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AOL Mail To Be Accessible Via IMAP 296

Posted by timothy
from the move-in-right-direction dept.
jfruhlinger writes "News.com.com is reporting that AOL's e-mail service, long accessible only via AOL's proprietary, monolithic app, will be available via IMAP starting Thursday. The story notes that this is part of a series of initiatives from AOL to move content beyond its walled garden and into standards-based formats such as HTML and IMAP that any Internet app can access. Supposedly a 'a dramatically different direction' for Netscape is in the works, too."
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AOL Mail To Be Accessible Via IMAP

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  • Hey Nice (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:14AM (#8928461)
    Now I can delete the 99% spam I get in my AOL inbox faster!
  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by Andreas(R) (448328) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:14AM (#8928462) Homepage
    This is one less reason to make fun of aol users :)
  • Wish AIM were next (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cygnusx (193092) * on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:14AM (#8928471) Homepage
    I'd love AIM to be opened up, but I'm not holding my breath. Mail is a commodity now, and there is no obvious benefit in walling it up any more. But IM is dominated by the big three: AOL+ICQ, MSN and Yahoo. AOL has too much to lose by letting go, especially since its craptacular IM client is likely to be beaten hands down by Gaim or MSN Messenger.
    • by osewa77 (603622) <naijasms@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:34AM (#8928698) Homepage
      Locking in your customers to a product, even if it's not in the best interest of those customers, especially when you have the ability to open things up, is at best a short term strategy. As a company, you're trading goodwill for money. To succeed with this strategy, you hope you're in a market where the monetary value of the goodwill you lose doesn't exceed the extra money you get from the lock-in. You hope you don't have a company like Google or Microsoft (in compete mode) that is intent on giving the customer the best deal even if it costs more! Else you have to just open up like AOL just did. At least GMail won't be providing IMAP. my [afriguru.com] two cents.
    • by Raven42rac (448205) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:51AM (#8928878)
      You can use AIM Express from any browser, you have to allow the window itself to pop-up though. AIM even has a Linux client. Read all about it. [aim.com]Where IM is concerned, the market is cornered because the market is cornered. If someone were to come out with an awesome IM service, would anyone use it? "Hey, what's your AIM screen name?" 'I don't have one, I use Florbnab.' "What's that?" People already have established their screen names in various IM networks already, AIM, MSN, ICQ, IRC, etc.
      • the market is cornered because the market is cornered

        I think Trillian has the right approach, though their product needs some tweaking. Let users use AIM, Yahoo, MSN, etc, all at the same time. Great idea, I just happen to not like the feel of Trillian.

        --trb
      • "You can use AIM Express from any browser, you have to allow the window itself to pop-up though. AIM even has a Linux client. Read all about it.Where IM is concerned, the market is cornered because the market is cornered. If someone were to come out with an awesome IM service, would anyone use it? "Hey, what's your AIM screen name?" 'I don't have one, I use Florbnab.' "What's that?" People already have established their screen names in various IM networks already"

        Not to mention AIM is also on the Palm OS a
    • > But IM is dominated by the big three: AOL+ICQ, MSN and Yahoo.

      A little off-topic, but I wonder how they compare in the global market shares. I have gathered that AIM is very big in the US, much less so in Europe and Asia. An obvious reason is that AOL has a much bigger presence in the US than elsewhere. Another thing, in Europe what held back IM a lot was that dial-up was metered by the second. Always on access is only starting to take off relatively recently, and XP already has the client integrated.

    • Or you could just use Trillian [ceruleanstudios.com] (windows only) and use all of the "big three." Trillian is simply the best IM client for windows, and *not* just because it supports multiple protocols. My only complaint would be the memory usage -- Trillian can be a hog for an IM client!

  • Anti-spam (Score:2, Interesting)

    by essreenim (647659)
    Good news for spam prevention measures..

  • Isn't AOL accessable via normal PPP dialup somehow?

    Won't this make AOL entirely accessable with out that damn software?
    • Re:Yummy! (Score:3, Informative)

      by garcia (6573) *
      no. In fact, when I was working for ATTBI a while back, people would get broadband just so that they could use AOL over it...

