Which One?

Attention: Please only fill out this poll if you are actually a Mac user. I don't give a flying fuck what you use on Windows! I honestly didn't think I had to spell this out, but apparently I do.

[ LJ Poll 511923 ]

Please explain your answers. Especially if you said "Other!"

<lj-cut text=" --More--(25%) ">

I've been using Safari, and it seems nice, but there are a few things I miss about Firefox:

To put the "Mail" question in perspective: I currently read my mail in Netscape 3.02. It's simple but I like it. I've been using this program for gargantuan volumes of mail throughout the last (oh my god) ten years. I've hacked it to hand clicked links off to another web browser, so I don't actually use it for displaying web pages. So currently I'm SSHing from X11 on my my Mac to a Linux box, and running ns3 remotely; when I click a link in ns3, it runs a script that SSHes back to the Mac and runs some AppleScript to feed the URL in question to Safari. This, uh, kinda demented. I'd like to enter the Twenty-First Century some day.

I have mild religious objections to IMAP, and stronger objections based on the fact that I've yet to see a non-crappy implementation of an IMAP client anywhere.

When I'm at work, I read my mail by SSHing to my home machine and running ns3 from there. It's a little slow, but not so bad (since back when I wrote the damned thing, I actually metered and tuned the protocol usage, which nobody has ever done in an X program since.)

In the Twenty-First Century I will still need a way to read my email from two places at once.

Update: My current plan (subject to change, your mileage may vary): Safari; Mail.app; Adium; just stop using IRC.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

195 Responses:

  1. derleiermann says:

    What about BitchX as the irc client? I'm way too used to text-based irc :)

    • rosefox says:

      Snak! Snak!

    • nugget says:

      Sure, I'm with you completely on text-based IRC. Being able to run IRC inside screen on a host which never reboots is a great enough thing that it's worth losing the UI benefits of a GUI IRC client. But Jeez -- BitchX is some of the worst software on the planet, from top to bottom. I've never encountered software that tries so hard and goes so far out of its way to make the user look like an idiot. BitchX is some truly abysmal shit. I got sick of changing one line in the configuration file and having components in an entirely different section of the file mysteriously stop working as a result and I dropped it like a rock.

      For console IRC clients there are plenty of better options. I'm fond of irssi, personally.

      I suspect it has a lot to do with how a person might want to use IRC, and I don't know Jamie's needs well enough to know if the flexibility vs. ease of use tradeoff of a text-based interface IRC makes sense.

  2. i use 'conversation' as irc client. it's really really simple, but i'm a simple user. i'm also an eyecandy junkie and it was the one with the nicest looking interface.

  3. blarglefiend says:

    Because it's one of the least objectionable IMAP clients I've used, and I've mucked about with quite a few over the years. There are things it does (like deleting or moving mail between folders, which in this nobody-bothers-implementing-delete-properly world are more or less the same thing anyway) in ways that make it feel more responsive than clients like Thunderbird, and that can make it a more pleasant experience.

    Specifically, it puts the work off into a thread but updates the user interface immediately. So you're not sitting there waiting for the whole copy+delete process to take place before the messages disappear from the visible mailbox. There's potential here for inconsistency between what you see on the screen and what's on the server, but I've yet to have it crap out on me in mail-losing or -mangling ways.

    It's also fairly simple, and it's a native Mac app unlike Thunderbird which still feels like a bad port even when it's got a gig of memory and a 1.8GHz G5 to work with. The downside of Mail.app is that like just about every other IMAP client out there (except Outlook with the Oracle plugin and Mulberry) it provides no ACL support, and like everything but Mulberry it has no SIEVE support. But those only really matter if (like me) you're trying to run a large corporate mail system -- you won't need either.

    I will still need a way to read my email from two places at once

    Which is why I deal with the IMAP overhead. A proper IMAP server (i.e., not UW IMAP) will happily let you have multiple clients poking around in the same mailbox. I use this to let me run Mail.app both at work and home 24x7, plus Squirrelmail for those odd occasions when all I can get at is a web browser.

    • cyflea says:

      Yeah, seconded. I thought that nothing could ever replace Gnus, but when I Switched 2 years ago I gave Mail.app a whirl and found that it Just Worked. It might get a little bit confused every once in a while, but generally it does what I need it to do, the IMAP support's good, and you get the Unified Experience thing happening with the Apple Addressbook. I sorta miss BBDB, but it'll do.

      (does Thunderbird talk to the Apple Addressbook? I was assuming you had to manually sync it into Thunderbird's own addressbook. Apologies if I'm wrong about that).

      • blarglefiend says:

        The other theoretically-good thing Mail.app has is Spotlight integration. Searching in the app itself is slower and less flexible now (why did they have to take away the drop-down field selector?), but if you're the sort of person who'd find Spotlight useful in general then having all your mail included in that could be worthwhile.

        Pretty sure Thunderbird doesn't use the Apple address book, but likewise it's been a while since I last tried it.

        • nyankolove says:

          you are correct, it doesn't use the apple address book, which is a huge shame. however, i used to have major problems with mail.app crapping out/freezing when it came to "gargantuan amounts of email." it also has a lot of little issues that really piss me off (for instance, doing the new mail alert BEFORE running the rules on it). i just switched to thunderbird a month or so ago, and am pretty happy with it. i feel like it's more solid and gives you a lot more control over your accounts. the lack of address book integration is unfathomable though. hopefully it will be added eventually...

    • jgreely says:

      The primary flaw with Mail.app, from a Unix geek's point of view, is that it doesn't treat plain-text email as, well, plain text.

      If you format an outgoing email as "plain text", it will silently hard-wrap any lines over ~70 characters in length, including URLs. This is not WYSIWYG line-wrapping; it happens after you send the message. To compensate for this obnoxious behavior, it sets the Content-Type header to "text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed". It detects this in incoming mail from other Mac users and shows the message as intended, but every mailing list I'm on ignores it, showing badly-wrapped lines and broken links.

      I filed a bug on it, and it came back "working as intended". My workaround was to customize the toolbar in the composition window to include a separator line at about the 70-character mark, to remind me where it will autowrap.

      (note that you can manually override the character set for an individual outgoing message, but it will revert to the built-in auto-selection system for future messages. For instance, I've had no luck persuading it to always send Japanese text as UTF-8; it always defaults to ISO-2022-JP)


      • jwz says:

        Yeah, I agree that non-wysiwyg wrapping is kinda lame. But, I know from experience that coming up with a reasonably DWIMmy text/plain composition window is actually pretty hard, so I have some sympathy here. I don't know of a GUI program that implements it in a way that doesn't piss off at least half of the users. The only truly unambiguous way to do it is in with a fixed-width font and a window that can't be resized, which of course everybody would hate.

  4. pvck says:

    Almost certainly irrelevent, but since you asked for details on "other": On my primary (winXP) box I'm enjoying miranda as a multi-protocol IM/IRC client. This may be useful if they ever do a linux or mac port of it.

    Is there any compelling reason to not use firefox?

    • blarglefiend says:

      Is there any compelling reason to not use firefox?

      It still feels like a bloated bad Windows port when run on a low-end Mac?

      I'm using Safari even on my newer machines because I really like the RSS support. There are fancier standalone RSS clients out there, but Safari's implementation is simple.

      • pvck says:

        Alas (and further off topic), I still seek a good, simple RSS reader for Win, preferably as a firefox extension (under the possibly fallacious premise "fewer windows == good"). I just can't get into Sage, for reasons I have difficulty articulating. I think part of it is the lack of notification for new articles, plus the fact that "update feeds automatically" doesn't seem to.

        • rosefox says:

          What's wrong with using your LJ friends page? *)

          • node says:

            The problem with using LiveJournal as a feed aggregator is that you don't control when feed entries expire. (Oddly enough, most of the famous Mac feed aggregators didn't let you cache expired feed entries either).

            Also, with a good feed aggregator, you can search for stuff across feeds, or create virtual feeds made from the results of said searches.

        • node says:

          BottomFeeder. Sure, it has a few quirks, and uses more RAM than most other feed aggregators, but I've yet to come across a better one on Windows (or Linux, for that matter — it's cross-platform).

    • Seconded. It might be a console app, but it's got this slick, clean and simple interface that no other client has matched. There are plugins if you want to extend its functionality, but I've never needed to.

      Plus you can use it with bitlbee to do all your IM stuff through your IRC client, which is handy.

    • drbrain says:

      Irssix comes up in a lovely window and everything. (Really, its little more than irssi wrapped in a window, with a tab per window, you still need to edit ~/.irssi to do fancy stuff, but its only been out for a few weeks.)

  5. ewindisch says:

    Some people have gotten Evolution running on OSX -- on the X11 server, of course.

    Yes, evolution looks like that *other* mail client, but it really is an excellent IMAP client, as far as imap clients go.

    • chloralone says:

      Some people have gotten Evolution running on OSX

      Is this another happy Linux hacker version of "some people have cut their lawn a blade at a time"?

      Why in God's name suggest a pile of shit such as Evolution? Did you miss jwz's earlier posts condemning the shitpiles that are the fink/linux philosophies as a waste of time?

      I imagine he just wants to reliably read his email, not go on yet another fun little hacking adventure.

      Just use Apple Mail. IMAP and everything else work great. It's not a clunky Outlook clone with a buncha crap features you don't need.

      If you want Linux and the shit that accompanies it, use Linux. If you want OS X, use something that doesn't suck and is made specifically for OS X. Fuck, why don't we just torch all the "Window Maker is the uber GUI" fuckers out there...

  6. vincel says:


      Firefox is great, but I really like the way Safari lets you control the amount of RSS data displayed.


      I never liked Mail.app, and the new version in 10.4 seems even worse to me.


      Fire is worth taking a look at. I prefer it to Adium. But mostly I use iChat.


      No idea. I stopped using it a couple of years ago, since most of my friends use IM nowadays.

    • solarbird says:

      I was also going to mention Fire; really stupid icon, but really pretty nice multi-protocol IM client. In theory, it even supports IRC. (AIM, irc, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, and Yahoo are all supported as of 1.0.4.)

