Sylpheed: A fitter email client

By Joe Barr, LinuxWorld.com |  Software



Linux forums

One important caveat about Sylpheed -- the help manual is currently only available in Japanese. That gave me an excellent opportunity to test its user interface for intuitiveness and ease of use while trying to set it up as a newsreader. Having done so, I would give it high marks in both categories.


I flailed about for a minute or two, but then decided that I would need a new user account. That makes sense to me, since each individual email account requires a separate user. So from the Configuration menu, I selected Create New Account. Lo and behold, in addition to POP and IMAP server types, there was an option for News (NNTP protocol). That allowed me to define the news server and to specify the maximum number of new articles to download at a time.


I didn't find a way to browse the server and retrieve a list of available newsgroups, but that doesn't mean there isn't one. I did know the names of the newsgroups on the server, however, and by selecting News from the folder tree, and then clicking the right mouse button, I was able to enter the name of the newsgroup I wanted. That created a folder for the newsgroup. Double clicking on it gave me a list of message headers and I was off to the races.

Get yer picture

I was curious to see how well Sylpheed handled mail attachments, so I dumped nearly a thousand emails, probably 20 percent of which had images attached, into /var/spool/mail/warthawg. I was impressed at how quickly Sylpheed moved those messages into its Inbox and displayed the message tree after I clicked Get Mail. Sylpheed is much faster in all aspects of handling mail than the current version of Evolution.


I began to wade through the Inbox, hitting the N key to move to the next message, until I came to one with a photo attached. I was expecting to see the photo appear without having to click on an icon to expand it, but it didn't happen that way. Instead, a new pane opened in the mail window showing the component parts of the message: in this case one part was text/plain and the other was image/jpeg. The text portion of the message was displayed below this new pane. When I hit the N key again, instead of advancing to the next message, it simply advanced to the next part of the message and the image was displayed.


I liked the way Sylpheed was handling the images by default, but when I saw that it was doing the same thing with HTML mail (showing me the plain text part first, then showing me the raw HTML) I began to have doubts about the approach.

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