      AOL email is currently accessable via the web and their client (either dialup or broadband).
    • "Won't this make AOL entirely accessable with out that damn software?"

      AOL isn't just selling internet access and email, they're selling exclusive content, which you can only get through their software.
    • Re:Yummy! (Score:4, Informative)

      by tkrotchko (124118) * on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:19AM (#8928533) Homepage
      Only email.

      The "core" of AOL is the content that is inside of AOL. In that regard, AOL is not fundamentally different than it was 15 years ago (or so).

      Now, allowing email via IMAP is pretty significant, but the community of AOL will still remain.

    • Re:Yummy! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 0BoDy (739304)
      No, I ahve a friend that's supported thier "product for years" and there's specific thing built into AOL's Custom TCP/IP / PPP protocol stack that differ from the standard protocol versions, and the network drivers that AOL installs so it can do this also don't work with any of the standard TCP clients, so AOL has to negotiate the connection via their software. Also, AOL uses it's own modem drivers, which allows them to modify the actual handshake. Besides, the point of AOL is the software.
      • Didn't know that AOL's IP stack was drastically different to those of the rest of the world.
        Presumably they've overcome this if they're opening up their core content to users of other ISPs via their Bring-Your-Own-Access [silicon.com] scheme.
        • by wawannem (591061) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:22PM (#8930912) Homepage
          It's not that AOL's IP stack is different, it is that AOL uses a different data link protocol than most dialup ISPs. Rather than opening a PPP session, when you connect to AOL, you establish a bastardized L2TP session with a machine referred to as a BERP. The BERPs essentially act as proxies for everything you attempt to access once you are connected. There are open source attempts to reverse engineer their protocols with pengAOL being the only one I can remember off the top of my head.

          In regard to using proprietary protocols, it isn't that AOL has some master plan to lock customers into this proprietary infrastructure, it is just the way AOL has evolved. Imagine for a second, that you worked at an ISP with 22 million customers (up to 35 million at your peak). There is a point where the open protocols just don't fit your needs any more. AOL simply patched a solution together that has been working ever since.
    • Of course not, you won't get all the cool, exculsive, multimedia content!!!1LOL

      on another note, AOL's past track record makes me suspicious that the "Dramatically different direction" for netscape will mean 3x the filesize, 1/3 the speed, 10x the bugs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:15AM (#8928477)
    Mozilla Thunderbird [mozilla.org]. They've even recently added IMAP IDLE support! (It's in the nightlies.)
  • what speed (Score:5, Funny)

    by jacquesm (154384) <j@NOsPAm.ww.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:16AM (#8928488) Homepage
    The lightning speed with which AOL makes new technology available to their users has always amazed me !
    • by osewa77 (603622) <naijasms@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:21AM (#8928560) Homepage
      Well,

      This goes to show that they could do this all along. They just needed a little nudge by Google's gmail. Competition always encourages innovation ;-)

      Just Me [afriguru.com]
      • Competition always encourages innovation
        Only with AOL could IMAP be considered 'innovation' :)
      • Yes, they certainly could have done this at any time. In fact, they have had a modified IMAP protocol for a long time that is accessible via Netscape Communicator. Of course Netscape can also access normal IMAP, so the hit to their customers is negligable.

        FWIW, Hotmail also has a modified IMAP interface that is accessible via Outlook Express. One wonders if they will follow AOL's lead in this; it would not be all that difficult for them to do so.

        Even Yahoo has a way to access their mail service via POP3,
        • Yahoo POP3 access is available to all, [sourceforge.net] thanks to SourceForge!

          They just got a way to make the proper submissions through the Yahoo web interface for your POP3 client to retrieve mail through their utility. Yahoo mail is sweet. I have used it for several years, and it has these excellent things going for it:
          I have been able to keep that email address through 3 different ISPs so I don't have to keep changing my email address.
          Since they are free, I just have a separate one for junk stuff only, so I can give
        • FWIW, Hotmail also has a modified IMAP interface that is accessible via Outlook Express. One wonders if they will follow AOL's lead in this; it would not be all that difficult for them to do so.

          It is not IMAP, it is called HTTPMail and is a derivative of WebDAV. And it is not just for OE, hotwayd [sourceforge.net] is an neat little gateway that allows any POP3 client to access hotmail mailboxes.