    • edg says:

      Every time I install Fire, it crashes. I've never had an installation last more than a day without fatally choking, and I finally gave up on it last November. (This was all under 10.1-10.3; I haven't checked it under 10.4.)

      I find that Proteus works really, really well; the only thing I don't like about it is that it doesn't appear to obey Force Quit when it's loading. (If you have better pointer precision than I do, this shouldn't be a problem.)

  7. chrisg says:

    I use Miranda IM for AIM/MSN/ICQ and mIRC (with the oWiRC script) on my Windows system, and Gaim and xchat on my laptop running Ubuntu. If I IRC from a headless server, I'd use irssi.

    IRC clients all have varying degrees of suck built into them.

    Firefox/Thunderbird for the other two.

  8. n3koch4n says:

    browser: other! icab. its last beta is just out.
    a nice program with interesting features, it also passes the css 'acid test'

  9. asw909 says:

    AIM: Trillian 3.1. Not a Mac or Linux user, this works best for me.

  10. crs says:

    Oh, sorry, my votes were for what I personally use, not for my recommendations for others... Though I find that the Cmd-` keystroke, rotating between windows within an app, makes iChat's lack of tabbed chat window into no problem at all... I still use tabbed browsing with Safari, though.

  11. weev says:

    While I use Firefox, I find it has alot lacking. More than anything I would like to see it do better image rendering (like Opera) as Firefox's image rendering is currently abhorably slow. An Athlon 64 3500+ with 2gigs of PC4400 should not lag when displaying a page full of animated gifs.

    For IRC I use irssi, the client of smart and beautiful people. The irssi gay.pl script is one of the greatest achievements of mankind. cj_ of idlenet will be remembered for generations as the man who benevolently bestowed gay.pl's glory upon humanity.

    Gaim is my AIM client of choice for the moment because of it's sheer ease of hackability. Though I am about to implement an IMIRC gateway so that I can have my AIM and IRC logs all in one place for easy grepping. Also, that will allow me to have urls scraped by the irssi script which places all urls mentioned on my del.icio.us.

    • What's the difference between IMIRC and Bitlbee?

      • weev says:

        Bitlbee is a standalone daemon which accomodates one person.

        IMIRC connects to an existing IRC server/network. It can service an entire network of people.

    • rly says:

      I connect to somebody else's IMIRC server. But I use Chatzilla (a Firefox extension that was part of the old Mozilla Suite) for IRC.

      • weev says:

        I would use someone else's IMIRC server, but I don't want them snooping in on all my conversations and grabbing my AIM password. I want to be the one sniffing passwords/conversations. After all, I need something to replace the satisfaction of mailsnarfing/dsniffing people all day long now that I don't manage a few thousand dialup users anymore.

        • rly says:

          If somebody was snooping on me, something tells me I would know about it by now. But I think I am going to run a server locally once I stop being lazy.

  12. rbeef says:

    I saw your comment about the lack of "Other" browser options, so ban me if you must, but I would suggest giving Camino a try. I use Safari because most of the time it just works, and Firefox takes about 5 seconds to open a new window on my iBook G4. Safari has enough features to make it nice, and works most of the time, but there are occasional site problems, and Camino gives a nice interface to the Gecko engine. It's good to have around, and if you like it enough you can use it as your primary browser.

    For IM, I generally use iChat. It's not as featureful as Adium, but, again, it just works. I often participate in long-lasting group chats (I'd prefer IRC, but most of the other people have no idea what IRC is), and Adium seems to have issues with that. Additionally, iChat lets me turn off other people's fonts and give each person a random color in the chat, so I can read a legible font and have the colors help me tell who's talking. I also display names without icons.

  13. momomoto says:

    Although I haven't tried it on a Mac, I'm a big fan of Opera on my PeeCee. It doesn't have the plugins that Firefox does, and this may mean you don't want to use it, but the mouse gestures, the sensible tab behaviour, and the keyboard shortcuts rule the school.

  14. autopope says:

    I checked "other" for AIM only because there was no option for "I do not under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use IM services because they're a huge distraction when I'm working and annoying interruptions when I'm not working".

    You might also want to note that Skype supports its own IM service in addition to VoIP.

  15. paul_c says:

    I use chatzilla for IRC

  16. bodyfour says:

    Browser: Firefox. It's just nice to have the same browser on both my home mac, my linux machine at work, and any windows machine I have to (god forbid) occasionally touch.

    There's a couple annoying OS X Firefox bugs... the worst one is that if the only non-minimized window is the "Downloads" tool then all the menu options go away (so you can't just Apple-N to pop up a fresh window) The workaround is to just close the Downloads window and the menu options come back. Annoying but it doesn't really bother me too much since I usually have random browser windows open all kinds of places.

    The other Firefox bug I hit from time-to-time is that a right-click context menu will occasionally get stuck in the frame. You can just pick something harmless like "Select All" from the menu and it goes away.

    So it's not a perfect OS X app currently but I've found the benefits outweigh the minor annoyances for me.

    Mail: I'm stuck in an earlier century than you for my read-anywhere mail solution (ssh+mutt) so I haven't played with either too much. I've tried a couple things in Mail.app and it didn't seem horribly broken, though. I'd try it first just to get stuff like Spotlight integration.

    AIM: iChat. If you ever want to do audio or video chats it should Just Work. (well, iChatAV didn't agree with the default firewall setup for me... other than that it worked great)

    • kirinator says:

      Most of the Firefox weirdness associated with OS X's application-based structure (the most noticeable of this being the download window thing) are fixed in the Deer Park betas, so once FF1.1 is out, this problem should be forever banished. I think they've also fixed the way it tells you your downloads will be cancelled if you close the last browser window proper. FF is a nice browser, and I alternate between it and Safari.

  17. node says:

    Browser: Safari. I miss Firefox (rather, I miss the adblock extension), but all third-party browsers look like crap on OS X. The main downside of Safari (on 10.3) is splat-q quits without a warning.
    Mail: I still prefer gnus, but that's not a listed option. I use Thunderbird under Linux at my day job, and it crashes randomly all the time. I'll pick Mail.app.
    AIM: iChat. Haven't tried any of the others.
    IRC: I like Crikey!, but since I refuse to pay for IRC, I'm going to go with ZenIRC. Try it with <lj user="inoah">'s init-zenirc.el.

    • vincel says:

      Firefox's adblock extension works fine with Safari. Just save it as a text file, then tell Safari to use it as a style sheet.

      • grahams says:

        That isn't the adblock extension, this is.

      • wyndebreaker says:

        Safari has an AdBlock-like component called Pith Helmet.

        Unfortunately, it's not as easy to use as AdBlock and it's nagware. It works great, and there a community where you can exchange the latest blocking filters.

        I've also started using GreaseMonkey in place of Adblock. Since it actually reformats the HTML, you're not left with any empty spaces where the ads used to be (the ad collapsing doesn't always work in AdBlock).

        • jace says:

          Pith Helmet also reformats HTML, and, while this isn't what I'd like to be telling people to do, the preferences dialog has an 'I Paid' checkbox at the bottom. Check it and it'll stop nagging. Guilt comes free.

    • kaseijin says:

      The main downside of Safari (on 10.3) is splat-q quits without a warning.

      The same thing happens in Firefox unless at least one window has multiple tabs. You can set a different shortcut in the Keyboard system preferences.

    • pdcawley says:

      Another vote for Gnus as the mailreader. One my lazyweb todos is to make spotlight/emacs do the right thing with nnml folders.

    • kchrist says:

      The main downside of Safari (on 10.3) is splat-q quits without a warning.

      You mean it behaves the same as every other OS X application? This is a good thing. Breaking convention for the sake of "Are you sure you want to quit?" messages is annoying.

      • kaseijin says:

        You mean it behaves the same as every other OS X application?

        The other applications I use ask me before permanently discarding data.

  18. jc says:

    A text-based IRC client such as irssi or epic is the way to go, mainly for the remote access advantage gained from sticking it in screen and enabling sshd via System Preferences. Big two GUI clients are ircle and Snak, but many prefer apps like Colloquy.

  19. keimel says:

    I use Safari and Firefox interchangeably for most stuff. I tend to use Firefox for my personal browsing, safari for work.

    Mail.app as opposed to anything else. It sucks less. Of course, I read most of my email off of worktime in mutt. It sucks less.

    I use 'fire' as my IM client. It can use my existing GPG infrastructure to encrypt IM's completely. Of course, I've had a lot less encrypted conversations lately. Hrm.

    And IRC, I use 'irc' from the command line most often. ircii would be the package I suppose?

  20. samidha says:

    Important things:

    Safari and iChat are both HUGE memory hogs. I love iChat for the bubbles, I can't help it, but after a while the Mac is very sad running it.

    I use Fire for AIM/Yahoo/ICQ, because it's very bare bones and therefore does NOT have that problem.

    Warning: Mac Firefox DOES crash. However, Safari is SCARY with the amount of lag shit it causes, so stay away from it.

    Just my opinions.

    • jimm3uller says:

      Yeah, sorry to've praised Safari earlier without mentioning this: Safari is bloated beyond belief. This seems to be much better, but still sucky, under 10.4, or maybe it's just because now my basic news-read Bookmark is 20 tabs instead of the 50 I was reading last month -- but in any case it's much more of a hog than Firefox.

  21. For IM, I just use Psi, a simple Jabber-only client. I talk to users on AIM, Yahoo! and MSN through Jabber transports. I don't get half the "features" of those networks, but on the plus side, I don't get half the "features" of those networks. The only one I might miss is file transfers, but that's not a feature I ever really used.

    Plus I get to do OpenPGP goodness over Jabber, which is useful when working from home and discussing confidential stuff with my boss.

  22. stilkov says:

    You absolutely must take a look at Omniweb as an alternative browser, simply because it's the best thing any human has ever used to browse the Web.

  23. _brute_ says:

    Hi Jamie,
    I'm going to put a plug in for my client jIRCii. Fully scriptable, developed on OS X, and ah hrmf, it does stuff. Its kind of a cross between a GUI client and a console client. If you have ever heard of and/or remember the OpenChat project its kind of in that vein.

