Sep 232009

Since about 2 weeks I have the macbook pro. I’ve set it up and I am quite happy with it. I’m a bit annoyed with the ambient light sensor which is always useful except a source of light is directly behind you and you are moving. a fix was a post-it-note away. what really bothers me is finding a proper mail client.

These are my preconditions: It’s a Zimbra mailbox which I can access via IMAP. The connection is SSL secured. In my mailbox I’ve created quite a lot folders to organize my stuff. In total I have about 50+ folders stored in a tree with maximum 4 levels. In total there are about 4000+ mails with a size of about 1.4 GB. There are a filters pre-sorting my mails in different folders.

What I wan to get:

  • receive and send Zimbra mails via IMAP or connector instantly
  • notification about new mails ideally integrated in growl. I want to decide on my own if I’m going to ignore a mail or not.
  • configure if unread or read count or both are shown
  • add, move and remove IMAP folders
  • manage several signatures

I suppose my basic issues are simply the size of the mailbox and the fact that folders in IMAP aren’t a well documented feature. I’ve tried a few mail programs and now I am nothing but frustrated.

What I tried so far:

  • Microsoft Entourage: To be honest I was quite happy with Outlook on Windows. So Microsoft Entourage seemed to be a good choice. As Outlook gets a proper Zimbra connector on Windows I expected Entourage running fine on Mac OS, too. Unfortunately there is no similar connector and so the access happens via IMAP. In result of that my folders don’t get displayed properly: sometimes sub folders were missing and after loading a few folders I couldn’t add more. I removed and added the mailbox again but couldn’t fix that behavior. I gave up on Entourage.
  • Mac seemed to be the logical choice. It comes with Mac OS, is highly integrated etc. I setup the mail server, all folders got loaded and I was glad. Then it took me a while to find out how to turn on the threaded view of mails. So I started using the application and learned to love it. The only annoying thing is that my outgoing mail server occasionally gets marked as offline. It happened in the beginning once or twice a day and it was easy to fix with re-adding the outgoing mail server. Since yesterday it doesn’t work at all any more. No matter what I’m doing 90% of my mails don’t get send. I don’t see a pattern what occurs this behavior and I don’t know how to work around. There are several forum entries but none of them helped me so far. As I can’t rely on the program sending my mails properly and as I keep forgetting checking if the send mail did indeed what it is supposed to do I looked for other alternatives. Btw, a bit annoying I found that I can’t create IMAP folders, too.
  • Thunderbird: yeah.. I don’t like it. I have used it quite a long time but for some reasons I just stopped using it. Nothing particular caused that. I gave it a try with my Zimbra mailbox. It failed and I uninstalled it. I could manually add my IMAP folders. Realizing that the name of a folder has to be unique made Thunderbird for me unusable too.
  • Claws Mail: installed via macports (which should indicate where the nerdy hint came from) it seemed to be quite nice. I liked the UI, it loaded all my folders. It had a nice statistic about read and unread counts. Claws mail had potential to be loved. But alas as it is a linux port it isn’t integrated into Mac OS properly and so i didn’t get notified about new mail. Which is a fail. Additionally the sync with Zimbra took too long whenever I clicked into a folder it got reloaded and sync’d with the mailbox which takes a while if you have 1000+ mails in a folder.
  • Zimbra Desktop: I finally gave up and installed it. I hate it. I’ve used it before and from my point of view it is just crap. Again nothing particular. I just don’t like the UI and the way how it needs to be configured. I’ve set it up 2 h ago and it is still synchronizing. I got since then a few new mails where I didn’t got notified about. This might be related to that it is still sync’ing. I’ve used it to answer mails. It can send them but in the writing panel there is no cursor for some reasons.
  • Zimbra web front end: All the hassle because I don’t want to use it, because I want to have an offline access to my mails. I want to get notified by more than a blinking tab. I want to have a UI that is simple, not having loads of toolbars with loads of buttons and loads of functions. And I particularly hate the color scheme they are using.

Right now I’m frustrated and have a couple of programs opened, none of them satisfies me. Mac would be my first choice if I could send mails. Entourage seems to be nice, too. Also Claws mail I would give a choice if it would work for me. Thunderbird and Zimbra desktop just reflect my level of desparation. As of now it seems to me I’m going to spend my time on finding a proper solution.

Some other Zimbra-features I am using are:

  • Calendar: I’m happy about the calDav feature: maintaining my calendar and accessing other calendars works as smoothly as stable. 
  • Contacts: I’m not happy about the directory integration. Although I was following this article I still can’t access the global address book. I think this might probably be a matter of time and a bit more patience from my side.

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  5 Responses to “desparation: mail imap and mac”

  1. Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  2. [...] two articles I was ranting about Mac and Mail and my issues to get it working: here part I: desperation and part II: a first guess about the [...]

  3. @Robert: Do you have a link? Just found a no release note on Novel forge.

    @Florian: Danke, wird gerade evaluiert.

  4. Try Evolution, if it’s available on Mac OS.

    I got to say that I’m quite impressed how long you stick to bending Mac OS to *your* needs which obviously aren’t what Apple dictates! :-) It took me just 2 days to give up on it and I don’t regret it :-D

  5. Hast du dir mal Postbox angeschaut? War mit Apple Mail auch nicht wirklich zufrieden. Kostet zwar was aber ist meiner Meinung nach einer der besten email clients aufm Mac.

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