the adventure continues

So I'm mostly using for email now. I like the UI, and the filtering and junk mail stuff seems nice.

I don't understand what the done thing is with respect to multiple identities; how do I partition things into "" and "" worlds, given that I have only one mail server for both? It doesn't want to let me add an "account" with a duplicate (or missing) mail server.

    Update: Aha! An "account" is per mail server, but you can have more than one address per account: type commas between them, and a "From" menu shows up on mail composition windows.

Also, is there any way to get it to save a copy of my outgoing messages in the same folder as the message to which I am replying, instead of putting them all in Sent?

But OMG is importing my old mail slooow!

Now I understand that A) I have more mail than just about anybody, and B) mail importer modules never get any real love, since nobody ever uses them more than once, if at all, but geez, it takes roughly 1 second per message! And that's just to import them: the first time I select an imported folder, and when I leave the folder after I've marked all "read", it does some other incredibly slow thing...

And it's making iTunes skip. I'm actually somewhat surprised by this; I thought I read that OSX had some realtime scheduling features, and I assumed that iTunes would be taking advantage of them. Guess not.

Tags: , , , , , ,

70 Responses:

  1. rmitz says:

    It got much, much slower in Tiger, due to spotlight indexing and such. Which is unfortunate.

    • king_mob says:

      I concur with the "suddenly iTunes is skipping" observation after upgrading a dual 1.6 GHz G5 to Tiger. You wouldn't think anything in the world would grind that machine, so I was somewhat taken aback.

  2. bodyfour says:

    > It doesn't want to let me add an "account" with a duplicate (or missing) mail server.

    I dunno... does your mail server possibly have two different names in DNS you could use? Or maybe have one of the profiles set to the mail server's IP address instead? It's a gross hack but it'd probably work.

    Also, is the mail importer thrashing the disk? It could be that iTunes is starving on a resource other than CPU.

    • jwz says:

      Nah, it's definitely CPU; last time it was skipping it was 80%+ "system", and disk I/O peaked at around 800KB/sec. Besides, the I/O requirements of an MP3 player are trivial.

      • bodyfour says:

        That's really interesting that system time is so high during a mail import... I guess the kernel must end up doing a lot of the heavy lifting for Spotlight.

        I'm not worried about disk throughput; I was more concerned with the amount of seeking that the disk is doing. If iTunes' RAM buffer is small enough then I could imagine a case where it doing a read(mp3file, buf, 16384) or whatever gets caught behind a ton of synchronous write()s from building the mail database and takes slightly too long to finish.

        But since the system time is so high I'm guessing its just getting stuck in a non-preemtible piece of kernel code a lot and that's keeping even realtime userland processes from running. That also explains why I've never had iTunes skip when I've been doing normal CPU intensive stuff.

  3. crazyfrench says:

    I never found conveniant the "sent" folder. Actually for, I was setting it to the INBOX, because I always used IMAP. I do the same in all the other.

    Today my preference goes to Thunderbird because I really loathe, but I haven't "upgraded" to 10.4 so can't really tell if they addressed my concern about threading.

    And the import, well I forgot, I no longer bother. We should just store everything on the IMAP server :-) (and me doing it as well)

    PS: would be nice to unban my main account <lj user="hub_" />, that would allow me the pain to have to change identities, unless you don't want my opinion.

    • jwz says:

      You know, most people interpret bans as "I don't want to hear from you."

      In case you have forgotten, the thing that got you plonked was your "helpful" suggestion that my HTML was wrong because I typed "A HREF" instead of "a href".

  4. causticjb says:

    What are you using for the mail server? Any chance of simply putting in a seive or procmail filter for the two, and then having two different IMAP mailboxes?

    • jwz says:

      Right now I'm just running akpop3d on my linux mail server and downloading all the mail via pop3s.

      I guess I'm willing to give IMAP a try, but I fear it, and I haven't heard any concensus on which server sucks least. It sounds like they're all buggy as hell and get a new exploit twice a week.

      • causticjb says:

        So far, I've been pretty happy with dovecot. It handles Maildir and standard unix mboxes really well. I do procmail sorting and filtering, and it works well with that to top it off.

        It's designed to be small, simple, and most of all secure. So far it's proven to be all 3.

