March 24, 2019

Connecting with GNOME Mail Clients - page 3

An Overview of GNOME Mail Clients

  • June 19, 2000
  • By Michael Hall

Project Homepage: http://spruce.sourceforge.net/

Another solid, all-around entry is Spruce. A little newer than Balsa, Spruce offers a similar look and featureset, though it does include PGP/GPG support and filter support is part of the current set of releases. Spruce is currently at version 0.64 (stable) and version 0.7 (the unstable, developer version).

Spruce is a stable and solid mail client. It is able to deal directly with POP3 and IMAP servers, and it also offers users the option to use any preexisting fetchmail configuration they may have. Unfortunately, it doesn't integrate seamlessly with local mail spools, but it does work with them and it's fairly flexible in this regard. In general, though, Spruce is oriented around handling POP3 and IMAP for the user, without the need to resort to the more traditional Linux mail tools.

Spruce has a basic address book (the contact manager), but this feature still feels largely tacked on. It doesn't offer any way to automatically gather addresses or even add an address from a message.

Spruce also has mail filtering. We were pleased to note that its filtering feature allowed for the use of either shell wildcards or regular expressions, making for an easier translation of existing procmail recipes the user might have on hand.

Spruce offers a wide variety of configuration options, allowing users to designate the fonts for read and unread messages. It also has a random signature feature.

Finally, Spruce has an excellent online user manual explaining the program's features in a good amount of detail with some useful illustrations. More free software should have this amount of attention paid to the critical detail of telling users how to use the package.

We enjoyed using Spruce and found it to be reliable and simple. There are some small usability features that would help the program overall, but for a program still considered a bit away from being feature complete, we were impressed. Spruce will meet the needs of most users with little trouble, and we expect it will continue to improve.

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