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I'm probably going to kill my spamcop.net email account soon; the address gets so much spam that (a) wading through the spam trap and looking for potentially miscategorised messages takes forever, and (b) about half a dozen spams make it through the filter every day.

(Attention spammers: get cancer and die. Thank you very much.)

The question is what to move to. I currently get my personal mail at spamcop.net's webmail. Before this, I used mutt, a command-line client I could use from anywhere I could get a shell. Since using SpamCop's webmail (which is basically the open-source Horde webmail system), I have started taking advantage of its multiple-identity support. I have several valid email addresses, ranging from ones I expect to throw away within months to more permanent addresses, and choose which address I will use depending on how ongoing the interaction is, and how much I trust the recipient to not sell it to spammers/submit it to this really cool web site that tells you cool stuff/have a Windows virus on their machine; I also have several other addresses, including one for mailing lists.

The problem with mutt is that it does not have modern multiple-identity support. You get one identity, and the ability to manually edit your RFC-822 headers if you want to change that. Which makes routinely using multiple identities really cumbersome. As such, unless someone comes up with a patch that presents a menu of identities prior to composing an email, mutt is, alas, out.

I'm now thinking along the lines of setting up an IMAP server on my virtual host, and also one or more webmail gateways to it. I'm thinking of going with RoundCube, as that is apparently nicely AJAXy1 . Annoyingly enough, it needs PHP, which I have so far avoided installing on my server (I don't know enough about PHP to be confident of locking it down, and don't like the idea of leaving open security holes by installing third-party scripts; given how many Linux machines were pwned because of a common PHP photo gallery script, I'm reluctant to trust third-party PHP scripts even more). It could also be useful to install a WAP webmail service of some sort.

Any suggestions?

[1] as opposed to Horde, or at least the SpamCop version, which requires a round-trip to the server for things like selecting search criteria. Hello; 1999 called and it wants its CGI interface back.
Current Music:
City City City - The Perimeter Motorshow
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On December 15th, 2005 01:23 pm (UTC), reddragdiva commented:
Thunderbird is actually really nice IME. Completely crap newsreader, but damn fine email client.

Mind you, when I can be bothered to set up a box at home to allow outside access, I'll probably set up a webmail.
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On December 15th, 2005 01:30 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Why not rent a virtual Linux box from someone like these people? I pay something like £16 a month (one gets 10% off if one has written open-source software), and get a virtual host I'm root of, with free local Debian mirrors, DNS, backup server and so on.

I use Thunderbird at work, but the problem with GUI mail apps is that they tie you to the terminal they run on, in a way that command-line and web-based ones don't. I like being able to get at my mail from home, work, friends' places, net cafes and such.
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On December 15th, 2005 01:38 pm (UTC), reddragdiva replied:
I have a remote server! And a spare remote host! But a home box lets me access everything that's on my home box. Via SSL with a snake-oil cert, of course.
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On December 15th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Yes, getting at a home box from afar could be useful. I wonder whether it'd be easy to implement that without a static IP, from behind one of those Linksys WiFi/Ethernet routers.

And some kind of port-knocking sounds like it could be a good idea as well. Just in case your SSL stack has a buffer overflow in it or something.
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On December 15th, 2005 01:49 pm (UTC), reddragdiva replied:
I have a static IP, and another seven for the asking. I was tempted to set up an OpenBSD box as a proxy for outside services, with the actual services running on the FreeBSD box. Probably in jails. I'd need it to be accessible by pure https.
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On December 15th, 2005 01:25 pm (UTC), reddragdiva commented:
Oh and the Cancer Anti-Defamation League is on line three for you. They sound upset.
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On December 15th, 2005 01:33 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Well, AIDS would have been too cool for them. Ebola perhaps?
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On December 15th, 2005 02:44 pm (UTC), uon commented:
What kind of multiple-identity suppport do you want? I use a single mutt session to handle email for several different purposes and different addresses; I just use a .muttrc which changes headers and addresses and signatures and whatnot depending on what folder I'm in; the hook functions are pretty good for that kind of thing.
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On December 15th, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
I want to be able to choose an identity at the time of composing a message, without having to remember to edit the headers and hand-type the From: line. In other words, I want to be presented with a menu of my identities.
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On December 15th, 2005 03:16 pm (UTC), uon replied:
That's the kind of thing I'd do with a vi macro (or emacs if you prefer). Admittedly this isn't much use if you don't have a macrotastic editor.
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On December 15th, 2005 03:35 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
I can't be arsed hacking vim macros every time I change my email identities. 7 years ago, I might have done so as a show of geek machismo, but now I just want something where I can put my identities in one place and the software will do the rest, without my having to show how clever I am and writing perl scripts to magic everything into place (and keep those maintained in case the config formats of various components change).

