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Bruno G. Albuquerque on BeMail

Filed under the:  department.
Posted by:Ryan on Monday, 21 May, 2001 @ 10:21 AM
 
Interview

Bruno G. Albuquerque has long been a major player in the BeOS community. He has helped to organize and run the incredibly large Be User Group in Brazil, bug-br, and has helped out on pretty much anything else he can. His most recent project is a complete, opensource replacement for the standard BeOS mail_daemon and libraries. We talked with him about what he is planning, and it sounds very very nice.. Read on.

1: What is your name?

Bruno Gonçalves de Albuquerque.

2: What is your quest?

Become the absolute master of the world… No, wait… I want world peace ;)

3: What is your favourite color?

Red and Blue ;)

4: What are you working on?

We are trying to create a complete replacement for the bundled BeOS e-mail subsystem (mail_daemon, E-mail preferences app and a new mail library, a.k.a. libmail2.so). We aim to get it 100% compatible with the actual version.

5: Is anyone helping you, or is this a solo project?

Nathan Whitehorn (the guy behind the PPPoE drivers for BeOS) started the project with me and is doing the work on the core/interface of the system I am working on the add-on protocols, deskbar replicant and making sure it compiles under x86 (Nathan is developing it on a PPC machine). Recently Todd Lair joined the project, but he hasn’t contributed to it yet (tough we are looking forward to his contributions).

5: What features are you changing from the original? What features are you adding?

Right now, we have a working mail_daemon/E-mail preferences app/libmail2.so capable of loading protocols (POP3 and SMTP, right now), multiple accounts support, filtering emails by account, account email attribute creation (so you can query emails by account using queries under BeOS) and, the most requested feature, you can leave emails on server. :)

Other features that will be implemented are:

  • IMAP protocol.

  • APOP authentication for the POP3 add-on.
  • SMTP authentication for the SMTP add-on.
  • Deskbar Replicant.

Other features that may or may not be implemented are:

  • Full filtering support.

  • Email pre/post-processing.

6: How far along are each of those?

Right now, it works. :) Only POP3 as an inbound protocol and SMTP as an outbound protocol (without authentication). Nathan just got email notification working today.

7: Any plans for a plug-in system to allow things such as incoming filters, outgoing spellchecks, automatic pgp decoding/encoding, etc?

Sure. The current plugin API can accept a SMTP plugin, for instance, that would automatically PGP-sign each message before sending it. A cool thing to do would be add-on chaining (i.e. You would be able to have a PGP add on that would process a message and pass it to the SMTP add-on)… We may even
implement that (are you reading this, Nathan? :)

8: When can we expect to see a working release?

Wednesday. :) No, I mean it! :)

9: Is there a way for users to request features?

Sure. most of then just hang up at BeShare and ask for features directly to me or to Nathan. You can also contact me via email at bga@bug-br.org.br if you want.

10: Thank you Bruno for your time, and for creating such a cool project. Would you be willing to monitor the comments and answer questions?

It would be a pleasure.

Thanks again BGA! I can’t wait to see what you’ve cooked up. :)



32 Responses to “Bruno G. Albuquerque on BeMail”

  1. DaaT Says:

    damn it…

    Darn, damn it, dang… if BGA had a big head previous to this interview… now he’ll REALLY be impossible to listen to over in BeShare… ARGH!!

    With that and the drool coming from his mouth, BeShare will be a living hell… *sigh*

    :) hehe, keep up the great work Nathan… er.. yes, and you too BGA ;)

    DaaT

  2. Solstice Says:

    *begging!*

    Could we pleeeeaaase have a progress bar for each mail operation in a menu ala the ProcessController replicant?

    Plllleeeeaaase!?

    -Solstice

  3. Solstice Says:

    In Response To Solstice @ 05/21/2001 10:35:02 AM

    Re: *begging!*

    What I mean to say, is to have the progress bar(s) in a popup menu so we can avoid a window popping up, animation in the replicant is always nice.

  4. BGA Says:

    In Response To Solstice @ 05/21/2001 10:35:02 AM

    Re: *begging!*

    Right now we are using a non-obtrusive window that displays the email downloading/sending process. This window does not get focus when it appears, so you can just ignore it.

    Anything is possible on future versions, but right now we are aiming at get things working, and not exactly making it pretty. :)

    -Bruno

  5. BGA Says:

    In Response To DaaT @ 05/21/2001 12:32:38 AM

    Re: damn it…

    Nah… I must keep a low profile if I really intend to conquer the world. ;)

  6. Nutcase Says:

    In Response To BGA @ 05/21/2001 1:20:49 PM

    Re: damn it…

    If you conquer the world, I have 3 requests:

    1) My own private island w/ mansion, electricity, high bandwidth connection, private jet, landing strip, and regularly stocked food.

