email and linux

I've run the bases with Linux email clients. From Pine to Balsa to Arrow to Evolution to Kmail to Thunderbird the list leads like a science text book. But I'll give you one guess as to which client I always seem to return to. Did you guess Pine? You guessed correctly.

Email is one of those Microsoftian double-edged swords that can totally make or break your day. Any given email can bring down your email client due to scripting, corrupted attachments, memory leaks, yadda yadda yadda. And every one of them caused me headache after headache - except for Pine. Pine is the little email client that could. Sure Pine is a text-based only client. Sure Pine can't view images or html email. Pine can't show little smilies and allow you to click on a link to view a url. Pine won't hit a game winning home run. But Pine can serve as that trusty outfielder always waiting in the green for that long ball to sail into its glove.

What I like about Pine is its simplicity. It's text-only so its footprint is tiny. It's text-only so it's reliable. It's text-only so it can be used via a secure shell or (heaven forbid) telnet session. Pine is simply flexible.

Sure I know most emailers are hooked on bells and whistles that the Microsofts of the world have pimped. But this old-schooler knows that, when push comes to shove, the one networking application that I can always count on is Pine.

It may not be for everyone, but Pine hits a home run for me every time.

Pine. Its what's for dinner.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website


I've been using pine as my email client since 1992 - also started out using it on Sun boxes. I have never been infected with an email virus. I like pine because it always works and does everything I need it to do. I am not a fan of HTML email and all the fluff (and bloat) associated with it, but pine allows you to open emails in an external browser (depending on your setup) if you just have to see that fancy font or smiley face or whatever. As far as needing to use it with Windows, PuTTY makes this almost trivial. There is also PC Pine and you can also run pine under Cygwin, so Thunderbird isn't really necessary (although I would use that any day over most any other Windoze alternative). On top of that, as long as you can get an SSH connection, you can read your email from anywhere - easily. I've tried out the other Linux email clients as well - just to say I did and I've messed around with most of the Windoze-based clients for support purposes, but I like the simplicity of pine because it does exactly what it is supposed to do - read and send email. I always recommend it for anyone looking for a no-nonsense email solution.


I was using it for more then 2 yrs. Pine is just awsome and it's really feature rich email client. All I can say one can shoot an email in few seconds in this peice of software. I do miss my old pine days........ Thanks Jon for recollecting old memories.


I like Pine better than Outlook. I like that pine is quick, easy, and robust.

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