Choosing mail client, having requirements.

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Hyperchaotic, Feb 26, 2005.

  1. Hyperchaotic macrumors newbie

    Hyperchaotic

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #1
    Hi All, I've just ordered a nice 17inch iMac G5 +1GB RAM for my Fiancee to replace 5yr old PC laptop and while I...., er..., she waits for it to arrive am thinking of which mail client to choose. I'm a PC/Linux user meself, so I can't try anything out whilst waiting. But too impatient to not investigate immediately. Am quite excited, having studied the PowerPC architecture (even worked on embedded versions) and followed MacOS X from the beginning...

    I've read through all the threads here on Entourage vs Mail vs Thunderbird, but they don't answer all questions for me. In specific I'd like a client with the following features:

    1) That it can auto-append the correct ending when attaching files as she often mail e.g. office docs to friends (all using PC). As I understand it the MAC uses metadata to determine file type where the PC uses file endings. Its very important that this (interoperability) works automatically for her.

    2) That there is no compatibility problems displaying mails sent to/from PC using friends if formatting is used when composing the mail.

    3) That it can leave mail on the POP server indefinetely whilst only downloading new mail (I understand that Mail can't do that, it can only leave it for up to a week?).

    So having read forums am partial to Thunderbird (using it myself on Linux) or Entourage (am getting Office for her anyway). But not sure which one best fit above requirements.

    Any opinions are much appreciated.

    Will lean back and dream of that PowerMac G5 for myself in the meantime. Maybe go for a lottery ticket....
     
  2. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    You are worrying about nothing. Unless your girlfriend has really special needs, Apple's Mail client will work great. Microsoft's Entourage is a part of the Office suite, which is not free. Mozilla's Thunderbird works well, but I have no reason to switch to it from Mail.

    MacOS X 10 defaults to file extensions rather than creator code/file type metadata. What determines the correct file extension in moderm mail clients is the MIME type. The sender's mail client encode's the attachment's MIME type. The recipient's email client uses MIME type information to tell his system how to handle the file. Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, and [I presume] Microsoft's Entourage handle MIME type data properly. Mail also has a Windows friendly setting for attachments.

    Again, this is a non-issue. Virtually, all email is ASCII text. Formatted text--be it HTML, RTF, or whatever--is plain text with plain text hash codes embedded in the data stream. I am not aware of any such format that presents a problem for Mail, Entourage, or Thunderbird.

    Someone has misinformed you. Mail defaults to leaving POP3 mail on the server. OTOH, Entourage defaults to deleting it from the server. This is, however, a user setting. The notion that Mail can leave messages on the server for only a week is nonsense. Time limits on messages are set by the server, not the client.

    Your girlfriend can use whichever mail client she wants. When I upgraded from MacOS 9 to MacOS X, I switched from Eudora to Mail. At work, I used Outlook Express, but switched to Outlook 2001 when my firm switched from POP3 to Exchange. At any rate, I like Mail. I think that your girlfriend will like it too.
     
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #3
    One thing: in Mail, choose the option in Edit->Attachments to send Windows-friendly attachments. It in no way hurts Mac->Mac mail, but attachments show up much better for Windows users. I agree - Mail is free, built in, works well, and is even better in Tiger (coming in a few months).
     

    Attached Files:

  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #4
    Interesting. So does what you're saying mean, by extension, that if you were to take a file, say a .jpg file, and artificially MIME encode it as a text attachment, it would come out the other end on the other computer as a .txt file, but with the same pre-extension filename? Vewwy intewesting. :eek:
     
  5. h0e0h macrumors 6502a

    h0e0h

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Location:
    West Monroe, Louisiana
    #5
    i have all 3 (Entourage, Mail, and Thunderbird) and right now I have a gmail acct, an acct provided by my ISP (POP3), and a .mac account (IMAP) and i had all kinds of rules or filters if you want to call them set up in Entourage for my IMAP account. Well, after a while, when those filters had to become more and more active, they eventually crapped out and started going not only to their intended destination, but also to my POP3 inbox and my IMAP Trash folder. Well, after many tries at deleting and resetting up the rules, it kept on doing that so finally i moved that IMAP account from Entourage to Thunderbird. That client worked fine, but the only problem now is that it won't sync with my PPC and mark/style's Missing Sync software... so i again moved that IMAP account from now Thunderbird to the built in Mail, and it works like a dream. I just started using it, so i don't have it quite configured like i like it yet, but when I have time, i'll play a little more with it. Note, i still use Entourage for my Gmail and ISP provided account, and i still have Thunderbird installed, I just don't use it. So basically, i use both Entourage and Mail and am fairly happy with both.
     
