[Alpine-info] Dumb Gmail questions
Benjamin R. Haskell
alpine at benizi.com
Wed Mar 4 11:52:52 PST 2009
On Wed, 4 Mar 2009, Beartooth wrote:
> I have been keeping my distance from all things google, both out
> of distaste for advertising and from concern about privacy. Now my backup
> address (at the local ISP from which I get Net access generally) is about
> to go away -- and somebody who knows more than I says you're no safer
> elsewhere, but that Gmail has good search functions.
> I suspect that means only in webmail form, and I hate all forms of
> webmail with the purplest of passions; but I suppose I might have
> recourse to it at times. Do those of you who run Alpine against it
> resort to webmail at times? Or can you use these vaunted search
> functions from within Alpine?
At this point, I do almost all of my mail reading via the webmail portion
of Gmail (for Domains), and a large part of my organizing (adding
tags/moving things out of inbox). For composing, I vastly prefer alpine,
which is good, because I'm forced to use it anyway in order to use ad-hoc
addresses without going through the "authorize this email address by
clicking a link" rigamarole. (e.g. I can alter the local part of my
address (alpine@) at will.) Plus, I use my own SMTP server (which
prevents Gmail-SMTP's Outlook "Sent on behalf of" problem -- though I
haven't tested that via webmail in a while).
The only other thing that is a clear win (IMO) for alpine is the ability
to sort. (Which is incredibly useful for sifting through my spam folder.)
Searching isn't as blazingly fast via IMAP, and even browsing messages is
often annoyingly slow (Takes over a minute to open my [Gmail]/All Mail
folder.). It's certainly understandable. I'd be shocked if Gmail's IMAP
server were designed to optimize performance for non-caching clients
(Alpine is a rare breed).
For me, the entire reason I switched was to step away from the front lines
of the spam war. It was very educational while I was still running my own
servers, but dealing with ~500 spam messages a day and
maintaining/updating anti-spam software is just something I'd now rather
> I also see all sorts of questions, on this list and others, about
> making the two work together at all. Can somebody give me a rough
> intuitive idea of how much hassle it is, compared with setting up a
> connection to an ordinary IMAP ISP?
It's almost exactly as much hassle, in terms of setup. A little more
hassle in terms of the minor differences in behavior (auto-expunge, and
the disconnect between "tags" in webmail, but "folders" in IMAP).
Though, according to Damion's recent message, those differences might
be a bit more configurable now for normal Gmail users (IMAP options
configurable via "Labs"). (I say "normal", because AFAIK the changes
haven't trickled into the free Gmail for Domains.)
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