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Re: email without vm

From: "T. V. Raman" <raman@users.sf.net>
Subject: email without vm
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 18:03:01 -0800

> I believe vm is alive and well and has a vibrant user community;
> there is no reason to look for an alternative.
My only concern here is that there is currently no central maintainer who is
able to incorporate updates, bug fixes or new features into VM. There are
already two 'forks' of VM which have arisen due to uncertainty regarding
where/who is responsible for managing maintenance. For example, see


There does appear to be a fairly active Debian VM user base and numerous
patches have been incorporated into the Debian version since the last upstream
release in september 2004. However, without an upstream maintainer, these bug
fixes are not likely to get incorporated into VM proper, which means we are
likely to see differences in behavior between Debian's version of VM and, lets
say, Red Hat's package or any other OS or GNU/Linux distribution. Also, looking
at the change log for the Debian package, nearly all the bug fixes appear to be
based on fixes contributed to the Debian VM package maintainer. This makes me
think that if (when) I report the apple mail mime bug, nothing will happen to
address it unless I do it and contribute a fix. However, even if I do this, my
fix would only make it into the Debian version, so users using other versions
are likely to still have the same bug with apple mail mime attachments. Worse
yet, there is a chance they cannot easily apply my patch because of differences
between their code base and my Debian based one.

My concern is really about what the future will be rather than to what extent
there is a current VM user community. Without a designated upstream maintainer,
I am concerned we will see forks in the code base and this is likely to lead to
problems for users, particularly emacspeak users, when bugs are reported and
cannot easily be reproduced due to numerous different code bases. Currently,
the only real problem I know of is that VM users cannot access attachments
composed by uses of recent versions of apple mail. Given the relativly small
user base, this may not be a significant problem for most. It is a problem for
me because a third of the users where I work use Mac OSX and apple mail. 

FYI, I originally got around this problem by getting some sighted help and
using either my gmail account or mutt to read the message. both are able to
handle the mime attachment correctly. Now I'm using mew as it is also able to
handle this problem and I was able to setup mew to run while keeping VM by
using procmail to keep two mail spools. At least with mew, I don't need sighted
assistance. However, the real problem now is that there is no way to easily
know when using VM that the message has an attachment. All you can do is check
to see what mail user agent the sender used and if it was apple mail, check
using another mail reader.


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