Re: POP is unwise [was: Being Unsubscribed for Marking Messages as Spam #adminnotice]


Antony Stone
 

Thanks for the comprehensive clarification of what you meant by "unwise".

I agree that IMAP is better-featured, supports multiple devices more easily,
and places the data retention responsibility on your service provider rather
than you.

I still think this doesn't equate to "unwise", however - POP3 may be more
limited, and it's certainly older (although that doesn't necessarily mean
worse), but as you say, depending on your requirements there is nothing unwise
about POP3.

Thanks again,


Antony.

On Thursday 28 February 2019 at 17:21:06, Brian Vogel wrote:

On Thu, Feb 28, 2019 at 09:35 AM, Antony Stone wrote:
What is unwise about using POP these days?
1. If you only access your e-mail from one, and only one, device, and wish
to be responsible for backing up all the messages that exist only on your
device after download, and you wish to be responsible for trying to port a
huge number of messages from one e-mail client to another should you
choose to change clients then there is nothing unwise about POP.

2. If you're like most users these days, and you have every intention of
accessing your e-mail messages on multiple devices while having what each
"sees" remain in sync, then POP as conventionally configured does a
horrible job of supporting that while IMAP is designed to support that
from the get-go.

3. IMAP messages and all folders associated with same are retained on the
e-mail server and, as a result, are part of the data center's daily (if
not more frequent) backup protocol. The probability of ever losing
something permanently is exceedingly small. By contrast, I have seen POP
users lose years worth of downloaded messages on several occasions when
they were not backing up their own computers and their hard drives failed
catastrophically.

The fact of the matter is that POP (Post Office Protocol) was the first
e-mail protocol and really is an anachronism that remains supported in the
name of backward compatibility. It's shortcomings are myriad, and
particularly when you want e-mail synchronization and portability from
device to device to device over time to be almost effortless (you only
have to set up the account again if you're using IMAP and - poof, like
magic - all of your messages and folders appear).

IMAP is also more space efficient on your own device, because only message
headers are downloaded for presentation in the message list in folders,
with the exception of the most recent messages, which will often have
message bodies downloaded in advance as well for some time period back
from today (say, 2 weeks - it's configurable) because the probability of
actual accessing of newer messages is far, far higher than old ones. You
can also specify specific messages to retain their local message bodies
permanently if you know you make very frequent reference to them so
they'll be available even if you're offline.

For the way most people use e-mail these days, including the bulk of folks
here, as many describe having computer(s) and smartphone(s) on which they
wish to get their e-mail, using the access method suited to it, and that
protects the actual message data the best, is what's wisest. If your
e-mail service provides IMAP access, well . . .

If you fit the profile I noted in #1 above then nothing that follows it is
relevant to you. I find it improbable that everything in #1 above applies
to practically anyone these days.

[And, before anyone jumps in with, "But you can configure POP to leave
messages on the server!," well, yes, you can, but you have to make the
effort to do that in the vast majority of cases, and many would have
absolutely no idea of how to do so. Why use an antiquated protocol that
must be rigged when a better alternative exists?]
--

Brian *-* Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763

*A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need
for illusion is deep.*

~ Saul Bellow, To Jerusalem and Back

--
I don't know, maybe if we all waited then cosmic rays would write all our
software for us. Of course it might take a while.

- Ron Minnich, Los Alamos National Laboratory

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