Re: [orca-list] Accessible email clients; really need an alternative to thunderbird

I use Thunderbird 3.1.15, and I don't think I'm running into the
problems you're describing. I know it isn't the latest and greatest, but
it's still what I'm running on my Ubuntu 11.04 system, and I haven't
noticed any new features I can't live without or any major bugs. In
fact, I prefer using Thunberbird 3.1.15 on Ubuntu over any Windows email
client. I would assume you could still get your hands on and install
Thunderbird 3.1.15, but I may be wrong about that.

It's been a while since I used Evolution, but I think you can customize
the interface to just get the information you want. For example, you can
hide the calendar, tasks, contacts and so on. Furthermore, you can even
hide the panel that let's you select these different views, forcing you
to go to the menus to access them, which I think is what you want.

On 18/11/11 16:28, Jude DaShiell wrote:
you could use emacspeak and I wrote earlier about nmh, emacs has an mh.elc 
program that can be added to a .emacs file and once that's done you have 
the full accessibility to nmh and the power that that confers.  It does 
handle mime attachments too with an additional program but that's all in 
the documentation.  Nice thing about emacspeak is like orca, it'll be a 
desktop environment. On Fri, 18 Nov 2011, Michael Whapples wrote:

I know I have written about this before, but I never really found a
satisfactory alternative. So as a last try I will try and be very specific in
what I am looking for.

OK, as many will know I really am not happy with the quality of accessibility
in Thunderbird, Mozilla just don't seem to be able to deal with the problems
and accessibility requirements seem to be a second rate citizen
(justification: Some of the accessibility issues are so obvious and critical
to use, that should a non-disabled user be faced with such issues they would
never make a release of Mozilla products, an example being Orca echoing the
text being entered in edit fields, would non-disabled users stand for not
knowing what they typed, why should we?). There are other quality issues I
have with Thunderbird but we'll leave those for now.

Now to the positive look on things, what alternatives are there? Evolution
normally is the obvious one. Yes I have used it back in the past (back in the
gnome 2.18 and 2.20 days. While I could use it then, to me it always felt like
its usability lay somewhere between difficult or clumsy. Some of the specific
issues were finding attachments, being able to open individual messages in
list digest messages as an attachment (like I can in Outlook Express on
windows or Thunderbird) so I can reply to individual messages rather than the
digest one and also evolution can feel like its interface is just a bit
cluttered as it has calender and other features I do not tend to use (see
below for what I really would want from an email client). If anyone could
point me to good documentation on using evolution (particularly as an orca
user and using evolution from the keyboard, may be my problems with evolution
could be overcome as I might be able to use it more efficiently.

Another alternative which has been suggested to me is balsa, but I never
really got to grips with that.

I know that another alternative might be to look at text based clients. The
only ones I really got on with were pine and cone. Anyway, I feel text base
clients may be off the cards as I feel Orca isn't great with text based
software. Speakup would be my preferred choice for screen reader with text
based software, however it just doesn't load on the computers I would install
Linux on.

OK, here is what I am looking from the email client:
Accessible with Orca: As I noted speakup doesn't work on my Linux systems so
Orca is what I will be using, so in my opinion that rules out the text based
Simple interface, focused on what is wanted: I only really want it for mail,
things like calenders are just a waste of space to me. The main places I use
in the email client is the folder/account tree and the message list. More than
that in the main view is more than I want, I may find search useful but I
don't mind going to the menu for that.
Multiple account support: It should support more than one account, with
different outgoing servers for each account.
Ability to access the individual messages in a mail digest: I have most of my
list subscriptions set to digest (eg. that is how I have the orca list set)
but I have it set to mime for the format. This means that in Outlook Express
on windows and thunderbird on Linux I can access each individual message sent
to the list by viewing the attachments of the main digest message. This works
quite well to keep things tidy. May be rules could help here and that I could
receive separate messages and use rules to separate them into folders, but
unless that is done on the server I need to set up those rules on every
computer (undesirable thought) and I am unsure whether I could set these rules
on the server.

I think that covers the main things. Any suggestions.

Thanks in advance.

Michael Whapples
orca-list mailing list
orca-list gnome org
Visit for more information on Orca.
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Jude <jdashiel-at-shellworld-dot-net>

orca-list mailing list
orca-list gnome org
Visit for more information on Orca.
The manual is at
The FAQ is at
Log bugs and feature requests at
Find out how to help at

Christopher (CJ)
chaltain gmail com

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