Claws Mail with GMail

Why Claws Mail?

I’ve been suffering more and more recently on my old Thinkpad maxed out at 1GB of RAM. Also I’ve been feeling the need to use a real mail client after a few
months of having two GMail windows open (work + personal). Trusty old
Thunderbird uses 40+MB of RAM on this machine for three IMAP accounts, using a couple of crucial extensions. 40MB is a large chunk of my precious memory, considering that I’m already using two instances of Firefox (one for browsing, one for web development). If the memory usage hits 1GB then everything grinds for a couple of minutes (swap is so evil on laptops!) until I can kill one of those Firefoxes, so all of my apps have to justify themselves against low memory alternatives. Claws uses about 6MB, so I’m using it for now.

Using Claws Mail with GMail

Claws is remarkably capable as a GMail IMAP client these days. Naturally it supports IMAP over SSL and SMTP over SSL with TLS, which is required for GMail. It also has two features which Thunderbird only supports through extensions or about:config magic settings:

  • You can set Trash to be [Gmail]/Trash.
  • You can set up a shortcut key to archive emails. This isn’t obvious so here’s how:
  1. Create a label in Gmail called ‘archived’. This is just a label where you can put stuff so it isn’t in the inbox (“inbox” in Gmail is just a label too)
  2. Go to Configuration/Actions.
  3. Add a new action with Menu Name “Archive” and command as a filter action.
  4. Edit filter action, set Action = Move, and Destination = archived
  5. Save the action. You should now have the action available in the menu under Tools/Actions/Archive and can check that it works.
  6. Now, to set a shortcut key, go to Configuration/Preferences/Other/Miscellaneous and set “Enable customisable keyboard shortcuts”. Then go to Tools/Actions, and with the “archive” action highlighted press ‘Y’ to set the keyboard shortcut.

Other settings:

Tell Claws not to save sent mail, because using Google’s SMTP puts a copy in your sent folder anyway.

Set [Gmail]/Sent Mail to type ‘outbox’ and you can delete the other ‘Sent’ folder, plus you get a nice icon on the sent mail folder. You can do the same with Drafts and Trash.

Broken en_ZA locale in Ubuntu Jaunty

I’m dealing with a lot of documents with the language set to English (South African) this year, and in OpenOffice on Jaunty there’s always a ton of perfectly cromulent words which being flagged as mispelled. On the command line I see an error like this:

Failure loading aff file /usr/share/myspell/dicts/en_ZA.aff

I do have all the relevant packages installed, so it seems like Jaunty has installed a affixes file for myspell that can’t actually be used by OpenOffice at least.

The fix is to download the myspell en_ZA files from here http://downloads.translate.org.za/spellchecker/

Backup the original files

cd /usr/share/myspell/dicts/

sudo mv en_ZA.aff en_ZA.aff.bak

Unzip the file from translate.org.za, and copy it to /usr/share/myspell/dicts/en_ZA.aff, and do the same for en_ZA.dic

That should give you a working spellchecker in OpenOffice.org