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Re: POP3 mail fetcher that supports unreliable connections?

On Wed, 5 Nov 2003 01:42:34 +0100
Vincent Lefevre <vincent@vinc17.org> wrote:

> On 2003-11-04 15:42:40 -0700, Monique Y. Herman wrote:
> > On Tue, 04 Nov 2003 at 21:54 GMT, Vincent Lefevre penned:

<snip - talking about losing mail>

> If you're stupid enough to type 'rm -rf' in your root directory, it's
> your problem. *You* are typing 'rm -rf', whereas the delivery system
> is generally not configured by the user.

Trusting something to not lose data when you know it can have root
privileges isn't exactly "smart" - in contrast with your calling people

All the Debian installations I've ever done asked me to choose one of
four choices for configuring the delivery system. And every fetchmail
installation I've done had the option to tell it which user to deliver
the mail to, making it nice and straight forward. 

On the rare occasion I wasn't sure how to do something in fetchmail,
fetchmailconf was very helpful.

> > In both cases, the behavior is well documented, and in both cases,
> > user error can end in disaster.
> No, it is not well documented. fetchmail makes some assumptions on
> the local delivery (which worked perfectly without fetchmail).
> Moreover the local delivery configuration is out-of-control for
> the user (one needs to have a root access, which is not acceptable
> for a user program).

hmm... I always thought the Debian way was to test things before you
relied on them. I guess I've been doing too much work.

Oh, and BTW - I've never found fetchmail to be that poorly documented.
And no, I'm not a *nix guru... Everything I know about Linux is
something I learned from reading the documentation or from asking
friends that also use Linux. And that was coming from a Win3.1 - 98

> > fetchmail follows the "unix philosophy" of chaining well-defined
> > capabilities so as not to reinvent the (less capable) wheel.
> Completely wrong! I hope you don't think that for instance, a MUA
> should use the local delivery system for copying messages to a
> different mailbox!

When you're copying mail between mailboxes you're not moving it to a
separate computer, downloading it off a server, or anything else. You're
simply moving data between files or files between folders (depending on
what kind of mailbox you use). That's not a very good example.

But on the other hand, sometimes you do use multiple programs chained
together for moving things around on your own system - that's why the
pipe | was invented.

> > If you don't like that approach, then don't use the tool, but don't
> > claim that the tool is poorly designed just because you don't like
> > this philosophy and furthermore didn't take the time to understand
> > the basics of how the tool worked.
> It is poorly designed as a POP3 mail fetcher tool, as it relies on
> special support of the local delivery configuration.

I've never heard smtp called "special support" before. Not only does
fetchmail use it, a lot of Debian packages use it to communicate
messages to the user. Debconf has sent me messages several times when my
computer's configured to not show me configuration questions below a
certain level.

In another post you claim getmail does it the "proper way". That's the
nice thing about Linux and open source; having multiple programs to do
the same job, and being able to choose between the two. But I certainly
wouldn't say that means fetchmail is defective by any means.

The same things that make you say it's "defective" are what make me
think it's so powerful.


GnuPG Key: 1024D/16377135

Microsoft is not the answer.
Microsoft is the question.
Linux is the answer.

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