I'm sure I heard about a bit of software that would allow you to have a backup of mail in a folder along with the necessary created html so that you would have an offline, searchable and browesable copy of your mail that you could transfer to say a USB stick etc.. But I can't find anything like it apart from MailStore (http://www.mailstore.com/en/mailstore-home.aspx) which is a windows thing. Does anyone know of such a thing?
... i think thunderbird can do those things for you
its not exactly portable. There is Portable Thunderbird (under Portable Apps) for Windows, and it runs well inside Wine when being used in Ubuntu. Although I have not come acrross native portable mail client for Linux that can also be used inside Windows. What's your idea of portable though? Is it only portable inside Linux, do you need to run it inside Windows as well? I know I would usually download massive files (new drama episodes) in office (Windows) and watch them at home (Ubuntu).
Portable Apps aim to create portable application that can be used across PC, both Windows and Linux (provided Wine is installed). They have Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, all in portable form, that can be runned without messing its host OS. And they're updateable. I have never tested it inside Windows 8 though.
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