History of the project
At the beginning...
I started to use the operating system UNIX at the end of the
Eighties. I immediately appreciated the richness of the commands
available on this operating system and the possibility of carrying
out complex treatments by combining the effect of several tools
carrying out each one a very simple treatment.
It is also at this period that I started to practise the programming
in C language.
I bought my first PC in 1989. This machine which turned under MS-DOS
would have been frustrating if I only used his operating system. With
the machine, I also bought a C compiler of Borland (Turbo C 2.0).
Thus equipped, I harnessed myself with the writing of the UNIX
commands which I knew, in order to manage, gradually, to dispose at
home of the same technical possibilities as on my place of work. In a
little more than 10 years, I thus rewrote for MS-DOS about one
hundred of Unix-like commands.
As many people, I ended up learning the existence from GNU/Linux, but
in the middle of the Nineties, it did not interest me imediately
considering which I already had my personal UNIX under MS-DOS.
I started to use the fenestrated environment on PC in 1996.
Windows 3.1 was what could work on my PC with a 386.
When in 1997, I bought my first PC with Pentium, I kept MS-DOS
with all my tools and Win 3.1.
Its two advantages compared to Windows 95 (and following versions):
- I could reload the version ready to be used right by recopying the
files, starting from a safeguard on 2 zip 100 diskettes or one CD,
- I had on this PC the graphic pilot to use win31 correctly, whereas
Windows 95 turned only in 256 colors.
My beginnings (or almost) on Internet
I realy started to use Internet and the electronic messaging from
spring 1999 when certain suppliers as free.fr started to propose
connections to the price of the local calls.
For the electronic mail, my software was Microsoft Internet Mall. The
advantage of this mailer was that each message received, to dispatch
or be sent, was memorized in a distinct file.
Thanks to my Unix-like tools (in particular those of the series of
grep), after having downloaded a series of mails the call of a .BAT
file enabled me to sort these mails by category automatically and to
put them in distinct directories according to a tag in the subject or
of their shipper. Normally the mailers offer origin this possibility,
but I did not see it well yet functioning.
Moreover, my sorting system made possible also to separate the
recent mails from the others according to the age of the received or
Microsoft Internet mail had been voluntarily adulterated by its
originators to pose problems of display of the hour and date from the
year 2000. To cure this problem, I developed C programs which
automatically corrected the file MSG-LIST of the directories containing
mails. When writing these programs, I noted that if the file MSG-LIST
by the most logical way, there remained a shift of some
21 H for the entering messages and of more than one day for the
outgoing ones. Proof for me that the defects of Micro$oft Internet
mail did not come from a simple negligence! Remainder, it was enough
to generate a wrong time and date in this file to compensate for in
the other direction the shift of display introduced by the manufacturer,
which I ended doing.
Only residual defect, the sending of messages was done with one year
out of 2 digits, which posed problems of classification to the mailer
of Netscape, the competitor !
In short, even after the year 2000, a little programming in C enabled
me to preserve this mailer, rather than to pass to Outlook which
charged all the mails in a single file, which was not compatible with
my automatic sorting.
All was however not always pink. Thus, being registered me on a
mailing list which, at the time produced 50 messages per day, I
quickly realized that if only one part of the messages were recovered
before disconnecting oneself, the following time, these messages were
again downloaded !
Once, on a return of holidays, some 200 messages awaited me.
After 1/4 of hour of communication there remained only 3 or 4 of
I noted that a fool had sent on a mailing list an enclosure of almost
one megabyte. The automatic system of disconnection after 20 minutes
having functioned, I only had to recover the whole another time. It is
finally with the 3rd time that I could empty my letter-box completely.
Other times, they were messages with virus in useless attached files of
a few hundreds of Kbytes which polluted my mailing system without
the shipper had the correction to send me another mail to prevent me
24 H in advance, and thus without I really having means, as well as
possible, to manage the telephone calls which I paid.
I had certainly thought of writing filters under Linux to preserve
only the mails useful to be downloaded, but without concretizing this
idea (when one has nothing, one works to obtain something, when one
is rather well provided, the facility brings to stay satisfied of it).
2002, the autumn of the changes
Since September 1999, I work in Paris area and return in my native
Toulouse area for the (school) holidays.
I thus have 2 residences, which means also 2 lines of fixed
telephone, one at each address.