        • drbrain says:

          I'm hooked up to two dovecot servers, and with 10.3 I had no problems.

          With 10.4 I've got mail being cut off near the end of the messages. It doesn't matter how many messages are in the mailbox, but clicking rebuild in the menu makes them come down all complete. If I look at them with another IMAP client, they're all complete, so I don't know what's up with it.

          FWIW, I also experienced that with Thunderbird on 10.4, so maybe Tiger itself has it in for dovecot.

      • matthew says:

        Check out Everything in one sleek package, or you can just use the IMAP server (you are using maildirs, right? ah, well migration tools included). I use it with with thousands of messages in several mailboxes and it works great.

        as for the two server thing, if you're just looking to add another outgoing identity, comma separate the addresses in the Email Address field in the prefs.

        • blarglefiend says:

          Consider this another vote for Courier, but personally I'd just use the imapd and throw the rest out since you've presumably got whatever MTA you use sufficiently tamed. You're better off with maildir than mbox as a storage format for all sorts of reasons and the conversion for that is something that's been pretty well-tested.

          I have a fair bit of mail stashed away (archives of everything that wasn't spam going back to 2003, would be longer but at some point I decided that migrating mail from VMS, Waffle, and a bunch of other random things wasn't worth the effort) in a hierachy that goes three or four levels deep, been using it with courier-imapd for a few years now. It's obnoxious in some ways but if you're not trying to do "real IMAP server" games like ACLs and shared mailboxes it'll be fine.

          • otterley says:

            I concur with the Courier-IMAP recommendation. While it is officially part of a complete mail-handling suite (with SMTP server, filtering component similar to procmail, and webmail component), the author made it easy to use just the IMAP server component. I've been using it for years and have found it easy to use, robust, highly concurrent and very, very fast.

            However, you must be willing to reorganize your mail from mbox to Maildir format in order to take advantage of it. Maildir stores each message as an individual file in a directory, smartly named to avoid namespace collisions, and is safer than mbox in an NFS environment (not that that's probably a criteria for you). This is not necessarily a bad thing, however; most modern filesystems including ext3 on Linux (on which I assume your email still arrives) can easily handle the hundreds of thousands of inodes and dentries required. Also, converting mbox to Maildir is a cinch and fast, and it can be "undone" as necessary (though you'll lose mbox's "From" header lines if you decide to revert back from Maildir to mbox).

            Courier-IMAP supports "Mailbox++" support which supports "folders"; the directory structure looks like this:

            $HOME/Maildir/ - root "Inbox" folder
            $HOME/Maildir/cur - where your read messages are stored
            $HOME/Maildir/new - where your unread messages are stored
            $HOME/Maildir/tmp - temporary storage; used for safety
            $HOME/Maildir/.folder-name/ - "folder-name" folder
            $HOME/Maildir/.folder-name/cur - see above
            $HOME/Maildir/.folder-name/new - see above
            $HOME/Maildir/.folder-name/tmp - see above

            and so on for each "folder-name".

            Courier-IMAP will build all the necessary metadata as needed. (It's mostly used for performance; all the metadata is derived and will be regenerated if necessary).

            Email me if you have more questions.

            • jwz says:

              Well so far, installing Courier is a world of suck. There are no FC3 RPMs, and I'm five levels deep in dependency hell. Wait, I seem to recall my switch to a Mac having something to do with not wanting to deal with this kind of shit any more... yes, yes, I think so...

            • jwz says:

              Ok, I seem to have gotten it installed. The documentation is shit. How do I convert mboxes to maildirs, how do I make /var/spool/mail/jwz end up in the IMAP world, and what other config files do I have to dick around with to make it go?

              • otterley says:

                Start with umask 077; mkdir $HOME/Maildir.

                Then, for each subfolder, mkdir $HOME/Maildir/.folder-name.

                Conversion is easy; use this script (and read the comments in the header re: environment variables). For your primary inbox, $MAILDIR is $HOME/Maildir. For your secondary folders (i.e. subfolders), $MAILDIR is $HOME/Maildir/.folder-name.

