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Is email broken?

Dave Winer seems to think so.

I'd actually disagree with him. What's broken is the technology he's using to download his mail. POP3 isn't designed to handle the types of message we send today, nor the volumes of mail we tend to leave on our ISP's servers. Instead, we should be encouraging ISPs and end users to move to something more suitable: IMAP4. That way we can use mail clients that filter mail, handle server side folders, and all in all, get a much more effective tool for handling our mail.


Aug. 21st, 2003 06:28 am (UTC)
I think mail is broken, but not for the reasons stated - the lack of widespread authentication and problems with spam are but two design issues with e-mail.

I dont think OE is a particularly bad client - yes, there are security issues and the way it plays fast and loose with Internet netiquette. I suspect the issue in this particular case is with the mail server.

IMAP is a good protocol, often poorly implemented. Few IMAP clients are any good - OE is one of the better ones. I've tried many others in the past, including TheBat! and been sorely unimpressed. The only other one that passed muster was PINE, and that isnt very friendly when using multiple accounts.

Despite MS' claim that Outlook and OE share code relating to IMAP etc, OE is clearly superior in this respect.

Yes, we should be using IMAP. I wonder if users are ready to use the clients and ISPs are ready to handle the storage, however.

It's also offtopic, but I consider OE to be one of the best Windows newsclients available - all others have distinctly annoying features. The best client I ever used was Pronews/2 - but that's OS/2 only, and although excellent occasionally lunched its messagebase..