  24. jrust says:

    I choose Safari over Firefox mainly because my browser needs are fairly simple. I find that Safari loads much quicker than Firefox, although both are incredibly stable.

    I just tried switching from iChat to Adium a week ago or so, and while it's nice that it integrates more than just AIM, I really can't stand it. Simple things like file transfers don't seem to work for me, depending on what client the other person is using. While some features of it are interesting, the fact that I can't perform what I view as simple tasks is enough to make me not want to use it.

    I LOVE Mail.app. I've never had a complaint about it. I also have never used Thunderbird - namely because I've just never found a reason to try anything else when I'm so happy with what I presently have.

    For the most part, I tend to stand by the programs that my Mac came with. (Except Font Book. Jesus, I hate font book.) They always feel more stable to me, and the features that I genuinely need as a user are easy to use and intuitive. I switched about two years ago or so and have had very few complaints.

  25. jsbowden says:

    I use plain vanilla ircii in an xterm and since I'm stuck on a wintel machine at ork, I just use AIM as distributed by your former employer.

  26. nrr says:

    From what I can tell, almost everything that you've come to know and love (yes, that's said tongue-in-cheek) like XChat and Firefox will run just fine on OS X, whether through the abomination to fucking mankind known as X11 or through native means.

    As far as mail goes, I swear by Mutt, but I've been known to use Thunderbird at work to keep from scaring the suit types. It really isn't that bad once I manage to get around the fact that I'm not able to fork gvim to use as my editor and that I'm not able just to go up and edit headers manually if I see fit.

    ... and Adium is just no contest. If you're using Gaim now, Adium should be nothing special, and it has (well, er, had, last I checked) something up on iChat, just like Gaim: multiple protocol support. Just in case you seek to expand your horizons and snag up all of the "yes that jwz" accounts possible.

  27. kaseijin says:

    I use Colloquy for IRC. Pimp My Safari might help your Firefox withdrawal.

  28. grahams says:

    Browsers: I use Firefox for many of the same reasons you cite (Extensions like Adblock, Bugmenot, etc) but it could be a bit snappier under OSX. Safari is just missing too much for me to use it on a regular basis. Same applies for just about every other non-Firefox browser.

    Mail: I just switched to Mail.app this past week after a decade or so of unix commandline clients (elm to pine to mutt).... Overall the switch was pretty painless, it imported my 500+ mbox archive files successfully (80ish MB of mail), and now I can use Spotlight to search my mail, which is pretty nice. In the grand scheme of things, however, I am probably not yet the most adept user of GUI mail programs, so YMMV. The GPG extension seems to work quite well, and is fairly option-rich without being annoying.

    AIM: I rarely use AIM, but when I do iChat is my client. I can't vouch for others, and I try to never actually run iChat because I find AIM terribly distracting, but when I need to talk to friends abroad, etc, I whip it out... It is pretty non-intrusive.

    IRC: I gave up on IRC years ago, but when I was laid up in my apartment for two months with my broken leg, I did jump on IRC from time to time using the Chatzilla extension for Firefox.

  29. karyn says:

    i use firefox, PINE for email, i don't IRC and i use trillian for aim/msn/yahoo.

  30. jerronimo says:

    I used to use MH and Pine to read email, but switched to Mail.app when i got OS X and havent looked back since. It's really quite good.

    For IRC, I have a box at work (solaris) where I run a few instances of IrcII in Screen. I like IrcII... sure it's ancient, but it works. I add new "windows" on it for new channels /window new ^x-n to change etc. and when I want to use different servers, i just create another screen and run another IrcII there. I can then just detach the screen session, and reconnect elsewhere. I just SSH over to that machine from wherever I am, whether it be logged in on the console of that machine or from terminal on OS X on my laptop. It ends up being very convenient.

    One neat thing is that if there is a weblink in a terminal window, without extra crap right on it, ie: http://google.com but not +http://google.com etc, then you can command-click (or is it double-click) to open it up in your defined web browser. (I use Safari for that. I used to use OmniWeb, but safari was much faster, and is free. OmniWeb added an interesting way to do history and such. It's worth checking out.)

  31. I use some odd Carbonized version of ShadowIRC mainly because its got the minimalistest ui I've seen. Its still in development and the newer releases are pretty much broke though. The version I have might be broke in some ways, but all I do is chat and that part works fine.

  32. cetan says:

    AIM: Trillian Pro. Wonderful software that I'm happy to support by buying the pro version. I don't really use many of the "pro" features. The free one works just as well.

    IRC: SSH + SCREEN + IRSSI == all my IRC needs. My needs are basic and I'm only in 3 channels on one server. IRSSI, by all accounts, is what a real IRC client is supposed to be.

  33. nester says:

    Firefox for browsing.. Trillian for AIM (windows user)

    I still SSH in to check my mail, and irc.. (pine and irssi)

  34. britgeekgrrl says:

    Using DeadAiM for AIM

    Using mIRC for IRC chat.

  35. I tend to ssh to my server and use mutt for mail, irssi for IRC, and I use bitlbee to put my aim/crap into an IRC window. Old school, but I'm really not a fan of GUI programs overall. I'm also a vim user, so...

  36. I prefer Fire for AIM. Yeah, it's open source, but the lead developer(s?) is/are old NeXT guys, so they have a decent sensitivity to UI design. Every time a new feature comes out, the developers list has UI mock-ups flying back and forth discussing the right way to integrate it.

    Mail.app is the only IMAP client I've seen that doesn't suck. You may wish to give it a try, for that twenty-second century mail reading experience.

  37. kchrist says:

    I prefer Firefox over Safari for web browsing because I don't want to give up a number of extensions I use (mainly Adblock, Flashblock, and Web Developer). I prefer Apple Mail over Thunderbird because it's a nicer client in almost every way. I use TB on Windows at work and constantly wish I had a Mac so I could manage my mail in a sensible way. I'm not very familiar with the technical ins-and-outs of IMAP, but the Apple Mail implementation seems to Not Suck. I haven't had any problems related to it. I use iChat for AIM and Jabber because, with the menu bar icon/menu, it's very convenient. It also Doesn't Suck (except sometimes).

    I've opted to stop using IRC (although I sometimes do miss it), but I keep a client around just in case. For this I use (for extremely rare values of 'use') Snak. It seems ok, but I don't have any particular emotional attachment to it.

  38. luminalflux says:

    I've bought the IMAP religion, so Mail.app works great with me. Bonus points for Just Working with Kerberos on the first try.

    IRC: epic4 in a screen on another machine.

    IM: rxtelnet to a sun box to run Gaim (the mac's at school don't run Zephyr)

  39. riffraff says:

    firefox for browsing.

    no opinion on mail (i use gmail these days -- i used to use mutt).

    adium for chat, for its customizability and extensibility.

    screen+your favorite textmode irc client due to flexibility and, i'm assuming, familiarity (since you likely already have a loyalty to a textmode client); or snak for a gui irc client, mostly owing to its ease of use.

  40. yakko says:

    For the browser, I couldn't get away from Firefox's features (the ability to make all cookies session-only is a big one) to cut over to Safari. The various extensions available will also keep me firmly planted in Firefox territory.

    For mail, I still use mutt since it allows me to read my mail from anywhere via ssh, but I handle my less-important accounts via thunderbird. Mail.app is fine, but I had a bad feeling I'd be disappointed with Tiger's UI enhancements, so am trying tbird now. So far so good, but I get way less mail than you do, I'm sure.

    For AIM, I use Fire simply because it handles multiple services.

    For IRC, I use xchat under X11 and EPIC4 in a screen. I tried the Aqua port of xchat, but it seems to crash too often.

  41. equiraptor says:

    For a web browser: I voted for Safari, and I recommend it to most people I know on Macs, simply because the latest version of Java works in Safari and doesn't with Firefox (at least the last time I heard). If you don't mind opening another browser when you need Java, that's not a big deal. But people have had speed problems, and a few other things, with Firefox on some Macs. Camino does not seem to be the best solution - it uses Gecko as does Firefox, and it's only real advantage over Firefox is the more "Mac-like" interface. Since you're coming from using Firefox elsewhere, this isn't a large advantage.

    Mail: I voted Mail.app. My mother can use it with ease, and <lj user="nugget"> enjoys using it. They have very different computer and mail needs - my mother doesn't know how to plug in a computer, and Nugget is a computer geek. If it appeals to both of them, chances are it appeals to a rather broad segment of the population and works quite well. I'm not sure how either Thunderbird or Mail.app would fit your needs - I use IMAP nearly exclusively.

    AIM: Yet again, iChat is something my mother uses with ease and that Nugget enjoys using (it's amazing how frequently that seems to be true with the Mac and applications from Apple). I suppose I'm not really the best judge because I've never heard of (or never paid attention to hearing of) Adium. I use bitlbee on irssi in screen on a server.

    IRC: If you want a GUI, XChat. If you don't need a GUI or would like to try something else, irssi is a great command line client. I leave it running in a screen session all the time, giving me constant access to IRC and everything that's happened while I'm away (though I don't read all the scrollback, I like having the option). I don't know anyone with a computer that can access the Internet and can't handle being an ssh client in some fashion, so I can reach my IRC from anywhere. Since I use it as a main form of communication with most of my friends, this is very important to me.

  42. mfisher says:

    For AIM, I use TNT, which conveniently runs in XEmacs (in a screen session on a computer I ssh into).

  43. colubra says:

    I m'self am quite happy with Trillian for AIM and IRC.

  44. nyankolove says:

    i use snak for irc, though i'm sure there's something better. but i haven't really done irc for a couple years either...

  45. g_na says:

    Safari has issues, both with security and not having some of the functionality I'm used to with Mozilla. (Although Firefox has some of those issues as well, like not stopping animated gifs. I like Mozilla best.)

    I've always been a fan of IRCII for a client. (Then again, I've always been a fan of Pine for email, and just moved away from that after using it for 13 or so years.)

