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Java Programming Software

Columba 1.0 "Holy Moly" Released 279

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the now-strongbadia-will-have-to-update-again dept.
Frederik Dietz writes to tell us that after three years of hard developement Columba 1.0, codename "Holy Moly!" is ready for general consumption. Columba is an email client written in Java that boasts a 'user-friendly graphical interface with wizards and internationalization support.' Slashdot covered an interview with the Columba team earlier this year.
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Columba 1.0 "Holy Moly" Released

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  • the question I have (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:12PM (#13590997)
    The question I have though, is what makes this better than the other dozen free email clients?

    --
    Mod this up, and your penis size will increase by 10-20 percent in volume.
    • Uh, well ... it's written in Java you see, and, uh well ...

      Short answer: I dunno.
      • Judging from the screenshots, it looks like they're aiming to give Outlook Express a run for its money.
         
      • by Unski (821437)
        Hey I'll help you out with that.. Because, you see, apart from Java, this breakthrough also has the ability to, err..store email offline for later reading? * shifty looking grin * Ah! Internationalisation support...knew there was something that distinguished it from Thunderbird et al. Oh. [wikipedia.org] Well Java is still cool I spose. I did look at a Mac screenshot though. Looks like a crufty GNOME app. I hate to be a Negative Nancy but Yet Another Email client? Why?
      • There is the The Polarbar Mailer [polarbar.org] which has been around for a while. But Polarbar started life as the JStreet Mailer, but when Innoval stopped selling it, it became the Polarbar mailer.
    • I've not used it, but I'm interested in looking at it because: you know with Mozilla Thunderbird, you can set it up so that your email and configuration are stored on a USB memory key, well I think it'd be far cooler if you could stick the entire email app. on the USB memory! That way, you could access your email on *any* computer regardless of OS.

      But, like I say, I haven't used it.... so this may not work. But the idea is cool!! :D
    • Mod this up, and your penis size will increase by 10-20 percent in volume.

      Heh heh ... great tagline dude.
    • You raise a very good question: what makes an email app written in Java better than the other fantastic open source email apps that are out there? (And there are many!)

      Over apps written in C, C++, or other native languages, Java has to offer enhanced security. But that's about it. I say that as a pretty experienced Java programmer. Unless the Java app is written using SWT (www.eclipse.org/swt), it is probably NOT going to look and feel sufficiently well to entice your interest.

      So, I would remain skepti
  • by jmcmunn (307798)

    I am sure this was going to be groundbreaking 3 years ago when they started it. Ooooohhh...Java!

    All joking aside, I am downloading it now to try it out. The screenshots make it look pretty decent. Although in the age of the new beta Yahoo! mail and Gmail it's going to have to be pretty damn good to get anyone to really use it I think.
    • by Ilgaz (86384) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:20PM (#13591058) Homepage
      Why people act like Java is dead on Slashdot? More Karma?

      They coded a full featured IMAP4/POP3 client which becomes standard in India schools and works on everywhere.

      Interface? Don't get me started about Yahoo and Gmail. For example, Yahoo must be the simplest pop3 server on the planet without any APOP or TLS options. I don't even hope for IMAP.

      I already switched to Spamcop with 15 mb or so storage, at least they serve IMAP with decent spam tools.

      I refuse to comment about gmail on slashdot.
      • Because for desktop apps, it more or less is dead. It's like a lot of other Sun technologies where the company didn't quite know what to do with it until it had lost almost everything. Swing and the company's facination with "applets" is probably at least partially to blame.

        Today you see some business apps written in it and a fair number of server apps, but desktop java is completely absent. And frankly with Microsoft's .NET framework, I'm not sure Java even has much of a chance at that anymore.

        • by jcnnghm (538570)
          Ever heard of LimeWire or Azureus? I wouldn't say Java is dead on the desktop, mine has a copy of both running right now.
          • That's two applications that you're using. How many apps do you use that aren't written in Java?

            To counterpoint: when in Windows, I run BitComet instead, since it is less resource hungry.

            My Java use consists of Dell OpenManage (which slams the host machine for memory), and HP WebAdmin (which crashes the JRE a lot). Parts of OpenOffice use Java. The LDAP Browser is written in Java. I'd prefer that OpenOffice was straight C++, and that I would find a better LDAP browser. On Linux I use Azureus, because I
            • Then I think you'll see a whole lot more Java apps.
              Hopefully, then we will see something portable (so don't say .NET now) built with the experience from Java and other cross-platform toolkits to suit the needs of end users and programmers better than Java does.
      • by El Cubano (631386) <(roberto) (at) (connexer.com)> on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:37PM (#13591141) Homepage

        works on everywhere.

