4 Best Command-Line Email Clients For Linux

Recently, I wrote an article covering the 6 Best Email Clients you can use on Linux Desktop, all of the email clients in that list where graphical user interface (GUI) programs, but sometimes, users prefer to deal with email directly from the command-line.

Don’t Miss: 6 Best GUI Email Clients for Linux Systems

For this reason, there is also need to highlight about some of the best text-based email clients that you can use on your Linux system. Although command-line email clients do not offer exceptional features as their GUI counterparts, they do offer present some great and powerful message handling components.

Linux Commandline or Terminal Email Clients

Linux Commandline or Terminal Email Clients

In this review, we shall exclusively dive into looking at some of the best command-line email clients for Linux and the list is as follows. Please note, all these below email clients can be installed using default package managers such as yum, dnf or apt as per your Linux system distribution.

1. Mutt – Mail User Agent

Mutt is a small, lightweight yet powerful text-based email client for Unix-like operating systems. It is feature rich and some of its remarkable features include:

  1. Easy to install
  2. Color support
  3. Message threading
  4. Support for IMAP and POP3 protocols
  5. Delivery status support
  6. Supports several mailbox formats such as mbox, MH, maildir, MMDF
  7. Support for PGP/MIME (RFC2015)
  8. Multiple message tagging
  9. Various components to support mailing listing, including list-reply
  10. Full control of message headers during composition
  11. Active development community and many more
Mutt Email Client for Linux

Mutt Email Client for Linux

For installation and usage: https://www.tecmint.com/send-mail-from-command-line-using-mutt-command/

2. Alpine – Internet News and Email

Alpine is a fast, easy-to-use and open-source terminal based email client for Unix-like operating systems, based on the Pine messaging system. Alpine also runs on Windows, can be integrated with web-based email user agents.

It is works well for new users and experts alike, hence it is user-friendly, you can simply learn how to use it through context-sensitive help. Additionally, you can easily customize it through the Alpine setup command.

Some of its features include:

  1. Support for several protocols such as IMAP, POP, SMTP and so on
  2. Packaged with Pico text editor
  3. Spports context-sensitive help on screen
  4. Well documented
  5. Not actively developed plus many more
Alpine Email Client for Linux

Alpine Email Client for Linux

Visit Homepage: https://www.washington.edu/alpine/

3. Sup

Sup is a console-based email client that enables users to deal with a lot of email. When you run Sup, it presents a list of threads with multiple tags attached, each thread is a hierarchical assortment of messages.

Sup has got some exciting features and these include:

  1. Can handle so much email
  2. Supports fast full-text message search
  3. Supports automatic contact list management
  4. Handles emails from several source including mbox and maildir
  5. Easily search through entire email store
  6. Supports gpg for privacy functionality
  7. Supports management of multiple email accounts
Sup Console Email Client

Sup Console Email Client

Visit Homepage: http://sup-heliotrope.github.io/

4. Not much

Not much mail” is a fast, powerful, global-search and tag-based email system that you can use in your Linux text editors or terminal. Its development was highly influenced by Sup, and it offers performance enhancement to several Sup features.

It is not much of an email client, therefore, it does not receive emails or send messages but simply allows users to search quickly through a collection of emails. You can think of it as a library interface to extend an email program for fast, global and tag-based email searching functionality.

Not much has the following notable features:

  1. Does not support IMAP or POP3 protocols
  2. No mail composer
  3. Supports tags and fast search
  4. No user interface
  5. Uses Xapian to perform its major task, hence “not much”
  6. Supports several command-line utilities, email clients and wrappers for Emacs, vim text editors
  7. Also supports Mutt integration script
Notmuch Email System

Notmuch Email System

Visit Homepage: https://notmuchmail.org/

The above listed commandline or terminal or text-based email clients are the best you can use on your Linux system, but many times, you can only find out good features and performance attributes of an application after testing it.

Therefore, you can give all of them a try and choose which one to use, that is in case your a command-line addict, who does not use GUIs so much. Importantly, you can also let us know of any other command-line email clients that you think deserve to appear in the list above, through the comment section below.

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Ravi Saive

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7 Responses

  1. Bob LeChef says:

    They’re all a PITA to use, especially out of the box. I remember spending hours configuring mutt and still never got it to a point where it worked the way I wanted it to. It always felt like I was working around its issues, esp. with IMAP.

    I don’t like the expanding bloat of web mail clients, but there’s little alternative. I just void email nowadays anyway. Maybe one day suckless will feature an email client that can work nicely with modern technology and needs while remaining lean.

  2. Adam Dymitruk says:

    would love to see something in one of these clients that supports html in the signature so I can add a logo and style to it.

  3. Amit Tendulkar says:

    What about Emacs based email clients like Guns? Also do check the email categorization tool like PopFile.

  4. libreman says:

    I never used but Jaro Mail (https://www.dyne.org/software/jaro-mail/) looks promising.

  5. Tsepo says:

    Nice, it will be nice if they can support MS exchange.

    • Aaron Kili K says:

      @Tsepo

      That would be absolutely nice and helpful. In that case, we do not exactly know as this aspect is not listed in their features or supported mail platforms, but probably they do.

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