    • kchrist says:

      Firefox has some of those issues as well, like not stopping animated gifs

      Type "about:config" into your Firefox URL field and search for "image.animation_mode". Double click the search result and change the value to "once" (sans quotes). Abracadabra!

  46. evan says:

    I've been on a "just have it work for me" kick lately, so to fill in the "other":

    Chat is a waste of time, so no IRC or AIM.

    I've grudgingly switched to gmail, and I'm pretty much converted. Three reasons:
    - The archive/search model is a different way to deal with email, and I think it's superior. Before I was always afraid of deleting something that I might need in the future, so I'd dutifully file away important messages in a "save" mailbox but I tried to keep it relatively empty because it was hard to find things. Now I just archive anything that doesn't need a response because I know I can find it again (search hotkey is slash, like firefox's search).
    - Always accessible wherever there's an internet connection and web browser. Much faster than ssh and much easier to quickly setup/teardown than IMAP.
    - It just works. I don't stop receiving mail because /var has filled up, 'cause there are people paid to make sure that doesn't happen.

    • fgmr says:

      I have to admit I'm (mostly) happily using gmail for my personal mail, now. I started trying it purely for dogfood reasons; I was sure I was going to hate it because I really disliked the idea of "webmail."

      But its spam filtering ended up being better than what my ISP provided plus what I could be bothered keeping up with. ("I don't want to sysadmin my house, I just want to read my mail.") I started liking that I could pull things up by searching for them .. it was less effort. And I really like its way of collapsing threads, highlighting what's new, and removing duplicate text. That's what has let me keep up with some mailing lists that have huge long threads.

      The only thing I don't like is that I want to keep using my own personal domain, and that's not really supported yet.. makes posting to mailing lists a pain.

      For *work* mail, however, I'm still using communicator 4.8x and pop3, because of my 20kB javascript mailfilter code. I would *like* to drink the imap koolaid, but I haven't yet written the imap server that can filter mail the way I'd like it to. (And obviously I haven't found an existing one.)

      FWIW it seems that gmail has a pretty lightweight protocol, which turned out to be handy when a bus full of people are all trying to share one cellphone-based uplink.

      • jwz says:

        Same question to you as to Evan: are you not filled with The Fear because you are not in physical posession of the media on which your mail lives?

        • fgmr says:

          Most of my mail is sent to my real domain, which forwards it to gmail. (Gmail lets me set my reply-to, which is nice, though not yet the actual from, which is dumb.) My procmail setup at my ISP keeps a copy locally, and forwards a copy to gmail.

          Some stuff does come in directly to my gmail address, and gmail's spam filtering is better, so at some point I'll probably flip it around and have a program use pop to copy the mail from gmail to a local file. Just haven't gotten around to it.

        • rm76 says:

          You can setup a g-mail rule to forward all mail to any address you like.... Plus it has pop3 access.

    • jwz says:

      Doesn't it freak you the fuck out to not be in physical posession of the disk on which your email lives? That would make my head explode. Or do you back it up somehow?

      Also, I can't hear "webmail" without thinking "secret subpoena". It's the principle of the thing.

      • rrm3 says:

        You can have gmail forward copies of your mail to another address for easy backup.

        • johnreen says:



          Does it forward a copy of the subpoena (secret or otherwise), too?

          Google: Do no evil*.

          *Where "evil" is defined as "anything which minimizes shareholder value."

      • evan says:

        Agreed on both counts. But the disk of the computer on which my email half-lived* died.

        Somehow I can't get myself riled up enough to care about either. I think losing** my main hard drive (like, with every picture I had, memories dating back to high school) made me suddenly detach from my data.

        It probably helps that work consumes so much computer-facing time that I don't really read much email anymore.

        * I was using OfflineIMAP to sync with the mail server, so I had a "backup" at the original server.
        ** Had RAID, didn't do it right. The drive is still right here next to me, waiting to be taken to data recovery.

      • vordark says:

        You're probably not going to entertain this strange notion, but on the off-chance some small part of you tries to rationalize it and you seek to become one of Those People...

        Do not, under ANY circumstances use web-based email. Please! I've written web front ends to ancient mail packages, I've installed/admined web front ends to ancient mail packages, I've installed/admined "Total Email Solutions" for both intranet and internet usage and I've used just about every web-based email service that exists today.

        Every one of them has fucked me in one way or another. I've had quotas run over from bad virus-related bouncing (you know, that shit you've ranted about at least once before). I've had mail messages randomly move between folders. I've had my entire address book disappear. I've had whole folders inexplicably uncreate themselves (all the messages moved back to my inbox and the folder went away). And this is just what I encountered with Yahoo, Lycos and Hotmail (back in the day).

        I'm sure it's much better now, and I'm sure gmail is the bee's knees. But for god's sake man don't take the risk!

        Also, on every package/service I have ever seen you cannot format how your messages will be sent out. Columns wrap all wrongly (or just leave it totally up to the mail reader at the end), you might not get the choice of HTML vs. text, etc. I distinctively remember sending you an email message regarding something xscreensaver spat out at me and receiving a "That's nice, but your mail program fucked what you just sent me you fucking fucktard" sort of message back from you. That was webmail in action!

        And finally, what is to stop your webmail service from saying "Gee, I'll sell the contents of his address book to this marketing firm!" I mean, a "secret subpoena" is one thing, but have you read the privacy policies for some of these places?

        Sorry for the whacked out rant, but anyone that says "web-based email" like it's a good thing just pisses me off. Other people might have great results with whatever service/program they use. Me, I have never enjoyed the experience.

        • violentbloom says:

          "secret subpoena"? was there anything secret about it? dear microsoft please read all my email while I grab my ankles.
          Anyway so after that I learned to delete my old email.

          And with gmail at least I can read my email from any machine I happen to be working on, and that's just real nice. Though yeah they could steal my email addresses. presumably people do that all the time, that's why I get so much damn spam.

          It's all transient. Nothing about life is permanant, it's easier if you don't struggle so much. And who really cares what email I sent 5 years ago. If it was important, you'd still remember. Strange Days.

          Also I've been using fire for chat it's okay... has a pretty icon

          • jwz says:

            My email is how I remember what happened five years ago. It's my brain's expansion pack!

            • violentbloom says:

              I was afraid you were going to say that.
              Is that also how you remember song names? Cause I'm still hopeless at that now that I don't have your brain on tap.
              My past has become very blurry...though I also have bacteria crawling around in my brain which isn't helping anything.
              I forgot how old I was about a month ago which was freakish.

  47. srattus says:

    IM - gaim + gaim-encrypt
    IRC - bx via ssh still. I should really stop using bx sometime.

  48. alanablue says:

    I use Firefox for personal browsing and safari for links others send me...I am especially good at crashing both.

    I use pine to read email. Terminal wasn't good enough so I am currently using Iterm...that is also the case for IRC/MU*.

    I use Adium most of the time for IM's because I occasionally need to log into MSN/Yahoo/ICQ, but always have to switch to Ichat for file transfers. Both still suck. Last year, Ichat would crash on me if I had more than 4 chat windows open (BTW the tabs don't work for me because I need to be able to read a msg and be typing a response to someone in another window). The upside to Adium is, if you bitch, the dev ppl do listen and make changes as new releases come out.

    Good luck.

  49. I run Windows XP as my desktop environment and run a Debian sarge server.
    I submitted the poll, but I'll run down here since some of them I said 'other'. As a side note, god damn a lot of people take your polls. :)

    Browsing: Firefox.
    Email: Thunderbird for client, accessing uw-imapd on my server. What don't you like about Thunderbird's IMAP handling?
    IM: gAIM. Of all the GTK apps I've tried to run on Windows, this is one that actually works and works quite well. I used Trillian for many a moon but gAIM works quite a bit better. Imagine that, OSS with less bugs than commercial software.
    IRC: BitchX from the console of my server via ssh. Best IRC client in the whole damn world.

  50. taffer says:

    Firefox and Thunderbird, because I use them everywhere else; easier to transfer bookmarks and whatnot all over the place. I tried switching to Safari for a while, and things annoyed me, probably because I'm too used to Firebird. I've never used Mail.app.

    iChat, mostly because I almost never use AIM; I'm one of those bozos who got hooked up on "Windows Messenger" after installing XP.

    For IRC, I've been using Colloquy. It hooks up with Growl (a notification do-hickey) in a nice way.

  51. mark242 says:

    Browser: Safari. Native widgets. Better handling of bookmarks.

    Mail: I second the recommendation of Mail.app. I use it to view my IMAPS mailbox and it performs very well once you do the little dance of importing your self-signed SSL cert from the server onto your machine. The antispam features make it far, far better than anything else I've run into.

    AIM: iChat. Menubar integration, audio, video (if you want to act like you're 12 years old).

    IRC: Colloquy (I don't get the spelling, but hey, whatever). Native widgets, good performance.

  52. dexander says:

    I use several browsers. My main browser is Opera for a large number of reasons (CSS control, more can be done directly from the keyboard, many options are individually settable on each tab). I fall back to Safari if I have compatibility issues.

    For mail I use xemacs (specifically gnus). Currently my main mail is at work which is still Linux. I have some simple hacks that let me easily send stuff it can't handle natively to programs that can.
    I have yet to port these to OS X version of emacs. I may just decide to punt and run xemacs in the X server on my Powerbook. There is just too much power in emacs not to have it available when editing mail.

    I use Psi with a Jabber server with various transports for IM. I use IRC once in a blue moon and can't recall at the moment whether there is an IRC transport. My guess would be yes.

  53. eaterofhands says:

    Sadly I use two browsers, Firefox and Safari. Safari feels faster under Tiger than Firefox, but that could be wishful thinking. Being a UW employee I've been brainwashed to use IMAP. Mail.app is okay, but has issues with very large multi folder remote mailboxes. I've heard that Thunderbird is much better.

    I try sticking w/ Apple's apps mostly because I like integration between them. Its so nice when the unfun things "just work".

  54. rnp says:

    I use Conversation for IRC; but I'm not a hardcore IRC guy - in fact, I used it just long enough to find out wtf was going on with btefnet and then stopped.

