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Use of 'inetlib' by Classpath mail providers

From: Stephen Crawley
Subject: Use of 'inetlib' by Classpath mail providers
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 2005 10:42:42 +1000

Chris Burdess <address@hidden>:
> The underlying library used by the GNU providers is called inetlib. It  
> provides a much lower-level API to IMAP and other network protocols. If  
> you want performance, and you can live without a MIME framework, it may  
> be of interest to you.

This worries me a bit.

While I can see that using a native library here reduces the amount of
work to get the protocols supported there are clear disadvantages:

  1)  If a Java application's use of the javax.mail.* etc APIs tickled
      a bug in the provider layer, there is a good chance that the VM
      will crash or behave unpredictably.

  2)  By using a "well-known" native library in the network stack, you 
      are potentially laying VMs open to security exploits by buffer
      overruns, etc.

  3)  It increases the Java platform's dependencies on external libraries.
      This may be problematic.  For example, suppose someone wanted to
      port (say) SableVM to an OS platform that did not support inetlib.
      [I'd guess that Windows was an example ...]

IMO, it would be a GOOD THING if you could reimplement the mail protocol
stack(s) in Java.

-- Steve

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