[FoRK] my dream mailing list software
<jbone at place.org> on
Sat Jul 21 11:39:06 PDT 2007
On the topic of "should exist" -wrt- mail-related software, here's
something I've been toying with for a while...
For years it's been clear to me that many users --- particularly
business users --- "live in their mailbox." This is enormously
frustrating to me as a file system advocate, but it's the simple
truth: many users primarily use their mail application as their
filing system of choice. Doing so gives many of the benefits of e.g.
Lifestreams: you get a chronologically-ordered and indexed /
searchable history of interaction. With the advent of smart
folders / views, this becomes a much more useful filing tool /
metaphor than the typical filesystem, at the expense of CLI
interaction and stream processing.
Over the last few years I've dabbled with this myself, moving my
planning workflow into a (GTD-like, tagged) set of smart mailboxes,
Subject: tagging conventions, etc. It's far from perfect; real
support for tagging, more complex queries and smart folders in e.g.
Mail.app, and more flexible automation would be a huge win. Also, in
keeping with "live on the laptop" --- I've moved all my mail storage
onto the laptop, and simply use POP rather than IMAP, with all the
pros and cons implied by that.
Here's what I'd like to see: An IMAP + fetchmail "proxy" server that
has the following features:
* a web-based interface for defining "smart" mailboxes as complex
queries over stored mail
* gateways for fetching mail (and mail-like stuff) from other
places via POP, IMAP, RSS*, etc.
* support for tagging / tag-persistent header lines
* a decent Webmail UI
* deep automation hooks (including Bayesian auto-tagging, etc.)
* local SMTP outbound support w/ gatewaying for posting to blogs,
* the ability to sync the user's store with other instances of
this server running elsewhere
I'd run this locally on the laptop, and perhaps on a public server as
well --- basically a federation of personal messaging hubs, sync'd
Abe Fettig's Hep "multiprotocol message server" is sort of a first-
order approximation of the core idea, but needs support for tagging,
automation, and better smart folder / view support. Cf. http://
www.fettig.net/projects/hep/ for more info.
Exporting everything as e.g. a 9P filesystem would be a huge bonus,
as it would allow deep scripting and CLI interaction.
Just some thoughts...
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