  6. Hyperchaotic thread starter macrumors newbie

    Hyperchaotic

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #6
    Good news

    Thanks for the good news. I am happy to hear that Mail can leave mail indefinetely on the server.

    Also good to know that Mail has a "windows compatibility attachment mode".

    However, the claim that Mime can solve all problems is somewhat overconfident. The issue remains that when people save the attached file to disk in Windows, from whatever client app or more or less intelligent webmail interface, they need the extension or they dont know what it is. Please trust me when I say that not all clients add the extension matching the mimetype when saving the file.

    However, if the Mac apps defaults to using extensions anyway it is a nonissue :)

    It is amazing what one picks up on the forums, good to have lots of it refuted.

    I do lean towards mail now. Thunderbird was never as lightweight as the originators intended (actually it is still a pregnant whale, I use it on Linux because it is great nonetheless) and knowing Microsoft, Entourage is probably a bit on the heavy side as well.
     
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    There is nothing artificial about it. The Internet is inherently text-based. Some servers can handle 8-bit data. To be safe, you have to assume that the 8th bit will be stripped. This is not a problem for unformatted plain text email. For formatted text and attachments, it is a very big deal. 8-bit data must be encoded as 7-bit ASCII text. However, this problem was solved more than a decade ago. UUencode (.uue) and binhex (.hqx) are two such encoding techniques.

    MIME is the most general of the solutions. Take your .jpg extension, for example. This is the extension for many JPEG-encoded image files. Let's say that your computer has .jpg associated with this file type, but my computer uses the extension .jpe instead. If you send me such a file as an email attachment, your mail client will MIME-encode your attachment and send it to me. When my mail client receives the message, it will decode the attachment. It will also append the extension that my computer uses for the JPEG MIME-type, which is .jpe.

    Problems arise if the sender or recipient uses a mail client that is not MIME-compatible. My experience is that problems are most common when receiving mail from colleagues who have private mail systems at work. For the vast majority of cases, this is a non-issue. Encoding and decoding of attachments is usually transparent to the user.
     
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #8
    Ahhh, thanks! This is the part I was asking about. Interesting. When I said artificial, what I meant was if you were to take an attachment, and spoof an incorrect file type for it. I used a bad example. I'm familiar with UUencoding. So for example, if you told MIME the jpg was a gif. Or if you told it a Word file was an Excel file. I didn't know this would result in the file name being altered (different extension) on receipt.

    That sounds like it has virus potential... :( For instance, if I sent you a file with a PDF extension, but MIME encoded it as an executable, when it got saved to the computer, it would suddenly become an executable again, right? But seem like a PDF to you on receipt....

    Or maybe I'm blowing it out of proportion. I guess that translation happens before I even see an attachment in my mail, and not when I choose to save.
     
  9. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    You are reading too much into what I said. Your computer associates a file type with each extension. My computer also has a file type associated with each extension. We don't have to have the same extension associated with a particular file type. However, MIME sorts this out based on our associations on both the sending and receiving end. To implement the kind of virus threat that you describe would be very difficult. It would likely require using a text editor to alter the MIME setting within the carrier message. Remember that MacOS X attachments don't autoexecute upon receipt. Therefore, MacOS X users don't expect autoexecuting file attachments. Another thing is that there was an attempt some months ago to exploit the fact that MacOS X allows multiple extensions like VirusFile.pdf.app to deliver malware. If extensions were hidden, this virus-carrying application bundle would look like an Acrobat [or other data] file. To the extent that there was a problem, it has been neutered. One other thing, MIME and the other 8-bit to 7-bit encoding schemes use constant algorithms to encode files. MIME handles file-types separately. IIRC, the other schemes merely pass along the source file's extension. If you change the extension of an Excel file from .xls to .pdf, you may trick the OS into treating it as an Acrobat file. However, it is still an unaltered Excel file. If you email this file to a colleague, he will receive an altered Excel file with the incorrect extension.
     

Share This Page