                In order for incoming email to arrive in a Maildir instead of the old mail spool, you'll need to configure your MTA (if it does direct delivery to the inbox, and such configuration depends on the MTA you're using), or, if you're using Procmail, then the first lines of $HOME/.procmailrc should look like:


                Procmail treats any destination ending in a '/' character as a Maildir. Thus, in your delivery recipes, if you want mail to show up in the "spam" folder, for instance, you'd send it to $DEFAULT/.spam/, to wit:

                # Filter out anything that looks like spam
                * ^X-Spam-Flag:.*YES

                • jwz says:

                  Laugh if you must, but I use sendmail and /var/spool/mail/, because I've never needed the pain of learning something new. I don't use procmail, either.

                  • otterley says:

                    Unfortunately, Sendmail does not support Maildir delivery; the code just isn't there. You may have to configure Sendmail to use Procmail as a mail delivery agent if it isn't being used by default, and then configure your $HOME/.procmailrc file minimally as I described above. There shouldn't be any necessary further configuration. In fact, without any specific procmail configuration at all, procmail should continue delivering to your old mbox spool.

                    To reconfigure Sendmail to deliver via Procmail, you may need to add FEATURE(`local_procmail') to your /etc/mail/ file and rerun make in /etc/mail to regenerate your file.

                    On the other hand, you might not need to do that at all; I hear that FC3's sendmail configuration might already be using Procmail as a delivery agent by default. grep procmail /etc/mail/; you might be surprised at just how little work you have to do.

                  • ronbar says:

                    I wouldn't laugh. A few years ago I researched the whole IMAP maildir/mbox thing and after less than an hour of reading decided firmly on mbox. I forget what solution I'd worked out for the nested sub-folders whiners, but with the 200 meg folders and massive attachments my co-workers loved to unsuccessfully send, any maildir implementation would have collapsed into a quivering mass of molten slag. And we would have had to use Joe's Neato MTA/MDA of the Month instead of sendmail. And JNMotM only compiled on Linux and had approximately 18 users, 17.8 of which were computer science freshmen running it in their dorms.

                    Yes, ext3 or any other journalling filesystem is better behaved with millions of tiny files than ext2 was, but that's like saying chopping off your hands at the wrists hurts a bit less if you're wearing gauntlets.

            • bodyfour says:

              I also like Maildir and use it on the server I run. However there are a few downsides to it that should be kept in mind:

              1. For a normal *NIX filesystem that doesn't support things like tail-packing the disk-storage requirements for a file is an integral number of disk blocks. For a typical ext3 filesystem this is 4K. So on average every message will waste 2K of disk space at the end of the last block. Probably not a big deal in these days of cheap disk space but it's something to keep in mind if you're converting a huge amount of mail.
              2. Because of this and because delivery requires a bunch of metadata operations you can expect a bit more disk I/O to be required on your mailserver. Again, not a big deal unless you're near the edge already.
              3. Remember to check "df -i" to make sure you have plenty of free inodes for all those tiny little mail files
              4. The worst part of using maildir — if the MUA wants to check for new mail. With a traditional UNIX mailbox the MUA can notice "oh look, the mailfile got larger since I read it... Lock, read the file starting from the last-known file length, unlock". As long as the only other program touching the mailfile is the delivery agent (which only appends to the file) this works fine.
                Now with maildir its still easy for the MUA to notice that new mail arrived (since it can just stat() the directory and notice st_mtime changed). However it can't query for what the newest filenames are — it must do a full readdir() of the whole directory.
                On the server I'm running I currently only support pop3; since it never re-scans the message list this isn't a concern. For my personal mail I keep all my mail except my INBOX in Maildir. The only time I get bitten is if I send a message while I have "mutt -f=sent" running. Then I have to wait about 30 seconds while it does the big readdir().
                I'm guessing this could be a problem for IMAP as well. I'm not sure how Courier handles that case.
              • otterley says:

                Acknowledged - issues (2) and (4) are solved by throwing more RAM into the box. Linux has a lot of problems, but its liberal buffer cache utilization is certainly one of its better features.

                • bodyfour says:

                  No, (4) is helped by having a lot of RAM, but not "solved". Doing a big linear readdir() still takes a bunch of time. The machine I read my mail on (which is actually a FreeBSD box) definately exhibits this problem and it's not RAM starved.