    • Re:what speed (Score:3, Interesting)

      by blackmonday (607916)
      I know this was meant as a joke, but isn't this the first major IMAP implementation by a large consumer ISP? I don't think I can do IMAP through yahoo, or even my hosting company's email system. Does Apple's .mac do this?

      • From the horse's mouth [mac.com]:

        Full-featured .Mac Mail includes web access, auto-reply, and IMAP and POP support, plus tons of storage and no annoying ads.

        (I assume they didn't just add this.)

        It's been suggested that gmail is likely to put a big hurt [businessweek.com] on the .Mac service. Honestly, I'm not sure I buy it: .mac does offer more than just mail, so I'm not sure that gmail really brings that much more to the table that other third parties weren't already offering. Not that I'm a .mac subscriber, so maybe I'm a bad pe

    • They were just trying to make AOL Amish-friendly, and decided there wasn't a market for it. Imagine a beowulf cluster of Net Folders.
  • by spangineer (764167) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:16AM (#8928491) Homepage
    This is great news for AOL people, but there is one important issue to worry about...

    Will they still be able to hear the nice person's voice say, "You've Got Mail"?
    • When I was developing a patient community for a cancer treatment facility, I had a wav that, upon login, played "You've got cancer!"

      My boss thought it was hilarious. Good thing we remembered to take it out before the client saw it!
    • Will they still be able to hear the nice person's voice say, "You've Got Mail"?

      Sure! But now the emphasis will be different:

      " You've got mail!"

      (Which I suppose means that all previous AOL clients will be auto-upgraded to say, "We've got your mail!")
    • What does AOL's IMAP stand for? Bet you said Internet Message Access Protocol, right?

      Wrong! It actually stands for Internet Mob of Asinine People. Just wanted to clear that one up ...

  • Egads... (Score:5, Funny)

    by RareHeintz (244414) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:16AM (#8928495) Homepage Journal
    Wow. It's like they want to be a real ISP or something.
  • by bcolflesh (710514) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:18AM (#8928509) Homepage
    Accessing the AOL Mail System using [aol.com]
    IMAP & Authenticated SMTP
    An Unofficial Guide
    • From the Unofficial AOL Email FAQ:

      AOL's step-by-step instructions of AOL account setup in various popular email programs include:

      Microsoft Outlook Express 6
      Microsoft Outlook 2000
      Microsoft Outlook 2002/2003
      Microsoft Entourage
      Qualcomm Eudora

      I know that setting up email client is trivial to people here on /. but when will these companies start including open source clients in the quasi "approved list" of email client. I mean if you look at the FAQ it does not mention any approved clients, but when the fail
  • AOL Communicator (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpiffyMarc (590301) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:18AM (#8928519)
    If AOL keeps this up, they might actually be taken seriously.

    This seems to go hand-in-hand with the release of their AOL Communicator [aolepk.com] application... anything to save a sinking ship, I suppose.

    I wonder what the new direction for Netscape is... how many people still trust the Netscape brand enough for them to get any legs out of it?
  • new mail (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:19AM (#8928530) Homepage Journal

    "You've got standards-based mail!"
  • But who'd use it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by go3 (570471) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:20AM (#8928544)
    Too bad that most people who would understand how to setup an IMAP account on Outlook quit AOL years ago.
  • Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JoeShmoe950 (605274) <CrazyNorman@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:20AM (#8928545) Homepage
    AOL is usually pretty realiable for dial up.
    They've dropped the requirement of the browser. Maybe if they drop:
    -The fee thats atleast $10 more than everyone else
    -The buggy browser by default
    -The advertisements (haven't used it for a while, does it still advertise when you sign on?)
    More people will find it appealing, and the people who already use it will be happier
    • Re:Maybe... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by generic-man (33649)
      They already did that. It's called Netscape Internet Service [getnetscape.com].
    • 10 bucks/month (Score:2, Informative)

      by zogger (617870)
      both netscape and walmart (and probably some others) have AOL linked/styled/ whatever you want to call it dial-up service for 10 clams a month. I was going to get it, instead of the 20$/month I have now from a mom and pop local ISP, but upon inspection you HAD to use their crappy interface and browser to get an account and surf through them, at least near as I could figure out. If anyone knows a way around that I would be interested. 10 bucks is ten bucks. 120 a year savings would buy me some more RAM for i
    • one thing that always nagged me about AOL when I was a user was their mail storage policy. They deleted mail messages two weeks after you've opened it, or 30 days after receipt if unopened. It puzzled me that you had to pay a fee to use AOL and they deleted your mail for you, whereas free webmail services such as Hotmail or Yahoo! would let you keep your mail around as long as you'd like. (Dont know if AOL still uses this policy)

