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From mihai.bazon.net: Because Elisp is not a multithreaded language, it kind of freezes while checking for new mail. This can be bad if you're using the same Emacs instance for other purposes, like, writing code. :-) Not the case for me—I don't mind starting a new Emacs instance especially for WL; until one week ago I was using Thunderbird, which needs tons of RAM. Emacs is a lot lighter. See More
From mihai.bazon.net: I'm currently using it with BBDB (for keeping my address book), Flyspell (spell checking as you type), Mailcrypt (digital signatures and encryption, here's my public key btw). Can be integrated with Bogofilter, SpamAssassin, and probably whatever you want for spam filtering. See More
I used Gnus for several years. It is a highly configurable mail processor with low CPU consumption. See More