Sup is an outstanding email client

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Sup is a console-based email client that provides GMail-like management of  mail accounts.  It supports mbox, IMAP, and Maildir, and I’m here to tell you: it rocks.  Archiving, labeling, filtering, tagging… the workflow of mail management is almost identical to how you manage email in GMail.  I’d been slowly deprecating my other mail accounts in favor of GMail, but this was primarily because no other mail client (on Linux) provides the same capabilities as GMail.  The only thing I don’t like about GMail is that it is a web client, and web clients, with very few exceptions, suck.  Yes, even GMail.

It take a little setting up, but you you’ve got the smasos, I highly recommend giving it a try.  If you have multiple email accounts, you can even aggregate them into a single buffer.  This is very nice.

It does have a few issues:

  • It is entirely console-based.  Don’t get me wrong; this is a great – even killer – feature.  And while I love the vim/mutt-inspired key bindings, this is simply unusable for somebody like my wife, who isn’t interested in surmounting the learning curve needed just to get to her email.  It’d be nice to have a GUI option.
  • It’s a bit of a pain to set up.  There are several dependencies which, my first time around, took a while to get installed.  The gem helps – but, as I’ve often argued, the Linux community does not need a package manager for every programming language (CPAN, gem, easy_install, cabal, et al.).
  • It crashes quite a bit when it is hooked up to MS Exchange.
  • The tab completion for the contacts is very flaky.  I would almost say that it useless, except that I haven’t quite figured out yet if the Exchange-crashing thing is interfering with buffer syncing – more investigation is necessary, but it has been giving me trouble.
In any case, like I said: if you’re not console-adverse, and you can manage to circumvent the installation issues, I highly recommend giving Sup a try.  I really believe that the GMail workflow is the future of mail management; it’s only a matter of time before the other mail clients (Thunderbird, claws-mail, KMail, Evolution) catch on.

Copyright © Sean Elliott Russell

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