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To Gmail or Not Gmail

August 14th, 2008 · 4 Comments · Potpourri

Allow me to wax revjimesque a moment.

I’m considering moving all of my mail, at least for my primary domain, to google. I’m brainstorming reasons fer and a’gin’ it, so help me out if you give a damn.

Good reasons to move to Google Mail/Apps for

  • Mail not totally dependent on my web server
  • Better (so I’m told) spam handling than my current cocktail of pyzor/spamassassin/blackmagic
  • I don’t have to manage/configure/maintain any of the above mentioned crap anymore
  • I don’t have to manage/configure/maintain jack shit, for the most part

Good reasons not to move to Google Mail/Apps for

  • I’m still paranoid and don’t like trusting all my precious data to servers on which I don’t gotz r00t
  • I’m not sure how possible or easy it is to do automated backups of mail data with gmail
  • In the unlikely event GMail goes away or gets unbearably altered, I could lose anything not backed up
  • I’ll lose a lot of the control I currently have, such as server side filters that make “creative” use of multiple mailboxes
  • It’s been a long time since I used mutt with an imap account, I’m spoiled on giving mutt direct access to a maildir

Bad reasons to move to GMail:

  • ??? Are there any?

Bad reasons not to move to GMail:

  • Pain in the ass to setup initially
  • Will have to coordinate with the handful of other people using mail accounts on my domain, most of whom are very accustomed to SquirrelMail (yuck) and will probably be shellshocked by the AJAX (do people even still call it that?)
  • Any more?

Ok, so I didn’t analyze it quite as maniacally as the Good Reverend would have. I’m just not capable of his superhuman feats of neurotic overanalysis.

(I said “anal” twice.)

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • B

    Does it have to be one or the other? I guess I need a basic primer in how this works. I’m probably going to start using the new domain for email, and I’d prefer to start using GMail as my online client (while still using and Thunderbird at home) I also want to have email to forwarded to the new domain for a while.

  • Farris

    @B: You can still use with a GMail account. So if I understand your question correctly, then no, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

  • Matt

    I’m thinking about doing it. Someone has my mail, one way or another. Might as well have them reliably host it.

  • Jim Reverend

    * With mbsync and a cron job, if you REALLY wanted, you could still have a local Mutt store to operate on.

    * Again, with mbsync, you can use the IMAP protocol to back your mail up as often as you’d like. If you feel like maintaining another IMAP server you can even have it back up to a live server so switching back is as easy as changing a DNS record.

    * If people really like squirrel mail they can still use it. You can point SM over to the gmail IMAP server and, aside from a few folder differences, they probably wont know that anything even changed. Same goes for whatever IMAP or POP3 client they are using. The only thing this really does is change the folder layout some (which might happen if you switched server software anyway) and makes running a LOCAL client more difficult (i.e. mutt pointed at a Maildir or mbox).

    * You are right, however, in that your server side filters will be much more difficult to implement. GMails filters are pretty powerful however. For anything it doesn’t do, you can always forward to a bot on your server that does the work and then forwards back if needed. This is, of course, a lot more work and uses tools you will have to get used to. This is the biggest hold up IMHO.


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