Survey of mailing list support in some email clients

Mailing lists are a major communication route for free software and free culture projects, but they place different demands on an email client (Mail User Agent, or MUA) than personal messages. I think they need easier controls and some different behaviour for list messages.

To help this, the Internet Engineering Task Force has issued two requests:

RFC-2919 (List-Id)

List-Id allows email clients to identify that a message came from a mailing list and which mailing list. In theory, it should help to avoid users needing to reconfigure when mailing lists move between service providers, but not all listserver software supports List-Id portability.

RFC-2369 (List-*)

This one offers ways for email clients to offer extra controls for mailing list messages, including list-only replies and one-click unsubscription or subscription-address-change. It removes most desires for Reply-To munging or Mail-Followup-To.

So, which email clients are good with mailing lists?

Mail User Agent Support

Most of this last checked March 2006. Claws Mail updated by Ricardo Mones in October 2006. Thunderbird updated by ALUG in December 2009

Excellent
Good
Poor
  • KMail seems to have "Mailing list aware" folders, but you have to enable them and they don't use the List-* headers.
  • Evolution has buggy support for lists (but should work with most mailman lists with the right settings).
Ugly
  • Balsa doesn't support lists and I don't think they want to fix it. Their FAQ reads like "the reply-to situation" is all the fault of bad list admins, instead of ignorant email client authors.

Improvements

If you can update or extend this list, please email me.

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