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Rant - Emacs mail is not user friendly

From: Kelly Dean
Subject: Rant - Emacs mail is not user friendly
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 2014 10:06:35 +0000

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> You have evidence for Emacs being used in that way by crackers?

> agree with you that Emacs that has an attack surface that amounts to
> the whole world, and practically, that securing it is too hard to
> think about succeeding, but that's not a popular view on this list.
Securing Emacs isn't necessary. Just don't connect it to an untrusted network, 
and don't use it to interpret any untrusted data much more complex than plain 
text. This doesn't unreasonably limit its functionality; mail delivery can 
still be done using a separate program that only has access to an outbox 
directory that Emacs writes to, mail receipt can still be done using a separate 
program that only has access to an inbox directory that Emacs reads from, web 
browser bookmark and workspace management can be done in Emacs by just feeding 
URLs and commands to a browser running in a separate virtual machine that does 
have Internet access, etc.

> An excellent analysis, indeed.  So why did you choose an excessively
> complex program apparently designed for a different workflow, aka
> feedmail.el, to do step 2?
Because I thought feedmail was responsible for everything that happens when I 
tell Emacs to send a message, including adding headers and encoding attachments 
and making the message ready for sending to an SMTP server, leaving just steps 
#3 and #4 for me to do separately.
So I went to set up it, and it became progressively more frustrating until it 
goaded me into rant-spamming emacs-devel, though my lack of sleep and 
overconsumption of pumpkin pie may have had some influence too. Then I 
discovered that the headers are added and attachments are encoded before the 
message gets to feedmail, so I gladly dumped feedmail and just wrote a bit of 
glue to delete the mail-header-separator, save the message to my outbox, and 
delete the draft.

> Just save the message using write-file,
> with a little extra Lisp to construct an appropriate queuefile name
> and to remove MUA artifacts like the header delimiter line.  Add a
> tiny shell function to do 3 and 4.  This amount of Lisp would probably
> cost less keystrokes and thinking overall, although a bit more design,
> than configuring feedmail.
Er, yes, that's exactly what I did, and I included the code in my message that 
you just replied to.

My request to the Emacs devs about this now just is: please banish feedmail 
from mention in the manual, or at least add a ‟here be dragons” warning.

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