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Comment: Re:fastmail is also a Friend Of Open Source[non-TM (Score 1) 135

by howardjeremy (#29634247) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

One thing that people often don't pay attention to is that fastmail.fm does a lot of Open Source work. One of the fastmail.fm crew, Bron Gondwana, has made extremely important contributions to the world's best, most scalable libre-software mail spool, Cyrus IMAP. He has commit rights upstream, and he has been a very active contributor and member of the community for a few years, now. fastmail.fm is a Cyrus IMAP shop, but they help other Cyrus IMAP users all the time in Cyrus the mailing lists, they have given us details about how to set up highly scalable and redundant multi-million-user setups many times now... And it is not rare to see Bron on the LKML (Linux Kernel ML) engaging the kernel developers to fix a kernel bug or two.

This is no publicity stunt, these guys are it: the email shop anyone who likes to tout around about the importance of FLOSS should vote for with their wallets.

Many thanks for these kind words - and thanks too for pointing out Bron's great work.

We're at a point now where every single piece of software we use, bar one, is open source. (The one exception is the RAID-monitoring tool that IBM requires for monitoring their RAID hardware.) Everything else, from programming languages, to operating systems, to system monitoring, email servers, web servers, anti-virus, anti-spam, and so on and so on, is all open source.

The reason we use open source for everything is that we can (and do) hack at the source to add features and fix bugs, we get direct access to the actual developers when we need help, we never have to rely on a third party to fix problems, and we get all the security benefits too.

For those who are interested, we have some more details on FastMail.FM's software (and hardware) infrastructure on our site.

    Jeremy Howard
    FastMail.FM

Comment: Re:try it! (Score 5, Interesting) 135

by howardjeremy (#29633953) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

I feel safe in speculating that if *you* will not pony up the emails to a US judge, the people who maintain the server farm *here in the US* will.

They can't - they have no access to the emails, because they can't login to the machines and they can't access the encryption keys for the data. All maintenance of the OS/software is done from Australia.

We've had a number of US-based law enforcement bodies over the year try to get hold of our data without going via the appropriate Australian bodies, and it doesn't work out for them. In the end, they have always ended up submitting a request for cooperation via the Australian Federal Police, as they are required to do, and we respond to that request in line with Australian law.

Comment: Re:Nice try. (Score 4, Informative) 135

by howardjeremy (#29633929) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

The web interface was written from scratch and has been continually developed over the last 10 years. It's not drag-n-drop because in our experience that's not the most powerful and efficient way to manage email. It's designed to be lean, yet powerful - but folks who want something simple and full of eye candy would be best off looking elsewhere, frankly.

It does use asynchronous requests (I hope you don't mind if I don't say "AJAX" - for many reasons, I can't stand that acronym) when it provides a real advantage. For instance, many parts of the interface appear/disappear without doing full page refreshes (for speed), to addressing fields in the Compose screen have a really powerful autocomplete system, and message composition is extended in a number of ways (such as inline spell-check and automated auto-formatting of plain-text emails).

Comment: Re:Can I disable the spam filtering? (Score 3, Informative) 135

by howardjeremy (#29633913) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

Fastmail.fm apply a series of SMTP and content-level filters that cannot be disabled.

FastMail.FM has fewer global filters than any email provider I can think of. However, all large email providers need some - the first time a service gets hit by an SMTP-based DDOS they discover this!

Imagine you have a botnet of 100,000 computers all trying to open SMTP connections to your server and blast through email at the same time - that's not something you want to allow. So, we have a database of IPs which have attempted to DOS us in the last few hours, and block them at an IP level. That's why there's no ability to allow users to turn off this global filtering - since it happens at IP level, we don't even know which address they're attacking.

Because most IPs are dynamic, we expire them from the blocklist very quickly (unless they keep reappearing again and again), so that innocent bystanders don't get impacted.

Comment: Re:try it! (Score 5, Informative) 135

by howardjeremy (#29632353) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

You have no proof that you account wouldn't get frozen at fastmail. If the law says freeze the account then the company has no other choice.

FastMail.FM operates under Australian law, not US law (although the servers are in the US, they are owned by an Australian company). Australian privacy law offers more protection than almost anywhere else in the world. For instance, an Australian company that receives a request for information about an account under the Telecommuncations Act is legally required to not provide any actual email contents to the requesting law enforcement agency.

To have an account closed, law enforcement would have to jump through plenty of hoops first, and we'd check really carefully to be sure that the request was legally enforceable before we complied.

    Jeremy Howard
    FastMail.FM

Comment: Re:Oh lawd (Score 5, Informative) 135

by howardjeremy (#29632319) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

You can tell it's a slashvertisement when the URL is casually dropped four times in the title and summary

To the best of my knowledge, 'Siker' (the submitter of the article) is not affiliated with FastMail.FM in any way. And since I'm the Jeremy Howard in the interview, and I very rarely nowadays post whilst unconscious, I'm also fairly sure it wasn't posted by the interviewee.

Have you actually read the article? I did try hard in the interview to provide some actually useful info, regardless of whether you are an FM user or not. For example, I provided examples of how IMAP has been extended in recent times, and pointed to some interesting proposals which show where it's going in the future.

    Jeremy Howard

Comment: Re:Great Service (Score 2, Interesting) 135

by howardjeremy (#29632271) Attached to: Interview With Jeremy Howard of FastMail.fm

It looks like the standard account for fastmail.fm limits you to only 7 aliases.

You effectively have unlimited email addresses by using subdomain addressing. This lets you use [anything]@username.domain as an email address. Also, if you have a folder name called [anything] (i.e. with a matching name) then messages to that address are autofiled to that folder.

Personally, every time I give my address to a company (e.g. when subscribing to a service) I put the company's name in the [anything] slot, so I know who gave out my address if I get unsolicited mail (or to block over-zealous marketing from the company in question).

Disclaimer: I am the Jeremy Howard interviewed in the article.

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." - Bert Lantz

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