Microsoft Exchange support exists on Linux, but it generally isn’t pretty. You can take this both literally and figuratively. You can add Microsoft Exchange support to Thunderbird with plugins but it isn’t intuitive, and while Evolution supports Microsoft Exchange, that app isn’t always user-friendly. Hiri is a cross-platform app that succeeds in making Microsoft Exchange emails, contacts, calendars, and tasks both easy and enjoyable to use on Linux. Here’s why Hiri is the best Linux Exchange client and how to get started with it. What Does Hiri Offer? One of the main focuses of Hiri seems to be ease of…
Microsoft Exchange support exists on Linux, but it generally isn’t pretty. You can take this both literally and figuratively. You can add Microsoft Exchange support to Thunderbird with plugins but it isn’t intuitive, and while Evolution supports Microsoft Exchange, that app isn’t always user-friendly.
Hiri is a cross-platform app that succeeds in making Microsoft Exchange emails, contacts, calendars, and tasks both easy and enjoyable to use on Linux. Here’s why Hiri is the best Linux Exchange client and how to get started with it.
What Does Hiri Offer?
One of the main focuses of Hiri seems to be ease of use. This, combined with the design, which uses plenty of whitespace to keep things from looking cluttered, makes using the app a pleasant experience.
Hiri is opinionated about its design, which may or may not appeal to you. For example, the width of the center pane will always be the same regardless of the size of your monitor or the width of your window. The Hiri website says this is because the optimal length of a sentence is roughly 96 characters.
Both Hiri’s look and functionality are customizable with what it calls Skills. These are bits and pieces of functionality that you can enable and disable at will to add and remove features. The Dashboard Skill, for example, will remind you not to check your email too often. We’ll explore more of these Skills later in this article.
How Much Does Hiri Cost?
Unlike a lot of apps available for Linux, Hiri is not free software in either sense of the term. It is not free in that is not open source, nor is it available free of charge.
Hiri’s pricing structure is somewhat unusual as well. The app is not an outright purchase but instead uses a subscription model. Hiri is available for $39 per year, but also currently offers a lifetime license for $119. That seems simple enough, but when you buy the app also affects how much you’ll pay for it.
When you first install Hiri, you’ll immediately begin the free seven-day trial that the company offers. If you wait until the end of this period to subscribe, you’ll pay the price listed above. For each day earlier that you pay for the software, you’ll pay a little less.
If you pay on the first day, the annual subscription only costs $20, rather than the full $80. The price goes up each day until eventually it reaches the standard price. This is an unusual strategy, but if you install Hiri and love it immediately, paying right away can save you a little money.
Installing and Configuring Hiri
Because it’s proprietary and paid software, you won’t find Hiri in the software repositories of many Linux distributions. The Hiri team doesn’t create DEB or RPM packages either. Instead, they have offered to use the Snap format favored by Ubuntu.
This means that installing the software is very easy for most users. If you’re using Ubuntu, you can find Hiri in the Ubuntu Software app. For other distributions, as long as you have Snap installed, you can type the following to install Hiri:
sudo snap install hiri
If you can’t or don’t want to install Hiri via Snap, installation is still fairly simple. Head to the Hiri download page and click on the Linux option. Now open up your terminal and change to the directory that you downloaded Hiri to.
Next extract the archive file:
tar xf Hiri.tar.gz
Finally, move into the newly extracted folder and launch the app:
Adding Your Email Accounts
Once you launch the app, you’ll be prompted to enter the details for the accounts you want to use with Hiri. Enter your email address and then you’ll be prompted for your password. If your account uses two-factor authentication, you’ll need to create an app password to use with Hiri.
One thing to know before you start is that right now Hiri only supports the Microsoft email ecosystem. This means Exchange accounts, as well as outlook.com, hotmail.com, and live.com email addresses.
Right now, there is no support for other formats like IMAP, though the Hiri team has said that the company does plan to add this feature sometime in the future.
How to Use Hiri
How easy Hiri is to use depends on how much of a Microsoft Outlook power user you are. It’s actually going to be easier if you aren’t an Outlook master.
As an example, some keyboard shortcuts are the same as those found in Outlook, but not all of them. You can press Ctrl + R to reply to a message, but you’ll need to press Ctrl + N to create a new email instead of Ctrl + Shift + N as you would in Outlook.
Hiri is very much its own app, and if you think of it this way you’ll adapt to it quickly. If you’re frequently switching between Hiri and Outlook though, you’ll need to memorize two sets of keyboard shortcuts.
