8 Best Free and Open Source Console Email Clients

For the traditionalists, emails remains a fundamental part of the operating system. Fortunately, there is a wide selection of free email software available on the Linux platform which is stable, feature laden, and ideal for personal and business environments.

Command-Line InterfaceThe vast majority of Linux users would never be satisfied without access to a graphical user interface. However, even in 2020 there remain many reasons why console based applications can be extremely desirable.

Although console applications are very useful for updating, configuring, and repairing a system, their benefits are not only confined to system administration. Console based applications are light on system resources (very useful on low spec machines), can be faster and more efficient than their graphical counterparts, they do not stop working when X/Wayland needs to be restarted, and they are great for scripting purposes.

Given the volume of email sent and received and the importance of emails in our workflows, it’s imperative to process that email as efficiently as possible. While many of us use webmail for casual use, there’s nothing quite like using a console application.

Here’s our recommendations. All of the programs are free and open source goodness. Many of the programs featured here delegate some tasks to other tools, so they can focus on being the best client possible.

Best Free Open Source Email Clients

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 console email clients. Hopefully, there will be something of interest for anyone who wants to efficiently manage their mailbox from the terminal.

Let’s explore the 8 console email clients. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources.

Console Email Clients
NeoMuttBrings together many patches to extend Mutt
mu4eAn extension of mu that runs a full-featured email client within Emacs
SupCurses threads-with tags style email client
MuttSmall but very powerful text based program
alotLets notmuch handle your mailindex and uses a toolkit to render its display
AlpineAlternatively Licensed Program for Internet News and Email
aercBilled as a "pretty good email client"
WanderlustMail/news management system with IMAP4rev1 support for Emacs
Return to our complete collection of recommended free and open source software including our latest additions.
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