        Please be sure and qualify your statement properly. It should read: works on everywhere where Java is.

        Java is not platform independent. It is a platform as much as Linux, *BSD, Solaris, Irix, Windows, vxWorks and others are platforms. It just happens that Java has been designed to run on other platforms.

        • Needs more qualification.

          Works on everywhere where the same version of Java is and there are no apps that don't require a conflicting version.

          I worked at a place that dumped java because of that.. we needed 1.2 , some clients had other 1.2 apps that was fine.. then some clients got 1.4 apps which blew up if the 1.2 jre was present.. so we ported a version to 1.4 for them (took a couple of months - there are a *lot* of differences)... which broke all the clients that had apps that needed the 1.2 version.. so
          • Works on everywhere where the same version of Java is and there are no apps that don't require a conflicting version.

            Indeed. I've given up even trying to install Java now; the conflicts in the versions were costing much more time and effort than the ability to run Java apps could pay back.

            Which was a shame since I'd just written my first Java app, but I'd used Java 5 since it finally had a half-decent object system and that screwed up everything else.

            TWW

            • Oh for the love of God man.

              Heck put in anything in your sentence and it tells the story of any I.T. project.

              Lets see.

              "Indeed. I've given up even trying to install XXXX now; the conflicts in version were costing much more time and effort than the ability to run YYYY apps could pay back."

              Now substitute just about any technology for XXXX.

              I have developed in quite a few languages and can say that Java, without a doubt is the best cross platform language. Is it perfect? Nope, nothing is. Will the new JDK 1.5
        • Java is not platform independent.

          I've realized, after wasting time with Java, that if I want platform independence, I need to program in Perl!

      • The fact that they wrote it is interesting. But Java has not lived up to its promise of "write once, run anywhere", and it's proven to be horribly inefficient for things that actually write to disk. Layers of abstraction, but there are so many in the typical large Java application that it will run at a fraction of the speed and with many times the local memory and disk burden of similar applications written in C.
        • Which, for most user applications, is rather fine these days. The only things that use anywhere near the full capability of my machine - which is now almost three years old - are games. I can launch FireFox and have it re-load all thirty of my last tabs in under ten seconds. Azureus can saturate my broadband connection quite well, Java and all. Modern machines are built to take it, so I figure why not?
  • by SysKoll (48967) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:13PM (#13591009)
    Columbia is an email client written in Java

    Columba, not columbia.

    When the team embarked for these three years of develomment, they luckily didn't foresee that their 1.0 release would be announced on Slashdot with a spelling mistake in the name. Otherwise, they would have played videogames instead.

    • they luckily didn't foresee that their 1.0 release would be announced on Slashdot with a spelling mistake in the name

      No, they looked at a few articles on /. and saw that the typo was an inevitability, chalked it up as the irrelevant idiocy that it is and got back to work.

  • by MSch (674675) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:14PM (#13591016) Homepage
    I have to say, I expected something like Lotus Hannover [nyud.net], but to me it looks like a copy of Thunderbird implemented in Java with icons from Evolution.

    Directlink to screenshots: 1 [nyud.net], 2 [nyud.net], 3 [nyud.net].
    • "Lotus Hannover", Is that the one that is XUL based or am I thinking of something else?
    • but to me it looks like a copy of Thunderbird implemented in Java with icons from Evolution.

      Nice analysis.

      Considering Columba has been around longer than Thunderbird, isn't Thunderbird a copy of Columba? Or, perhaps they both copy another client (Outlook Express)?

      And since the Evolution icons are part of a open source product, why shouldn't Columba reuse them? Isn't that what open source is all about?
      • by Goaway (82658)
        Considering Columba has been around longer than Thunderbird...

        While technically true, that's a pretty meaningless statement. Thunderbird is further development of the Mozilla mail client, which is a re-implementations and improvement on Netscape Messenger, taking you back far enough that the roots of it are probably older than Outlook.
  • by c0l0 (826165) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:15PM (#13591027) Homepage
    ...over Evolution, Mozilla Mail/Thunderbird, Sylpheed, mutt, or anything else? Just because it's written in Java, and I need a full-blown VM around it that comes with a redistribution-hostile license? Or is there anything super-special (and equally well-disguised) about it?
     
