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Mail::Box 2, Second Progress Report

15 July 2003, Mark Overmeer, MARKOV Solutions.

In the last two months

A period of two months is rather short when a large conference and some days off are included. In my case, these where joined into one extended stay in Florida to visit YAPC::NA.

Participation of YAPC::NA

At arrival, there was only one slot of 90 minutes allocate for my talks, which I used to present the Mail::Box distribution to the American audience.

During the three days of the conference, some other small spots fell open of which I claimed three more talks: 20 minutes for OODoc (Object Oriented Documentation) and twice 5 minutes for Hash::Case and Object::Realize::Later, other modules that I wrote.

Mail::Box documentation

After the transition of the documentation system to use OODoc was completed in the previous period, the benefits of the new set-up became visible. Without the fear to lose overview on the documentation, the manual can grow much larger now. As main feature, larger parts of the documentation were reorganized, which can been seen at This page will grow into a large doc/faq/example collection.

Small developments

The new Outlook DBX and message rebuild functionalities didn't cause any problems for users, but they have already found a few users.

Some improvements where made to help people with large mailboxes: it is now very simple to remove unimportant header fields, sets of "resent group" headers, and mailing list related headers from memory and folders.

A major memory leak was fixed with a contributed module [written by Todd Richmond] which replaced the use of the leaking external module. This may save up to 40% of memory! Mail::Box is still demanding considerable amounts of memory, which is mainly caused by the way Perl is organized internally.

An other way to save memory is the new message "destruct" function, which frees-up the message from memory and at the same time catches the situations where the message data is accidentally being used after destruction. This is a clean hack, and only useful for people with large folders.

Major developments

Progress has been made in the list of tasks in the Mail::Box phase 2 project plan, however not all are already visible to the users. The main reason behind this is that visiting and preparing three conferences within 5 month consumes that much time that development can be started but not be finished: fixing the last bugs, creating enough tests, and writing the general documentation of each new feature takes some extra effort and concentration that in cannot be combined.

Two major parts of the plan are therefore still in my development tree as alpha code: unicode headers which parse all the features of e-mail addresses and mailing list header support are close to ready. The IMAP implementation has started, as well as the destription how to use Mail::Box with databases.


By reason of the "conference season" I could not continue a two weeks release cycle. The number of changes per release went up, and the number of releases went down.

version 2.044: to be released next week
version 2.043: Thu Jul 10 10:18:51 CEST 2003
version 2.042: Tue May 20 14:32:05 CEST 2003


The "conference season" and the "holiday season" are probable causes for a decay in the number of messages on the Mail::Box mailinglist:

July till 14th: 20
June : 22
May : 69

My personal trace contains 110 messages directly related to Mail::Box and many dozens for related modules since May 15, the date of the revious report.

Plans for the near future

In the last part of this project, I plan to finish the remaining subjects of the plan. During Summer, most other activities are reduced to a very low level, so there will probably be enough time to finish the targets set.

An offer by LinuxJournal for a publication about Mail::Box will be studied further. Not to forget the YAPC::EU conference and its aftermath.


Send in your ideas.
Deadline April 1st, 2020.


Project Mail::Box

NLnet Projects