Author Topic: Primitive email client for Ubuntu  (Read 593 times)

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« on: December 04, 2020, 10:27:08 am »
MrsT uses Ubuntu and receives her email on Thunderbird.  She doesn't use any mail-sorting mechanisms and so everything goes into the one mailbox. When she's curious about an item she of course opens it.  Today she opened one that put up a warning not to reboot her computer, opened a browser window with a Windows banner at the top and put up a load of urgent-sounding "call this number" claptrap.

On my own W7 box I use Eudora 2005 for email. It's so primitive that that ^^^^ evil-minded trash would have come up as a pageful of hieroglyphs, assuming that I had opened it to start with; which, being paranoid, I wouldn't have.  Eudora won't even render UTF-8 unless you tell it to, and can't make a start on any coding other than ANSI.  This means that I'm used to interpreting garbled accents in stuff like réunion de comité. I don't mind. Most email is shit anyway.

I know that Linux is supposedly impenetrable for viruses, but I don't know that email-embedded code can't bugger up the boot, so what I'm after now is something as primitive as Eudora to up on MrsT's machine.* Eudora does exist for Linux but it's not real Eudora, it's a Thunderbird-based effort. What I want is something that will not immediately start interpreting embedded code that could be doing something underhand.

Any ideas?

* this assumes, of course, that the current alarum hasn't already buggered up the boot...
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2020, 11:33:05 am »
Pine? Pretty secure from malware attachments.

Might be a good way to instigate divorce though...

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2020, 12:08:52 pm »
Claws Mail.  Excellent mail client but HTML rendering requires a bodgy plugin (which isn't actually very good) to be installed.  Would have been brilliant in about 1998.

Or something terminal-based like pine or mutt.  Which I stopped using in the early 2000s because about half the emails I receive are in HMTL.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2020, 12:44:06 pm »
Don't all modern email clients simply prevent the opening of third party content unless you ask nicely?
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Kim

  • Timelord
Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2020, 12:46:29 pm »
Don't all modern email clients simply prevent the opening of third party content unless you ask nicely?

Thunderbollocks certainly does, but I suspect there's a PEBKAC issue whereby such warnings will be immediately bypassed in the hope of seeing dancing pigs.

I remain unconvinced that a functionally limited email client is a good solution to this problem, for broadly similar reasons.  A sturdy LART would be traditional, but is contraindicated on the grounds of domestic bliss.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2020, 02:00:22 pm »
Neither Outlook nor Apple Mail will open or display a link without some user persistence. They certainly wouldn't pornpopup your ass with a blitz of rapidly propagating windows (which modern browsers should have killed off too).
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T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2020, 03:28:29 pm »
Well, all that seems reassuring, and being a lazy bugger whose Linux-fu consists of 1995 UNIX memories I have no desire to go fumbling around, so I'll conveniently forget about it and see what happens tomorrow.  I'll just pull MrsT's network plug at the switch end before she starts up, and if it goes ape I'll simply reformat her disk and re-install Ubuntu over it.  I've got her Firefox environment on a USB key.

Thanks for the input, folks.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

fuaran

  • rothair gasta
Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2020, 04:13:34 pm »
You can set Thunderbird to display messages as plain text. On view menu, then "Message body as".
Though it would still display clickable links. And you will probably find most messages look a bit rubbish without HTML.

Thunderbird is pretty good at detecting scam messages, and blocking links for those anyway.

Seems you can block all links in Thunderbird if you want. Open the config editor, then find this option and set it to false
Code: [Select]
network.protocol-handler.external-default
https://blindbites.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/how-to-disable-links-in-thunderbird/

Mr Larrington

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Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2020, 05:54:19 pm »
One of the nice things about Thunderbollocks is that it stores your personal message filters in a Perfectly Ordinary ASCII text file so editing it can be done outwith the app.  This can be very handy when you've added so many domains to your dot.compost list that the window T-bird brings up doesn’t fit on the screen and hides the “OK” button off the bottom :D
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Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2020, 06:59:28 pm »
Albeit in Windows, we're still using Pegasus Mail, set to show messages in plain text by default. Fair point about clicking on links, but our setting must be the most reliable way to block viruses, as the client doesn't execute anything, malicious or not.

Pegasus is not a candidate on Linux, but I'm not sure I agree about "functionally limited" clients being that much of an issue.

I find the modern email world a bit perverse. BigCorp, who account for loads of all our emails, send out really fancy messages with loads of images and stuff. But BigCorp's IT department block images and code in messages received by their staff. BigCorp's marketing team send most of their stuff to potential clients in LargerFirm, whose marketing and IT teams do the same in return. So who exactly is seeing all these fancy HTML messages?

For example, Mrs Drossall and I, working for different organisations, get the same staff incentives newsletters, because both employers use the same supplier. Neither of us can see what incentives are being offered to us, since both our IT departments block images, and the supplier always puts the vital text in the pictures :facepalm:

Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2020, 07:25:44 pm »
Albeit in Windows, we're still using Pegasus Mail, set to show messages in plain text by default. Fair point about clicking on links, but our setting must be the most reliable way to block viruses, as the client doesn't execute anything, malicious or not.

Same goes for Windows Mail (the one that's descended from Outlook Express, not the dreadful Windows Live Mail).  It will run happily on W7 with a bit of tweaking, and mine is configured to open everything as plain text (you can toggle HTML when a message is opened if you trust it).

I've looked at other mail clients, but for reasons I won't go into, I need one that supports the Windows Mail API.

T42

  • *** fool in a hurry
Re: Primitive email client for Ubuntu
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2020, 10:02:10 am »
You can set Thunderbird to display messages as plain text. On view menu, then "Message body as".
Though it would still display clickable links. And you will probably find most messages look a bit rubbish without HTML.

Thunderbird is pretty good at detecting scam messages, and blocking links for those anyway.

Seems you can block all links in Thunderbird if you want. Open the config editor, then find this option and set it to false
Code: [Select]
network.protocol-handler.external-default
https://blindbites.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/how-to-disable-links-in-thunderbird/

That sounds appropriate. Now have to apply diplomacy, and altogether grittier problem.

Cheers!
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.