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KMail Reviewed

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Scott M. Morris

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Posted: 22 Dec 2004

Last week we looked at some ways to select the best email client according to your need. It would be of benefit, then, to look at a handful of them independently of each other. Since my window manager of choice is KDE, which, by default, comes with KMail installed, we'll look at that one first.

Upon first execution of the program, I am presented with a familiar interface. Folders on the left, the message list on the right, and the preview window below it:

The menus are well-organized. They seem to be intuitive and easy to use. The options are in the proper menus, where you'd expect them to be.

Setting up an account seems a little much for a new user. They would have to somehow know to go into the "Settings" menu and select the "Configure KMail" option to set up their account. Next, an identity must be created:

Then, the SMTP server has to be set up:

A POP3 configuration must be set up after this:

Then, you have to go back into the identity to tell KMail which transport to use for that account:

Whew, that's a lot of work. The intentions were good, I just don't like the implementation.

I'd also like to see a trainable spam filter. Okay, in all fairness, KMail does offer capable filtration rules:

However, I find filter rules a little 20th century. I don't like having to guess, "Now if this rule catches all these emails, but then I miss this other filter, where would the message end up if I set up just one last rule?" Just let me tell the engine which messages are spam, and then the engine should learn to correctly filter them out.

Another thing that seems a bit thin is support for message templates. Could I have the ability to send one template to my business colleagues, and another to my family? I like to have a lot of formatting flexibility without having to duplicate setting it all up again the next time I send a message.

Overall, KMail is a very capable email client. It has many essential and useful features. It has the ability to view a message's source and headers. It supports rich text (HTML) email. It sports a nice address book heavy-laden with functionality. There are quite a number of very nice options in this software. Some of the application's main drawbacks, however, are just enough to lose my vote. Let's continue the search next week.

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