In the age of mobile computing and browser based mails like Gmail and Outlook.com, most users won’t bother about opening up a desktop mail client to check emails. However, there are certain situations where desktop email clients are much better than browser based clients and help gain productivity at workplace.
Linux desktop has a number of desktop email clients. Although, they are not spoilt for choices like Mac and Windows users but there are mail clients are as good as Apple Mail or MS Outlook. Below is a list of email clients for Linux desktop which are the best in business.
Thunderbird is a seasoned and well respected email client which consistently performs well in Linux. It is a cross platform email client and works in Linux, Mac and Windows. The biggest plus point of Thunderbird is its flexibility. Thunderbird can be customized using add-ons and there are thousands of them. You can import address books, mail filters, Outlook PST files and even skin it to look like Microsoft Outlook. Recently there has been a spurt in new add-ons which is greatly improving Thunderbird’s experience.
Thunderbird comes as a mail client only, calendar support can be added via Lightning addon. It supports POP, IMAP accounts and can automatically pick up configurations from the internet, can auto-configure GMail and Yahoo! e-mail accounts. Recently, it has gained support for MS Exchange accounts and addressbook via add-ons ExQuilla (60 day free trial) and calendar support via Provider for Microsoft Exchange. It also supports Google Chat integration.
However, Thunderbird isn’t without drawbacks. One of the big drawback is its mail composer and the mail list view windows which need a facelift and some bug quashing. Apart from that, Lightning calendar add-on does not integrate into the GNOME desktop like Evolution’s calendar does; so it cannot be used as the default calender app (which is a shame really!). There have been calls for changes but no work has been done so far by Mozilla. This is due to the decision by Mozilla to stop adding any new feature and only concentrate on stability and bug fix releases. My vote for the best Linux desktop email client still goes to Thunderbird for its extensive add-on library, flexibility and features. Thunderbird comes pre-installed in Ubuntu, Linux Mint and is available in the repository for all other Linux distributions.
Granddad of all email clients in Linux. It supports a wide range of protocols apart from being the most complete mail client. This mail client also boasts the best integration with the GNOME desktop. Synchronising Gmail accounts for address book and calendar operations are a breeze. Evolution has the best email account assistant when it comes to Google accounts. MS Exchange 2003-2010 accounts are also supported via evolution-exchange and evolution-mapi plugins.
However, setting up exchange mail boxes are not that easy and are mostly a hit and a miss. Last time I checked, if the exchange server is behind a proxy, you may not be able to get it working at all. Apart from that, the other big drawback of Evolution is its performance while downloading emails. Evolution is painfully slow when it comes to downloading emails. Over the years it has improved but its still very sluggish compared to Thunderbird.
Evolution only works in Linux, a Mac version is also available but is not updated regularly. If Evolution can improve on the speed, it will be a tough call. Apart from Ubuntu most Linux distributions ship Evolution as their default email client. Evolution comes second in my list of email clients for Linux.