For those of you that have received email from me you might have noticed that I’m part of the ASCII Ribbon Campaign. This is definitely something that I believe in and hope you might take a second to check it out too. It doesn’t require much on your end. Just a simple configuration change in your email client, but it can make a big difference. If nothing else it’ll make your email contacts a little happier because they won’t have to deal with over-sized, dangerous HTML laced emails.
A few points on HTML email quickly and then I’ll show a few steps on how and where you can make sure you’re not adding to the problem. In one sentence: “HTML belongs on the web and out of your inbox”
- HTML email can be dangerous
Smartly constructed image links can "call home" to an advertisement server and get a confirmation with your e-mail address and IP address, browser type, operating system, time zone, and more. Confirming that the e-mail was indeed opened and viewed, all automatically, confirms your address as being read and a good target to send SPAM! - The ASCII Ribbon Campaign Website
- HTML email wastes bandwidth
HTML e-mails with a background image or flashy graphics are usually a complete waste of bandwidth, inbox space, and time. Having to download 200kb or more for an e-mail that contains a few lines of text is ridiculous! The same can be done in a fraction of that size (like, 0.1% of it!) when using plain text, saying exactly the same, and communicating exactly the same information. - The ASCII Ribbon Campaign Website
- HTML email is not always user friendly
People that are limited to a text-only terminal, people with disabilities, or the blind--basically anyone that cannot use a graphical interface-- are likely unable to read your mail. - The ASCII Ribbon Campaign Website
Below I have outlined a few steps to make sure Evolution is configured to send and receive only plain-text email. If you have a link to instructions for any other client or would like to blog instructions for another client please leave a comment and I will include that link here.
Inside the default Ubuntu mail client, Evolution, you’ll want to navigate to:
Edit > Preferences
This will present you with the details for your mail account(s). You’ll want to first find the third tab, Mail Preferences.
Within Mail Preferences you’ll want to navigate to the second tab, HTML Mail. I suggest matching your settings to something like this.
- You do not want to show image animations.
- You do not need to prompt when sending HTML messages to contacts that do not want them. (as you wont be sending any!)
- You also should never load images from the internet.
- Finally I have Prefer PLAIN set in the last option. I would prefer to only ever show plain but it causes trouble with my office Exchange Server (big surprise!)
After you have these configured you’ll want to navigate to the next tab, Composer Preferences.
- Make sure that Format messages in HTML is turned off.
This should about do it for Evolution. For those of you that already have these set I thank you. for those that do not please consider taking a few quick steps to make your emails safer, take less bandwidth and be more friendly to everyone.
For more information you can visit these ASCII Ribbon Campaign sites:
The ASCII Ribbon Campaign
ASCII Ribbon Campaign : No HTML. No vCards
7 Reasons Why HTML email is evil
A few more here, here, here and here.