Re: Mail lives forever (Re: Bill Joy kicks around XML for fun :-)

From: Stephen D. Williams (
Date: Sun Feb 25 2001 - 16:24:24 PST

"Joseph S. Barrera III" wrote:
> Rohit Khare writes:
> > BJ doesn't get it. Data lives forever. Programs are only mortal.
> Okay, may I do a little poll, and ask everyone in what format they
> keep their megabytes (or gigabytes) of mail?

Gigabytes (about 2), in mbox.

> I'm just now going through the very painful process of converting all
> my outlook mail into open (non-microsoft) format. Right now I'm
> converting to Berkeley "^From " format -- it's kind of a poor format,

There is an enhanced mbox that uses the content-length header to avoid
the "^From " quoting. Another spinoff of mbox (from SCO I believe) uses
'^A^A^A^A' between each message.

> requiring the >'ing of any other "^From "s in messages. The only other
> alternative I would currently consider is mh format, with a file for
> each message. I used to use (and like) mh at CMU, and I have managed
> to get nmh to build for NT/cygwin, but I'm currently attached to
> emacs/vm and it doesn't understand mh format and I'm not sure I would
> like emacs/mh as well.

I access email through Imap so that the browser caches and indexes are
throw away, and so I can walk up to any of my 12 computers in the house
and access the same email in the same way. I believe that Netscape uses
berkeley db indexes/email files, but no need to worry about that.

MH format is rediculous unless you are using ReiserFS where small files
are so efficient it's not a problem at all.

> Okay, too many details. But mail is pretty important and I'm
> interested in how others deal with their mail immortality issues.
> - Joe

I've often thought that the solution is a micro-Imap server that local
clients connect to and then a movemail like system to grab mail from
'real' mailboxes (via pop3, imap, whatever).


Stephen D. Williams         Insta, Inc./Jabber.Com, Inc./CCI
43392 Wayside Cir,Ashburn,VA 20147-4622 703-724-0118W 703-995-0407Fax 

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Fri Apr 27 2001 - 23:18:32 PDT