  55. hober says:

    Gnus for mail, ERC for IRC.

  56. I use Trillian for AIM, etc.

  57. jpallan says:

    Regarding web browsers, Safari is faster, but FireFox has better extensions. Or, to be more specific, FireFox has extensions, period.

    IRC is why I commented -- while I run irssi in screen, I can highly recommend Snak. Colloquy is crashy and also is entirely too goddamn cutesy. When I'm sitting in #swhack on irc.freenode.net, I do not need little thought bubbles. Sorry. I loved X-Chat on Linux, but as I tend to switch between machines, I prefer to run everything possible in screen.

  58. solios says:

    I use Safari for day-to-day bullshit and Firefox for anything that needs a login remembered. I also use firefox for art surfing (read : porn) but I think the 1997-era download manager fucking bites so I use Safari for downloading things that aren't easily wgetable. Each browser is good at some things and less good at others, so rather than just pick one and go with it, I use each one for what they're best at.

    Mail.app bites. It's up there with the dock and the finder in terms of sheer unmitigated ass. Thunderbird sucks less but it's still shit. My preferred email client is still Outlook Express running in Classic. It's faster than either and isn't horribly broken in new and exciting ways with every release. If you care about mail, stick with your Netscape solution.

    For IM, iChat works for file exchange and has the AV thing going on, both of which are handy. Adium kicks ass in every other respect, specifically the tabbed interface - IM down to just two windows- contacts and content. The UI is also pretty damned customizeable, which is something iChat isn't.

    I've used irssi through screen as my IRC client for the last four years. Trying anything else has been a waste of my time.

  59. keithkml says:

    I haven't decided about Safari vs. Firefox yet. I miss NukeAnything and incremental search. However, Safari is faster than Firefox and it has a nicer UI for most things, and already I've had a few experiences where some huge annoying bug in Firefox isn't in Safari. Also, Safari RSS is just good enough to be usable.

    In my opinion, Mail.app beats Thunderbird at least 5 times over. Thunderbird sucks in 1000 ways, and Mail only sucks in maybe 5 of those ways. Mail.app is faster. It's much nicer to you about errors (for example, it offers to send with a different SMTP server if you send email and the server is down, where Thunderbird pops up a dialog box with an "OK" button and a paragraph of text). Mail.app is the first IMAP client I've used that works quickly and well.

    Adium has bugs, and annoyances, and it doesn't support file transfer from behind a firewall, but I think it looks nicer than Adium. If you use multiple AIM services then it's probably your only reasonable choice. Otherwise it's about how it looks.

    Colloquy is a nice IRC client, but maybe not for an IRC junkie. I wrote a 20,000 line IRC script for Xircon a few years ago in high school, but now I like simpler clients and Colloquy is a good simple client.

  60. causticjb says:

    I've used IRSSI for a while now. The system is simple, scripting is cake, and there are various other plugins to handle things. Scripting for it is done in perl, so it has a pretty powerful perl engine built in. To top it off, it does compile just fine under OSX, but it lacks a pretty aqua interface and is just a terminal application (terminal.app works fine with it).

    IMAP, on the other hand, is why I stopped using PINE. I do access mail from home, my handheld phone, and from various work places. Because of Dovecot, I've got a simple privledge separated server, with SSL. A little hacking provided TLS/SSL'd SMTP AUTH with sendmail on port 25 and 587. I've yet to have any problems with it. Yes, most clients do suck. KDE's KMAIL has been good, thunderbird has been a major dissapointment so far; given your use of NS 3 for mail, you may not mind it.

  61. devnevyn says:

    For AIM, Adium is great. Proteus was great, but it has become buggy and stuff. Go with Adium. Yeah.

    For IRC, Colloquy is nice if you can pronounce it, except that the WebKit rendering isn't great when there's a lot of text. I used to love Snak, but then came OS X and Snak didn't really adapt...

    Oh! If you use Safari, you need Sogudi.

  62. hepkitten says:

    i use mutt for mail and irssi for email which i get via Terminal. So I am kinda useless on the mail app and irc app question, but I like being able to still hit my screened programs from my hiptop.

  63. decibel45 says:

    IRC: irssi
    MAIL: mutt, though at some point I'll probably break down and setup IMAP so I can use Mail.app.

  64. nberry says:

    I want so badly to like Firefox under Mac OS X, but it's slower, doesn't recognize up/down keys in input text fields (to jump to the beginning/end of the field). Even though Safari has the pretty RSS viewer, Firefox has the Adblock extension.

    I'm about to give up on Thunderbird under Linux and wish Apple's Mail were available. It's fast, has a clean design and I'm happy with how it plays with IMAP.

    When I first started out with Mac OS X, I used Proteus (mutli-medium chat app), but since the development has changed to DefaultWare, the response from the coders seems to have almost halted. Adium is buggy, cool, but buggy. iChat is nice, simple, integrates with audio/video chat seemlessly, I gave up on fighting.

    Regarding IRC, I was a die hard IRCle fan 10 years back and they've kept up with an OS X client. You could be hardcore and run Xchat or BitchX, but give IRCle a try (if you don't give up on IRC all together).

  65. ellyjonez says:

    I have been using *pine* for 10 years for gargantuan volumes of mail. Even at jobs I would forward my stuff to text based email, if I could. Just this year I started using Thunderbird, and I have to say, it's fucking awesome. I don't have a lot of attention to detail about features or feature comparisons with other mail clients. I just know that the interface and features are compatible with someone like me. That is, someone who was really a luddite about their email client. I use it with IMAP to read EFF mail from home and work. It can be a bit slow, since it's IMAP, but it's an overwhelmingly satisfying experience.

    Adium sucked last time I used it. The tabbed windowing is a great idea, but it's pretty incompatible with other people's clients, and doing things like sharing pictures and files didn't work. ichat is really neat, especially if you have video/audio. it's a small thing, but the interface for assigning a new buddy icon (and resizing it) is really nice.

    I logged off EFNet like six years ago and I'm way happier. A couple of weeks ago I logged off ICB and now I'm even better. YMMV.

  66. raindrift says:

    I've always liked Fire for aim and irc. It's also nice to have them both in the same place...

  67. drbrain says:

    I'd really, really, really like to use Firefox on the Mac. I'm even a listed contributor!

    But it feels too un-Mac-like for my use.

    In most apps, you hit cmd-left/right-arrow (occasionally shift!) to switch between tabs, but not on Firefox! Instead it is cmd-pgup/pgdn, which is a torturous keyboard combination to hit on my powerbook.

    It doesn't integrate with Keychain.

    None of the widgets look Mac-ish.

    It uses more memory than Safari, so feels slower on my machine.

    I'd really like to use OmniWeb, but it has become too slow since I upgraded to Tiger. More RAM should be coming for my machine any day now, so maybe I can switch back. Since both integrate with keychain, I won't have to re-enter any of my passwords!

  68. fgmr says:

    I had been using mozilla (when I couldn't use netscape), but I just discovered the greasemonkey extension to firefox, which allows you to apply little scripts to webpages before they're displayed. Fixing colors, adding links, hiding sections; very nice. The platypus extension promises to help the creation of these scripts (so you can just mouse around the page, say "hide this" and "create script"), but I've only played with it for about thirty seconds.

  69. terryray says:

    But first, just to get it out of the way: my only "other" vote was for IRC; I use Colloquy.

    For mail I use Mail.app. It works well for all the things I care about. As an extra special bonus, as of 10.4 it stores things in the mh-style "one file per message" format. They probably did this to better leverage Spotlight, but I like to believe they simply did it to make me feel better after losing that argument with you a decade ago.

    Mail.app even has the beginnings of intertwingley things: it has a "smart folder", which lets you dynamically generate a folder based on search criterea. Too bad it's so damned sluggish.

    Over the years, I think I've tried all of these methods for handling mail from multiple places:

    - NFS. Oh my God.

    - Keep things on the POP server. Completely unacceptable, for tons of reasons that you already know.

    - Run mail reader over X11. This is OK, but it depends too much on the quality of your network connection and/or on efficient use of the X11 protocol. Also, I don't like any of the X11-capable mail readers as much as Mail.app (but then again, I don't have your Netscape 3.02)

    - IMAP. I think Mail.app is actually an OK IMAP client (but I'm not sure, see below)

    - Use a laptop for mail reading. Store your mail locally on the laptop, backing it up regularly somewhere else. Always have your laptop with you. That way, you can read from multiple *places* without having to read from multiple *computers*.

    The last one is the only solution I've ever really liked. I have a deep suspicion that you have already decided it doesn't work for you.

    It's hard for me to judge LDAP on Mail.app because I *only* use it from my laptop. Mail.app seems to do a fine job of caching everything from my work LDAP server locally, so it all seems as zippy as my home email (for which I use POP). If I was doing it on multiple machines, I might feel more pain as it tries to catch up its local caches to the changes that were made to the other machine. Or it might do fine. My guess is that it will do just great as long as both machines are connected to the LDAP server 24 hours a day.

    • jwz says:

      As you probably can guess, I have this gut-level terror at letting some program convert my mail into something other than BSD mbox files. Your thoughts on this w.r.t. Mail.app? Are there ungreppable binary blobs involved, or did they do something sane?

      Let's say I went totally nutso and decided to install an IMAP server on my headless Linux machine, and use Mail.app to talk to that. Is that sensible? Would Spotlight still work? Would that result in two copies of every message, one on the Mac and one on the server? And which IMAP server software has less bugs than the insect wing of the Smithsonian?

      • terryray says:

        The file format looks sane. Basically one file per message (which is exactly what you would expect, except for an extra first line that has nothing but a mysterious number in it, I think it's message body size), plus some directory structures and stuff. I'm sure they have binary "summary files" somewhere, but they're not in the obvious place, and I haven't looked very hard for them elsewhere.

        I think the file format may be a standard. I remember seeing a few years back some reference to a new standard way of storing messages that looked pretty mh like, but I never learned anything about it in detail.

