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Re: [Nmh-workers] What is MH ?

From: Nathan Bailey
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] What is MH ?
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 16:40:10 +1100
User-agent: Thunderbird 1.6a1 (Macintosh/20060104)

Robert Elz wrote:
We get offered glimpses from time to time of Jerry Peek's extensive
collection of MH add-ons - that is the kind of thing that makes MH
worth using.

[ Further nifty examples snip'd ]

Shouldn't we start an MH wiki? It would be great to see these examples online. I actually think they would be useful to others -- e.g. I'd definitely use your "batch group reply" function to reply to all messages in a folder!

The relevance of this to the current dicsussion, is that unless the
plan to integrate IMAP means "treat an IMAP server like a POP server"
(that is: fetch mail from where the MTA stored it and move it into
the MH folder structure), which would be an OK (and easy) thing to do,
then you aren't finished until you have the IMAP part of your MH folders
just as accessible to all of these add-on shell commands as to the
(much smaller) set of commands that are distributed in nmh-whatever.tgz.

I wonder how (MH using) people solve these two problems:
1. Accessing email when you can't get terminal access (even web-based MindTerm) 2. Allowing others to see some/all of your email (e.g. personal assistant or project staff -- who aren't Unix literate)

I think that email folder sharing is only going to grow, as we become more collaborative (blogs, wikis, etc.) and we need to be able to participate in that. If MH can talk to IMAP, then we can be a member of the IMAP family just like everyone else (except more efficient :-)

So I don't think "grab IMAP inbox" (cf. POP) is the best solution. I do think "simulate the filesystem" is a nifty solution, but I'm not aware of any efforts to build a "filesystem in user-space" that is platform independent. (I'd be happy with one that only ran on Mac OS X and Linux, but Linux-only isn't enough for us PowerBook users :-)

I think supporting IMAP from within MH is a reasonably easy thing to do, and I'm willing to do it (at least, to do a simple implementation that supports the major functions -- MH is a bit like vi -- every time you see someone else using it, you learn about a new feature or function :-)

If someone would like to start the platform independent filesystem in user-space project, I'd be happy to support them, but if not, I'm happy to keep playing with MH-based IMAP, to get to where I need to be.

PS: Another couple of things I'd like to see on the MH wiki would be:
i) How do you do 'To/Cc/Dcc/Bcc' field completion? (i.e. in the same way the GUI clients do, or web browsers do for URLs). Special bonus if your solution supports an LDAP directory (i.e. not just aliases in lib/alias :-) ii) How do you do spell checking? (like the GUI clients do, with red underlining, rather than the "check each unknown word at the end" like ispell does. I know vim kind of supports this, but I haven't managed to get it to work.

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