                  Suppose if you have a mail folder with 1000000 items in it and a new one arrives. With a traditional UNIX mailfile the work the MUA does is O(1) while with maildir it's O(1000001) RAM only helps this so much.

                  Now it's really not a problem as long as the folder only has a few hundred items in it since the readdir() is practically instantaneous. Once you get folders with tens-of-thousands of messages it starts to really suck.

                  • otterley says:

                    I guess I'm a little confused here. If unread mail is placed into $MAILDIR/new (as opposed to $MAILDIR/cur which has all the previously-seen messages in it), then it would seem that only under a few conditions would the server need to readdir() in $MAILDIR/cur. Since most clients cache messages locally these days, having to do the latter probably wouldn't have such a terrible impact. You're using Mutt to read from local disk, though, so I see how in that particular case it could be a potential issue.

                  • bodyfour says:

                    Yeah, I guess my particular problem is a special case since when mutt saves a message to =sent it goes straight to cur/. Then when another window running mutt (or even, infuriatingly, the same instance of mutt) notices that cur/ changed and refreshes the whole thing. For normal delivery into new/ it's not as much of a problem as long as the underlying filesystem is reasonably efficient with huge directories.

                    Then I guess the only issue with maildir scanning speed is the initial open. There it's more of a function of average message size; for small messages mailfiles win due to fewer syscalls and far better use of OS readahead. For large messages maildir has a big advantage that it can just read the mail headers and then close the file.

              • fanf says:

                The solution to all email folder format performance problems is to add an index, which is what Dovecot and Cyrus do.

    • jwz says:

      If I do switch to IMAP, will I be able to just drag these folders from "mac side" to "imap server side", or am I going to have to go through "import hell" all over again?

      • causticjb says:

        Good question. What format is your local mailbox in? If it's just an mbox, copy the folder back over to the server as a single file. Otherwise, you'll have to build the entire index all over again (which is what's happening now, i'm guessing).

        so, the first questions you'll have to answer is:

        1) what mailbox format is on the server?
        2) can you (if needed) export your local store of mail to that mailbox format?
        3) How important is it to do that transfer, vs simply changing the server type for the remote stores?
        4) if you can simply combine the local mailbox on your current machine as a local folder, and use IMAP as the remote server store, do you actually have to transfer it all over again?

        I found my transfer to imaps (from sshing in to use pine/mutt) to be utterly painless. Mostly because I knew early on I wouldn't do it until everything met my needs as far as the server went.

        • jwz says:

          I have no IMAP server installed at the moment, so I have no idea what format it would be storing things in.

          Right now I have two copies of my saved mail: the old one in BSD mbox files; and the new one, which is in whatever-it-is that uses.

          So the obvious way to do this would be to set up an empty IMAP server, then in select all folders on the local disk, and drag them to the server. What I was asking was -- does that work?

          Another way would be to go back to the BSD files and start over from scratch there.

          Either way, all the message bodies are getting transferred over the net (for Spotlight, in the former case), so I don't think one is necessarily more efficient than the other. But I'd like to know which is easier, since either one is probably going to take 12+ hours.

          • otterley says:

            So the obvious way to do this would be to set up an empty IMAP server, then in select all folders on the local disk, and drag them to the server. What I was asking was -- does that work?

            It will work but it's not the optimal way to do it. If you go with an IMAP server such as Courier (which I noted above), after you convert your mail to Maildir format (which shouldn't take very long even with large folders) and start the server daemon, you should be able to launch, change your settings and your email should be visible without any further labor required.

            • jwz says:

              Well, I assume will want to re-download every message from IMAP so that it can index it in Spotlight. At least I hope it will, because if IMAP means "you can't search your mail with Spotlight" then I'd interpret that as "don't use IMAP"!

              • otterley says:

                Excellent point; I don't know whether Spotlight will index mail stored in IMAP folders. I seem to remember that you can ask to fetch all the messages in the current folder from the server and cache them locally. I don't remember, however, if you can ask to fetch all the messages in all folders. You may have to do it one folder at a time, which is not optimal, but probably not a showstopper either.

                • blarglefiend says:

                  When you access a folder it fetches everything and caches it. The caching takes place in the background -- open up the Activity Viewer window to see what I mean.

