A basic interface belies a powerful email tool for confident users
Claws isn’t hard to use, but is best suited to more experienced users who want to get stuck into its custom mail filtering and support for an unlimited number of email accounts.
Unlike the other clients here, Claws requires users to set up their POP3/IMAP settings manually. If you use Gmail, you may also need to adjust your Google account settings and grant access for potentially less safe applications – something you might well prefer to avoid.
Unusually for a modern email client there’s no option to send HTML messages – Claws is plaintext-only – but by omitting potentially unnecessary features, Claws can run at lightning speeds. Its search function is particularly good, and it’s expandable via plugins too.
It isn’t the prettiest email app, but Claws is a great free choice if you value substance over style. It’s also updated regularly, so bugs are stamped out quickly.
Claws Mail 3.14.0 debuts a new ‘master passphrase’ feature.
It also makes some big changes to the way it stores passwords, as the official release notes explain:
“All passwords are now stored in a separate file, (~/.claws-mail/passwordstorerc), and use a stronger encryption than previously.
Existing passwords are moved to the new file automatically, in the old format. The new format will be used whenever old passwords are changed or when a Master Passphrase is used. All new passwords are saved using the new format, irrespective of whether a Master Passphrase is used or not.”
Elsewhere there are small tweaks to the compose window layout, the behaviour of mail forwarding, and the shortcut to view, show or hide the menubar has been changed to Ctrl + F12.
The SSL certificates list gains an automatic scrollbar, while double-clicking datasources in the address book now opens the edit dialogue.
HTML to plain text converter’ now uses a hyphen to denote list items, and indents text within block quotes.
Preferences also get an uptick with new options to set automatic mail checking in hours, minutes and seconds, while the notification plugin adds a ‘Get mail from account…’ option to its system tray menu.
For IMAP users the SASL ‘PLAIN’ and ‘LOGIN’ authentication methods have been added, and the ‘Move deleted mails to trash and expunge immediately’ option removed.
A number of bugs have also been fixed.
Claws Mail is free, open-source software. The latest version is available to download as source from the project website.