Mail as a Desktop API

I have been pondering if mail has become such an integral part of our desktop usage that its time it got elevated to a desktop operation.

A large part of the users, use mail extensively, so why should a seperate application handle mail ? Why shouldn’t the desktop handle the mail itself. Lets for instance take “Creation of a new folder” thats a desktop operation but i create more new mails than folders in a day. The usual process in writing a new mail would be as follows

  • To open your mail client (pine, evolution, thunderbird, outlook (jeez!))
  • Wait for the irritating splash screen to go away.
  • Wait for all your new mail to filter through
  • click new mail.

Why does the whole process have to be so complicated when its extensively used ? why cant we just have a right click “new mail” like right click “new folder”. This is what i meant by mail being a Desktop APi. This solves a lot of problems.

  • Complete choice to use different ui but the same mail backend.
  • Great Desktop integration as all application can then use the mail data
  • General coolness of usage and less time staring at splash up screens
  • I can think of a hundred applets which can make life easier. Like for instance a script which reads today’s calendar entries and makes it your desktop background and updates it when new entries come in.
  • Mailing somebody from gaim should be easy one click composer option rather than launching the whole mail app

Ofcourse this also presents some rather difficult to handle problems.

  • The ipc mecahnisim between the mail ui and the mail backend should be able to handle large amounts of data in a robust manner.
  • The mail backend should run as a daemon, so if u are running a 200mhz machine then forget it. Although i suggest u update

I find it a really interesting topic. Maybe i should hack on a prototype, but its rather hard to do right now because of how evolution is designed and bonobo’s general tardiness while handling large amount of data but its certainly something which could seperate the Gnome desktop from the rest.


#1 Devdas Bhagat on 10.04.05 at 7:27 pm

Some of us just use a real email client. And we don’t turn it off after it gets started. Perhaps you just need to use better email clients.

#2 Shreyas on 10.04.05 at 7:34 pm

Get real dude, this comment is invalid. You cant do anything great with mutt than just read mail. What about shared calendars, address books, web calendaring, shared folders ? This whole attitude of i am better of in the past is plain ignorance of any other features other than to read and write mails.

#3 Devdas Bhagat on 10.04.05 at 7:41 pm

As in, one application doing one thing and doing it right is wrong? And mail clients should just be there for reading and writing email, not calendaring. Groupware apps might have calendaring, but then you need to include almost every form of communication we use (Hint: IRC is for immediate communication, usenet and email for group/person to person communication).

And just share your folders via IMAP, it makes life a lot easier. I haven’t needed calendaring yet (Note that I either block an entire day, or none and decide on appointments on the fly).

Oh, and you can choose to start your mail client once and then never close it. Reserve a virtual desktop for that. One for your office suite. One for your browser, if needed.