                  There's Mailbox->Synchronize All Accounts as well, and that goes off and caches everything in every folder. You could probably use Applescript and cron (or whatever) to make that happen every x hours if you wanted, but I haven't found it to be an issue.

              • blarglefiend says:

                Yes, it'll download it all again. stores messages in its own one-message-per-file format and Spotlight is taking advantage of that. It keeps a local cache of all messages on the IMAP server, which is handy both for the indexing and also because it means you can still look at old mail even when the network is kaput.

          • causticjb says:

            Right now I have two copies of my saved mail: the old one in BSD mbox files; and the new one, which is in whatever-it-is that uses.

            Enough said. Preserve the mbox files, since they'll work fine with most IMAP servers. If you opt to use cyrus, you'll end up having to move to Maildir (as far as i know). Some advantages are present in cyrus, one being seive and being able to adjust mail filtering that way (vs using something like procmail). I've found cyrus to be a pain in the ass to move to without changing the entire server.

            I don't know what uses, off hand. So, let's ignore it.

            So, install/configure dovecot, build the certificates for SSL if you want it, and fire it up. Configure your client of choice to use imap. Done. No major work in transfering, and you can use popmail if you want. No major transfers between clients to server, no fucking with moving mailbox formats and no real major changes to the server.

            • blarglefiend says:

              Cyrus doesn't use maildir, it uses yet another one-message-per-file format with a few index/metadata databases, and it's way overkill for jwz: it's great as a monster-huge mail server for thousands of users.

              Courier does maildir. I'm real dubious about using mbox for an IMAP server because part of the advantage of using IMAP is that you can access the same mail from multiple places, simultaneously, and mbox really isn't suited to that. It happens more often than you might think: I have running on a machine at home and also one at work accessing the same sets of mailboxes, both run more or less 24x7.

              Procmail will deliver to maildirs. Minor change to the recipes required so it knows to use the format, otherwise not a big deal. Courier or Dovecot are probably both fine, just don't use mbox for the mailstore. The mbox->maildir conversion is a doddle and well worth the effort.

              • causticjb says:

                I'm lazy, and didn't want to convert multiple peoples accounts to use Maildir.

                Anyhow, for the last 3 months I've been using dovecot with mbox mailboxes. I've yet to have a locking problem even with multiple clients using it. I'm not sure if this is due to the server being smart about locking, or due to a non-trampling of the lock files.

                Anyhow, I've yet to have a problem.

          • You quite possibly know this already, but yes, it will work. It will be slow. If you want it to be fast, listen to what the propeller-heads have to say about server-side conversion. Otherwise, set your computer to not go to sleep, drag the folders over, and go to bed.

      • nugget says:

        I use against a local (gigabit ethernet) imap server with plenty of CPU and an abundance of RAM. It grinds to an absolute fucking halt whenever I try to do anything more complicated than simple reading a large folder containing more than 10,000 or so messages. Usually the symptoms are merely becoming unresponsive and refusing to minimize its window until it has finished doing whatever mystic voodoo it thinks is necessary. Sometimes I have to employ the dreaded "force quit" and restart.

        Moving a block of 1,000 messages from one folder to another is touch-and-go and even when successful is not a pleasant operation.

        I recently migrated from Courier IMAP (which is anything but lean and sleek) to dovecot in the hopes that the sluggishness was server-induced, but I haven't seen any performance change from the switch. I am pretty pleased with dovecot's less involved footprint on the server though.

        If my experience is any indicator, I would suggest against the move to IMAP. Your gut feeling is well-placed. I doubt that it would handle the demands you would place on it. For the most part, I don't fault for its role in this suckage -- Thunderbird doesn't do any better. Mostly I just try to do housekeeping and drastic cleanups/moves from mutt on the local host, directly manipulating the Maildir without the overhead of IMAP.

        One caveat: it's possible that my performance issues stem from the Maildir storage on the server side (which Courier IMAPd requires). I've considered experimenting with mbox on the server side (which dovecot can do) to see if that helps matters any. Even eliminating the possible drain of overly-large directory navigation on the server side, though, there's no way to avoid it on's end.

        • otterley says:

          I highly doubt your performance issues have anything to do with the way your mail is stored (i.e. Maildir vs. mbox). I suggest you start poking around with your performance analysis tools (i.e. vmstat, iostat, etc.) while performing these exercises before jumping to any conclusions.

