[svlug] Is there a GOOD source for web-based email?

J C Lawrence claw at cp.net
Thu May 11 12:54:25 PDT 2000

On Thu, 11 May 2000 12:26:16 -0700 
Ray Olszewski <ray at comarre.com> wrote:

> I was struck that none of the responses to your posting (so far)
> have addressed the questions you actually posed.

> Whether such an application actually exist, I do not know. 

I'm not aware of one.  Heck, even Critical Path's product (I'm
working there ATM) does not do all he asks for.

In the OpenSource arena there are two main products and several
dozen hangers on in this space: IMP and Twig.  For my own WebMail
needs I use Twig (I have a half dozen external users I suppy mail
service to, I don't use it myself).  Adding most of what he talks
about, such as [PG]GP support, to Twig would not be that difficult.
The biggie is threading.  Its a well documented problem with
significant prior art, but its also computationally expensive,
especially given the interception of an arbitrary IMAP server in the

> The difficulty -- and it's a difficulty more in people's minds
> these days than was true a few months ago -- is in coming up with
> a good business case for yet another Web-based e-mail service of
> any sort. 

Ptui.  I wouldn't touch a free webmail service business plan with a
50 foot pole.  WebMail has become a commodity, which makes going
against the well entrenched and proven commercial players like CP a
tough proposition (you don't have to just equal, you have to better
by a large enough factor to offset the risk of going with an

Conversely, helping out the base Twig/IMP developers, adding the odd
feature or whatever, bears comparitively very little overhead cost,
and (more or less) gets you what you individually want.

> After the initial programming work is done, what remains is the
> drudgier, sysadmin-level work of keeping servers, connections, the
> usual folderol, running reliably ...  and of paying for the thing.

Figure $200/month for a colo box or $80/month for a DSL connected
box with a static IP, throw in a *nix enthusiast, and the effort
level is pretty damned low for a _reasonable_ service level.  The
hardware is ignorable (say $150 for a low end pentium of i486

J C Lawrence                              Internet: claw at kanga.nu
----------(*)                            Internet: coder at kanga.nu
...Honorary Member of Clan McFud -- Teamer's Avenging Monolith...

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