To start with something rather technical, I working on an email-program called modest. It's been in an experimental state for a long time -- but finally it's about ready for the real world. It's a program designed specifically for Nokia N800/N810 devices. Some people have already called e-mail 'obsolete' or 'something for old people', but I think that's a bit of an exaggeration - there is a whole universe of communication for which there is no better medium than email. Try applying for a job using IM or reading the monthly report in an SMS...
Some information here; you might also be interested in the GUADEC Presentation I did about Modest in Birmingham.
mobile email improvements
Now, there are a couple of problems with e-mail, in particular with mobile email, but there's nothing we can't solve (I'm a born optimist!). Let's list some of the common problems and what to do about them:
- Setting up accounts is #@&^%& hard - modest makes this almost brainlessly easy, by including data for big email providers; setting up modest for, say, Gmail is trivial with the easy-setup wizard;
- Using your fingers is hard - why have that expensive touch-screen if you cannot even open mails with your greasy fingers? Modest provides big fingerable headers, so you can open that message from your boss, even as you're running for the meeting;
- I need that fancy stuff - many mobile email clients only provide the bare minimum - what about having mailboxes with thousands of mails, push-email, IMAP-folders, rich-text reading/writing of mails, etc.?
- Show me the code - what kind of person would want to use an email-client if they cannot even read the source? :) Modest is fully open-source, and released under a BSD-like license.
To achieve all this, modest uses an email framework called tinymail, which is the brainchild of Philip Van Hoof.
Tinymail provides a version of the libcamel protocol library that is also used for the Evolution e-mail program. The tinymail-version is optimized for low-memory situations, and improves the protocol handling especially for the needs of mobile applications. I will discuss that in more detail in some future entry.
Tinymail provides a nice object-oriented layer on top of all this, which allows for a lot of flexibility. I already wrote a bit about that last year in Gnome Journal: Tinymail: Evolution and Intelligent Design.
So -- my first post. Stay tuned!