Choosing and Using Hiri Skills
A big part of using Hiri comes down to its Skills. To choose the Skills you want to use, head to the Skills Center by clicking the lightning bolt icon on the left sidebar.
If you want to narrow down email to just what you need to act on, you’ll want to enable the Action/FYI Skill. This separates email into two categories: Actionable is email that you need to do something with, while FYI is for all those unnecessary cc’d emails as well as any emails that are just informational.
The Task List Skill puts a Tasks pane at the side of your inbox, similar to the To-Do Bar in Outlook. This lets you see your tasks easily, while dragging an email into this box creates a new task.
The Reminders Skill adds a reminder icon to the Email Action Bar. This is similar to the Snooze functionality found in some other email clients, taking the email out of your inbox until a later date.
The Dashboard Skill, as mentioned above, is meant to save you from yourself when it comes to checking email. After 90 seconds of inactivity, a popup will launch, reminding you not to check your email too much.
There are a few other skills to help you write better subject lines, delegate emails, and get your inbox to zero. A new Skill is on the way as well that will let your rate emails. All of these are worth exploring to customize your email experience.
Looking for a Free Email Client Instead of Hiri?
For the most part, email is something a lot of people have grown used to using for free, and this extends to email clients. If you’re looking for another email app, either because you don’t want to spend the money or because you need IMAP support, you’ve got plenty of options.
Fortunately, you don’t need to waste time looking around. Check our list of the best email clients on Linux to find what you’re looking for.
You’ve made the switch from Windows or Mac. You’ve picked a Linux distro, settled on a Linux desktop environment, and learned the basic Linux commands. Now you’re looking for applications to install. Or maybe you’re a long-time Linux user who’s keeping an eye out for what’s new. Well, you’ve come to the right place. Most of the software below is free and open source, and the vast majority can be found in Linux package managers (such as Ubuntu Software, GNOME Software, or YaST). However, a few of the apps are proprietary, and one even costs a good deal of money….
Most of the software below is free and open source, and the vast majority can be found in Linux package managers (such as Ubuntu Software, GNOME Software, or YaST). However, a few of the apps are proprietary, and one even costs a good deal of money.
With the new Quantum update, Mozilla has given people reason to check out Firefox again. Linux users in particular may be happy to see support for client-side decorations, which makes Firefox feel more at home in desktop environments such as GNOME and Elementary OS Pantheon. Mozilla bakes in privacy options that don’t come with Chrome, one of several reasons to consider using Firefox instead.
By some measures, Chrome is now the king of the hill. The browser has become so powerful that you can buy a Chromebook and do most of your computing without needing another app. All of this functionality is available on Linux. You need to download Chrome from Google’s website, but you can download Chromium directly from many Linux repos.
Opera isn’t open source, but it is free. You won’t find the web browser in your distro’s repos, but the website offers DEBs and RPMs for Linux. Opera isn’t nearly as popular as Chrome or Firefox, but it’s the third most mainstream browser you can install on your Linux desktop. And since Opera continues to need ways to differentiate itself, the latest version contains a built-in ad blocker and a VPN.
Vivaldi, like Google Chrome and Opera, is a proprietary web browser based on Chromium. It comes from an Opera Software co-founder who was displeased when Opera switched from its own Presto web engine to Chromium. Vivaldi tries to revive some of the features lost in that transition. It is a tool intended for power users and comes with more customization options than your typical browser.
There aren’t many browsers developed explicitly for Linux. GNOME Web browser, also still as Epiphany, is one of the older ones around. Later versions offer the best integration you will find with GNOME Shell. It lacks the add-ons found in mainstream browsers, but some users will like the minimalism, the speed, and the tab isolation that prevents one misbehaving site from crashing the entire browser.
None of the above browsers look quite at home on the KDE Plasma desktop. If visual integration is important to you, then I would suggest Falkon (formerly QupZilla). Support may not be as solid as the above browsers, but it will get you across most of the web. With so few Qt-based KDE browsers to choose from, it’s enough to see that Falkon remains under development.
Thunderbird is the email client from Mozilla. While it doesn’t have quite the name recognition as Firefox, it is perhaps second only to Outlook in the world of dedicated email clients. This cross-platform tool operates the same on Linux as it does elsewhere, so there’s a decent chance new Linux users will find it familiar.
