KAddressbook Spawning Tags

Duncan 1i5t5.duncan at cox.net
Sat May 19 13:50:09 BST 2012

Renaud (Ron) Olgiati posted on Sat, 19 May 2012 07:14:20 -0400 as

> On Saturday 19 May 2012 05:54 my mailbox was graced by a message from
> Duncan who wrote:
>>  Switching
>> my mail archive, address book, and mail filters over to claws-mail
>> wasn't easy, but it was worth it, for sure, and the worst I get in a
>> crash is a few read messages showing up as unread, again, if it hadn't
>> yet saved that status.  YMMV, but claws-mail was a better solution for
>> me anyway,
> What are the best choices for replacing Kmail ?
> I am getting fed up waiting ten seconds whenever I press + to go to the
> next unread message....

I imagine partly because kmail was quite good on its own, there's not 
much else kde-based out there.  There's one qt4 based mail app, trojita, 
that does imap only, no pop3, that's quite new and still maturing (when I 
first read of it, it was still lacking critical functionality even, but 
that was a year ago...).  Unfortunately for me, all my providers are pop3 
and webmail only, so while it looked interesting, it wasn't a very 
practical solution to my problem.  (I could have run an IMAP server of my 
own, I suppose, but by the time I got that all setup... I just wanted a 
client that I could use to suck down pop3, deal with mail in the client 
locally, and smtp mail back out when I needed to.)

Other than that, most options seem to be either text/ncurses console 
based, or gtk and sometimes gnome based.  It depends on what you need, 

At the full-functionality end, there is of course evolution, with its 
built-in scheduling, etc, more a direct comparison to kontact or to 
outlook than to kmail.  But for me there were three strikes against it: 
full gnome and I didn't want to install all those gnome dependencies (I 
run gentoo, so every extra dependency I not only build to install, but 
rebuild for every update, too, STRONG motivation to obey the "if you 
don't really use it, don't install it" security rule!), WAAYYY more than 
I needed, bloat for what I need, just like the full kontact is, and it's 
database-based as well -- and I was trying to get away from that!

Thunderbird is quite popular, but I've never cared much for HTML mail, 
and that's one of the primary reasons people run it, plus it's sqlite 
database based too, so that was out.

There's a number of gtk-based mail clients including balsa (tho I'm not 
sure what its status is these days, I know I decided against it for some 
reason or other, for my needs), the mh-dir storage backed sylpheed, and 
the claws-mail client I ultimately chose, which originally started as 
sylpheed-claws, the experimental branch of sylpheed, so they're similar 
and both mh-dir backed, but there's a bit different development 
philosophy and claws-mail is now both a bit fuller featured and more 
mature than it was back when it was called sylpheed-claws.

As I briefly mentioned above, there's also a number of text-console/
terminal-window based mail clients.  If I hadn't found claws, I may well 
have ended up with one of them, as I'm not particularly uncomfortable at 
the console.  I just think a graphical mail client continues to be a 
better match for what I'm used to and am presently comfortable with, and 
claws-mail both met my graphical mail client wishes AND is shell-
scripting extensible (as are all mh-dir based mail clients to some 
degree), so it ended up being a really good fit for me.

If you have an imap server or don't care much about leaving your current 
mail archive behind, switching to claws-mail's mh-dir format isn't too 
bad.  It's a bit more difficult if like me, you want to take a bunch of 
old mail with you.  (I had mail from back in the 90s, that I had 
converted to maildir to use with kmail back when I switched from MS, so 
over a decade's worth of mail, tho I'm not /too/ mail-active, doing my 
lists as news (nntp) via gmane.org, for instance, and delete a lot of 
stuff, so it was still under a gig.)  But there's a number of options for 
doing it, including the old maildir to mh-dir conversion script that's 
available on the claws-mail site that I used after hacking it a bit to 
work with modern perl or python, whichever it was, the just stick it on 
your imap server option if you have one to use (I didn't, but one guy 
said he installed the dovecot imap server temporarily in ordered to do 
his conversion, and I could have done the same if it came to it), a 
conversion method using mutt, one of the console-based mail clients, 
since it understands both maildir and mh-dir, etc.  I've seen other 
people moving off of kmail use all those methods.

Then there's the contact conversion.  Claws-mail understands standard 
*.vcf files, which I was able to export from akonadi, but it's not as 
flexible with them as with its native addressbook format (which is a 
different semi-standard, not as widely supported as vcf, unfortunately).  
I was able to find a script on the claws-mail site to import the vcfs 
that kaddressbook/akonadi had exported, tho I had to hack it a bit too.  
Another alternative, if you have email from all your contacts, is to do 
the email import and then simply harvest the addresses from the email.  
That's what I'd have probably tried had I not found the script to do the 
conversion or had my hacking it to work hadn't worked.

Then, for me, there were the 50-ish mail filters I had in kmail.  Those I 
just transferred over more or less manually, tho once I'd done a few in 
ordered to get the basic format down, I was able to open the claws-mail 
filter file in a text editor and add the filters directly to the config 
file using the editors search and replace features, etc, which helped 
some.  But most folks won't have that level of filters to deal with, and 
will be able to recreate the handful they may have from scratch, 
reasonably easily.

So as I said, it wasn't a simple conversion.  But the kmail upgrade to 
the akonadified version wasn't bug-free either, tho some of it worked 
fine, so it wasn't THAT much worse than updating from the pre-akonadi 
kmail/kaddressbook to the akonadified version had been, and converting to 
anything else would have had its own problems to deal with, given the 
sheer amount of data I had to convert, for mail, contacts, and filters, 
all three.  And it was WELL worth the trouble.  As I said, kde can setup 
gtk apps so they use kde colors, and I did that, so it doesn't look /too/ 
out of place.  Claws-mail is at least as flexible as kmail in terms of 
keyboard shortcut configuration, and I've certainly reconfigured a number 
of its hotkeys just as I did for kmail.  And as I mentioned, claws-mail 
is actually more flexible in terms of shell-scripting extensibility, 
another big plus from my perspective.  So it was well worth the change, 
for me, and I've been MORE than happy that I did it.  In a way, I just 
wish I'd done it sooner, but I did want to give the newly akonadified 
kmail a reasonable chance before I left especially since if it continued 
to work well I'd have avoided at least /some/ of the hassle, so I don't 
regret too much waiting to switch until I did, because I can now honestly 
say I tried the akonadified kmail, and it simply wasn't a good fit for me 
or my needs.

Duncan - List replies preferred.   No HTML msgs.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master."  Richard Stallman

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