    2) Lots and Lots of beautiful women

    3) An enormous underground torture chamber custom built for my one victim to be tortured (But not killed) for the rest of his life. Oh yeah, and a Bill Gates to put in it. ;)

    Also, and this is a perk really… could you kill all the politicians? I am having trouble sorting good from bad, so i figure killing them all will mean we loose 2-3 legitimately good people, but kill all the other bad ones. I am willing to make that sacrifice. :P

  7. DaaT Says:

    In Response To BGA @ 05/21/2001 1:20:49 PM

    Re: damn it…

    Tell me something… which is you, Pinky… or the Brain? :)

  8. BGA Says:

    In Response To DaaT @ 05/21/2001 2:11:03 PM

    Re: damn it…

    I’m purple tentacle!

  9. BGA Says:

    In Response To Nutcase @ 05/21/2001 1:49:48 PM

    Re: damn it…

    Unfortunatelly I will have to ask you to fill 100 pages with the required information to apply to a position that would allow you to get all those benefits. Start studying as there will be a test too!

    http://minievil.eviloverlord.com/lists/overlord.html

    -Bruno

  10. VitViper Says:

    In Response To BGA @ 05/21/2001 2:14:48 PM

    Re: damn it…

    Nah… He’s only Big Green Alien :-P So don’t be scared of him :)

  11. jokerwonga Says:

    IMAP with SSL Support!

    I want it, and you are going to give it to me! MOO!

    - Jay

  12. BGA Says:

    In Response To jokerwonga @ 05/21/2001 4:17:02 PM

    Re: IMAP with SSL Support!

    The initial IMAP support will work *EXACTLY* like the POP3 support (just to allow people with IMAP accounts to use it. SSL support can be added eventually, but I don’t know how easy would it be so I can not give you nay timeframe.

  13. BGA Says:

    Now… Back to the subject. :P

    We are looking for suggestions on how make the replacement mail_daemon a must have software and, for that, we need your help. Please, use this forum to make your suggestions. Thanks!

    -Bruno

  14. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To BGA @ 05/21/2001 6:00:44 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    I have always used the little mail window that the daemon allows to be shown, you know, the little modal window that just kinda sits there.

    I have never been able to put my finger quite on what annoys me about this little window, but for some reason I do not like it.

    Perhaps when you either
    1.) click on the deskbar replicant to check for mail, or
    2.) when the mail daemon checks for mail automatically

    and there is mail to download, a window could (optionally) pop up, or slide in on the screen in a corner, the bottom middle, top middle of the screen somewhere, to keep the status of the downloading messages. It would go back out of the way after mail is downloaded or you tell it to go away.

    Would this be better than the current window, which sets there, cannot be closed, and must be manually moved from workspace to workspace? This window could follow you around and dissappear with ease.

    Just a thought, but I am no user interface expert, so if someone thinks they know what I mean and they like it, please jump in and expand the idea.

    –Richie

  15. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To BGA @ 05/21/2001 6:00:44 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Scriptable filtering. Something akin to:
    if (fromAddress==*.be.com)
    moveTo (”important mail folder”)
    if (fromAddress==*.porn.com)
    delete(true) // true - don’t put in trash.
    if (isPGP)
    PGPdecrypt

  16. BGA Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 05/21/2001 6:18:55 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Right now we have a window that pops up when you’re receiveing/sending emails. The window does not get the focus when it appears, so it’s non-obtrusive and you can just ignore it if you want. Although it’s not there, we will probably have an option to completelly hide this window.

    -Bruno
    [Edited at 19:29 May 21 2001 by BGA]

  17. BGA Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 05/21/2001 7:22:33 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Right now it creates folders with the name of the accounts inside the mail directory and puts the emails for that account inside the “in” sub-directory of this folder.

    /boot/home/mail/Account/in/*

    More complete filtering capabilities will be implemented eventually. It won’t be through scripts tough, as creating a parser for it is beyond the scope of our project. When we do it, it will be similar to the filter stuff found on Mail-It/Postmaster/Scooby.

    The current core supports add-ons for inbound and outbound emails. We will eventually implement add-ons for the mail_parser (this is the stuff that process the email after receiving or before sending it), so implementing PGP encryption/decryption will be easy if you have PGP for BeOS (is there such a port? Is it up to date?).

