E-mail Clients for Ubuntu 13

I’ve mostly shifted to Web-based e-mail because I found that, when moving between Windows and Ubuntu machines, it was easier than using two different clients.  Ubuntu e-mail clients still call to me, though, as I like having something that provides a single view to multiple accounts.

You can see my thoughts on Thunderbird and Zimbra Desktop.  I was reminded about this post when ResearchBuzz posted about a Thunderbird security flaw last week.  Thunderbird is a great e-mail app, in part because it had an extension community similar to the Firefox Web browser.  But it also doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of attention.

Zimbra, on the other hand, seems to be in pretty good shape.  It’s easy to install on Ubuntu and it has some flexibility in theming and layout.  It feels old, though, and some of the information panes feel either poorly implemented or clunky – social media in particular.  Where Thunderbird excelled was to leave all of that to extensions.

I’ve never cared for Evolution, although I have tried it at various times over the past few years and on different versions of Ubuntu.  On Windows, I like the Inky client but they are only on Mac and Windows, not Ubuntu.  I have not tried to run it with Crossover Linux or Wine but that would be a possibility, I suppose.

My current Ubuntu e-mail client is Geary Mail, which you can find in the Ubuntu Software Center.  It has a very clean interface and feels more modern than Thunderbird.  You won’t find the same extendibility for calendars and the like but it’s a great e-mail client.  It can handle multiple IMAP and POP3 accounts and provides the same sort of unified inbox as other modern e-mail programs.

Geary E-mail is a clean, multiple account client for Ubuntu users and a good alternative to Thunderbird and Zimbra.
Geary E-mail is a clean, multiple account client for Ubuntu users and a good alternative to Thunderbird and Zimbra.

Google Mail accounts will show your labels as folders and you can look at accounts separately or as a group.  The navigation for the app is simple and there appear to be some functions that are context sensitive.  I can see a Delete option on the toolbar now but for awhile, it was not clear to me how to delete a message.

Geary is the clear winner for me and could be a good e-mail alternative if you’re hunting for one on Ubuntu.  If you need calendar or other integration, you’ll probably need to keep hunting.

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David Whelan
I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.