        One thing that surprises me is that I don't see a "export to standard mbox" option anywhere. I'm pretty sure it would be dirt simple to write one, but I also would've thought they would provide it. Actually, what's really annoying is that if you peruse the help documentation, there's tons of things talking about importing from various other mail programs, but nothing about exporting to them. If you only trusted the help docs, you might think that once in Mail.app, you're stuck for good. But I'm pretty sure it isn't quite that bad.

        If you go "nutso" with IMAP, I think you would be fine. Yes, it will result in two copies of every message, though Mail.app will be usable (if sometimes slow) before it gets that far. Yes, Spotlight seems to work fine with my IMAP messages.

        I am clueless as to the state of modern IMAP servers. I have never installed an IMAP server myself.

      • outlawdrake says:

        (I find myself amused and like minded concerning your comments about both being in posession of the disk on which my mail folders live, and anything not-mbox.)

        In order to test various non-mutt mail clients (evolution, thunderbird, gnumail.app, etc.) without them doing nasty things directly to ~/Mail (and avoiding the 'movemail' issues), I recently installed 'dovecot' (http://www.dovecot.org/, though I just installed via Debian pkg) both at home and at work. I like the stated philosophy and guiding principles, and it Just Worked for me -- I didn't need to do anything at all to get it to find my mail folders, and it's relatively fast.

        I can't add anything to your poll, since I haven't yet Switched (having much better success with (Debian) Linux than you did), so I'll just leave it at that.

      • wfaulk says:

        Personally, I prefer Cyrus for IMAP servers. UW-IMAPd just feels very kludgey and also requires a Unix account for every mail user (somewhere in the back of my mind I feel like someone's going to tell me that that's changed), but that may not be an issue for you. Cyrus has its own mailstore (a 1:1 message-to-file ratio thing plus some metadata in separate files), but any half-decent IMAP client should be able to read your mbox files and toss the contents at the IMAP server. You could then (obviously) archive off your mbox files just in case.

        On the other hand, Cyrus fails the easy-to-set-up test; it Just Works after that, though.

  70. defenestr8r says:

    AIM=proteus. it's like trillian for mac.

  71. spikenheimer says:

    oh, i'm still on 10.3.9 and will be upping to tiger in a week or two. i doubt that will change much but i've heard that safari on tiger is much improved.

    I actually usually am running Safari and one other browser. but Safari is my main internet heroin needle. (why 2? i have been working on a website where its nice to be logged in on one browser, and a 'guest' user on another. also there are some sites that i've been surfing via firefox that i let firefox capture the login info w so its just easier.
    why do i prefer safari? Even with its occasional lockups and spinning beach balls of doom? because its cocoa. I love firefox. i love all the freakin things it does. i love its speed (actually the DeerPark alpha is even faster i think...) but it is a carbon app. and while this doesnt matter to me most of the time, there are times that it does. i'm a big fan of the Services menu item and while i dont use it as much as i probably should, i do like its concept. and theres something about how cocoa apps seem much more responsive and better at memory management. (firefox also seems to leak memory like a sieve and occasionally for no reason it starts spinning away with the cpu. ) if they were to take camino (the cocoa port of firefox) and add in the ability to stop animated gifs, and basically lots of the other firefoxian things, i would be all over it. but... its still lacking in meeting my demands.

    moving on from the web to mail, i have to say i am an anomoly w/ mail. i abuse IMAP. i have like 6 accounts i check, and then i have a local server running imap that i save all my mail to from everywhere. mail.app works really well and it has nice cocoa service stuff that i use. the one downside i've found is for a few domains i own, mail originating from mail.app going to hotmail gets immediately tagged as spam. but if i use any other smtp client through the same isp it goes through fine. i'm hoping that a tiger upgrade of mail.app will fix this.

    adium? adium is the bomb. it has minor things likek you cant paste media into the messages like you can with ichat, but its far and away one of the better multi-protocol chat clients. ichat is still used on my box w/ my .mac account, and i've also noticed that w/ my network setup (i'm still using an ancient linux system as my firewall - its so old its ipfwadm...) ichat has no problems sending files / images back and forth. adium still is a bit wonky that regards with me. but that is probably more my olde tyme firewall...

    xchat. well i barely use irc. but i like how xchat looks and feels.

  72. catenoid says:

    I used Safari because it updates with the OS, Fire for multiprotocol IM, and xchat for IRC. I recall not liking Mail.app's keyboard selection of multiple messages. It might have changed. Fire and xchat are both flawed but work.

  73. gwillen says:

    Adium, for two rather conflicting reasons:

    1) Because I think it beats iChat by a wide margin. Although I admit I haven't looked at iChat since I switched, which was back in 10.2.

    2) Because maybe if _you_ report the bugs instead of me they'll believe you.

  74. voidrandom says:

    Browser: Firefox or Camino. I use Mozilla, but that's because I like (read: am very used to) the mail client and if I use the browser as well that's one less thing to have running. But Mozilla may be going away soon, so I'm going to have to switch. Firefox has all of the goodies you identified as useful, Camino integrates much better with the OS, including ColourSync.

    Mail: Mail.app integrates better with the rest of the OS, but I've never felt comfortable in it. I've found the IMAP support in Mozilla to work well for me. I'll probably end up using Thunderbird after Mozilla Suite finally stops updating. BTW, what religious objections do you have to IMAP?

    AIM: Fire. Multi-protocol, stable and it does light duty IRC.

    IRC: When I find I want to use full on IRC, I use XChat Aqua. Stable, aqua-ized and supports plug in modules.

  75. I answered "other" for AIM: Use Fire.app.

    I answered "other" for IRC: I use BitchX from a Linux box over SSH and don't know anything about either of your other listed options.

  76. emagius says:

    Browser: Opera on all platforms
    I switched to Phoenix/Firebird/Firefox a few years ago, but went back to Opera after 7.2x. Using any other browser is just an excercise in frustration as nothing matches Opera's customization, user interface, shortcuts, session management and forward/back/fastforward/rewind/history features. I've tried adding in extensions for Firefox to get some semblence of a usable browser, but those tend to be half-baked at best and slow Firefox down to a crawl (and it's already so much slower than Opera). Recent versions of Safari are pretty nice, however, and if I were too miserly to pay for an Opera license (that works on all supported platforms, now), I'd probably stick to Safari and Mail.app.

    Mail client: Opera on all platforms
    I haven't found another client that's nearly as fast at searching messages or has as nearly as good filtering capabilities. It helps that it integrates nicely with the browser (and Opera's notes panel), of course.

    AIM client: Miranda on MS Windows, naim on *nix, iChat on OS X (sometimes)
    IRC client: Opera on those rare occassions when I bother. I'm not into IRC anymore.

  77. idcmp says:

    I use OpenVPN on machines I sit at, and the tunnel connects to the machine where my mail lives. I run IMAP through the OpenVPN tunnel, and SMTP to send mail (allowing relaying through the VPN IP addresses). OpenVPN works on Mac, Linux and Windows. When I don't have access to my own machine, I run SquirrelMail on the same box that has my mail so I can web-access it as needed.

    I have recipes for configuring OpenVPN clients so as I get new machines (or live in VMware instances), they can connect to the VPN network too.

    I have not yet read the 3.4e+02 other responses to this post.

  78. substitute says:


    Cheap shareware, runs fine, the guy maintains it. Minimum annoyance.

  79. ninjarat says:

    I use Safari + Pith Helmet for regular browsing and such. It does everything I need including dealing with cookies and ads and crap.
    I use Firefox at work for our in-house apps that don't work correctly with Safari (yeah, WTF is up with that, anyway? I've asked....)

    For personal use I use Mail.app. It works better for me than Thunderbird with one exception: thread handling. It handles POP3 and IMAP quite nicely, and it handles multiple accounts more cleanly/intuitively than Thunderbird.
    I use Thunderbird at work only because I like the thread handling better than Mail.app and I get a lot more conversation type mail at work than I do elsewhere.

    I use iChat because I don't use IM much and what little I do use is all on AOL's network. That may change with the Jabber interface.

    X-Chat Aqua. I used to use Colloquy but it crashes on Tiger. That may have been fixed but I'm with X-Chat Aqua now and it works nicely as long as I remove the close boxes from the tabs.

  80. danomite55 says:

    I use Safari primarily because it is fast (for my purposes) and looks and behaves like a Mac application. When you get used to Apple standards, it's hard to use anything with less. I test a lot with Firefox, and I do make good use of the web developer plugin from time-to-time. But Firefox takes bloody forever to load, uses widgets that looks as if they were shit from whatever's left of Motif, and not all standard Mac-keyboard conventions work. And while the page-rendering in Firefox is fast, everything else is slow, particular opening new tabs.

    I use Mail over Thunderbird for similar reasons.

    I've tried Adium, Fire, and Proteus, and while all have some nice features, I find myself always going back to iChat. My primary reason for this is that I do a lot of file transfers over AIM, and iChat seems to be the only client that can do this consistently through firewalls and without crashing (!).

    I'm not a 14 year-old l33t haxx0r, so I don't use IRC.

  81. chanson says:

    I use Safari.app and Mail.app because they work pretty much exactly how I expect Mac OS X applications to work. I don't use the Mozilla-derived tools because emacs and other Mac OS X keybindings don't work the same way that they do in Cocoa apps in them. (For example, in the Firefox address field.) I use iChat so I can do voice and video chat, including multi-party chats.

    For IRC, generally I don't use it. But one great client I found for the times I do is Colloquy.app. It's a native Mac OS X application that has a very slick stylesheet-based interface and supports all the proper Cocoa app behaviors (keybindings, selection behavior, completion, etc.).

  82. sharding says:

    It's already been mentioned many times, but I'll follow directions.

    I answered "other" for AIM, and I use Fire for that. It works. It has never given me a headache (unlike several other IM apps).

  83. Have you made any decisions on browser/email/irc programs?

    You might want to check out fire.app for multiprotocol instant messaging. It doesn't do as much stupid theme crap as adiumX.

