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General Software Discussion / Re: Gmail rolling out IMAP Support?
« on: November 05, 2007, 12:14 PM »
Author of the IMAP protocol, Mark Crispin, gives his view on GMail's IMAP implementation:

And a long chat about it at the Email Discussions forums:

Best E-mail Client / Re: Best IMAP Client
« on: July 13, 2007, 02:30 PM »
Moving to an IMAP service has been an eye-opener for me. I thought finding a decent client would be the least of my worries. I thought that IMAP had more of a following than it does (I had the impression that it had a reasonable foothold in the corporate market), so I therefore assumed that any decent email client would be as strong on IMAP as on POP. Wrong. Very wrong.

As I mentioned in the Windows Live Mail thread, I initially used Thunderbird, but found it slow when downloading large numbers of headers. And although it claims to avail of IMAP's IDLE command, it doesn't seem to work for me. In fact, if I leave Thunderbird open long enough, it seems to stop finding my mail completely, whether using IDLE or by regular polling. I use FastCheck ( for new mail notification, which seems to work flawlessly (current version only works with FastMail/IMAP).

Windows Live Mail it is for now, but I'm still searching.

Okay, I finally gave in and tried Mulberry. Yes, it's fast. And yes, IMAP support is wonderful, and beats any other client I've tried.

But...HTML support is very close to non-existent (for emails containing images at any rate). Essentially, to view an HTML email, you have to right-click on the email, select "view current part", and the email will open in your default browser (or any other HTML viewer you have selected). In this day and age, that's just crazy. As I said above, I'm no big fan of unnecessary formatting, but many of us subscribe to lots of email newsletters these days. While some offer a plain text option, many do not. And very often, the HTML versions are a much nicer read anyway.

I did spend a brief few minutes looking through the Mulberry mailing list archive, and it seems HTML viewing was never a priority for the developers. Maybe now that it's open source, someone will do the sensible thing and use one of an existing HTML rendering engines to give Mulberry an inline HTML viewer quickly. Then the program would be an option for those of us who like a little HTML in our lives.

tinjaw -- I'd like to hear more about Mulberry. Although I keep reading that it's the best IMAP client, I've been put off even trying it because I also keep reading that it has a poor/non-existent HTML rendering engine.

Although I am a fan of plain text, and religiously avoid using HTML email myself, the fact is that I subscribe to so many (HTML-based) newsletters now that having decent HTML rendering is important to me.

Once I decided to cut the strings with the awful Outlook 2007 (, I started to have a good look around at what I really wanted to do with my email.

Well, firstly I wanted to get away from linking my email with my ISP, to make it easier to swap providers. And I wanted to started using my own domain. And I wanted to have my email available everywhere, while using an email client at home/work, so IMAP seemed a good idea.

So to cut a long story short, I spent a lot of time in the wonderful Email Discussions forums ( and decided on FastMail for my IMAP provider. A decent reputation (though not perfect -- they have had extended outages in the past), a lot of useful features, and a lean web mail interface.

I started using Thunderbird as the client, but although it had a good reputation as an IMAP client, I found it slow. Then I happened on a thread somewhere about "Windows Live Mail Desktop" (now just called Windows Live Mail (WLM)-

I normally keep a close eye out for new email clients, but I hadn't come across this (perhaps because I've tried to ignore the whole Windows Live thing, and I don't use Vista). WLM is generally billed as an update to Outlook Express, although it feels more like a cross between OE and Outlook -- but in a good way. It takes the features I liked from Outlook, including the space-saving two-line message list (the Outlook feature I missed most when I started using Thunderbird):

winmail n.png

Best of all, WLM feels much faster than Outlook, and is much quicker than Thunderbird at pulling down large numbers of headers when using IMAP (in my experience, at any rate). Thankfully, WLM appears to use the IE HTML engine rather than the Word HTML engine, as Outlook 2007 does. WLM is still in beta (although I think this may be the new, Google-style, never-ending beta). But it seems stable. I thought it was worth a mention, as there are so many OE users out there who might not realise they have a new option, which seems in many ways to improve on OE (WLM requires XP SP2 or Vista).

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