Two Months with aerc

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-07-19 | Last Updated: 2020-07-19

Two months ago I wrote about trying out aerc, a new terminal email client spearheaded by Drew DeVault. After two months of using it as my only mail client, I want to share my thoughts about it and what I’m looking forward to seeing with it.

Since I switched to aerc from NeoMutt, managing and interacting with email has felt a lot more streamlined and easy. That could partially also be because I switched from ProtonMail to self-hosting email at the same time, but aerc also provided advantages such as being able to fully reference other conversations when drafting an email. I’ve also found the default keybindings easy to learn and use and the configuration files are easy to understand and much, much less complicated than NeoMutt’s.

Even though aerc is still well in development, there’s not a whole lot that feels like it’s missing and I’ve only encountered a couple of issues; nothing that would make me stop using the client though.

The most major thing that I can see missing from aerc at the moment is good PGP support. I can receive PGP emails (though I had a few crashes related to them), and signed messages will display a line showing whether or not the message is verified by my keychain, but it is still missing the ability to send PGP-encrypted emails and the integration seems to be in its early stages. This isn’t such a big deal since I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve wanted to send PGP-encrypted emails in my (admittedly short) lifetime and this feature looks like it’s being actively worked on.

The only other major issue that I’ve encountered is the lack of properly updating connection statuses. If I put my computer to sleep and wake it back up again, this will kill aerc’s connection to my email server. However, the bar at the bottom still says “Connected.” and I have to restart aerc to get it to reconnect. This also seems like it’s receiving some attention (at least judging by my brief skims of the mailing lists).

Another feature that I miss coming from NeoMutt is a threaded message view which would be really useful for keeping track of mailing lists. This doesn’t seem like that much of an issue so long as I am on top of my emails, but if I am away for a few days, I could easily see myself coming back to 20 email messages from 3-4 different mailing lists and having a harder time sifting through them.

Overall, it’s been a really good experience and I’m going to keep using aerc into the foreseeable future. I’m glad to have a desktop mail client that integrates well with git, isn’t super complicated, and makes email not feel like a chore to manage.

This is my seventy-fifth post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.