  84. jhenrywaugh says:

    Safari and Firefox, but primarily Safari. Have Opera too, but it goes down more than Jenna Jamison. Safari has the edge with native widgets and AS ability (though a good bit of what I setup in AS could be done easier as bookmarklets). Firefox would be fulltime use if I could figure out (I'm sure there is a way) how to make it recognize [delete] as goback like it works in Safari. Also, somebody pointed out the bug when you close a browser window accidentally and you're stuck in a window stub.

    Mail.app, though search is no longer working on my main inbox. I think I accidentally clobbered some ~/Library/Preferences/... data for Mail.app though. It's simple, no frills, but it works, though I spend more time w/gmail or just use terminal to fetch mail from servers.

    iChat, it came pre-setup w/pre-setup audio/video though at work I'm forced to use Skype and I also have Fire installed too.

    IRC, I just don't do IRC a lot and use, *horror*, Mozilla chatZilla for those occasions...

  85. dr_memory says:

    Wow, four pages of comments (some of them even about the things you asked about) and yet nobody, as far as I could see, has mentioned SAFT.

    As long as you can stomach the idea of patching Safari's running memory image (stupid nextstep tricks!), Saft files down and polishes a lot of safari's rough edges. It's not quite a full-on replacement for Firefox+your_personal_favorite_bolus_of_extensions, but at least after installing it hitting cmd-q is no longer the end of the world...

    Oh yeah, my "others":

    IRC: Irssi, mentioned multiple times above, running in a screen session, inside iterm.app.

    AIM: Bitlbee, as one of my irssi sub-windows. Et voila, instant permanent online chat presence on all major networks, which I can detach and reconnect to from wherever.

    I'm also using mutt for mail, but for reasons which I will readily admit are braindead. You need to stop worrying and love the bombIMAP server. The trick to IMAP, as noted above, is to avoid UW-IMAPd like the horrid plague it is, and use... well... anything else. I'm personally partial to Courier-IMAP and/or BINC, but Dovecot and Cyrus also have their partisans and seem to be pretty mature. I believe that Cyrus is what Apple ships as the IMAP server in OSX Server, so you can assume that mail.app is well tested against it...

  86. pdx6 says:

    I use the stock OSX apps because they integrate well (though I have my complaints about Mail.App).

    For IRC, I do the same thing I did in Linux:
    Use ssh-agent (i.e. sshkeychain)
    Make a shortcut icon to the command "aterm -fg white -bg black -T irssi -e ssh -t mymachine.com screen -rd irc"

    I'm back in irssi.

    Since I have a laptop that often gets put to sleep, I just double click on the icon when I come back from sleep, and I'm back in IRC. No password, No fuss.

    Doing this with Terminal.App is more ideal, since X11 to OSX copy & paste can get confusing.

  87. mjgardner says:

    • Browser: Safari, though I add the PithHelmet extension for ad-blocking. I tried using the new RSS features for a while, but ended up going back to NetNewsWire for that. At least Safari makes it easy to have a different RSS reader to hand off feeds to.
    • Mail: Apple Mail, does 90% of what I'd want in a mail client. I used to use Microsoft Entourage, but it has its own address book and PIM features that nothing else works with other than Microsoft Office programs, so... eh. The Mail/iCal/Address Book does it for me.
    • (A)IM: Adium, since I don't use voice/video chat, and I have people to talk to on both AIM and Yahoo networks. I know the new iChat has some amount of Jabber support, but it can't actually set up gateways to other services -- you need a real Jabber client for that. And once you've gone that route, well, what's the point of iChat again?
    • IRC: I use Snak, a shareware program that seems to be the only GUI client that will stack several channels one atop the other easily. Sure, I could use a client that puts channels in multiple windows and then manually arrange them, but that's annoying. If the standard Window menu had something for tiling all windows of an application, then I'd consider switching.
  88. I don't have a Mac at home (yet), which is very sad. I'm saving up for one right now, which is good. However, when I'm at school (Binghamton University represent), I use the iMac G5s and PowerMac G4s all over, and I use them quite a lot, perhaps an unhealthy amount of time. (They're the only computers I can stand using as public terminals, too, and the competition would be generic Windows XP boxes and some SunBlades running Slowlaris.)

    For AIM, I use Fire. Some things about it annoy me, but I've gotten used to them, and I like it for the most part. I find iChat to be too different and incompatible with vanilla AIM, and that turns me off for the most part. I generally like my AIM clients to be as much like AIM 4.8/AIM 5.2 (with AIMutation) feature-wise and implementation-wise. Well, without everything I hate about AIM that makes me wish fiery death upon the developers.

    For browsing, I use Firefox. I'm used to Firefox on Windows and Linux, and I love it. When I'm using Safari for some reason, I find myself missing everything you describe. The biggie, though, is the absence of a Ctrl-K shortcut to jump to the Google box. I use that a lot.

    For email, I just use the school's webmail. I've been gravitating towards Mail.app, but still use Thunderbird a lot, because even though it is in every other way a terrible, horrid piece of software, it has the easiest Bayesian filtering around.

    For IRC, I really don't use anything. When I'm at school, I tend to do light chatting on AIM, rather than sitting hunched over my terminal drooling on the keyboard like my 15 year old brother in my basement.

  89. ambar says:

    AIM and IRC (also other IM protocols) Fire.

  90. allartburns says:

    I use "Fire" for AIM/Yahoo messenger. Mail.app is not the best mail program in the world, but it works. I actually prefer Eudora because it has better support for multiple personalities, mbox format, etc.

    No idea what to do for IRC, I kinda stopped using it when I switched to OS X for lack of a good client. I'll be happy to find something new.

  91. charles says:

    Web: Safari. I don't really have any good reason for this beyond the fact it's the default, and does most things I need a web browser to do in a non-annoying way. If there's a bunch of stuff you miss about Firefox, though, the simplest solution would be to use Firefox.

    Mail: Mail.app. I have three machines connected to four different IMAP boxes, and it's remarkably painless. All the mail gets cached locally anyway.

    IM: Adium. It's substantially less annoying than having to run multiple IM clients. If I only used AIM, I'd probably stick with iChat just because it's already there and does everything an IM client should, which means one less piece of software to worry about.

    IRC: I very rarely IRC any more, but when I do, I use Colloquy -- the first GUI client that was pleasant enough to use to convince me to switch from Epic ircii. X-Chat Aqua gives me the screaming shits for some reason,

    I'll assume you've installed Quicksilver already, since any Mac without it feels braindead.

  92. idcmp says:

    There's a defaults(1) command which is something like the gnome preferences stuff, except working. Use defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES and log in/out (or sighup finder). Now, when you hit F12 to go into Dashboard, click and hold on a widget, and while holding, hit F12 again. This will let you drag the widget out of the dashboard and onto your desktop.

    It's handy for calculator and other things that you wanna drag out and put away.

    There's also Dasher, which brings up your dashboard after your system has been idle for a while (but before your screensaver kicks in).

    YMMV, offer not valid where prohibited by law.

  93. I know you said that you aren't crazy about IMAP, partly because you have not seen a non-crappy implementation of it, but part of moving from Linux to Mac OS X (at least in my experience/opinion) is learning to not care about the implementation. I agree that there is no super-wonderful-end-all IMAP server out there that meets all of my needs, but there are ones available that do enough for me to enjoy the benefits of Mail.app.

    Years and years ago I used pine, then I moved to mutt (which I still use often), then Kmail for a couple years, then recently Thunderbird. Mail.app was an application that I was anxious to use when I first bought my Mac.

    After a year and a half of using Mail.app, it's still my favorite. I was annoyed with IMAP as well back when the only choice was uw-imap, but now with BincIMAP, Dovecot, Courier and the others, it isn't as rough as it used to be. It also depends on how many features you really think you need.

    It's funny, for all those years I thought "freedom" meant having the source. But as it turns out "freedom" really means not having to care about the source as long as everything works, like it does on Mac OS X. Anyway, enjoy your newfound freedom.

  94. jieves says:

    I used Firefox until 10.3.9/10.4 because Safari was not usable. Safari made a great leap forward with 10.3.9 and I now use it as my browser of choice.

    I could've used an "Other" for the mail field. Like many responding, I do a lot of remote mail reading in Pine. However, I also have the "mail must be on my disk in mbox format phobia" shared by you and many responders (in fact, it was reading your nerd documents years ago about mail formats that gave it to me). For GUI, account aggregation, and permanent archiving I use a paid version of Eudora 6. I really like Eudora and have since it was a free academic product. It handles multiple accounts well, uses a variant of mbox to the point where you can transfer your mail across platforms and to other mbox-aware clients, and has a lot of nifty built-in features that don't get in the way. It also does a great job with both POP and IMAP. It doesn't seem to be popular among the geek crowd though, probably because the non-ad version is paid and because its user-friendliness is perceived as being contrary to tech-friendliness.

    I don't chat very much, so iChat generally meets my needs, and I never IRC.

  95. I use Safari only because:
    (1) it handles Middle-click correctly (opens a new tab)
    (2) one of my fav page doesn't show up on ffox (http://www.namlive.com/lastnightsparty/pictures.html).

    I do miss the firefox extension called flashblock because I had problems watching heavy flash pages (cpu usage really high; also I'm not running 10.4 but 1.3).

  96. bradleywayne says:

    Emacs bindings. I need them. So I choose Safari over Firefox, which supports the Cocoa keybindings. OSX has a pretty good default set, but they're a bit lacking. Fortunately, you can very easily create new bindings!

    Text System Defaults and Key Bindings

    About halfway down is an excellent example.

  97. reify says:

    Safari - I'm a new Mac user (got a powerbook 2 months ago) and decided to give all the Mac-supplied apps a trial run. Will be switching back to FireFox for BugMeNot, Incremental Search, and what's now a deal-breaker for me: the customizable search keywords ("g foo" for google, "cpan foo", "dict foo", etc) for minimal keystrokes.

    Moderate preference for Adium X. It was easy to configure the GUI to have minimal chrome and screen-space lost to brushed aluminum, and fine-grained customization of event notification. I have friends on the AIM, ICQ, and Yahoo sides, and iChat doesn't do all protocols. Adium seems to be the most nimble at transparently restoring connections after hibernation. Fire regularly gave me beachballs.

