My mission was to stop remotely storing email, and to merge ~15 years of email into one mailbox.
I want to keep things local for all sorts of reasons, but one of them was because I confirmed that the Firefox+GMail combination is a pig. GMail specifically keeps up some aggressive AJAX nonsense which spikes my CPU usage way more than it needs to. I also suspect that Firefox just sucks for AJAX.
I was thinking about doing the work to convert to a CLI program. I remember reading an article by Zed Shaw on a CLI newsreader, and so I popped in to see what he's been up to. Every once and a while I just feel compelled to drop in and see what software he's been using. I love his writing style, and he has really good sensibilities for software.
I noted that he was changing his website around, but he had already been importing his old essays. I checked them out and I found his writing on Sylpheed.
What's strange is that I've been using software for so long that I often forget about a program and don't get around to checking it out for so long that it's drastically changed on me. It's actually kindof wonderful to be hesitantly investigating some old crappy program only to learn that it's finally stable and feature-full. Sylpheed is one of those programs. I was rather upset the last time I used it, some three years ago, and my notes were pretty vague.
I decided to check out Sylpheed-Claws, and learned it was renamed to Claws Mail. It's looking more and more like a fork now, and not the bleeding-edge version that it used to be. Well, I wanted to check that out because I know that I'll want to use some of its more interesting features.
Well I set it up, and it looks and works very well. I confirmed that it's head and shoulders above Thunderbird for its CPU and memory usage. Whoever in c|Net Download.com decided to say that Thunderbird is "Flexible, powerful, and lightweight" is a fucking moron. Lightweight my ass.
I miss some of the things I could do in Thunderbird -- and no that doesn't include HTML email composition. There's a hotkey add-on for Thunderbird that I think is quite superior to what Claws Mail has. Maybe I'll have to pass them a feature request to get things updated. At any rate, I won't miss that much, since I only used it for a previous work where I maintained n-1 folders and had to search very quickly.
Next, I spent quite some time merging an assortment of different email addresses and archives. Most of it was in Thunderbird's mbox format. I'm glad that I had already done some similar work some years ago, otherwise I might be faced with importing very old email archives which might be in some old incompatible mbox format.
Yes, you read that right. That's after having done this a couple of times before, and pruning out old crap.
I also have some archives which are in the .msg format. I must have saved them out from Outlook at some point in my Windows past. I looked, and I was able to find msgconv which will convert .msg to mbox. I wasn't successful at getting it running.
It took me a while to figure out how to get CPAN working, and how to install software. Man, they had absolutely unforgivably bad documentation. All I needed was some kind of example, and I ended up finding a random blog entry with a tutorial on it. Even then, I found some quirks that I had to work through to get things working.
In the end, it didn't work. I don't care enough to troubleshoot right now. I've already worked enough, and these ancient messages aren't important.
I still want to check out sup, but it's certainly not easy to get working and so I think I'll be quite happy with Claws Mail for some time.
Oh, and has anyone mentioned to the developers what "it bites" means to North Americans?