    -Bruno

  18. pocket Says:

    In Response To BGA @ 05/21/2001 6:00:44 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    I think it’s aksing too much because I haven’t seen this feature in any email application.

    I’d like for the mail daemon to scan the mailservers and retrieve only the To: From: Subject: Status: and message size. I could then go into this list and tell the daemon what messages I wanted to download.

    How hard is that?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To pocket @ 05/21/2001 9:25:28 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Yes! I’ve wanted that feature for *soo* long, ever since the first time I tried to download a 2.3MB PDF file over 33.6 dialup while on vacation =) I’ve always wondered why the makers of E-Mail clients didn’t borrow that nice feature from usenet clients.

    It might be hard to implement that *in* the tracker, but a pop-up box that showed from, subject, account, and file size, with a checkbox beside each E-Mail that you could un-check if you didn’t want that E-Mail right away, or were on dialup and didn’t feel like having to wait for a huge file to download.

  20. cedricd Says:

    In Response To Nutcase @ 05/21/2001 1:49:48 PM

    Re: damn it…

    biggest smile/grin on my face in days, reading your post.. thanks :^)

  21. cedricd Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 05/21/2001 10:59:23 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Don’t quote me on that, but I think it’s a lacking feature in the POP protocol (at
    least in its original version): while the NNTP protocol has both ARTICLE and BODY/HEADER comamnds,
    the POP protocol only allows to require the whole mail (headers body); the other
    commands return hash values or semi-useful infos like the overall message size ..etc unfortunately.

    BTW, BGA: how open are you to 3rd parties writing mail clients using this
    new mail daemon? I have an NNTP client sitting there with some code that
    could be re-used for POP/SMTP but well.. not that I have heaps of time either
    but I’m thinking about it.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 05/21/2001 10:59:23 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    thats what my email client does :)
    it’s not for BeOS thou.

  23. DaaT Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 05/22/2001 08:21:23 AM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Your e-mail cliente leaves a blank space several lines in height? Or did IE6 (i’m at work…) screw up? :P

  24. NathanW Says:

    In Response To cedricd @ 05/22/2001 08:12:25 AM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Actually, the POP3 command TOP allows for the retrieval of the header only. About 3rd parties, the format is completely open. For readers, it is just the standard interface. All the protocols are external add-ons, and so can be interchanged, replaced, used in other apps, etc. The API is completely open, and we hope people will contribute other protocols. As for using our POP3/SMTP code in another app, we would prefer that you simply use BMailMessage and friends, since it allows the user to maintain their own settings.

  25. BGA Says:

    In Response To pocket @ 05/21/2001 9:25:28 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    You guys should keep in mind that the objective of the mail_daemon is to download emails. That said, we talked about implementing something like what you suggested, but it won’t be in the first release.

    -Bruno

  26. BGA Says:

    In Response To cedricd @ 05/22/2001 08:12:25 AM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    The project is opensource, so anyone can help. The main tree will probably be controlled by me and Nathan, but that does not mean we won’t incorporate good ideas from other people. :)

    -Bruno

  27. Hugh Says:

    BGAMail?

    What about brushing up BeMail?
    There was a talk LOOONG ago about opensourcing BeMail, and some Be-engineer was preparing the source for that. Now I don’t know what happened on that front, but using BeMail as a basis for a new, small-but-beautiful standard mailer would be great…
    I would be happy if it supported proper PC-style navigation (Pos1, End!!).

    Great project, looking forward!
    Ah yes, could you make it faster than the ole Be-mailserver? I think with big messages, it was quite slow.

  28. BGA Says:

    In Response To Hugh @ 05/22/2001 3:21:40 PM

    Re: BGAMail?

    We are *NOT* doing another mail client. :P PPPPPP Our goal is to make BeOS the emailOS and provide a backend for people to create mail clientes in an easy fashion as most of the “difficult” stuff will be handled by the mail_daemon itself.

    Concerning teh speed, it should be as fast as your connection can handle or net-server allows. :)

    -Bruno

  29. BGA Says:

    Postponed.

    In order to bring a complete first release, we decided to postpone the first release to Monday, as I have to implement the Deskbar replicant and APOP support for the first release and I didn’t have much time this past weekend to do it.

    -Bruno

  30. pocket Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 05/22/2001 08:21:23 AM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    What’s your email client??

  31. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To pocket @ 05/21/2001 9:25:28 PM

    Re: Now… Back to the subject. :P

    Pegasus Mail does this, if I recall correctly.

    http://www.pmail.com/

  32. Volkwijn Donita Says:

    Any certainty is a delusion.

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