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fanf

MUA stats

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30th Aug 2011 | 16:54

Following a request from a colleague, I have compiled some statistics on email software used with our service. It's well over a year since the last time I did this. The numbers this time are generally larger because I analyzed a longer period of time. The main difference is the massive increase in the number of iOS users. The main WTF is where are all the Android users?

You need to be careful when interpreting these numbers. They come from User-Agent: and X-Mailer: headers in messages sent through our message submission service, smtp.hermes. It does not cover the parts of the University that have their own independent mail services. We aren't able to obtain stats from IMAP and POP connections, since there is no way for MUA software to provide a user agent string in that context, so we have to assume that there isn't a gross mismatch between software used to read and send email. Also, not all MUAs include a User-Agent: or X-Mailer: header, though the popular ones do.

The following data covers the dates 2011-07-29 - 2011-08-25 inclusive. In that period Hermes users sent 1430479 messages of which 1370145 (95.8%) included a user agent string. The total number of distinct users using the service is about 25,000. (Apart from xmas, August is our quietest time of year; we have over 30,000 users in term.) The numbers below count distinct users running each identified variety of software. The detailed per-version and per-OS breakdowns do not add up to the overall totals because some users use more than one version / OS.

users software

17391 Prayer (webmail.hermes)
 3868 Thunderbird
 3271 Apple Mail
 2454 Microsoft Outlook
 2131 iPhone / iPad / iPod
  465 Windows (Live) Mail / Outlook Express
  260 Mulberry
  236 Entourage / MacOutlook
  221 Eudora
  114 Evolution
   86 Pine / Alpine
   81 Android
   40 EPOC
   21 Opera
   19 KMail
   13 Mutt
   10 sparrow

Thunderbird breakdown

 1253 Thunderbird/6.0
 1815 Thunderbird/5.0
 1868 Thunderbird/3.1
  157 Thunderbird/3.0
  570 Thunderbird 2.0
   25 Eudora/3.0

 3099 Windows
  491 Macintosh
  468 Linux/X11

  510 Windows NT 6.1; WOW64;
  795 Windows NT 6.1;
   29 Windows NT 6.0; WOW64;
  310 Windows NT 6.0;
    1 Windows NT 5.2; WOW64;
    5 Windows NT 5.2;
 1433 Windows NT 5.1;
    4 Windows NT 5.0;

   39 Intel Mac OS X 10.7
  299 Intel Mac OS X 10.6
  101 Intel Mac OS X 10.5
   22 Intel Mac OS X 10.4
   18 PPC Mac OS X

Apple breakdown

  587 Apple Mail 5
 2048 Apple Mail 4
  802 Apple Mail 3

 1777 iPhone
  394 iPad
  117 iPod

Microsoft breakdown

 629 Outlook 14
1335 Office Outlook 12
 502 Office Outlook 11
  56 Office Outlook, Build 11
  56 Outlook, Build 10
  20 Outlook IMO, Build 9

 197 Outlook Express 6
  94 Windows Mail 6
 137 Windows Live Mail 15
  43 Windows Live Mail 14
   3 Windows Live Mail 12

  56 MacOutlook 14
 142 Entourage 12
  37 Entourage 11

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Comments {19}

from: pir
date: 30th Aug 2011 16:34 (UTC)

As an Android user I'd never show up on your stats if I used the university network. I use my own mail servers on a high port.

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 16:52 (UTC)

You're hardly a typical user though :-)

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from: pir
date: 30th Aug 2011 16:55 (UTC)

No, but if people are tending to use them for personal mail I could see them pointing at an ISP mailserver instead.

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 17:09 (UTC)

The question is why almost no-one is using Android for University mail when thousands of people are using iOS. Whether they have other accounts elsewhere is beside the point.

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from: pir
date: 30th Aug 2011 17:50 (UTC)

Beats me. Forwarding their University mail to gmail? :)

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Gerald the cuddly duck

from: gerald_duck
date: 30th Aug 2011 17:56 (UTC)

Given the keyboardlessness, might Android be used disproportionately to read e-mails rather than craft replies? (Do you have any way of knowing what proportion of the iThing users were on iPads as opposed to the smaller devices?)

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 18:08 (UTC)

More Androids have keyboards than iOS devices. Keyboardlessness doesn't greatly discourage iOS users from sending mail. See the "Apple Mail breakdown" for relative numbers.

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Gerald the cuddly duck

from: gerald_duck
date: 30th Aug 2011 18:18 (UTC)

OK, I'm confused. Is there some inconsistency between the "users software" table and the "Apple Mail" table about what constitutes "Apple Mail"? In the first table, "iPhone / iPad / iPod" is a thing apart from "Apple Mail", but at least some users of those devices are included (and categorised) later under "Apple Mail".

I had been assuming there was a version of Apple Mail for the iThingies that was a different MUA from the built-in default. Or something. Are those numbers in the "Apple Mail" section all iThingy users, or at least very nearly all of them, then?

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 18:27 (UTC)

"Apple Mail" is the UA string used by desktop Mail.app for Mac OS X. The iOS app calls itself "iPhone Mail" etc. The user agents in each table section are distinct from each other. The heading for the Apple breakdown tables was too specific so I have fixed it.

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Matthew

from: emperor
date: 30th Aug 2011 16:52 (UTC)

No VM users at all?

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 16:54 (UTC)

Not that I can see. Does it add a suitable header?

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Matthew

from: emperor
date: 30th Aug 2011 17:19 (UTC)

From a suitable version I have handy:
X-Mailer: VM 8.1.0 under 23.2.1 (i486-pc-linux-gnu)

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 17:26 (UTC)

Ah, well there are three people using other Emacs MUAs :-)

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kötturinn

from: kotturinn
date: 30th Aug 2011 17:05 (UTC)

The full headers of a test message sent from my Android device show neither a User-Agent: or X-Mailer header. Message coming your way shortly so you can double check!

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 17:14 (UTC)

That looks like an explanation! I can't see any clear identifying marks in the message which makes Android very hard to spot. I'll tweak the logging so I can more easily count anonymous MUAs.

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#<procedure Jed>

from: xlerb
date: 1st Sep 2011 01:35 (UTC)

I've seen messages with a Message-ID ending in @email.android.com (I think it was). One of them contained a bizarre but hilarious autocorrection in the body, so it was probably an actual phone.

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Gerald the cuddly duck

from: gerald_duck
date: 30th Aug 2011 18:01 (UTC)

I'm absolutely astounded that so many more people are using Outlook than Outlook Express for Internet-based e-mail. Yes, with an Exchange server, you have to use Outlook, but I've always felt that Outlook Express works considerably more smoothly with POP3 or IMAP servers.

Back when I was an I.T. manager, I advised people to use Express even when licensed for "real" Outlook. Most began to see my point after a while.

Then again, that was a few years ago. Outlook is still just as awful, but maybe they've made Outlook Express bad to match now? (These days, when I'm not using emacs, I use Thunderbird.)

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 30th Aug 2011 18:10 (UTC)

AIUI Microsoft have basically killed Outlook Express and replaced it with Windows Live Mail. Dunno how much they have in common under the covers.

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Tony Finch

from: fanf
date: 1st Sep 2011 09:47 (UTC)

kotturinn's test message didn't have a Message-ID when it came to us so my message submission server had to add one. I suppose I might be able to use the MIME delimiter format...

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