There are only so many hours in the day, and I have better things to do with my spare time than write scripts to work around user-interface feature deficiencies. (I haven't even found the time to write the photo-organisation scripts I need.)
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On December 15th, 2005 03:38 pm (UTC), uon replied:
That's fair enough.

Incidentally, I had great fun playing around with your 303 emulator.
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On December 16th, 2005 07:31 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
Cool; mind you, it's a very primitive 303 emulator. It's basically some
code from a command-line, batch-mode Amiga 303 emulator refactored into C++-based unit generators, with a Curses interface grafted onto it. More a proof of concept than anything more useful.
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On December 16th, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC), dreamstooloud replied:
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On December 16th, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
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On December 17th, 2005 02:07 pm (UTC), dreamstooloud replied:
woah. teh cool.
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On December 15th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC), dreamstooloud commented:
d00d, on gmail, I see spam like once a year.
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On December 15th, 2005 03:29 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
On gmail, your From: line is hardcoded to your gmail address.
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On December 15th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC), dreamstooloud replied:
omg not that!!!!! :-p

there's SpamBayes, it's written in Python and seems to be pretty good. it's on SourceForge I think.
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On December 15th, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
How does it relate and/or compare to SpamAssassin?
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On December 15th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC), dreamstooloud replied:
it has a couple different implementations; you can set it up as web mail or as a client-side plugin. I lurk on the lists and it seems the plugin versions are significantly less stable, but don't quote me on that.
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On December 16th, 2005 03:36 am (UTC), dreamstooloud replied:
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On December 16th, 2005 07:06 am (UTC), kineticfactory replied:
There wasn't an Accounts tab when I looked.

It appears that the "English (UK)" interface lags behind the US one quite significantly.
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On December 16th, 2005 03:19 pm (UTC), dreamstooloud replied:
hmm. wtf. sign in to the US interface and tell it to use British English as the primary language?

crazy. stupid Google. wtf.
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On December 15th, 2005 10:53 pm (UTC), frogworth commented:
I use SpamAssassin on the frogworth server, and I get very little missed spam. What does get missed I stick in a Missed Spam folder and it gets learnt by SpamAssassin's Bayesian thingummy every night.
I find it's very effective. I started getting a rash of certain spams getting through a while back, but it was still maybe one a day, and it seems to have settled down again.

I use Squirrelmail for webmail, which is based on PHP so you may not like that, and is really no better than Horde anyway in terms of being totally non-AJAXy and stuff. I'm getting a bit impatient with it at work now, although at least with a decent-sized screen you can make use of a Preview-Pane plugin which is quite handy. That way I can at least read a new email while also filing some other ones and refreshing the Inbox or whatever.
I'm sure there's a multiple-identities plugin for it, but I don't use that really. I'm very happy with Thunderbird's multi-ident support at home, and that's about the only time I really need them (if then).

I've been looking at AJAX-based webmail clients. The best I've seen is atmail, but that's not freeware unfortunately. I'm wondering whether FourPlay should invest in it for the server 'coz it's very pretty. RoundCube looks rather lacking in features right now to me...
On the other hand, I can't see, on looking, what I thought it was really missing. Hm! Seems ok.
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