[svlug] mbox vs. maildir?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Nov 18 19:09:49 PST 2015


Quoting Steve Litt (slitt at troubleshooters.com):

> Mbox is wonderful, but there are something like four different versions
> of it. That doesn't sound, to me, like a safe way to store important
> emails. I have mbox from ancient Eudora and mbox from old Kmail, and
> they're close but not the same. Ugh, no more!

That's a crock.  (Not your fault; as I said upthread, even Wikipedia
repeats this stuff.)

If you look at the details of the several alleged dialects, it involves
trivia like whether 'From ' has been escaped or not when it occurs
starting column 1 of the message text -- in other words, dumb little
details that are trivially accounted for by parsers.  I've carried
forward mbox files all the way from the 1980s to the present, read and
written to by a huge variety of software, and they're all fully
parseable at the beginning, in the middle, and at present.

It is _not_ a rigorously defined format, as it evolved from usage rather
than being designed -- and I would not call it 'wonderful' by any
stretch of the imagination -- but the notion of in-practice incompatible
versions is just not correct.  



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