Fetchmail is ... unfortunate.
Posted Jun 19, 2004 17:58 UTC (Sat) by bronson
In reply to: fetchmail
Parent article: The Grumpy Editor's guide to mail clients: introduction
Its config "language" is an excellent example of overly-complex geekiness. A few years ago I wrote and supported Trestlemail, a wrapper for Fetchmail. Easily 80% of my support questions were due to confusion with Fetchmail's config syntax and cryptic errors, not due to anything in Trestlemail. It wasted a lot of my time. All you need to do to fix this is to adopt a nice traditional config file format, something like "server=www.host.com user=me pass=hiho options=fetchall". It would take less code and a lot less documentation. For some reason, though, ESR still thinks that Fetchmail's UI is really groovy.
Have you noticed that Fetchmail has had an amazingly poor security history for such a simple program? This isn't too surprising: the code stinks. It's the groaning result of years of accretion. I am convinced that it would be easier just to do a ground up rewrite than actually try to fix it and audit it.
I recommend that people look to pretty much any alternative (Charles Cazabon's getmail is my favorite) before they resort to Fetchmail.
... in my opinion, of course. :)
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