      • inoshiro says:

        At least, when I migrated to IMAP from Outlook in 1998, it did.

        Plus I've been able to copy mail between folders between IMAP servers since then (used to keep University IMAP in sync as a subfolder on my main IMAP tree occasionally, for lack of wanting to setup cron+fetchmail).

        IMAP clients should only download headers when doing an index on a folder. Thunderbird quite nicely does TheRightThing(TM) most of the time nowadays (Mozilla for IMAP mail was very brutal, and I was forced to use NS4 until early 2003 for mail). Once you have IMAP, though, you can access it in a lot of ways (webmail, Kmail,, crappy Palm IMAP clients), it's just a matter of the IMAP client's relative (un)crappyness.

        One bit caveat of server-email: no one implements IMSP or proper addressbook/filtering transparency protocols. Expect to keep address books, and the like, hand sychronized. I'm hoping that the release of Netscape's old LDAP stuff will mean Big Things for OS people getting off their asses and allowing roaming profiles.

        • boggyb says:

          Actually, Mulberry and whatever the uni uses for an IMAP server does support and use IMSP. Unfortuantly I think Mulberry isn't free.

  5. solarbird says:

    It doesn't want to let me add an "account" with a duplicate (or missing) mail server.
    Okay, that's odd. I have five accounts on the same server and I refer to all of them exactly the same way (from a server perspective) in's account setup windows. I didn't have to do any tricks to make this work.

    Differences: Jaguar vs. Tiger. And my accounts are all POP3, not IMAP.

  6. chucker23n says:

    "how do I partition things into "" and "" worlds"

    Every "account" (as in, actual, not virtual account) has something like an "e-mail" field*. Rather unintuitively, this field accepts multiple addresses, separated by commas, so you can enter e.g.,,

    in there. Then, in the Compose E-Mail window, the popup menu will list all these e-mail addresses separately.

    *) I'm not on OS X right now so I can't check for the exact wording.

    • cyflea says:

      hey, perfect! that's, like, exactly what I wish I'd known for the past 2 years. Thanks! I think I owe you a drink for that tip.

      on the IMAP end, I run Cyrus, but that's 'cause I've been running it for about 6 years - Courier wasn't so hot back then (if it existed), and Dovecot definitely didn't exist. Nowadays I'd recommend trying either of them before Cyrus (the server itself is ok, but wading through SASL for the first time is rather painful).

    • edouardp says:

      And I learn something new. Although I wish I'd scrolled down to your entry *before* I tried to create a dummy account in to test multiple personalities, and mail had managed to screw up all the email in one of the existing acounts (by moving it to the new account, and now refusing to let me move it back again).

      But still - thanks for the info.

    • latchkey says:

      While in the preferences, one can click the little purple ? in the right corner... rtfm.

      Adding multiple email addresses to the same account

      The Mail application can retrieve messages from multiple email accounts, and each account can have multiple email addresses. You don't need to add separate accounts for each address. For example, Tom Clark could get email from both and If you forward email addresses from different domains (for example, and to your account, you can also include them in the same account.
      1 Open Mail and choose Mail > Preferences.
      2 Click Accounts.
      3 Select an account.
      4 Enter all your addresses in the email address field, separated by commas. For example,,,
      5 Close the Preferences window and click Save in the message that appears.

      When you compose a message, you can choose which address the message will be sent from using the Account pop-up menu.

      All messages received at these addresses will be appear in one mailbox. If you want the messages to be in different mailboxes, you can create a rule that separates the messages by the address they're sent to. For more information, click "Tell me more."

    • corruptlogic says:

      Wow! The tip in your post about getting multiple from email addresses working with a single account was just what I needed for I have had to use Thunderbird just for multiple identies support since I switched to OS X a few months ago, and while Thunderbird isn't a bad app, it doesn't integrate with Address, which is frustrating. Not anymore!

  7. drstein says:

    I use for my work email only (POP) and Thunderbird for my personal/multiple account stuff. I wasjust unhappy with the way that laid out the multiple accounts as well. I prefer how Mozilla/Thunderbird keep it organized, and I found that Moz/Tbird deal better with self-signed certs.

