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Re: [VM] VM is awesome (was vm-save-buffer) (Hugo Geir)

From: Kurt Hackenberg
Subject: Re: [VM] VM is awesome (was vm-save-buffer) (Hugo Geir)
Date: Sun, 8 Nov 2015 01:16:26 +0000 (UTC)

Robert P. Goldman <address@hidden> wrote:

>I used to use VM and really liked it (even submitted some patches back
>in the day).
>I had to switch to Thunderbird because I am a heavy IMAP user.  I use
>IMAP so that I can read my email, including old filed emails, on
>multiple devices.

Everybody uses multiple computers and IMAP, don't they?  (I don't, but
that's another story.)

I've used VM for about 15 years, and generally like it.  VM strikes me
as a programmer's mail reader: powerful, flexible, extensible.
Threading, virtual folders, many folders, folders anywhere in the
filesystem, recursive display of digests....  The obvious weakness is
displaying various MIME data types, since text editors don't do that.
(Emacs can display some images, but that's limited.)  There also seem
to be capacity limits.

It might be good to have a second IMAP client, or an option to the
existing one, that doesn't keep a local copy of the IMAP folder.  Of
course, it should use IMAP's ability to fetch only message headers,
without bodies, to generate the summary.  I think it would only have
to fetch one message body at a time, when the user looks at it.  It
could cache, in memory, about the last three or so messages.

Of course a local disk copy of the folder is necessary when the
network connection is intermittent, unreliable, or slow -- but that's
not always the case.  For example:

The usual corporate setup, where the IMAP server is down the hall,
across a gigabit Ethernet.  For a folder of 1000 messages, with each
message header being, oh, a couple of KB, fetching all the folder's
message headers to generate the summary would take...(mumble
mumble)...roughly a tenth of a second.  That seems plenty fast.

Even with my home setup, connected to the world at 25 mbps, that same
fetch of headers should take just a few seconds.

Another case: when the IMAP client and server are on the same
computer.  Why would you do that?  To avoid incompatibility.  Each
mail reader has its own representation of message attributes (read,
saved, forwarded, etc.), all incompatible.  But IMAP represents those
in a common form.  That way you could use more than one mail reader on
the same folder, and they'd all understand each other.  IMAP servers
handle concurrent access, too.  Obviously when the client and server
are on the same computer, making another copy of the folder is

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