Reasons to hate or love Kmail

kmail_logo

I love KDE and most of the applications from it. One of the most used is Kmail. The interface is beautiful and very customizable.

But there are some things in Kmail (Kontact) that makes you want to throw the computer out the window. Lucky for me, I’ve started using Kmail after the akonadi fiasco, so that isn’t a big issue, but there still are some things that make me want to use a different email client.

Here are some of them:

  1. If you export filters, when you import them you will have to set the destination folder of each individual filter. (almost) No automation.
  2. You can have a maximum of 8 filter criteria per filter.
  3. Some imported filters import only partially: just the criteria (if you’re lucky) and even that is not exactly as you’ve set it before.
  4. If you have a separate /home partition and reinstall/install another OS, Kmail will keep almost no settings. It only kept some details about my accounts but even those were wrong. ( could be because Kubuntu uses ~/.kde and Arch uses ~/.kde4 )
  5. All account use the same local folders for trash, sent, drafts and outbox. If you want each account to use it’s own folders for this, you will have to go to Identity settings for trash and to the account for the others.
  6. Filters don’t always work as you set them. (emails are not marked as read or moved in the correct folder, as they are set in the filter)
  7. For the moment when someone sends an email to you an 100 other people, you have no option to minimize the list of email addresses (only in some themes).
  8. You get the notification of a new mail either too soon, or too late, before the filters are applied or after you’ve read and replied to the email.
  9. Filters don’t have customizable names. They are named by the first criteria they have, not always intuitive. (My mistake, there is a rename button, just haven’t seen it. Thank you serafean)
  10. On POP3 accounts, if you set a name to use with a Identity and use parentheses in that name, the text in the parenthesis and the parentheses are ignored, and they are not sent. (Happens only most of the times) (KDE bug report)

kontact

Not to get all caps rage against Kmail, here are a few reasons why I love Kmail:

  1. You have so many options to configure it, that it can become your dream email client.
  2. Favorite folders view.
  3. Rich text editor for identity signature.
  4. Customizable message templates for all and each account.
  5. Multilingual spell checker
  6. Great integration with the agenda (calendar)
  7. Uses the web Google sign in to add Google contacts, or google Calendar, no need to add custom application password for each one (if you use 2-step verification).
  8. Set the keywords to look for to remind you if you forget to add an attachment.

If you have any other things you would like to add to this list, please tell me. Or if you know that some of these have been fixed, please let me know.

25 thoughts on “Reasons to hate or love Kmail

  1. Can you elaborate on (4)? What kind of OSes did you try to share /home with?
    All settings are inside $HOME for each user, so this should automatically lead to it being used again. Has worked on every re-install I’ve made

    1. I had Kubuntu. I also installed Arch. When I opened Kmail in arch no settings were there, also no filters. Only the accounts and only with partial details.

      Rebooted into Kubuntu to export my filters, and they were all messed up.

          1. No, I meant if they are both changing KDE software or delivering upstream’s versions. As SciK mentioned one of the changes distributions sometimes apply is to change the prefix for file paths.

            So re-use of file of course only works if both distributions use the same change.
            If the two you mentioned did not, then your point (4) became invalid

          2. Arch gives the upstream KDE. Kubuntu alters it. I’ve updated point 4.

  2. Hi, I’m using KMail too (since 4.7 became available, I’m an akonadified KMail user). Some of your points are wrong, some are a setup issue.
    1)I don’t know much about filters, as I don’t use them much.
    2)True
    3)See 1.
    4) Bad setup issue, my current configuration survived a migration Gentoo->Arch->Chakra. No new setups. (But none of these distros modify KDE in any way).
    5)True
    6)Specify. Not clear what you mean.

    9)Simply false. There is a rename in my filter setup (kmail 4.10)
    10) Might warrant a bug report…

    I too am a very happy user of KMail. The only pain I had was to setup mysql (wanted to share it with Amarok).

    1. About 4, I think SciK is right, I’ll check again on monday. About the rest, I’ve updated the article. Thank you.

      1. Yep, definitely sounds like one of the distros is making a change to the defaults…
        Nice to see someone keeping their cool and not going on another KMail/Akonadi rant. I thank you for that.
        FYI : I couldn’t reproduce your parenthesis issue, but I don’t have a POP account…

        1. The parenthesis issue I say that it happens only on Reply. $DEITY know why. + it doesn’t happen every where: Stock Kubuntu, Stock Arch, both do this. Build from sources, did not happen on Arch, but happened on Kubuntu. I don’t get it.

  3. Until 2 weeks ago, I was using Thunderbird, but a virus attack killed it and due to its vulnerability, I decided to change email client to Kmail. Now I have tried to set up Kmail for a week (85 working hours) without success. I hate Kmail, but still I have the possibility to choose Snailmail.
    Botnik

  4. Thank you, nice article. I am now testing Kmail on windows ando considering switching to it from zimbra – there is one thing I can not figure out and it makes me mad: when you click on mail (mail list), the mail changes color to white and it is not really visible. Did not figure out how to change it. Same it happens with folders. When oyu click on folder it turns white. It is just very big distraction.

    1. You may have some color settings set wrong. Check Settings -> Configure Kmail -> Appearance -> Colors.

      Also you may need to check your system color setting System Settings -> Application Appearance -> Colors.

  5. thank you for your quick reply. I am using latest windows version of Kmail. When I go to Settings-configure mail – appearance -colors, I do not have option to define color of checked message. Also If I go to Viev-message List-Theme-Fancy with clickable status, I can define color and font, but I can not configure color of message when is clicked – color is white and I can not get rid of it. Maybe windows version is bit different from linux. I tried also to download some theme (light.tar.gz and fancy-testing.zip ) and it Kmail did not want to import it. Also I do not have system color setting…
    My computer has windows vista.

    1. What version of KDE do you have? You should have System Setting in Windows. Go to Start -> KDE Release -> Settings -> System Settings.

  6. I installed KDE (I did not install any of packages), but still I do not have Settings – are part of some package that I did not install (I do not need games and all of utilities and I did not install them)

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