Geary isn’t the default GNOME email client, but it looks the part. This app comes from Yorba, a now defunct developer of open source apps that also brought us the Shotwell photo manager. The Elementary Project has since forked Geary and changed the name to Pantheon Mail, but it promises future updates will remain compatible with other distros.
Evolution is the official email client of the GNOME project. It has grown long in the tooth, but in terms of features and stability, Geary doesn’t quite compare. Plus Evolution comes with a built-in calendar, address book, and to-do list.
Claws Mail is a great choice for a lightweight app that doesn’t have the heavy dependencies required by most of the alternatives. This makes it a good fit on lean desktops such as XFCE and LXDE. With a lengthy list of features, you get to keep most of the functionality you expect.
As the name would suggest, GnuCash is part of the GNU Project. It’s afree and open source alternative to Intuit Quicken. The app can handle personal or small business accounting, with the ability to import a number of formats, keep track of your stocks, and present your information in reports and graphs.
If you prefer the Plasma desktop, GnuCash won’t quite feel at home. In that case, check out KMyMoney. It’s a well-established app that similarly packed with features. The layout even brings a bit more color into what can be a very dry task.
Download: KMyMoney (Free)
Skrooge is an alternative option for KDE fans. If KMyMoney doesn’t import your existing files or you don’t like the way it presents information, give Skrooge a look. It may just be what you’re looking for.
HomeBank is a GTK-based tool that wasn’t designed with any particular desktop environment in mind. It offers perhaps the simplest presentation of any accounting app on this list. It’s also available on whichever operating system you want, so if you hop back and forth between PCs and MacBooks, this may be the way to go.
Pidgin is a cross-platform instant messenger that has been around for decades and attracted millions of users. The Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Pidgin a perfect score on its secure messaging scorecard in summer 2015, so you don’t need to have friends spread across numerous messaging services to have this app installed.
Empathy is the default client for GNOME. As a result, it comes pre-installed on many distros that utilize that desktop environment. In addition to text, you can communicate using audio and video on protocols supported by the Telepathy framework.
This is the KDE community’s new approach to instant messaging. Compared to other options, KDE Telepathy offers better integration with the Plasma desktop. It replaces Kopete, KDE’s previous default instant messenger for many years.
Despite GNOME’s focus on simplicity, the desktop is very customizable. With the right combination of extensions and a few extra apps, you can change many aspects of your computer’s interface. GNOME Tweak Tool is one of those extra apps. Want to change fonts or toggle the extensions you’ve installed? This is the place to be.
Unity Tweak Tool is a similar app, but it’s designed with Ubuntu’s Unity interface in mind. The core concept is the same. Download this app to edit virtual desktops, adjust animations, and tweak other aspects that Ubuntu doesn’t let you do by default.
Linux doesn’t need the kind of regular system maintenance that Windows requires, but there are times when we might want to give parts of our machines a powerwash. BleachBit can do that. This tool securely deletes files and “cleans” a large list of applications.
Audacity is a great place to start, but if audio is your bread and butter, you may want to step up to Ardour. This is a full-blown digital audio workstation intended for professional use. Ardour isn’t the only tool of its kind for Linux, but it does happen to be the foundation other tools such asMixbusare based on.
GIMP is the most mature and feature-rich image editor available for any open source desktop. It’s also the best free application of its kind across any operating system. GIMP is an alternative to PhotoShop, and more than capable of holding its own. Some people may prefer the Adobe interface, but with the addition of a single window view several years back, GIMP may feel more familiar than you think.
If you’re an artist who’s comfortable with a stylus, Krita is the best digital painting app for Linux. While this program is technically capable of editing images, it’s better suited for helping you turn a blank canvas into a work of art. There are plenty of brush styles to work with, and you have the freedom to tweak them or add your own. Despite all the functionality packed inside, the interface is easy to dive into and use on a regular basis.
OpenShot is a great video editor for creating a home video to preparing a recording for YouTube. It first launched in 2008,but it became much better after version 2.0. While this isn’t the kind of tool you will find in production studios, with 3D animation, compositing, audio mixing, and more, there are plenty of advanced features at hand.
Again, the KDE project has an option of its own. Kdenlive is more powerful than PiTiVi, making it a great alternative to OpenShot. Start here if you use a QT-based desktop, though you may still want to try it even if you aren’t.
Ready to get serious? Lightworks is arguably the best video editor on the Linux desktop. It’s good enough that several Hollywood productions have used this app to produce feature films. But there’s a cost — a big one. The pro version of Lightworks will cost you hundreds of dollars. Fortunately the free version gives you all of the same tools, as long as you’re fine with exporting to MPEG-4 at 720p.
