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So once in a while, this blog acts as my right-side brain part. I’ve mentioned Eudora plenty of times on this blog and back in 2006, I reported on the ‘open-sourcing’ of this Grande Olde Dame of e-mailing (Oct 11th, 2006 and June 24th, 2007 and Sept. 5th, 2007). Technically, Eudora OSE (as it’s formally called) is anything but Eudora: it’s more or less a ‘reimaging’ of Thunderbird (the Mozilla mailer), that is, with Eudora-style icons and graphics and some of the distinguishing features.

And to be honest, it smells and feels like Thunderbird: gone are Eudora’s excellent MDI interface, filtering methods and grouping of mailboxes. I’m not sure what the point was of the announcement of ‘Eudora going open-source': it hasn’t really because some portions of the Eudora contained propriety code. Eudora (the actual client) is still available however and apparently, if you want to use it, you can find/get the appropriate (legal?) registration codes right from the Interwebs.

Should you care about mail clients these days? Since everybody is using on-line mail services these days, you might think there’s no point of using external mailers. On the other hand, a mail client would offer the possibility of making your own backups of your (own) e-mails and have them handy at your own perusal.

The State of the Machine

I get cranky when I see people use regular expressions or simple substring routines when extracting strings from, for example, e-mail addresses. The first method, while powerful, is memory hungry, the second method is plain childish. You should only use substring/copy methods if you’re hundred percent certain that the data is formatted and well-formed (that is, it comes through exactly as you expect it to. In the case of e-mail addresses, this is of course, not true. After all, e-mail addresses can come in any format. The following samples are all legal: “hey@you.com”, “hey@you.com (Hey You)”, “ Hey You”, “Hey, You “. Your simple substring copy function would most likely have troubles resolving all of these e-mail variants.

During my Roundabout tenure, we ran into issues where extraction of names/e-mail from e-mail headers didn’t work out as originally planned. I was not surprised to find those evil substring routines in the code and literally rewrote that into a state machine (look for HeaderAddressToStringList). Extremely elegant and very effective.

Why use a state machine then? Because with string operations like this, looping through a string is a lot faster than trying hundreds of “if conditions” to cover all these e-mail cases. Keep in mind that simplicity is the key though: the more states you define, the complexer the code.


If you weren’t aware of it, K/Ubuntu 8.10 is about to be released in a couple of days, actually, to be exact, on October 30th. I’ve seen the casual screenshots around of sand-brownish looking desktops and windows-dressing. Those reviews all concentrate on Gnome, of course: As I mentioned earlier, in August, I moved to KDE 4. To say it politically correct, GTK+ is just not my cup of tea.

I read that Kubuntu (The KDE-based Ubuntu) 8.10 will (finally) introduce KDE 4 to the masses (KDE 4.1.2 previously on xsamplex) and, as I then mentioned, visually not too much seem to have changed. There are still silly bugs and (generally) if you were happy with KDE 3, you should probably stick with Ubuntu (which by default will still come with KDE 3.2).

There was a (long) discussion on the Postgres list about how to properly reply to questions to a mailing-list: the issue is (as many of the contributers already suggest) in the ‘stupid MUAs’ that people are using. If I remember correctly (in the days when I actively took part in the development of an e-mailer), when your MUA encounters the X-Mailing-list headers, a ‘Reply To All’ should use the mailing group’s e-mail address and not the individual listed addressees. I think this was even mentioned in an RFC (I wouldn’t be surprised if that wasn’t RFC 822).

What, Eudora?

I downloaded the first Thunderbird-based Eudora version from Mozilla, after reading about this on Slashdot. Extra caution, if you were ever used to using Eudora in the golden days of Internet: it doesn’t even slightly resemble anything you’ve seen before. Before you even tried it, you may want to read this article at Linux.com first:

“This project is being implemented with no source code from the previous versions of Eudora. The original Eudora source code contains some proprietary portions from third parties that we are unable to distribute under open source. So there is no easy way to ‘move’ features from Classic Eudora to the new Eudora/Penelope. All changes have to be reimplemented.”

I was loud up wondering why the original sources of Eudora were never released, so now we all know. I think this is a shame: what I’ve seen thusfar in the Penelope project looks like a pile of load. It’s so bad I couldn’t be bothered to even make a screenshot. I hope the project admins have a clear idea where Eudora should be going: if not, good luck. For now, you’re probably better off with Thunderbird or any other open-source e-mailer you find on SourceForge.

The old new

Yesterday, I downloaded the ‘latest’ Eudora: Officially, there’s a team of developers working on the new open-source version of Eudora (based on Thunderbird, or something like that). Progress is slow, I hear (see also the Penelope project page @ Mozilla). However, if you have Thunderbird v 2.0 running, there’s a plug-ing available that supposedly remaps some of the Eudora functionality to Thunderbird.

Also old: I noticed that Forte Inc. programmers still frequently push out beta versions of their Agent newsreader. Many years ago, I used their ‘Free Agent’ version, which was a lighter less obtrusive version of the ‘paid’ one. There’s no ‘Free Agent’ anymore: as far as I can tell, the only way to get an older version is to do a Google hunt (or use earlier mentioned Thunderbird). Talking about newsreaders, I see that the GNKSA is still around and now, even in version 2.0!

Via Digg (or Slashdot, or Reddit), I found the browser time-line1, now in SVG (link will work in FF, Opera and Safari, not in IE!). My 2006 timeline needs some updating too, I see.

Earlier this week, NASA open-sourced their Robotics framework layer “Claraty”. This is all C/C++ stuff, in case you’re interested. Additionally, at this day, the official website still 404s.

And talking about programming, earlier I decided to take a look at Flex and then removed it after reading some of the code samples: I applaud Adobe for releasing some stuff to the public but I’m not impressed. I read that a team of Microsoft (Silverlight) developers looked into Adobe’s material too and weren’t impressed either, only because they thought that this programming language needed a good IDE, which it doesn’t (at this stage). Looking at the Flex examples, I see murky deep and dark areas of conflicting specifications. Maybe this is why Adobe decided to release the language under an open-source license: after all, most of their business relies on their (quality) graphics software and not their programming languages.

1 I guess it was Reddit