TradeClient is a very promissing new open source email "client" program designed to provide much of the functionality and ease-of-use of Microsoft Outlook without any of the restrictive licensing or requirement to use Microsoft Windows or the Mac OS.

TradeClient runs on the Linux platform as well as the popular UNIX platforms Solaris, UnixWare, and HP/UX. I have experience only with the client running under Linux.

The online home of TradeClient is sourceforge, the open source community?s collaborative environment, sponsored by VA Linux. At the time of writing, the latest version was 0.78, available for free download as source code or ready-to-use binary.

Most users will want to obtain the binary, for ease of installation. I?m delighted to report that the installation was exceedingly simple for this nodist -- one is accustomed in the Linux world to downloading RPM or .deb "packages". The TradeClient binary is not packaged by any format -- rather it is an executable program, ready to run. Simply issuing the command # mv tradeclient-etc /usr/local/bin/tradeclient and then # chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/tradeclient as the UNIX "superuser" root was enough to prepare the program for work. Impressive.

The program launched in a second or less on my Celeron ThinkPad, and a status window popped up with a message that no preferences were found, and so were created for me. I was able to pull down one of the three drop down menus and access a simple and full-featured preferences window. With a half-dozen fields filled out with my POP3 and SMTP details, I was away with no further barriers to use.

This exceptionally good out of the box experience is a quantum leap forward from the installation and configuration requirements of Brand X, Microsoft Outlook.

Functionally, TradeClient supports the following features (clipped from their website):

  • POP3
  • SMTP
  • IMAP
  • multiple mail folders
  • multiple accounts
  • MIME
  • message digests
  • personal calendar
  • address book
  • LDAP
  • raw document views
  • status window
  • contact management
  • signature files
  • task lists
  • mail filtering
  • ray traced icons
  • unlimited undo/redo
  • interactive spell checking
  • cut and paste

I'm finding the task of handling and processing around 150 messages every day is reasonably simple with TradeClient, although I'm still excited by the forthcoming evolution mail client from the GNOME project...

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