If VLC can’t play the file you want to watch, there’s a good chance it can’t be played. This app is so good at it’s job that it’s one of the first installs you see on many Windows machines. The interface can feel cluttered or outdated, but you won’t be disappointed by the functionality.
The default video editor for the GNOME desktop is simple by design. It plays any media formats supported by GStreamer. The options aren’t the most thorough, but it does a great job of staying out of the way so you can focus on what you’re watching.
Rhythmbox is a classic. If you’ve used iTunes, you know how to navigate your way around this one-stop-shop of a music player. Access your library, listen to podcasts, and download new music from Creative Commons online stores. The app hasn’t changed much in the past decade, but it consistently gets the job done.
While Rhythmbox looks out of place on a default GNOME desktop, Lollypop feels right at home. It takes design cues from the simple GNOME Music player, but it doesn’t skimp on features — showing that following GNOME guidelines doesn’t require an app to be basic.
Amarok is the juggernaut of the KDE music scene. It also manages to pack the same features of Rhythmbox (and more) without looking like an iTunes clone. You can thoroughly tweak the interface and add plugins to make Amarok fit your tastes. If I could only recommend one music app on the Linux desktop, this would be it.
Clementine takes its inspiration from the Amarok of old. In the many years since its debut, the app has grown into is own. These days you can stream music from a number of online sources and control the player using the Clementine Android app.
Vocal is a podcast client developed for Elementary OS. That means it comes with all the simplicity and style common to that distro’s apps. The software is in an early stage, but this is one of the more exciting podcast-related developments Linux has seen since Miro, which hasn’t seen an update in three years.
LibreOffice is the best office suite you can find on Linux. It’s so capable of taking on Microsoft Office that millions of people install it on Windows. Without spending a buck, you get most of the features you could want and great compatibility with Microsoft Office’s document formats.
LibreOffice is a massive suite, so it can feel heavy at times. GNOME offers a range of applications built explicitly for free desktops, and they take up fewer system resources. If you don’t need quite as many features and aren’t as concerned about maintaining compatibility with Microsoft Office, you may find you prefer AbiWord and Gnumeric to LibreOffice Writer and Calc.
Calligra is an office suite that feels at home on KDE. The interface is designed with wide-screen monitors in mind, and like the Plasma desktop as a whole, it’s very customizable. Calligra isn’t as mature as LibreOffice or GNOME Office, but it’s worth using if you prefer to stick with QT applications.
Maybe you simply want something that looks and feels like Microsoft Office. WPS Office does, and it’s available for Linux. This isn’t open source software, but for many Linux users, that isn’t always a priority.
When it comes to desktop publishing, two pieces of software come to mind: Microsoft Publisher and Adobe InDesign. Scribus is a free and open source alternative. While I wouldn’t consider Scribe as intuitive as Publisher or InDesign, it’s fully featured and gets the job done. If you take the time to learn the Scribus way of doing things, you have a dependable piece of software for creating newsletters, pamphlets, magazines, and more.
Not only is digiKam the best photo management application available for Linux, you could argue that it’s the best option on any desktop operating system, period. If you’re a professional photographer looking to switch to Linux, this is the place to start. DigiKam will import RAW files, manage metadata, apply tags, create labels, and turn your terabytes of photos into something manageable. All the while, it’s simple of enough for casual users to embrace, too.
Gwenview is the default image viewer on a KDE Plasma desktop, but it also makes for a great photo manager. You can browser folders and make simple edits to files without having to install any extra software. Thanks to the wide range of plugins, that’s hardly the limit to what you can do. Gwenview is compelling enough that you may want to use it even if you’re not a fan of KDE.
Like Gwenview, gThumb is an image viewer that can double as a photo manager. It also happens to be the most feature-rich option that looks at home on the GNOME desktop. It offers an ideal blend of functionality and simplicity that make it great for casual use, but it’s probably not the kind of software you’d want to build a business with.
Shotwell is the most straightforward photo manager for GTK-based desktop environments. It imports your photos from a camera, gives you a number of ways to group them, can apply tags, open RAW files, and make edits. It loads more quickly than digiKam and provides much of the same core functionality.
Eclipse is the go-to IDE on Linux, but it’s widely used on other operating systems too. It has a large community and plenty of plugins. As a result, there’s a good chance that Eclipse has the features you need.
