recommend console email client?

Giorgos Keramidas keramida at
Sun Mar 18 20:29:50 UTC 2007

On 2007-03-18 22:21, Zhang Weiwu <zhangweiwu at> wrote:
> Dear list
> For years I am not yet satisfied with ANY console email client, though
> I have tried quite a few. My requirement is actually very simple: a
> email client must be able to:
>      1. do the automatic charset conversion, so if I got an email in
>         GB18030 charset, it display correct on my UTF-8 console;
>      2. is able to connect to IMAP server, copy sent emails to
>         INBOX.Sent folder and let me browse IMAP folders;
>      3. is able to look up contact information (including telephone
>         number) by LDAP;
> mutt => charset conversion is not 100% correct (e.g. cannot display
> double-width ideograph correctly when it's on the edge); poor ldap
> support and me not knowing how to keep sent message in INBOX/Sent
> pine => no charset conversion at all and Washington University don't
> seems wish to add this feature;
> alpine => said to support charset conversion but cannot find any link
> for downloading it.
> Maybe there are good applications that I didn't try yet?

Bearing in mind that you have relatively strict requirements
(but, nevertheless, quite reasonable) for multibyte support, it
may be worth considering one of the email clients bundled with or
supported by GNU Emacs.

I have used the Gnus news and email reader with varying levels of
success to read and post multibyte, UTF-8 and internationalized
messages.  My impression from using Gnus to read and post
multibyte text was that it works quite fine for my own needs.

Running Emacs in an X11 desktop, with proper UTF-8 enabled fonts,
will take care automatically of the display issues you may be
having.  The display support of Emacs is, to the best of my
knowledge, simply *excellent* for UTF-8 text.

Connecting to an IMAP server can be done for Emacs-based mailers
in a number of ways:

  a) Through Gnus itself.  Gnus supports various access modes for
     reaching out and pulling your email messages.  IMAP is just
     one of them.

  b) Using fetchmail.  You can pull email messages with
     fetchmail, store them in local mailboxes and point Gnus to
     the local folders.  This is my preferred method, because I'm
     not always connected online.  I even use the off-line mode
     of Gnus for NNTP reading & posting.

I am not sure how well Gnus and Emacs can support your third
requirement, about database lookup through LDAP.  There are
various plug-ins for database lookups with Emacs and Gnus, but I
haven't used them.  The Emacs Wiki[1] may help you here.  The
friendly folks at the #emacs IRC channel on FreeNode are a good
bunch of people to ask too.


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