    Mail.app for email. The mac is my "second" computer, so a light reader is fine. I'm interested in seeing how the filter-based mailboxes work and it interacts with spotlight. Don't want to bother installing another mail app. I want to spend my time on this computer with gcc and synthesizers, not with office software.

    I can't get multi-site email reading working either. I sat down to "get it right" last month, realized it would require custom coding and a fat internet pipe, gave up. I just leave POP3 and "leave msgs on server unless deleted from trash" after reading from my mac, and re-download them on my main pc. Sad.

    • jwz says:

      I only really communicate with people who use AIM or IRC. (I only rarely go into IRC channels; I mostly use it as IM.) I'm surprised that Adium doesn't do IRC; I used GAIM on Linux (it did AIM and IRC among others) and I was reasonably happy with that.

      I have to say, the only reason I even tried Adium instead of iChat is because I really can't stand the cartoon thought-bubbles. If there was a way to turn that off, I'd just use iChat, but I find them totally offensive. Why don't they just plaster a big pink Hello Kitty on the window already.

      • melorama says:

        "View/Show As Text"


        • jwz says:

          Aha! That's better, thanks. I think I'm still liking Adium more, though.

          • melorama says:

            I'm in agreement. Adium is the mutt's nuts. I have no need for A/V chatting, so iChat doesn't offer much to me.

            As far as the Safari vs. Firefox debate goes, I'm torn. I really want to use Firefox exclusively on OSX, but it's slow and buggy as hell, even on a Dual G5. There are G4 & G5 optimized builds of Firefox available, but they still feel clunky compared to Safari.

            I can't give up my favorite FF extensions, but for day to day browsing, I have naturally settled on Safari with the Saft extension (for better control of tabs--session saving, re-ordering and window consolidation-- and search engine configs) and PithHelmet (for adblocking). I also use CocoaGestures so I can have mouse gestures in Safari. That takes care of 90% of my required browser features, but I keep the G4 optimized build of FF around in my dock for more demanding and important browsing tasks (like downloading porn form Easynews using the Link Toolbar extension and FlashGot download manager extension)

  98. jimm3uller says:

    Safari just barely gets my vote, for its nice display of RSS and PDFs. Firefox has many other advantages -- customizable search box, url box submits entries to I-feel-lucky, url box interprets prespecified prefixes like imdb to mean go to imdb etc, Google Suggest works properly, etc etc -- but i do without.

  99. msjen says:

    Oh my god, how the hell do you have time to read all of these comments??? I just wanted to say that I just filled that out so I could say "Stop using IRC." ;)

  100. omnifarious says:

    I simply do not trust proprietary software. Yes, I know a good portion of the software running my Powerbook is proprietary, and most importantly, the software that's really in control of some important stuff. But, I prefer to reduce my exposure to it as much as possible.

    I'm tempted to run Linux on my Powerbook for just this reason. Running OS X is a compromise of convenience for me. Much like running nVidia drivers on my main Linux workstation.

    Anyway, that's my primary selection criteria for software running on my Mac.

    Also, I use Fire.app for IM on the Mac. I haven't done a LOT of research into good IM tools. So if there is an Open Source one that people think is a lot better than Fire, I'd like to know about it.

  101. zebe says:

    5 pages and counting. I doubt you're still reading, but in case you are:

    Browser: I use Camino on my G4 at home, but Safari on everything else (work etc).

    Mail: Like you, I am stuck in the 20th century and I still use Eudora for email (again, personally). For work, I use Mail.app.

    IM: iChat. I have used Adium in the past, but found the occasional incompatibilities of libgaim with AIM to be annoying. iChat is of course an officially licensed product, so it generally cohabitates a little better.

    IRC: I have been a registered user of ircle since I was a wee lad.

  102. kirinator says:

    Safari just beat Firefox when I took the poll, but my response varies wildly depending on the phase of the moon, and how many vestigial virgin goats I sacrificed last full moon.

    Definitely Mail.app, Thunderbird has promise, but still has a way to go. I've used Mail Stamps to partially fix Mail.app's fugly interface (http://www.andrewescobar.com/mailstamps) - but beauty is subjective, so if you *like* Mail.app in Tiger, well, peace brother ^^;. Don't suppose anyone knows how I can change the sidebar to a less blue colour?

    Adium all the way, man.

    For IRC I use Colloquy right now, but I haven't looked at XChat or the rest of the competition for a while now.

  103. jlindquist says:

    Browser: Firefox. I swear by AdBlock and FlashBlock (there are some bad Flash ads out there,) and middle-click will open-in-new-tab, though you may need the Tabbrowser Preferences extension to make it go. I tend to stick with what works until it annoys me, and I haven't had a need to look at Safari again.

    Mail: Mail.app, though I'm planning to look at Thunderbird this month. Eudora still looks at IMAP as a substitute transport for POP, and takes no advantage of it. I don't need three copies of my mail spools. IMAP may have some overhead, but I think it's really been worth it. I can have both the iBook and the G4 running Mail, be KVM'ed over to the Linux box's console, run Mutt locally against the spools, and it all just works. I keep mutt compiled on the Macs too, just in case I need it, and I'll sometimes run it in the "wrong" window, only to discover that when it asks me for an SMTP AUTH (over SSL) password. I thought I'd need mutt for low-bandwidth connections (14.4 kbps cell links, in a pinch) but Mail performs surprisingly well.

    I recommend dovecot for the IMAP server. It also gives you POP (I could never get qpopper to play nice with SSL,) supports mbox, and it does not require ridiculous spool naming conventions. It lets you put your mail spools wherever you want them. I rotate my spools once a month, so they live at the end of a symlink called ~/Mail/current. The couple of friends that have accounts can live at ~/Mail/ like normal. The "INBOX" spool can be /var/spool/mail/%u or whatever else you want it to be.

    Mail, dovecot, procmail, SpamAssassin, and postfix give me a wonderfully transparent mail environment. Whether I'm plugged into the living room hub, cell-dialed in from a rest stop in the desert, or 802.11 in a hotel, it all works just the same. And God forbid I need to plug my ancient Palm V into the cell to run Palm Eudora (POP only,) that works too.

    Amen and hallelujah to physically owning your mail spools. Between the Reno drug war and the current assclowns, there's been too much asking for warrantless and secret searches. I shouldn't have reason to fear, but if I'm ever wrong, they'll have to knock on the door.

    I don't care about Spotlight. I name and organize my files descriptively, and for mail spools, I have grep.

    IRC: I still run the blackened variant of ircII inside screen, on the Linux box. (Friends like irssi, I haven't had time to try it.) This way, I can use it wherever I am, I do not miss messages while I'm away, and I have context in the group chatter when I return. IRC is how my college crowd stays in daily touch, so it's not going anywhere. Hell, we run our own network...

    AIM: The AOL client when I need it. IM isn't very useful to me without a tty client. No GUI client gives me same benefits I get in my IRC setup. Fire and Adium may be pretty, but they are of no use to me when the iBook is signed on and I'm busy upstairs on the desktop G4. iChat does the Wrong Thing with nicknames, and has too much resource-greedy eye candy.

    You didn't ask, but LiveJournal: I use Phoenix, because I like the interface and feature set, but there is an annoying bug in its text rendering, and it's a CPU hog.

  104. enochsmiles says:

    The UI and performance for Safari seem better to me than Firefox, and while I keep Firefox updated on my TiBook for the few websites that have borked javascript and don't display correctly in Safari (this happens once every two months or so), I find myself only using Safari.

    I used Mail.app for a while for work email, but in OS 10.3 it began performing badly when I was getting large volumes of spam per day. I'm happy with pine for my personal mail.

    I like iChat over Adium for the same sort of reasons I like Safari -- it performs well, and has good UI. But I'm switching to Adium because of the multi-protocol support, and the native OTR support.

    • jwz says:

      The OTR support seems pretty iffy so far; even when talking to other people using Adium, we both have to fuck around a few times before it will sync up, instead of it just turning on automatically.

  105. rm76 says:

    But I think I would try this for irc...

  106. owen says:

    I use Colloquy for IRC. I like it better than X Chat. I never tried anything else.

  107. jchack says:

    Proteus is my chat app of choice

  108. mike3k says:

    I like Snak on the very rare occasions I use IRC, like for live coverage of Stevenotes. I actually prefer Camino (which I'm now using) to both FireFox and Safari.

  109. monoperative says:


    because bitchx sucks and gui clients are for shitfaces

  110. truffle666 says:

    Browser: mostly for consistency I use firefox on mac because I use it on windows. I have the same RSS feeds in the same place. Also safari is ocassionally 'weird'.

    Mail: the os x mail program seems to be a dog or something, thunderbird performs better.

    AIM: iChat is clean and nice. I use Adium for other protocols but it's really kind of lame. Trillian in windows is much nicer. iChat is my favorite chat program.

    IRC: I use an ssh window to run bitchx off my linux box. I have never found a graphical irc client that I actually like.

  111. mbroooks says:

    There's a bugmenot bookmarklet you can install for Safari that partially replaces the Firefox extension. Also Pith Helmet for ad blocking, and there's another plug-in you can get that displays PDFs in-browser quite nicely.

    Eudora for my email, because I am a crank who hates change, and Eudora is still very zippy on my creaky G3 PowerBook. SpamSieve is a very nice Bayesian spam filtering application that works with most Mac mail applications.

    Adium is nice, but some wonky bugs have crept into the .8x builds. Hopefulyl fixed soon.

    And I use Snak for IRC, because it's quick and speedy on my PowerBook, and it keeps nice human-readable log files. I've also got BitchX installed, because it's come in handy.

  112. bneely says:

    I answered "other" for irc: I ssh to a friend's linux server and run epic4 from there.

  113. sirkahless says:

    AIM: I don't use an AIM client, I use MSN for Mac.
    IRC: Irssi so I can SSH into my remote server. Before that I used Colloquy.

  114. daleloco says:

    I use Safari normally and Adium. But I use mutt and irssi for mail and IRC, respectively, and those I usually run on a Linux box, but could run on my PB if I need.