[Wolves] Kmail, imap and Gmail

Adam Sweet adam at adamsweet.org
Mon May 19 13:22:57 BST 2008

Peter Cannon wrote:
> If you have limited storage capacity on you're HDD imap'ing to your
> Gmail account is just stupid especially as the storage from Google is
> free'mans

IMAP is supposed to solve this problem as you're actually only downloading
the message headers at first so you can see what you've received and then
you download the rest of an email when if want to read it. The reason for
this is so you don't waste bandwidth or disk space downloading and storing
mail you don't want to read.

The downside is that IMAP is slightly slower at displaying messages
initially as it downloads each one on demand when you want to view it, but
this seems better than downloading everything in one go, whether you want
to read them or not, as you do with POP3. Personally I found Gmail over
IMAP pretty slow, a lot slower than other accounts over IMAP.

The main difference to an end user (or a sysadmin) is that IMAP
manipulates your mail on the server, whereas POP3 downloads it all and you
manipulate it on your local machine. The problem with IMAP from that point
of view is that you can't do anything with your mail while you're offline,
whereas with POP3, you can read and reply to your mail, then send your
replies when you get a connection again.

A few mail clients default to using offline IMAP, which is where they
download everything and then keep the local and server copies in sync,
thus allowing you to manage your mail using IMAP while offline, which may
well be what Kmail is doing, or you may just be mistaking that first
download of mail headers as a download all of your mail. In IMAP, all of
your mail is still on the server, so you see it all if you set up a new
mail client, with POP3 it's all downloaded to your local machine so if you
set up a new client, you only see mail which arrives after you set it up.

Admittedly, using Gmail over IMAP is pointless as you are gaining nothing
from itunless, like me, you like all of your mail in one window, not a few
browser windows and a mail client windows.


Adam Sweet



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