      IM was another similar nag. The free client for non-AOL users came with th
    • -The advertisements (haven't used it for a while, does it still advertise when you sign on?)

      Years ago when I left AOL they asked me for a reason for leaving them. I said "Because of those bloody annoying adverts you blast at me when I sign on". The lady at the other end said "Would you like us to turn them off?". I still left.

  • Let a whole new series of spam spewing exploits strike terror into the hearts of net dwellers where ever they may lurk.
  • by 0BoDy (739304) <mrgenixus&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:22AM (#8928566)
    Any Hacker that's been unfortuneate enough to get stuck using free trials of AOL has know that AOL was accessable by an off-branded-sort of IMAP for years, at least 8 years in fact. The fact that they're telling people this, is Good I suppose, but You can connect via Oulook, If you want, but I'm not sure why this is really valueable to anyone, since IMAP isn't the easiest thing to setup, and if someone is using AOL. . . .

    As Far as I know, I have possitive Carma, mod me down if you must
    • It IS news that it will be official. I know quite a few people who for whatever reason still use AOL and would like to use another mail client than the one that comes with AOL. Now I can happily recommend Thunderbird! :)
  • Um... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Paulrothrock (685079) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:22AM (#8928577) Homepage Journal
    1) Geeks who know WTF IMAP is don't use AOL

    2) People who use AOL don't really care how they get their mail as long as the nice man says "You've got mail!" and reminds them of that charming Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks flick
    • Long distance (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tepples (727027) *

      If you claim that nobody who knows about IMAP would use America Online, then what about those few geeks who live where AOL has a monopoly on Internet access, such as municipalities that have granted a monopoly to Time Warner cable or remote areas where AOL is the only dial-up that's not a long distance call?

      And did the rehash of The Shop Around the Corner starring the Sleepless in Seattle leads have any scenes about spam?

  • Hopefully users who take advantage of this and use another email client and will no longer miss the "delete" icon and click the "report as spammer" icon [slashdot.org], which is right beside it. Many innocent servers are apparently being blocked by AOL which is quick to block and slow to unblock. Maybe this will alleiviate their pain.

    Then again, if you're using alternative browsers and e-mail clients, you probably aren't using AOL anyway.

  • by The I Shing (700142) * on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:25AM (#8928601) Journal
    This reminds me of a funny thing a commentator on NPR said a few years ago, "Having aol.com in your email address is the online equivalent of wearing a Members Only jacket."

    What really makes me cringe is when I see an AOL address on the website of someone who owns his or her own domain name. Why can't you just use your domain name email? Why would you admit that you're an AOL subscriber? my brain screams.
    • by Allen Varney (449382) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:06AM (#8929025) Homepage
      What really makes me cringe is when I see an AOL address on the website of someone who owns his or her own domain name. Why can't you just use your domain name email? Why would you admit that you're an AOL subscriber? my brain screams.

      Try the decaf, friend. I have my own domain and I still use my AOL e-mail address -- because I've had that same address for over a decade, and changing it would be bad for my business.

      Hey, I'm an AOL subscriber AND I have a lower Slashdot ID than you! If your brain was screaming before, that must make your brain want to choke. If it turns out my karma is better than yours, will your brain commit hara-kiri?

    • by (trb001) (224998) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:08AM (#8929058) Homepage
      For a number of reasons...

      1) Everyone...old, young, stupid...knows what AOL is.

      2) someone@aol.com is easy to remember, sometimes easier than myname@mydomain.com.

