Hey! Thanks for reading! Just a reminder that I wrote this some years ago, and may have much more complicated feelings about this topic than I did when I wrote it. Happy to elaborate, feel free to reach out to me! 😄
🎵 The song for this post is Al Monte, by PALO!. 🎵
I’ve tried probably half a dozen alternative email clients over the years, but I keep coming back to Apple’s on MacOS and iOS. One reason has been its long-time support for unified mailboxes. I have an indefensible number of email addresses and this is essential for my use.
I'll just take this opportunity to remind you: you can use desktop mail clients!
They're fun! I switched to Thunderbird recently and largely love it: I also
have unified email addresses between my GMail, my
@morepablo.com mail, and
@amado.app mails. K-9 Mail on Android does similarly well, though for my
GMails I use the GMail Android app since it is slightly better integrated with
Google Calendar and the rest of GSuite, which my company uses.
Besides unified inboxes, I also configured Thunderbird to send plaintext email and block remote content, so I don't trigger tracking pixels. You get some great alt text this way, and I enable network requests on per-message basis.
I mentioned in my self-hosting post that my own mail server was a bit of a Final Boss of self-hosting; while I could follow a postfix/dovecot tutorial, I kept trying to actually understand the moving parts and get the ability to modify them if needed (e.g. OpenLDAP authentication). So I died to the boss, and while I grind levels on the skills required, am hosting my email on Migadu.
Migadu is great. Like other software I've plugged recently (GoatCounter, SourceHut) it's built and run according to what I consider healthy software standards: respect for users, transparency, thin clients, sustainable business vs. VC-Take-Over-The-World. If you've got domain names and would like to receive emails to those domain names in a cheap, super-simple way, I suggest giving them a look!
Other links on email:
mutt is the granddaddy of tech flexes, imo. I often state that I learned
vim not because I felt limited by text editing, but because it looked so damn
cool to see the cursor jump around over the shoulders of others and I wanted to
be the guy who could do that; there's a similar level of envy for power mutt
users. It's notoriously hard to set up, but there are guides. Also, I just
learned of neomutt, which looks like fun.
In the continuing quest of "a Jedi builds their own lightsaber," Drew DeVault
built and maintains
aerc. Drew is heavily invested in email: he built
SourceHut around it, wrote a great and practical guide on to how to use
email as your way of managing Open Source contributions (as designed by Linus in
git for Linux), and this set of recs for email the way he likes it, likely
a byproduct of his tech preferences and how much he works with mailing lists to
manage projects and community.
aerc looks solid, if specific to a certain dev
workflow in SourceHut.
If you want to flex but the above is far too conventional, consider
qmail. It's written by a guy who definitely had a bit of a cult (maybe
still, I haven't followed) for what was perceived to be godly design and coding
powers (I haven't verified one way or the other — just looked at the writing and
was like "wow! cult"). I skimmed it a decade ago, realized I was far out of my
league in knowing anything about mail and delivery, and backed away. You might
find something fun here? He also got a bit of press when someone discovered his
notes on a build system, wrote a viral post about it, and
eventually wrote a version of it.
Thanks for the read! Disagreed? Violent agreement!? Feel free to drop me a line at , or leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you 😄