Mail 2.1: could we have some better IMAP, please? Because 33 crashes in 6 hours is too much.

As days go it’s been a bit like this, a bit like that. Today, Apple’s Mail crashed on me 33 times between 10.49am and 4.46pm. That’s six hours, including one hour when I was away at lunch. That’s five crashes per hour, though at some stages it was launching and then crashing at once on relaunch.

First was the wonderful answer to my problems, as provided by jp (hello, St Louis!): there’s something about Mail which can corrupt everything around it, including other programs, the “paste” function across applications, browser downloads. That’s quite some problem, eh?

The solution: quit Mail, grab the ~/Library/Mail folder, drag it to your desktop (or anywhere), launch Mail, and then click “Cancel” when it says “Hi there, let’s import some mail or just have a wild time”. Then drag the folder back (saying yes, replace the newer folder), and launch Mail again. Return to nirvana. (It’s nothing to do with the ~/Library/Caches/Mail folder: they’re for stuff like HTML mail you’ve looked at.)

That’s fine. Except for this crashing thing. Which was caused by the fact that while I was thrashing around over the weekend, I thought that I might try this interesting menu option for the mailboxes called “Rebuild”.

Why, oh why, doesn’t this come with a huge red warning saying DO NOT USE THIS ON IMAP MAILBOXES IF YOU VALUE YOUR TIME ? Why doesn’t it come with any warning at all? Why is it there?

Thing is it’s really, really dangerous if like me you have any number of messages in any single IMAP account and you rebuild it. Doesn’t matter whether you’re connected to the server or not, but you’ll have a bad time. Like, really bad. As in, Mail will fall over after, having deleted all the IMAP messages (and possibly attachments) – you didn’t know it will delete everything? Oh yes – it tries to repopulate the mailbox.

Unfortunately, Mail stinks at repopulating big IMAP mailboxes. Mine’s about 300MB (judging by the two-week-old backup I’ve put in place which somehow doesn’t include 2007 but, well, I’ll get back to it). I got really sick of it falling over. Really sick. Really really sick. To the extent that I was writing messages cursing the programmers in the “What were you doing when this happened?” questions which they’d certainly not want to show their mothers.

But it doesn’t make sense. Would Apple really let something out the door which is so screwed up? Why can’t it figure out downloading 300MB of stuff?

(Later… hmm, well, Mail 3.0 in Leopard looks pretty nifty. I can see that one might spend the entire day there.)

1 Comment

  1. Sad to hear that Mail is still broken.
    I gave up on it quite some time ago, and installed thunderbird which handles IMAP quite well (I have about 2.5GB of mail spread over 750 nested folders).

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