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Re: [Nmh-workers] Understanding nmh (aka. What's the goal)

From: markus schnalke
Subject: Re: [Nmh-workers] Understanding nmh (aka. What's the goal)
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:21:56 +0100
User-agent: nmh 1.3

[2010-12-01 23:21] Ken Hornstein <address@hidden>
> And if your
> email provider goes to an IMAP solution, you'll get to a point where
> nmh simply won't work for you anymore unless you're really hardcore
> and willing to cook up a bunch of crazy solutions ... and those
> people are becoming rarer and rarer.

(This quote only as a general starting point. If you take IMAP as
working in the remote mail storage with IMAP commands, then nmh's
basic mail storage concept would likely need to be abandonned. But
that's a different topic.)

Although you don't like to hear it, moving from being a complete mail
system that tries to handle everything about email to an only MUA
would solve many future problems.

Let me tell a story:

MH had been a large and common company with good, active employees
(developers) and good business (relevance). It covered everything
people needed to do emailing; emailing had been quite easy then.

Later, as the work of the employees decreased and email became more
difficult to handle (both may be connected) MH's business got worse
but still had been good enough. Then nmh came and took over the work
with partly new and motivated employees. They worked hard on covering
all this new email stuff. This had been an improvement for the

Now we're back at the same poiint. The employees are less and work
less while emailing became even more complex. The business is quite
low currently, actually most people don't choose nmh anymore, although
it tries to provide everything for emailing, they just cannot use it
for ``normal'' (= modern) emailing. That's really sad. Unfortunately,
sad gets us nowhere.

In business the situation is clear: A heavy change needs to take place
in order to save the company from dying. Free Software is a bit
different but many of the general principles are similar.

What companies would do: Strip all the parts of the firm that are not
the core business. Then concentrate on the core/niche and try to gain
relevance there again. If this goes well, the company can grow its
product portfolio again.

Emailing is so complex and nmh has only few active development. We
simply cannot keep up. We cannot still provide a whole emailing
system; we have problems in each part. Nmh falls back behind more and
more and the effort that we are able to do is too small because of the
large code base that we want to maintain with few development power.

Of course nmh can go along like it did, but how vivid will it be in
some years? Of course there exists a lot of projects with ancient code
in order to provide compatibility, but that's almost dead code. Next
generations will have read of it in their history books ... great!

I would understand if you some of you want to have nmh stay as it is
because that's all they need and all the kind of emailing they do and
will do for the rest of their life. But for the others, I really do
believe that we need to figure out how to go for the future. And that
might include general changes, maybe a fork. (I'm really thinking
about forking myself and developing an experimental version as a show

I am young and I have my life in front of me and I am enthusiastic to
develop Free Software and I do want to use nmh still in many years and
I do want to be able to tell friends to use nmh without adding that
the really need to be able to suffer hard if they want to try.


I had been in emotion writing this. I do not want to put up all this
discussion that keeps you from developing. Though, it seems to me as
if we need to think about the future some day do. It will not happen
tomorrow or next week, but somewhen we're in the future, suddenly.

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