UnicodeDecodeError? Argh! Nothing works! I'm tired and hurting and...

Chris Jones cjns1989 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 25 06:11:08 CET 2009


On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 05:43:32PM EST, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Tue, 24 Nov 2009 13:19:10 -0500, Chris Jones wrote:
> 
> > On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 08:02:09AM EST, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> > 
> >> Good grief, it's about six weeks away from 2010 and Thunderbird still
> >> uses mbox as it's default mail box format. Hello, the nineties called,
> >> they want their mail formats back! Are the tbird developers on crack or
> >> something? I can't believe that they're still using that crappy format.
> >> 
> >> No, I tell a lie. I can believe it far too well.
> > 
> > :-)
> > 
> > I realize that's somewhat OT, but what mail box format do you recommend,
> > and why?
> 
> maildir++
> 
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maildir

Outside the two pluses, maildir also goes back to the 90s - 1995, Daniel
Berstein's orginal specification.

> Corruption is less likely, if there is corruption you'll only lose a 
> single message rather than potentially everything in the mail folder[*], 
> at a pinch you can read the emails using a text editor or easily grep 
> through them, and compacting the mail folder is lightning fast, there's 
> no wasted space in the mail folder, and there's no need to mangle lines 
> starting with "From " in the body of the email.

This last aspect very welcome.

> The only major downside is that because you're dealing with potentially 
> thousands of smallish files, it *may* have reduced performance on some 
> older file systems that don't deal well with lots of files. These days, 
> that's not a real issue.
> 
> Oh yes, and people using Windows can't use maildir because (1) it doesn't 
> allow colons in names, and (2) it doesn't have atomic renames. Neither of 
> these are insurmountable problems: an implementation could substitute 
> another character for the colon, and while that would be a technical 
> violation of the standard, it would still work. And the lack of atomic 
> renames would simply mean that implementations have to be more careful 
> about not having two threads writing to the one mailbox at the same time.
> 
> 
> [*] I'm assuming normal "oops there's a bug in the mail client code" 
> corruption rather than "I got drunk and started deleting random files and 
> directories" corruption.

I'm not concerned with the other aspects, but I'm reaching a point where
mutt is becoming rather sluggish with the mbox format, especially those
mail boxes that have more than about 3000 messages and it looks like
maildir, especially with some form of header caching might help.

Looks like running a local IMAP server would probably be more effective,
though.

Thank you for your comments.

CJ



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