The first 3 years, I used my PC with Pentium of 1997 (the only one
to have a modem) in Paris area from September to June and brought
it back in Toulouse area only for July-August. For the small
holidays in Toulouse area, I just used the PC with a 386 there.
With the end of the summer 2002, I preferred to leave Pentium in the
south to repurchase a more recent machine in Paris area.
Unforeseen problem: this new machine does not have the pilots Windows
3.1 for certain essential elements like the graphics board (limited
to 256 colors), the modem, etc... From where need for passing to a
more recent operating system.
The second change comes from...
the incapacity of France Telecom to cash invoices (!)
... and of the hateful attitude of this company which refuses to
assume its responsibilities.
After having been customer on their premises during 13 years (lasted
fateful ?), and had patience for 6 months so that they regulate a
problem of cashing of invoice, I ended asking for the cancellation of
my 2 lines.
Consequence: I have a portable telephone (not on Orange network !)
and for Internet, there remains to me nothing but ADSL access on my
place of work.
Let work !
These 2 combined events, replacement of the PC and abandonment of the
fix telephone, were for me the occasion to develop under Linux a
series of tools to have a mailer which offers all the possibilities
of the preceding system, by adding all the tools which I missed.
At the beginning, I thought of doing that quickly by writing shells
which would send the good commands to a telnet connection. The
problem is that telnet command accepts only data seized with the
keyboard (not of redirection of the standard entry). I thus wrote
these tools entirely in C.
- In September 2002, I found a
good web site
(in french) which explains how to do that.
- In October, I carried out my first reading tests starting from
files of examples with too few accompanying notes to be easily
- At the beginning of the winter, I could download my mails. I devoted
my first week of holidays of Christmas to write the tools to answer
it, and the following one to fill 3 months of delay in the treatment
of the mail.
- In February 2003, I had written the tools necessary to read and
dispatch attached files.
- At the end of April, all the tools considered had been written. The
all last ones were tested during the first week of May.
- After which, I considered to be the version sufficiently stable to
Remained to make the Web site.
This web site exists in French since June 2003.
It is consultable in 6 languages since December 2003 and 8 languages
since March 2004.
The man pages (standardized documentation) were added in September
Since March 2005, this Web site is lodged by tuxfamily.org, a shelterer
specialized in the free products. I thus hope to make Libremail more
visible by the people than this kind of software could interest, but
who would not know her name.
I however preserved the initial Web site on free.fr, which continues to
Libremail continues to evolve
During the summer of 2006, I started to prepare an internationalized
version of Libremail. Thus, each user can see messages generated
by the various tools Libremail in their own language. On the other
hand, Libremail can now display messages and mails using the
character set UTF-8 in addition to the character set
ISO8859-n used from the outset.
The first stable internationalized version of Libremail was version
2.0 running on March 26, 2007.
During the summer of 2007, I requested the opening of telephone
lines to provide Internet again to my home. For those in the Paris
region, after a request to open free.fr line in March 2007 who has
never featured, I requested the opening of line with France
Telecom in September 2007 before purchasing the cheapest ADSL I
found at Neuf Cegetel (14,90 € per month + 3 € rental of
the box). Then, I had realized that this subscription was not in
full unbundling and thus made me also pay 16 € per month France
Telecom, I chose the subscription Tele2 to 19,90 € per month
which This poses no problem.
By contrast, for sending mails, Tele2 imposes using SMTP
So I started by bringing in french
describing this authentication before moving on to practical work,
adding that capability to Libremail.
Until March 2008, only the source files Libremail were supplied,
which required users to have a C compiler on their computers. Now,
a version consisting of the source files and compiled executables
According to documentation, it is available under the 2 charset
UTF-8 and ISO8859-1.
The frequentation of the salon Solutions Linux in Paris
allowed me in 2009 and 2010 to present Libremail to a persons in
charge of SliTaz distribution. This person wished Libremail to be
able to be established in the same directories as the other commands
of Linux (tools in /usr/bin and data files in /usr/share/..). These
updates were done with version 2.2 .
Since Libremail is there, many improvements have been made.
Version 2.2 is the 21th version stable, but it could add 3
versions corresponding to the stages of internationalisation of
the user interface.
Improvements least visible concern Libremail's ability to deal
with more and more cases especially for a proper analysis of the
mails of various origins. One of the improvements I have been
requested by a french residing in China who want to quickly see
the latest mails arrived.
Despite everything, I still do not know how many other people in
the world use Libremail like me!