone, Mutt, and nmh to see if any of them were up to the task. For my use, Mutt came out on top, but Pine is also a reasonable alternative if you don't mind the licensing.

In compiling my list of test candidates, I tried to be as complete as possible while including packages that are still maintained and require less than heroic efforts to obtain and use. Mail User Agents (MUA) that require exotic dependencies and too much hand-tweaking to compile were out. I left out Elmo because it has not been updated since 2004, its Web site is clearly unmaintained, and I received no response to email I sent to the developers about Elmo's continued development. That's a pity, because Elmo looked like a promising mailer. Elm's development seems questionable as well; I couldn't find packages for any of the distros I use regularly, and the configuration script is arcane and tedious to the point of frustration.

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