    It's still better than Outlook Express, that's for sure. :-)
    • Most of the other clients are written in unsafe languages. You wouldn't want people to be able to run arbitrary code on your system by sending you an email. Java does not suffer from many of the security problems C suffers from. (And yes, I am aware that you can write safe programs in C, but if you read security lists, you would know what happens to that in practice).

      Having said that, I completely agree with your post. Java has many disadvantages (but watch out: if you say it on Slashdot, you'll often be mo
    • I don't share your hostility towards the Java runtime, but I do think you have a point. Why should anybody care about this project? To be newsworthy, a release announcement should contain some significant features that would make me want to try the software.

      But I'm a sucker for new software, so I tried it anyway. First using the Java Webstart installer (which seems to be broken), then using the Windows native installer (which does work). What I got was a Java implementation of Thunderbird, with not as man

    • It's still better than Outlook Express, that's for sure. :-)

      It is funny you mention that. I have been a hard core IMAP user since the mid 90s. mutt has been the best text mode client for IMAP I have found. On the GUI side Outlook Express is!

      Every year or so I try all the other clients out there and keep coming back to OE. OE works perfectly for offline mode. It also doesn't suffer the belief that it is the only mail client you use. Most other mail clients treat IMAP as a source just like POP3 and do

      • IMAP (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Noksagt (69097) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @05:45PM (#13591499) Homepage
        mutt has been the best text mode client for IMAP I have found. On the GUI side Outlook Express is!
        Hillarious! Most would consider pine to be the best IMAP text mode client (Mark Crispin, who created IMAP, has a hand in pine) & mulberry as the best GUI client (written by more people who write IMAP servers). If you restrict it to open source clients, mutt is "o.k." in the text regime & Mulberry/Evolution are good for GUIs.

        Reasons why mutt still sucks as an IMAP client
        • No IMAP server-side searching, sorting, threading
        • Can't search across multiple mailboxes
        • Can't download messages without downloading attachments
        • Many settings are applied to ALL IMAP servers
        • Overly-agressive checking of ALL folders by default (though this can be reconfigured)
        • Can't flag IMAP messages on the server as deleted--only purges them
        • No user-defined labels
        • Can't store onfiguration on the server (pine and mulberry can. you say this is a good feature...)
        • IMAP passwords are stored as plaintext
        Reasons why Outlook Express has ALWAYS sucked as an IMAP client
        • No IMAP server-side searching, sorting, threading
        • Can't download messages without downloading attachments
        • Can't store onfiguration on the server (pine and mulberry can. you say this is a good feature...)
        • No IMAP server-side drafts/sent mail folders
        • Can't run multiple instances on one PC
        • No flagging
        • Makes too many connections to the server (so can't truly take advantage of IDLE)
        • If you restrict it to open source clients, mutt is "o.k." in the text regime & Mulberry/Evolution are good for GUIs.
          :%s/Mulberry/thunderbird
        • by aaronl (43811)
          Just FYI:

          IMAP multi-folder searching is actually a vendor extension of UW-IMAP, and I believe Cyrus. It isn't in the IMAP spec and doesn't work against all servers. Pine is written by the guy who does UW-IMAP, so it supports his extensions. It is called a reference implementation, but that is not the case. That is why many IMAP implementations do not support it.
          • Yes, and thanks for the clarification. I had two distinct gripes w/ mutt: 1)NO IMAP server-side searching--you must search on the client. When you do search on the client, 2)you can't search multiple folders.

            Single folder server-side searches ARE in the IMAP RFC. Clients would be better if they supported it.

            Once the mail hits the client, there is less excuse to make it hard for the user. If you store the mail in mbox, you can use grepmail w/ mutt. But doing so also kind of defeats the purpose of IMAP.
        • Since you seem to know this stuff good...hmm, OK, Evolution for *nix...but what would you recommend for Windows?
          • Ignore me, somehow I must have a habit of assuming that the soft is mac only when I see mac logo... Must give Mulberry a try...
        • BTW OE does do server side drafts/sent and always has. You can see it in the IMAP tab of the account properties. That used to be my number one complaint about all the other clients out there. It has only been the last few years that the other clients have finally grokked that server side folders mean *everything* should be on the server.

          OE does do flagging and it does it right (ie flags over IMAP).

          OE is a bit on the connection happy side but sometimes that is a benefit. For example it may use one connec
          • BTW OE does do server side drafts/sent
            I stand corrected.