Atom is a text editor developed by GitHub. The goal was to design a hackable text editor for the 21st century. People have developed so many plugins that Atom makes for a great development tool. You can even use it as an IDE.
GNOME Terminal comes with the GNOME desktop, so it’s the one you’re going to first encounter on Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora. Fortunately, it happens to be a good tool for the job. You can hide the menubar, adjust font and background colors (including make the window transparent, and rewrap text on resize.
As the default terminal for KDE, Konsole makes an appearance in any KDE app that displays its own terminal window. This level of integration between apps is part of what makes the Plasma desktop so appealing. That also means there’s less reason to install Konsole if you’re notall that invested in the KDE ecosystem, though having split terminals is pretty nice.
That said, if you really want to view multiple terminals in one window, you can do much better than two. Terminator can stick four terminals in a grid. If that’s not enough to give you a headache, try doubling that number to eight. Terminator doesn’t mind.
Don’t want your terminal occupying its own window? Or does launching a separate app simply slow you down? Either way, you may prefer Guake, a terminal that drops down from the top of your screen. Assign it a keyboard shortcut and you will always have a terminal handy. As for the name? It’s inspired by Quake, a video game that lets you access the terminal in this manner.
Kate is the default text editor for the KDE desktop environment, and it’s no slouch either. Since this is KDE we’re talking about, much of the advanced functionality is easy to find in the many application menus. Plus you can tweak the interface until your heart’s content.
Not all Linux applications are open source, and Sublime Text is one example. This proprietary text editor is cross-platform, having gained plenty of users on Windows and macOS. Distraction-free writing, the ability to edit two files side by side, and an expansive set of shortcuts all make the Linux version as compelling as those on other operating systems. Plus there’s a large pool of community-supported plug-ins that can make the experience your own.
If you need to fire up a virtual machine, Oracle VirtualBox is one of the first tools to come to mind. If you’ve encountered this program on Windows, know that it’s available on Linux, too. It will also look and feel familiar regardless of which desktop environment you run. That makes VirtualBox an easy recommendation, even though there’s a lot here that first-time users will likely find confusing.
GNOME Boxes removes all of the confusion surrounding virtual machines. All you have to do is select which ISO file you want to load. The next thing you know, it’s open in a window on your desktop. GNOME Boxes may not come with many options, but it makes up for that with speed, convenience, and sheer ease of use. This is my personal favorite tool for the job.
Want to recreate the Gmail experience on your Mac desktop? You can do it quickly by installing the right email app. By the right app, we don’t mean any old macOS email client. We’re referring to the apps that mimic the web version of Gmail, such as the four we explore below. 1. Go for Gmail Install Go for Gmail if you want to check Gmail from your Mac’s menu bar. You can click on the menu bar icon to toggle the app window, which lays out Gmail exactly as it appears online. You’ll also find a few additions, such…
Want to recreate the Gmail experience on your Mac desktop? You can do it quickly by installing the right email app.
By the right app, we don’t mean any old macOS email client. We’re referring to the apps that mimic the web version of Gmail, such as the four we explore below.
1. Go for Gmail
Install Go for Gmail if you want to check Gmail from your Mac’s menu bar. You can click on the menu bar icon to toggle the app window, which lays out Gmail exactly as it appears online.
You’ll also find a few additions, such as a full screen toolbar button and a mode-switcher button. The second button allows you to switch between the default Desktop mode and the Mobile mode. The latter displays your emails with a more compact layout. (Stick the app window to a corner of the screen for quick access.)
In the Mobile mode, you won’t see the Gmail side panel that gives you access to mini versions of Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Tasks.
The app settings give you a bit of control over the app’s behavior, appearance, and notifications. You can force the app to show up in the dock if you don’t prefer the menu bar version.
Plus, Go for Gmail supports multiple Gmail accounts. If you want a simpler menu bar app to check Gmail, try Mia for Gmail. It lets you manage your emails from a plain, list-like layout.
This full-fledged app packs Gmail and a handful of other Google apps into a single interface. Of course, the default layout displays your Gmail inbox.
You can jump to Google Drive, Docs, Contacts, and Calendar, or create new entries in these apps via the left sidebar. Each app will open in a separate window.
Google Keep is also available in Kiwi for Gmail, but you’ll have to access it by clicking on the apps button to the right of the search box. The lite version of Keep is available as usual in the side panel on the right.