      3) If your target audience is a bunch of computer novices, because of #1 and #2 they're much, much more likely to remember your email addy @aol.com than @yourdomain.com. I'll even admit that when looking at a bunch of email addresses from my hockey team, the AOL addresses are easier to remember because I don't have to think about it, I just remember the screen name.

      Remember...people who aren't geeks don't see AOL as a Horrible Thing (tm). Many of us here on Slashdot have set up our loved ones with AOL *because* it's so friggin easy to use and it's recognizable.

      --trb
      • My parents used to have AOL, and then I convinced them to switch to Comcast Cable Internet. They still have AOL, however, because it broke IE when I tried to uninstall it, and my dad won't use Mozilla.

        I'm so ashamed.
        • by ionpro (34327)
          Two words: stack reset. IE is just integrated enough into the OS to get utterly fucked when the TCP/IP configuration of Windows is the slightest bit off. For any version of Windows prior to XP, remove TCP/IP and reinstall it. For XP, open a command prompt and type "netsh int ip reset resetlog.txt", and then merge Winsock and Winsock2 keys from a working registry. There are utilities [members.shaw.ca] which will do it for you.
    • But part of the problem with having your AOL address on your website is all the spam you invite by putting it there.

      I'm actually more in favor of using a webform that leaves the email address completely off the site altogether. That works for me pretty well. People can contact me without my having to leave either my ISP or my domain-based address for spambots to find.

      And my brain screams about everything. You should hear how it screams during my morning commute every day.
    • "What really makes me cringe is when I see an AOL address on the website of someone who owns his or her own domain name. Why can't you just use your domain name email? Why would you admit that you're an AOL subscriber? my brain screams"

      Something tells me you'd complain about seeing a "mac.com" email address too. Why admit to having an AOL address? 23-25 million subscribers and the largest concentration of women online in America. Go figure.

      An MSN email address generally means someone bought their machi
  • by Alcoyotl (157542)
    I'm not sure how this is going to help AOL in the ongoing battle between ISPs. Although this is a nice initiative for their customers, I don't think it's going to attract more punters on the sole basis of standards compatibility.

    Besides, most of their ads bring the proprietary content forward as the added value. What will they use in the future ? Will they just become a plain vanilla ISP ?
  • by emc (19333) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:28AM (#8928637)
    Supposedly a 'a dramatically different direction' for Netscape is in the works, too.

    Woo Hoo!

    Any new direction is better than their current direction: down.
    • Also from the article
      Meanwhile, AOL's Netscape subsidiary, which last year was hit with a massive layoff, also is seeking to turn around its business

      "Turn around its business"?! I wasn't aware that it had any! Someone please tell me what their current stratagy is.

      Netscape Buisness plan
      1. Repackage Mozilla by removing features and adding crappy skin and give it away for free.
      2. ????
      3. Profit
  • Thank GMail (Score:3, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:32AM (#8928679)
    I think this is at least partly being driven by Google's GMail. My parents used AOL long after they changes ISPs because of email access. I'mn betting there are plenty of AOL customers waiting to jump ship at the promise of a gig of mail space without the popups.
    • Re:Thank GMail (Score:2, Insightful)

      by snoopsk (698577) *
      I don't think a gig of free space is worth the invasion of privacy. Google is only offering this much free storage because they want to read your email.
  • Any ideas as to what the plans are for Netscape? It can hardly be more standards compliance. Open-sourcing doesn't make too much sense either.
  • In the late 1990s, I used Claris Emailer to access my AOL email without actually having to fire up the AOL client. (Though, back then in the days of AOL 2.x, the client fit on a single floppy...)

    Claris Emailer was a handy app back then, it was the first GUI mail client I used that could handle more than one email account. I don't know what strings Apple/Claris pulled to get AOL mail access!
    • There was also Marcia Hardy's Aloha AOL e-mail client for the Newton.

      No real strings to pull though --- Apple had long been associated w/ AOL and actually licensed the server / client software to create their short-lived eWorld on-line presence.

      William
    • One of my co-workers still uses Emailer, running in Classic. It still works great. I also used it for years, but migrated to Microsoft Entourage when I was going to move to OS X. I no longer use mail through my AOL account. Emailer was such a great app, while Entourage was importing the mail from it I felt like I was watching my faithful old dog being put to sleep.

