Webmail systems

April 18, 2022 — April 5, 2023

Assumed audience:

Linux users who hate their desktop mail client

Figure 1: RFC 1991 draft 0

I am interested in webmail clients not because I want to run a multi-user server, but because desktop email clients for linux are not great and I am interested in running a single-user email client for myself.

1 Pinbox

msp301/pinbox: Self-hosted webmail client greatly inspired by Google Inbox (Go)

Pinbox requires local access to a Maildir directory. A mailbox can be synchronized to a local Maildir using OfflineIMAP or similar. If you wish to try Pinbox with an exported mailbox and have a .mbox file, this file can be converted to a Maildir directory using mb2md.

Pinbox uses the Notmuch mail indexer to provide fast email access and managing mailbox labels.

2 Mailur

pusto.org: Mailur is a lightweight webmail inspired by Gmail Source at naspeh/mailur. Python, actively developed, no database required. Uses dovecote which also works great for local storage.

3 Sogo

SOGo, “A Free open-source enterprise-grade Webmail and Groupware Server for teams”. Amazingly, written in Objective C. Not bad in practice, although a little over-engineered for personal use. Includes calendar and contacts in the groupware style.

4 Mailpile

Weird open-source alternative email client mailpile tries to be hackable and secure. AGPL-licensed, which is a mildly irritating licence. Reinventing lots of wheels and full of odd obsolescent dependencies. I like their aspirations, but their github tracker feels amateurish. Watch how they cargo-cult in an unmaintained Bayesian spam filter as essential infrastructure without the ability to maintain it! Thrill to their unclear threat model! Panic as they take years to get prototypes working! Or don’t. I won’t.

5 Incoming