It’s convenient that you can attach files to emails directly from Finder. Look for the Kiwi for Gmail option under Share in the context menu. This shows up only if you have selected the Share Menu checkbox for the app under System Preferences > Extensions > All.
Want to schedule emails in Gmail? You’ll be happy to know that Kiwi for Gmail supports the top scheduler plugin, Boomerang. For convenience, we recommend programming a memorable global shortcut from the app’s settings to trigger the Compose window.
Keep in mind that the lite version of the app doesn’t support Google apps, and limits you to one Gmail account. The premium subscription was totally free for quite some time, so you might want to check if that offer is still available.
With Mailplane, you can manage your Gmail inbox, contacts, and Google Calendar from a single location. The app’s tabbed interface is a big plus.
If you have multiple Gmail accounts, you’ll appreciate the ability to search them all from the search box in any Mailplane inbox. Type in your search query and click on the Search Everywhere button to use this feature.
You’ll find a few useful options in the primary toolbar. From here, you can bookmark specific inbox locations for quick access. Plus, you can insert and annotate screenshots on the fly before attaching them to emails.
The app also lets you attach files from Finder via the context menu. Again, this feature works only after you enable it, as described for the Kiwi app above.
Mailplane’s menu bar notifier is a time saver. It lets you archive and reply to emails from notifications.
Want app integrations and extensions to make Gmail more powerful? You’ve got them. Mailplane supports extensions like Boomerang, Right Inbox, and Gmelius. It also works with other macOS apps like Apple Contacts, Fantastical, Todoist, Evernote, and Alfred.
Head to Mailplane’s settings section to configure accounts, record shortcuts, download extensions, and more.
The free version of Wavebox is a Gmail wrapper for your Mac. It lets you add up to two accounts, and you should have no trouble setting up your inbox. Wavebox offers quite a bit of control over its behavior.
With a Pro plan, Wavebox allows you to bring in other G Suite apps like Google Drive, Calendar, Contacts, and Hangouts. That’s because it’s a lot more than an email client. It’s one of those apps that create unified workspaces from different apps. In fact, you can add any app or service from the web to Wavebox.
The app is worth a shot, because it comes with a free trial of the Pro version. If you don’t like what you see, you can always go back to using it as a Gmail-only app.
Sure, you can install any of the many third-party Mac mail apps to check your Gmail account. Such apps give you added benefits like snoozing and scheduling, among other features. But it’s nice to have Gmail’s familiar web interface pop up when you open your inbox on a Mac.
If you agree, the apps on our list above are perfect for you. It’s a pity that these apps have zero to limited offline capabilities, though. If you insist on using an app that works offline, you might want to consider using Gmail Offline in Chrome.
Some people say you should stop using desktop email clients. I get where they’re coming from. Web-based email services have come a long way over the past decade, and many of them are feature-rich enough to be on par with desktop-based alternatives. But there are several valid reasons to keep using desktop email software, and I believe desktop email clients will never be obsolete. Postbox and Microsoft Outlook are the two main options, but they’re pricey. If you only need an email client to handle one or two personal accounts, then a free email client will likely serve you just…
Some people say you should stop using desktop email clients. I get where they’re coming from. Web-based email services have come a long way over the past decade, and many of them are feature-rich enough to be on par with desktop-based alternatives.
Postbox and Microsoft Outlook are the two main options, but they’re pricey. If you only need an email client to handle one or two personal accounts, then a free email client will likely serve you just fine. Here are the best free desktop email clients we’ve found.
Available for Windows, Mac, Linux.
Although Thunderbird development was “discontinued” back in 2012, it still receives maintenance updates so don’t write it off as dead. In fact, as of this writing, the latest release (version 60.2.1) came out in October 2018. Sure, Thunderbird may not be getting new features going forward, but it’s absolutely still viable for everyday personal use.
And, as sad as it is to say, Thunderbird is the only free and open-source desktop email client that’s actually worth using. Other open-source clients exist, but they’re riddled with issues like clunky interfaces, glitchy performance, and a lack of advanced features.
Back in 2016, Nylas Mail hit the scene and looked as if it’d be the desktop email client to put all other desktop email clients to shame. But then in August 2017, the team announced that they’d no longer be working on Nylas Mail and opened up the source to the public.
One of the original authors then forked the project and relaunched Nylas Mail as Mailspring. He optimized and improved many of the internal components, resulting in quicker syncing, less RAM usage, faster launch times, and more.
