Wanted: A good email client for OS X

by kai on 25/07/2007

One of the reasons why I’ve been a bit quieter during the last 2-3 weeks is that I’m migrating my work environment from PC to Mac and this is a bit of work because besides playing with my new toy (2.4 GHz MBP, 4 GB RAM) I have to continue being at least a bit productive and earn some money 🙂

Anyway – I’m pretty much done with moving all my data to the new machine, setting up software etc. All good. But there is one issue with OS X that really puzzles me: email clients.

Before you start throwing stuff at me – I’m using pretty much the most perfect email client I can think of on Windows: TheBat! It does actually everything I need it to, I never lost any email by corrupted files, it easily copes with the amount of emails I’m currently storing in 7 or 8 accounts (300.000 and growing) and it is configurable down to an absolutely stunning Macro language if necessary.

The downside of it – its storage format and also the available export formats are limited, i.e. I can export to mbox per folder or single messages to .eml oder .msg files.

On the Mac side of things, I’ve been looking into various options:

1. Thunderbird – seems to be nice, but I’m struggling importing my mailbase – and just with having a folder with a few 1000 emails made it behave pretty sluggish.

2. Apple Mail – seems to be better than Thunderbird, but I’ve been reading a few very negative posts in forums and blogs about it’s capabilities when it comes to huge amounts of email. Also – similar issues with importing from TheBat (just folder by folder… args)

3. Mulberry – That one seems to be made for me. It’s complex, offers a lot of possibilities to setup, configure and finetune but I can’t find a way of importing my emails? Is there a way at all to get data INTO Mulberry?

4. Eudora – had a brief look into it, but I was a bit turned off by the fact that it’s not supported anymore. But maybe it’s still an option.

5. Microsoft Office for Mac email (whatever the name is 🙂 – Oh well… nah, not an option currently. Maybe after they’ve released the new office later this year…

Hey OS X users out there – any option I’ve missed so far? Any recommendations?

In the meantime I continue running TheBat in my Parallels installation in Coherence – at least that works fine and is not too bad. But I’d really like to change this rather sooner than later 🙂 and end up with a native OS X email solution that I can live with… Help!!!

Finally – a very nice and true quote about TheBat!

The Bat reminds me a lot of Unix. People say that Unix is hard to use. The same charge has been leveled against The Bat. I’m not sure that’s the case, though. I think it’s more of a “user friendly” system than most people realize. A co-worker once told me that Unix is a friendly operating system. “It just chooses its friends carefully,” she said.

(source: http://www.610tech.net/20030907.shtml)

Geoff Bowers July 26, 2007 at 12:00 am

Been using Mail.App since I moved a year ago. It’s an awesome app. Plus its got a pluggable architecture and there are a series of great little plugins. I was an avid Thunderbird user prior to my switch. Wouldn’t look back now. No idea why people would suggest it sucks.

dave July 26, 2007 at 12:00 am

i second apple mail, i have several gb’s of messages and it runs great. Also backing up and restoring apple mail is just stupidly dumb easy. I would also recommend spamsieve plugin for os x (works with several email clients), best spam filter I have ever used and only $30

Joshua May July 26, 2007 at 12:00 am

I jumped to OSX only a month ago, but I’m running Thunderbird.

Not sure why, I just have a bitter taste in regards to Mail.app. No reason for it, perhaps I should give it more of a look-in one day.

The holy grail of Exchange integration is a bit of a selling point for me. Whoever can do that first (and not suck) would get a biiig look-in.

rob July 26, 2007 at 12:00 am

pine 😉

Kai July 26, 2007 at 12:00 am

@Geoff and Dave – ok, that sounds very good in regards to Mail. Geoff, which plugins would you recommend?

@rob – yeah, right 🙂 I can remember to pine on a Linux system very long ago at uni… nope, don’t need to have that again.

bert July 27, 2007 at 12:00 am

been using Opera and it`s built in mail client for a long time. works great with huge amounts of mail. uses a “database” way of working. excellent

Larry Hunter August 10, 2007 at 12:00 am

I’m contemplating making the move from linux to OSX (I’ve been on the road for 6 months using mostly a MacBookPro to write a book, and it’s been really impressive). I have many gigabytes of email, millions of messages, dating back to the ’80s that I periodically need to get back into, and I am likewise worried about migrating mail clients. I’d been using emacs/vm for decades, but finally made the move to evolution a couple of years ago. It took some hacking on my own to move all my various mail archive files into evolution’s format, but at least it’s done now.

Evolution is open source and runs fine on osx, although it’s not well integrated (wants X windows). It does handle large mailboxes well, though. Importing them takes patience, but once they are in the database, size doesn’t seem to be a problem.

There are at least two gotchas that I am concern about with respect to large email collections. One is the size of the archive, which you’ve already noticed. But also be aware that sometimes a large number of messages (even if they are not very large) can also cause problems for some clients.

I’m curious about what you ultimately decide. Keep us posted.


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