Boris Mann

Open Source. Community. Decentralized Web. Building dev tools at Fission. Cooks & eats.


Zoe and Email Choices

Scott found Zoe again and checked it out this time. I keep hoping it will get to a usable state at some point. Since I now have a laptop, it might make sense to start having all my email on this box.

Actually, I'm going to be making some choices about email soon. I have my DNS and my hosting separated now, and my email is still with my old provider. I'm debating moving all my email services to an outsourced provider. The wishlist includes:

  • IMAP
  • spam & virus filtering
  • web access
  • large (100-500MB+) mailboxes

In any case, read on for Scott's take on Zoe.

Ah, finally—someone explains the point of Zoe. It’s basically a personal email search engine. Once I got that, I grabbed a copy and tried it out. It’s trivial to install—just extract the files from the archive and double-click on Zoe.jar. Zoe runs its own web server on port 10080, and automatically fires up your favorite browser when it starts. The web interface is intuitive and reasonable attractive, and it’s easy to add new POP or IMAP accounts and have Zoe import mail from them. While it’s possible to use Zoe as a web-based mail reader, it’s not really very good at that—it doesn’t do folders at all, and I can’t figure out how to get it to do threads, but that’s not really a problem, because it’s not supposed to be used for normal mail reading: it’s a search engine, not a mail reader.

I probably have around 100,000 messages sitting in assorted IMAP mail boxes in various places, and Zoe is the first program that I’ve found that is actually usable for searching them. OS X’s Mail program isn’t very good at searching huge volumes of mail, particularly when most of it lives on IMAP servers.

The big problem with Zoe is its resource needs—it’s written in Java, and wants at least 70 MB of RAM when it’s running on my laptop, plus a few hundred MB of disk space. I just don’t have enough free RAM on my laptop to add another 70+ MB program, so I’m going to try running it on one of my Linux servers at home and see how that goes.

scottstuff: Zoe

Emphasis is mine — if Scott manages to work the same magic on Zoe that he has with Asterisk, then we can look forward to some good instructions on getting Zoe on a server. Scott also points out Near Time Flow, which I talked about earlier — I'm still looking forward to testing this when it comes out.