Thunderbird may be the client of choice for those who want reliability and time-tested staying power, but Mailspring is the client to use if you want something fresh, new, exciting, and full of future potential. It’s free to use indefinitely with some advanced features locked behind a subscription.
Notable Free Version Features
Syncs with Gmail, Office 365, Yahoo, iCloud, FastMail, and IMAP.
Unlimited email accounts and unified inbox.
Undo sent emails within a given period of time.
Support for pre-built themes, layouts, and emojis.
Notable Pro Version Features
Powerful template support for productivity.
Track whether emails are opened and links are clicked.
Sylpheed is a desktop email client that’s been around since 2001. While it does feel dated compared to modern email clients, it’s not bad by any stretch. In fact, its old-school interface and approach to email management may actually prove helpful if your email habits are causing undue stress.
The best thing about Sylpheed is that it knows what it is: an email client. It doesn’t concern itself with tons of extraneous features that bloat the installation and clutter the interface. Sylpheed is simple, lightweight, and full-featured.
Notable features include fast launch and overall performance, advanced email search and filters, effective junk mail control, encryption, and extensibility through plugins.
If you’ve never used desktop email before, then you’ll probably love Mailbird. If you’re migrating from another client, it will be hit or miss—some parts will feel familiar, other bits will impress you, but you’ll undoubtedly find aspects that you hate as well.
All we can recommend is giving it a try. It’s definitely slick and modern, and there’s a lot to like about it. Note that it’s a freemium app so the free version is restricted in some ways.
Notable Free Version Features
Beautifully sleek and minimal interface.
Syncs with any IMAP or POP email service.
Lightning fast search and indexing.
Integration with Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs, and more.
Supports up to 3 email accounts.
Notable Pro Version Features
Unlimited email accounts and unified inbox.
Snooze emails and set up reminders.
Speed reader for emails.
Quick preview for email attachments.
Download:Mailbird (Free, Pro for $18/year or $59 one-time purchase)
5. eM Client
Available for Windows.
eM Client aims to be an all-in-one solution for dealing with office tasks and communications. It’s primarily designed for email, but also has nifty calendar integration, task management, contacts organization, and even chat support—and the free version only has one (albeit major) limitation, as you can see below.
Notable Free Version Features
Slick Modern UI interface that fits well with Microsoft apps.
Syncs with Gmail, Exchange, iCloud, Office 365, and Outlook.com.
Conversational view for email threads.
Integration with all common chat services, including Jabber.
Supports up to 2 email accounts.
Notable Pro Version Features
Supports an unlimited number of email accounts.
Can be used for commercial purposes (e.g. business office use).
All of these desktop email clients are fantastic so don’t fret too much. They can all get the job done, so give each one a try and stick to the one you like best. As for me? I’ve been using the free version of Mailspring for months and I’m quite happy with it.
Apple Mail users can experience a variety of problems with attachments. Graphics and PDFs might show up in the body of a message. Files you send from a Mac may not show up correctly in Windows. Or even worse—your message may not reach the recipient due to its size. This issue is complicated because people use different email clients and operating systems to exchange messages. Learning more about email attachments will help you avoid some of these problems. We’ll show you how attachments work and important methods to work around issues. What Is a MIME? In its early days, email…
Apple Mail users can experience a variety of problems with attachments. Graphics and PDFs might show up in the body of a message. Files you send from a Mac may not show up correctly in Windows. Or even worse—your message may not reach the recipient due to its size.
This issue is complicated because people use different email clients and operating systems to exchange messages. Learning more about email attachments will help you avoid some of these problems.
We’ll show you how attachments work and important methods to work around issues.
What Is a MIME?
In its early days, email was only plain text. As time went on, people wanted to exchange multimedia files and more via email.
Thus, a new system was born called MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions). It is a standard to expand the limited capabilities of email with many useful features. You can send multiple attachments in a single message, use international character sets other than ASCII code, utilize rich text in the message for various fonts and colors, and send audio, video, and image files.
How Does MIME Work?
The purpose of MIME is to label the contents of the message with a special header. It dictates and describes the segments contained in the message body. This header is then read by the email client to interpret and format the message.
MIME defines a number of header fields. These are MIME-Version, Content-Type, Content-Transfer-Encoding, Content-Disposition, and more. See Wikipedia’s page on MIME for more details.
The presence of the header MIME-Version indicates that the message is MIME-compliant. Content-Type indicates the type of media included in the message body, and Content-Disposition defines the attachment settings.
