Why I hate gmail

At work the whole email setup is put in gmail, like almost all startups do.
When you can get your head around the horrible webinterface, it can be ok for you to use. But if you are like me and prefer a real email client gmail can have a lot of problems.

Some things I found out the hard way yesterday while debugging why my offlineimap+mutt setup stopped working correctly:

  • Gmail has some special folders like [Gmail]/Sent, [Gmail]/All Mail etc
    Those folders get renamed when you switch your output language on https://www.google.com !!! basically rendering your settings of your email client non-working!
  • New mail gets delivered in both INBOX and [Gmail]/All Mail.
    This handling is confusing, as they are the same mails sometimes, and different mails sometimes:

      • When marking a mail Read in INBOX, the mail does NOT get marked Read in [Gmail]/All Mail
      • When removing a mail from INBOX, the mail does NOT get deleted from [Gmail]/All Mail
      • When moving a mail from INBOX to [Gmail]/Trash the mail DOES get deleted from [Gmail]/All Mail
      • When moving a mail from INBOX to [Gmail]/All Mail you end up with double items, BUT ONLY for a couple of minutes.
        Gmail has some algorithm to remove double mails from the [Gmail]/All Mail folder.
        This algorithm does not only work on mails that are 100% the same. Sometimes it thinks two different but very much alike mails are the same and it ends up deleting wrong mail.
  • Sending mail through their SMTP services creates double mails in [Gmail]/Sent if your mailclient does the same.
    Since almost all mail clients do this, using something else than the official Google mail clients will create double items in your Sent box

All the above items are hardly documented, and for me make totally no sense at all.
Unfortunately I'm stuck with gmail for my work email, and had to fiddle with my configs a couple of times simply because Gmail showed some undocumented and unexpected behaviour.

My advice: stay away from gmail as far as possible!


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