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-   -   Does KMail Really Work? Is It Worth It? (

joncr 05-08-2013 11:27 AM

Does KMail Really Work? Is It Worth It?
I'm doing a new current install. I've been a Thunderbird user. I'm wondering, though, if it's worth the trouble to try to get KMail working. Any specific advantages over Thunderbird?

Now, I have never actually managed to get KMail to work. Any version, on any distribution. Last time I tried, as soon as I clicked "Finish" on the automatic account setup, the machine began to beep rapidly as many, many, instances of that config routine kept opening.

Is there a trick? Or is KMail one of those things to be avoided forever?

I'm using IMAP on FastMail and won't be migrating any backups.

perbh 05-08-2013 11:39 AM

While in Arch(linux) I used kmail for a while - found the 'visual' part of setting it up rather confusing, but it generally worked ok - apart from some occasional hiccups. Also tried evolution which really was my favourite until I left Arch.
Now I'm an alltime thunderbird user - it 'just works' ... I certainly wouldn't leave it for kmail.

kikinovak 05-08-2013 11:42 AM

Some KDE apps like K3B, Dolphin or Gwenview are really fine. Others - like KMail or KTorrent - definitely have some Rube Goldberg touch to them. I'm mainly an Xfce guy, and I use Thunderbird for my mail. Most KDE users I know also use Thunderbird.

Loslobo 05-08-2013 12:19 PM

Kmail has evolved into a full blown bells and whistles database and calander scheduler combined into a humongous Email application that makes Rube Goldberg devices a tad simplistic. And it's been rumored it may even brew your morning coffee.

Joking aside, in it's earlier incarnations in KDE3 and up to KDE 4.5, Kmail was useful as a simple email POP3 client. Unfortunately, Kmail has become a political hot potato amidst KDE developers to justify the heavy use of multiple databases running all the time in a desktop.

From my own experience, since KDE 4.8, setting up kmail has been a hit or miss affair. One must ensure Akonadi, the various KDE calenders and Kwallet setups are set up and synced just right for the thing to work.

For low powered hardware and simpler desktop setups, that won't do. For simplified KDE desktop setups, where one minimizes or turns off Kwallet and the Akonadi Nepomuk and Strigi databases, Kmail won't function.

Since then, I've abandoned it for other email clients. Thunderbird, Seamonkey are one choice. My favorite is Claws email from the wonderful folks at Slackbuilds (Thank you Slackbuild volunteers!)

Woodsman 05-08-2013 12:29 PM

Configuring kmail can be potentially confusing. There is interaction between Accounts and Identities, particularly with SMTP and transports. When the transport layer is not configured correctly for each identity, kmail uses the default transport. That means users with multiple accounts will send emails from the same transport, which is not what most users want, and is potentially embarrassing. Not a bug, but just be meticulous with configuring kmail.

Whereas kmail1 allowed storing passwords in the rc file as encrypted text, in kmail2 all users are required to use kwallet. There is no option otherwise except to reenter passwords every time kmail is started.

All KDE PIM apps use the akonadi framework. While a benefit to certain users, that backend is not needed or wanted by many users who have only basic email requirements. The akonadi framework duplicates all emails for its cache, which is a waste of space since emails are clear text and easily searchable.

The akonadi framework will fetch emails when kmail is not running. There is an option in kmail to disable that option, but is not obvious to new users.

Although akonadi can be configured not to start when starting KDE, starting any akonadi-enabled PIM app starts the akonadi service. Akonadi-enabled apps will not run when akonadi is not installed.

Unlike nepomuk indexing, which is largely now tamed and easily disabled by users not wanting that service, akonadi is not negotiable.

Lastly, kmail2 remains mildly buggy and incomplete. Check the KDE bug tracker and KDE forum.

That said, I use kmail1 from the Trinity Desktop Environment. Mostly I use Trinity as my desktop, but when I use KDE4 I use wrapper scripts for Trinity PIM apps so I do not have to use akonadi and KDE PIM apps.

bosth 05-08-2013 12:34 PM

I use KMail exclusively for email via IMAP, and I much prefer it to Thunderbird. It's very easy to set up and doesn't use much in terms of resources (despite what people think).

I also use KAddressbook but none of the other Kontact suite programs (Calendar, Akregator, etc).

digger95 05-08-2013 12:36 PM

I used Kmail for a short while but wasn't very impressed with it. Thunderbird works quite well and setting up my email account took only a few seconds. It retrieved the proper POP3 settings from it's database and did all the work for me.

slackass 05-08-2013 01:04 PM

The only thing I use kmail for is to send nag-mail to remind someone or myself of something via kalarm and that's only because I can't figure out how to hook thunderbird up to kalarm..

cwizardone 05-08-2013 01:19 PM

Mr. Woodman put it very well.

Plus, the last time I checked, KMail still won't allow you to edit (add your own comments) and forward HTML mail. Another case of developers ignoring the needs of the end users.

At this point, even if KMail developers made that possible, I wouldn't use it as it now requires akonadi, etc.

OTOH, Thunderbird does the job very well.

joncr 05-08-2013 01:25 PM

Well... tried to configure it and the same thing happened: Beeping and a new "Authorization error" warning opening every few milliseconds. Had to kill X to get out.

Guess I'll go back to Thunderbird.

If anyone, though, has KMail working with FastMail's IMAP, howdja do it?

bosth 05-08-2013 01:35 PM


Originally Posted by joncr (Post 4947336)
If anyone, though, has KMail working with FastMail's IMAP, howdja do it?

Generic IMAP should work if you are using the New Account wizard.

joncr 05-08-2013 01:40 PM


Originally Posted by bosth (Post 4947341)
Generic IMAP should work if you are using the New Account wizard.

Nope, not here. KMail goes nuts, per above, though, when it tries to authenticate with FastMail during account setup. Slackware isn't the only distro where that has happened.

bosth 05-08-2013 01:51 PM


Originally Posted by joncr (Post 4947346)
Nope, not here. KMail goes nuts, per above, though, when it tries to authenticate with FastMail during account setup. Slackware isn't the only distro where that has happened.

It's always worked on the first time for me with several other IMAP servers, but I can't speak to FastMail.

JWJones 05-08-2013 01:54 PM

I tried to use it a couple of times in the past, when I was still using KDE, and found it to be a PITA. Now I use Xfce and Thunderbird.

vdemuth 05-08-2013 02:06 PM

I use both here. Generally I find that Kmail just works without any specific hoops to jump through and had been my e-mail agent of choice since KDE2. But I do use Thunderbird simply for it's Exquilla plugin. As soon as Kmail offers the ability to attach to M$Outlook server used at work, then TBird will have to go.

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