I have a problem with with email. I want to be able to pick up and organise my emails locally in a program that doesn’t constantly crash. The problem is that none of the obvious alternatives can do so.

I originally used Apple Mail, but dropped it when I discovered its search feature didn’t work … or more accurately, pretended to work but didn’t find things it should have found. I don’t like unreliability, and I really don’t like dishonesty, and mail was being dishonest about its unreliability, a classic symptom of arrogance. So I switched to Outlook 2016 for the Mac.

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I got things set up. I got things working. Then Outlook started crashing when I attempted to look at certain emails. It seems that those emails are a little too big for Outlook and, rather than saying “oh dear these emails are too long”, it just crashes. This is plain old fashioned shite programming. An upgrade to Outlook 2019 made no difference.

So, a couple of months ago, I switched back to Apple Mail, or at least tried to. Had Apple fixed its issues? Yes, search worked, but, no, other things were badly broken. Apple Mail refuses to talk to my mail server. It insists the certificate is bad, and it’s correct, the cert needs renewing (a problem with the CA, actually), but it won’t let me tell it that, actually, the email server is that OpenBSD computer a foot to the left and can be trusted. Mail basically, in its arrogance, refuses to correct its misjudgement. If it can’t collect my email, it’s useless.

So I decided to try Outlook 2021 on Windows. Oh dear. I like to organise my emails using rules. Outlook handles that. My rules are based on the email subject, so that, for example, I can put poetry emails in a folder called poetry. Outlook can handle that, if badly. I don’t care where the sender sent the email, it’s the content that's important. Outlook cannot handle that! Seriously, I am not allowed to create folders that are independent of the receiving email address. That is thoroughly idiotic. Outlook used to do that, or at least pretend to do so, but no more. This is unacceptable.

In fact, Outlook wants me to put my folders on my Exchange server (yes, I have an Exchange server running). I’m sorry, no, I want to get shot of that server, it is also overcomplicated (admittedly, I’m not an Exchange sysadmin, so that overcomplication is most probably due to my lack of appropriate skills). Worse, Exchange is one of those rare seriously capable servers available, but the upgrade path requires spending silly money (thousands) on silly amounts of hardware for what is basically one person’s email, which I am absolutely not doing. Also, the main reason I run it, testing software, has pretty much run its course.

So, after months of trying stuff out, I still cannot organise my emails, because the standard email programs are unusable.

Let me put it this way. Sometimes, for bizarre reasons, I still use the old fashioned unix command line email program. It is hopeless and a complete mess, but it doesn't fuck up like Outlook and Apple Mail. It doesn’t have organise options, but it’s honest, and I can depend on it to do correcly what little it’s supposed to do. I still use it when necessary, and I will keep doing so.

So I need another alternative. I won’t use a cloud service, they don’t pay their royalties, and they’re not having access to my personal information without offering me a reasonable deal for it. Thus I have to find something else, and that something else is a third party email client. I got shot of Thunderbird back in 2006 mostly because I changed computers. I’m going to try it again. I might try Claws too.