Spyware Sucks
“There is no magic fairy dust protecting Macs" – Dai Zovi, author of “The Mac Hacker’s Handbook"

Java based email client

September 19th 2005 in Uncategorized

A friend has asked me to check out “Columba”, a java based email client available at http://columba.soundforge.net


I must admit, my initial reaction was a shudder.  As a rule I don’t like java based applications.  I particularly remember when Novell rolled out ConsoleOne – a java based management client that was/is as slow as a dog and an absolute pain to use.


I must admit, Columba is quick, but it is also nowhere near ready for prime time.  First, it downloads remote graphics by default.  This is a big security risk.  Embedded remote graphics are the number one way that spammers confirm whether or not a particular address is live.  I hope those behind Columba get that problem fixed, quick smart.


While on the topic of html emails and remote graphics, I opened an html email from Harvey World Travel which included remote graphics, and from that moment on Columba refused to display anything but that email – even when other emails were selected.  After shutting down and restarting Columba it simply refused to display any email at all!!


Double clicking an email opens an empty window – another bug.


The setup is easy enough – mind you, setting example name of ‘Bill Gates’ and sample mail server as ‘mail.microsoft.com’ is just a little preoccupied, don’t you think?


Currently the anti-spam feature isn’t working – they’d better get that fixed – Outlook Express 7 (sorry, Windows Mail) will, at time of writing, include an antispam feature (yes, I say at time of writing – I remember how Microsoft was sued the last time that they tried to add an anti-spam feature to Outlook Express back in during the beta of version 5 – nothing is certain in this world until products are released).


Ok, so if you are using Windows, what version do I recommend you install?  That’s easy – the Windows installer *without* java.  This is because you *must* ensure you have the latest vesion of the Sun Java client, and the only way to do that is to go direct to Sun and download the latest version:
http://www.java.com/en/download/manual.jsp


While we’re on the topic of Sun Java… watch out… when you update Sun Java older vulnerable versions of the product are not removed automatically – this is a big problem – more information here:
http://msmvps.com/spywaresucks/archive/2005/08/22/63670.aspx


Ok, that’s it for now. I’ve only scratched the surface of the product.  Its fast, and has potential, but is nowhere near ready for primetime, and I’m not comfortable recommending it yet.


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