A Content-Type with image/gif tells the client that the attached image is a GIF and requires an image viewer to see it. Similarly, a Content-Type with multipart/mixed tells the client that the message is a mixture of plain-text and an attachment.
If you open the source of the message, you can examine these headers yourself. Open a message in the Apple Mail app and choose View > Message > Raw Source.
When a user sends a message with an attachment, MIME encodes the various parts of the message into plain text. The encoding process happens quickly in the background. The recipient’s client reads the header, decodes the multiple parts of the message, and displays it to the user.
When Attachments Go Wrong
The role of an email client is simple for both incoming and outgoing messages. It has to encode and decode the messages correctly, create and interpret the HTML tags with proper reference for graphics, and set the correct content-disposition attributes for each attachment.
There is no perfect email app. Every one, including Apple Mail, can suffer from these problems:
The recipient might have an old email app that does not support a specific form of encoding. Thus, the message and attachment can arrive as a jumbled mess of code.
An attachment appears inline and not at the bottom of the message.
People using different operating systems might encounter strange behavior with attachments.
Follow our tips below to avoid these attachment issues.
1. Use Mail Drop and Similar Cloud Services
In macOS 10.10 Yosemite or later, if an outgoing message’s total size is more than 20MB, the Mail Drop feature will automatically kick in. When enabled, it’ll upload the file to iCloud (with a limit of 5GB), remove all attachments from the message, and substitute them with links. The link is temporary, and will expire after 30 days.
By default, Mail Drop is turned on for iCloud. But if you want to allow this feature for non-iCloud email accounts as well, go to Mail > Preferences, click the Accounts tab, and select your non-iCloud email account from the left panel. Under Account Information, check the box for Send large attachments with Mail Drop.
In macOS, some graphics files have an invisible component called a resource fork. This stores file information like type, icon, metadata, image thumbnails, and more. When you share these files via email or with Windows, you’ll see two separate files. One is the data file, and another is the resource fork preceded by a “__” naming convention.
On macOS, you won’t see this file, but other operating systems and email clients don’t know what to do with resource forks. Thus, they appear as extra unreadable files. To prevent this, choose Edit > Attachments > Always Send Windows-Friendly Attachments.
This option also appears as a checkbox at the bottom of the file selection dialog when you click the Attach button on the toolbar. If you frequently send files to people using Outlook Mail in Windows, ensure that you select this option to strip the resource fork from all outgoing graphics.
3. Always Include File Extensions
macOS and Linux have built-in mechanisms to identify file types. They use MIME to define the content type, and UTIs to identify data within documents, apps, and clipboard data. If you have an image file without a file extension, you can double-click it to open in Preview. Other types of files open in their default apps too. Apps have to declare the type of documents they can open and write in their PLIST file.
In contrast, Windows ignore MIME types. It relies only on file extensions. If you remove the file extension, Windows won’t know what to do with that file. For this reason, before you drag a file into a message, ensure that the file has an extension.
To make this easier to see, open Finder > Preferences, click the Advanced button, and select the Show All Filename Extensions check box. When you select this option, Finder will always display filename extensions on the desktop, in folders, and elsewhere. You can then double-check that all attachments have an extension to make life easier for Windows users.
4. Put Attachments at the End of the Message
When you drag and drop a file into an outgoing message, Mail places the icon or a full-size image at the spot where you dropped it. But this might cause an issue with the recipient’s client. Their email app may not support inline graphics, or the user might have turned off inline display.
If you want all attachments to appear at the bottom of an outgoing message, choose Edit > Attachments > Always Insert Attachments at End of Message. But this does not affect whether an attachment appears as an icon or a thumbnail.
If you right-click on an attachment and choose View as Icon, you can make the full-size image show as an icon instead. But this does not affect how Mail sends the message—just how it displays to you.
To fix this, open Terminal and type the following command:
This will turn off inline images entirely, including images you might have in your email signature. But at least this will prevent any problems on the recipient’s end. To turn on inline images again, enter:
This command is useful, but it’s inconvenient to turn on and off the inline graphics all the time. Alternatively, you can zip files before attaching them. This not only consolidates multiple files into one, but also guarantees that the attachment will appear as an icon in the recipient’s client.
Make Apple Mail Even Better
Solving the attachment issue is tricky. While every email app tries to ensure the best compatibility, you can never be sure what will happen when attachment goes from sender to a recipient. If you follow all these tips, you shouldn’t ever have to worry about it.