            OE does do flagging and it does it right (ie flags over IMAP).
            Really? What labels does it support? Can the user define their own labels? Last time I knew, OE often had problems keeping messages marked as read (partly because of all of those connections it made.
      • Have you tried Thunderbird mail? I used to use OE back when I actually touched Windows machines, but I now use Thunderbird exclusively and find it works very well. I think you'll find it does everything you like from OE without annoy Microsoftisms (like, I found OE sometimes 'paused' for several seconds at a time for now apparent reason) and nice features like built in spam filtering (if you like that, turn it off if you don't), server-side searching and filtering, and the warm fuzzy feeling of using Open
    • I have been a loyal thunderbird user for a while, nevertheless, I am giving this program a try.

      So far, the rules that you can set in this software are far more advanced than those that exist in thunderbird. The GUI feels also feel a lot lighter and more responsive.

      Why try this program? Because competition makes innovation. Do you criticise the Linux community for making a thousand distros?

      Unless you use exclusively Open Source software I don't see how you can criticize Sun's JVM. Please remember tha
    • It's still better than Outlook Express, that's for sure. :-)

      i dunno... looking at the screenshots, it looks like a carbon copy of outlook express / thunderbird.
    • Why would I prefer this...over Evolution, Mozilla Mail/Thunderbird, Sylpheed, mutt, or anything else?

      Why does this need to be something you prefer? Can't developers contribute open source products because it is something he/she wants to do? I mean, really! Get over yourself.
  • So why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tktk (540564) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:25PM (#13591084)
    I took a look at the online Java web start on their webpage. At first glance Columba looks like your typical email client.

    So what features would entice to stop using Thunderbird and start using Columbba? I don't see it. On computers where I can install programs, I'd use Thunderbird. On others, I'd just be using a some version webmail client.

  • Hey, Cool! (Score:4, Funny)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:39PM (#13591146) Homepage Journal
    So how much do I need to pay to get my software advertised on Slashdot?

    - mailvisa [nyud.net]: simple bayesian spam filter in Ruby (beats most filters in Debian w.r.t. performance, precission, recall, and memory usage)

    - logalize [nyud.net] :analyzer for Apache log files, written in Perl. Simple, so it's easy to customize.

    - wake [nyud.net]: remotely wake up machines using wake-on-lan magic packets (written in Perl).

    - detach [nyud.net]: start commands detached from the terminal (keeps them from dying when the terminal exits)

    - chrootexec [nyud.net]: run commands inside a chroot jail, as a normal user.

    - Perlcookies [nyud.net]: random quotes from fortunes files (nice for sigs), but much smaller than the fortune package. Written in Perl.

    More on my website, and many more on my harddisk, but these are the more useful ones. While you're at it, take a look at my esasys [nyud.net].
    • Q: How do I advertise on Slashdot?
      A: Submit an article.

      Q: How do I guarantee that my ad gets posted?
      A: Post a comment that gets modded as funny.

      Q: How is my spelling?
      A: It's pretty bad. ;-P
  • Decent roaming? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Craig Ringer (302899) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:43PM (#13591166) Homepage Journal
    I went poking around the site trying to find out what it supports in terms of roaming. Being able to just pull down a .jar from anywhere, and have a writeable LDAP+TLS address book, IMAP+TLS mail (both protected by SSL clent certs), etc all preconfigured would just be bliss.

    Right now, it's hard enough to find a client that supports writeable LDAP address books at all, let alone usably and with TLS and client cert support.

    Alas, their website doesn't seem to have any sort of feature summary, so it's rather hard to say w/o grabbing and trying it out.
  • Why It's Good (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:48PM (#13591189) Homepage Journal
    For all you people asking "Why would I want this?" or "Why the hack did they write it in Java?":

    Writing it in Java does have some advantages. One is that you can use the same code on a few popular platforms. Think about what that means to maintainability.

    Another one I pointed out in another comment [slashdot.org]:


    Most of the other clients are written in unsafe languages. You wouldn't want people to be able to run arbitrary code on your system by sending you an email. Java does not suffer from many of the security problems C suffers from. (And yes, I am aware that you can write safe programs in C, but if you read security lists, you would know what happens to that in practice).


    Yay, I said something good about Java for once.
    • If that's the case WHY did they start with an Email client? A web browser would of been much more useful since the majority of exploits come from that application.

      A free fully featured web browser in JAVA would be great!