      Back in the mid-90's, I believe AOL was going to license their mail protocol to anyone who wanted to make an e-mail client and wanted it to be a
  • Does this mean that someone (not I) who, for various reasons, wishes to use AOL can now make use of a personal domain email address? Until now it seemed that the absence of SMTP and POP3/IMAP4 support made it impractical to send email using a non-AOL email address over AOL dialup.
  • Since IMAP is a centralized solution, functionality could be built into it to give the server feedback about spam messages; if a few hundred users complain via this mechanism about an identical message, it can be moved to users junk boxes, even before other users have a chance to see it.

  • I have been for a while being bugging my parents to move away from AOL. This is simply because they have an older computer that can't handle the latest Gee-Wiz version of AOL's clients and also because their e-mail needs has moved beyond the limitations of AOL's e-mail client. Maybe with this change they can simply use another e-mail client - finally :)

  • Just poked my head out the window and yup, frogs are falling from the sky.

    Now if only Yahoo! would follow. I've sent them so many e-mails telling them that I would happily pay money for their upgraded email service if and only if they would offer IMAP. Being a geek who bounces between three or four computers (some with multiple OS's) IMAP is not just a luxury.

    Go AOL! (Mmmm. I think the rain is getting lighter now.)
  • by OctaneZ (73357) <ben-slashdot2@NosPAM.uma.litech.org> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @10:55AM (#8928916) Journal
    Just not published:
    imap.uk.aol.com
    supports SSL/TSL and everything
  • by malia8888 (646496) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:05AM (#8929019)
    We fix computers for everyday home users. Many of them use AOL. They love the interface. I doubt even with the ability to use Microsoft Outlook that they will be getting their mail any way other than the way they always have.

    This is what AOL does best. It provides a really stellar GUI for the people who are uneasy working with computers. I have watched these same consumers get visably shaken even venturing into Outlook Express. They want the AOL look and feel. Although I think it is progressive of AOL to offer the other email clients to their customers, I doubt if many of the committed AOL users will take advantage of this.

  • Hooray! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b1t r0t (216468) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:07AM (#8929040)
    Now if I just had a way to get my 8+ year old e-mails out of that stupid AOL "file cabinet" database and into my home IMAP server along with my other old e-mails.

    There are apparently people out there who can get things out of file cabinet DBs, but they charge money to do it. If anybody knows of publically available documentation for that damn database file format, please post a link to it.

  • Nitpick (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AaronStJ (182845) <AaronStJ&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @11:28AM (#8929313) Homepage
    From the summary: "AOL's e-mail service, long accessible only via AOL's proprietary, monolithic app." However, AOL's mail has been avilable form the web for a long time (albeit using a Java app, as I recall.) http://webmail.aol.com [aol.com]
  • yay! Another protocol for AOL to adulterate.
  • Only their software? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Transcendent (204992) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @12:19PM (#8929996)
    ...AOL's e-mail service, long accessible only via AOL's proprietary, monolithic app...

    AOL Mail has been available online via HTTP [aol.com] for quite some time.
  • Already available (Score:3, Informative)

    by mstockman (188945) on Wednesday April 21, 2004 @01:54PM (#8931378)

    AOL's e-mail service, long accessible only via AOL's proprietary, monolithic app, will be available via IMAP starting Thursday.

    Just for the record, it's already available and I've been using it for a couple of weeks now. There's an unofficial Web site describing it at AdamKB's site [aol.com].

    There are a few quirks I've noticed... AOL auto-deletes older mail that you've read unless you move it into the Saved Mail folder (max. 20 MB, I believe). Unfortunately, users of AOL's Mac client or the Web mail interface don't have a Saved Mail folder... that's created by the AOL 9 for Windows software only. AOL's IMAP implementation doesn't allow creating folders, so I have to find a Windows machine with AOL 9 installed to create this.

    Also, there are some people who have had problems sending through AOL's authenticated SMTP server using Apple's Mail.app client, but that's probably an Apple bug, not AOL.

    This is definitely a great move... I've been using Claris Emailer for years because it was the only authorized third-party AOL mail client, so now I have alternatives. And I've had my AOL address since 1990, so I'm reluctant to give it up.

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