So, this is a better Mail.app?


Given that Gmail now offers IMAP access and that the storage space just keeps on growing, I’ve been considering doing away with my home IMAP server for the bulk of my e-mail (i.e., mailing-lists, current affairs, site-related chatter, etc.) and moving 99% of my e-mail there.

The thing is, I haven’t yet found a decent way to deal with that 1% of e-mails that I need to keep somewhere safe, i.e., somewhere behind a decent firewall, or on my laptop (inside FileVault).

The main problem is that I need to have those synced across three machines, and as such not having a home IMAP server is increasingly not an option – I have to have something, even if relatively stupid and slow.

And as such I am currently eyeing my NSLU2 as a likely place to move them to. With luck, and considering that I very seldom do anything but add to that little pile of e-mails, I might even get the IMAP daemon to use a 4GB flash drive instead of a hard disk, making for a neat solution in terms of backups and all (move the drive over to a Mac, burn the contents to a DVD, replace it, etc.).

But I digress. I’ve just been sitting here at my Leopard machine trying to copy some of my archived mail across to both Gmail and .Mac, and I am, again, facing the unyielding stubbornness of that veritable bait store that Mail.app persists in being, for I cannot seem to be able to copy more than, oh, 80 or so messages across to a remote IMAP server without the thing discreetly, almost cowardly, ceasing to copy messages across without nary a whimper.

The thing starts copying and, without any warning or error message whatsoever (including the Console) unceremoniously removes the progress bars from the activity window and just sits there, with the next best thing to a bovine countenance, displaying a partially-copied folder as if it were something perfectly normal.

Right now, after my seventh attempt at copying 379 messages from a folder on my home server to anywhere else (which is why I’m trying both Gmail and .Mac), I have two hopelessly mangled replicas (one on Gmail and another in .Mac), one with 236 and another with 147 messages. And both of those replicas are crammed with duplicated messages, since every attempt at copying anything across results in a very small amount of messages actually making it to the other side, like a bunch of lemmings trying to rush across a rope bridge.

Making the rope shorter, or of null length (by trying to copy those very same messages to a folder on my local server) helps somewhat, since the messages get copied to the new folder – but that is not a valid test, of course.

Nevertheless, Mail.app gleefully lists the entirety of the new (local) folder contents (letting me scroll to any of the 379 copies at will), and blithely claims it has only 14 messages – something that Thunderbird (an application which can actually do math) quickly disproves.

And yes, I can rebuild the new local mailbox and have the count straight, but what is the point of having to do that when Mail.app was responsible for adding every single one of those messages? And no, the remote mailboxes aren’t just mis-counted, Mail.app didn’t copy most of the messages across.

So I am now using Thunderbird to reliably copy my mail across to remote servers and that’s it – I’m only going to move my MacBook to Leopard by 10.5.2 or above.