  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @04:55PM (#13591227)
    The crash log is so big that it's spread out over 3 states!
  • It's actually called Columbo, and it featuers the voice of Peter Falk saying, "Excuse me sir, but you got mail!".
  • That was fast (Score:4, Informative)

    by generic-man (33649) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @05:06PM (#13591288) Homepage Journal

    I downloaded and unpacked the application onto my laptop (12" PowerBook 1.33 GHz) and double-clicked the JAR file. Went to set up an e-mail account. (I like how the provided example is to set up mail for Bill Gates. Very professional.)



    At the dialog whose instructions were


    Please specify your incoming mail server properties.

    If you are unsure please
    ask your system administrator or internet service
      (cut off)

    , I entereed my login and host name. I have an IMAP server, so I clicked the drop-down box where "POP3" was currently selected. No response. Clicked again. Nothing happened or changed. Clicked again and again.



    Tried to set up a new mail account after the fact. POP3 is the only choice. As an IMAP user, Columba to me is nothing more than a broken Evolution clone.

    • On my XP machine it installed fine and connected to my IMAP server no problem.

      Still ... so much for "write once run anywhere".
    • so with me. It seems to have problems with events that trigger popups as the to menu buttons don't work either...
      • Ditto. For bug reporting purposes: Tiger.latest, Java 1.4.2_07-215. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at all the Java-bashing, but was anyone thinks that C or C++ is a viable option for handling email is beyond me. We've pretty well proven that if we write code in C, it WILL have buffer overflows, no matter how pretty the windows.
  • It would be interesting if this could be made to run on a cell phone because it's already in java. It does seem a bit BIG in terms of UI elements, but that could be modified.

    Currently, the only options on cellphones include paying 5 or 6 bucks a month (at least on the verizon network).

    Of course, I don't think there's a way to install a bew app without verizon's permission? Not sure.

    Anyway, lot's of questions in my mind about putting this to use on mobile devices.
  • by Snaller (147050)
    ...how small can it be if its written in Java? ;)
  • This app is standalone, though written in Java. It would be great as a webmail interface, embedded in webpages. So we don't have to install our mail clients everywhere we might check our mail, like at public Web terminals. Without being trapped in dumb HTML widgets.

    The source is open. Who wants to refactor the components into applets for IMAP webmail?
  • Native Code Problems (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Brian Blessed (258910) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @06:41PM (#13591813)
    I used the Java Webstart link, but got the following error: ...
    Caused by: java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: /home/[...]/libjdic.so: libgnome-2.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

    Actually, I do have a libgnome-2.so.0, but it is a 64-bit version (for x86_64) whereas the JVM that I used is 32-bit.
    If I instead launch using a 64-bit JVM, then the native libraries that come with Columba can't be loaded.

    - Brian.
  • Does it run with Kaffe?

    I'm not fond of Sun's java, due to licensing and its hugeness ( im on fbsd )
  • by ciurana (2603) on Sunday September 18, 2005 @08:02PM (#13592245) Homepage Journal
    Greetings,

    I just downloaded and tried to configure Columba 1.0 under OS X 10.4.2. My verdict? Skip it.

    The people behind Columba used some widget library that's system dependent. This is throwing a number of null pointer exceptions under OS X with the Java 5 JVM. They all relate to something called "jgoodies"; they're doing something that appears to be system dependent.

    One of the main reasons for using this would be portability. They seemed to have missed the boat altogether since it doesn't run under an otherwise standad Java configuration! Why bother with writing a Java application if it's not cross-platform? Why use non-standard widget libraries? Attaining cross-portability in Java is hard enough as it is; these guys chose to make it even harder. Thank you for blowing away the only reason I might've had for using the Columba email client.

    You can see a screen capture showing the exceptions here:

    http://eugeneciurana.com/personal/images/Columba-1 _0.gif [eugeneciurana.com]

    Can't say if this works at all because I was unable to tell Columba about my IMAP server. I got another of those jgoodies-related exceptions when I tried to select something other than POP3.

    Cheers,

    E
    • You started the app from the command line and watched output that you did not understand. Then you jumped to conclusions.

      JGoodies is an open source Look and Feel for Java. Look and Feels are the standard way to theme Java's standard toolkit, Swing. The issues in your screenshot appear to me to be nothing more than warnings that the user shouldn't see or care. Columba uses Swing. It does not use a non-standard widget toolkit, and it does work on multiple platforms.

      But, it seems anyone can get modded up
  • it has [b]wizards[/b]?

    Well that changes everything.

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