I have written about my favourite mail client Mutt before and still consider it the best around. There is another contender around that I heard about on the linux-elitist mailing list. It is also console based and is called “Sup” short for “What’s Up”
Those of you that use gmail will find sup’s way of organising your e-mail familiar because sup uses the same ideas to do this. Instead of sorting mail into folders like you do in conventional mail clients you tag e-mails with labels enabling you to quickly find mails. Actually the idea is more to tag mail threads rather than single mails. There is also a powerful search function to search your mail that does not have specific labels. As in mutt you get through reading and sorting your mail really quickly.
I tried out sup and found that it worked very well although it takes a bit of getting used to. It reads mbox, maildir and IMAP mailboxes.
Sup does have its drawbacks, the major one being that it does not syncronise with your IMAP server which means that if you read a mail using sup it does not get marked as read on the IMAP server and vice versa. In fact if you did read mail on your IMAP server using another mail client you have to re-sync sup’s indexes before you can read your mail with it again.
I also found sup’s mail source configuration a bit painful because it does not read all the folders on an IMAP server automagically, you have to type them in one by one. This is somewhat of a chore if you have lots of folders and want to switch. This is however only a once of task.
Sup also does not download any messages from a mail source which can be a show stopper if you are on a slow connection as I often am.
I think sup has great potential and if you like the way gmail organises mail it is definitely for you. I am seriously considering switching to sup but the non-syncronisation with IMAP is holding me back because I often have to read my mail that is stored on an IMAP server from someone else’s computer using a web based mail client.
O yes, sup is written in Ruby and therefore should run on any platform that Ruby runs on. I tried it on Mac OS X because OS X Leopard conveniently has Ruby pre-installed.