    I'm using courier-imap.. haven't seen any security issues with it, and it's been very reliable. *knocks on wood*

  8. nealsid says:

    rmail, man! come on! or, maybe, VM?

  9. allartburns says:

    Multiple personalities are effectively broken in I use for my corporate/work account and Eudora for everything else (my half-dozen domain-specific accounts).

  10. vajrabelle says:

    I'm no powerUser of Mail; and I do use it on the non-business computer...but you do know that the main suckage point of the app is the inability to export (without built-in hurdles)?

  11. radven says:

    Why is it that every email program I have ever used seems to suck pretty badly?

    Didn't you write some about Intertwingularity in the way back long ago time? Has anybody done a half-way decent job of it yet?

    - chris

  12. autopope says:

    The slow import is, as far as I can tell, due to insisting on building a complete text index of the content of every message -- even on pre-Tiger versions of the OS. You can't switch this off. However, it makes hunting for messages by keyword a whole lot faster once it's done. My advice is to save importing your old mailboxes for a day or night when you're not going to be using the machine due to, e.g., sleep or travel, then kick the job off then.

  13. packetslave says:

    I wonder if you could speed the import up by disabling Spotlight indexing, importing the mail, then re-enabling Spotlight. You'd get a performance hit later while Spotlight indexes all that mail, but you could start it up before you go to sleep/work or something.

    Should just be a matter of

    mdutil -i off /

    (assuming you don't have a separate /Users partition), then

    mdutil -i on /

    later to re-enable.

    I have to wonder if Spotlight isn't trying to index all those messages as they're added. I know for filesystem stuff it uses the "hey, this file changed" APIs to detect real-time changes, so perhaps it's doing the same for Mail.

    • smackfu says:

      I had this problem reinstalling my scanner drivers. Epson uses 1400 small files, mostly a lot of html and pictures, and the install takes forever because of Spotlight bogging down.

  14. crypticreign says:

    I assume that you have big mbox files like I do.

    If you are switching to IMAP make sure you convert your mboxes into maildir's or else imap is going to be slow as hell.

  15. darkengobot says:

    I'm going to move from to Mailsmith myself. is a really good application, but I need something that's just a bit more script-happy, and since I spend a lot of time in BBEdit anyway... This can be considered a suggestion in the same way that informing you to use a different distro is a suggestion.

    The advantage Mailsmith has is that it solves your "whither IMAP" problem by simply not supporting it, though $100 for an email program sometimes makes me break out in the shivers.

  16. violentbloom says:

    everything makes itunes skip. though my machine(s) have less than optimal amounts of memory...but the itunes and java combo seems to be particularly bad.
    Also when you plug in ipod it makes everything choke, windows or mac. I'm sure it's doing something like reading the entire disk into memory or some crap. It's worse on windows than mac.

    but I *want* to listen to music while I run jmeter :(

    I mostly like itunes but there are several things I don't like...this, and also the fact that I can't autosync my ipod, unless I happen to have an enormous disk on my mac and they both have copies of the same stuff. (and not bothering to mention that autosync will actually remove stuff on the ipod was an annoying lack of detail that caused me to have to rerip a number of cds) I have an old laptop, it has suffienct disk space in other ways. I'm not going to upgrade the damn thing just to hold music that's why I got the ipod. grumble.

    • chucker23n says:

      I see iTunes skip maybe once a month, and I use it a lot. This is on a 700 MHz G3 iBook, so not exactly the newest machine.

      • violentbloom says:

        how much memory do you have? I'm betting that's the real issue.
        also possible that it's the lack of harddrive space on my mac.
        the windows version though skips all the damn time, but then windows just sucks.

        • chucker23n says:

          640 Megs of RAM (maximum for that machine), and always trying to stick to an Apple file system engineer's recommendation of leaving at least 30% per partition free (regardless of the operating system) for optimal performance.

          I also have an Athlon 500 (mid-'99) with 512 Megs of RAM that runs iTunes okay, but in that case, it may indeed be because of the hard drive, since that's a new and fast 160 GB Samsung.

          • violentbloom says:

            yeah so that would reinforce my theory there.
            but my mac was *free* if lacking in memory or harddrive space
            I don't have high expectations from anything I get for free.