Net mail access protocol problems haunt Netscape

Users are reporting a large number of problems with the IMAP4 support in Net-scape Communications' Communicator client, leading some to believe that the product was rushed out the door without thorough testing. For example, when a client configures IMAP support in the "edit/preferences/mail server" option of Communicator, the first receipt of mail works fine, but subsequent attempts cause the client machine to lock up.

Users are reporting a large number of problems with the IMAP4 support in Net-scape Communications’ Communicator client, leading some to believe that the product was rushed out the door without thorough testing.

The standard, Inter-net Mail Access Protocol 4, is a more functionally robust version of POP3, adding features such as selective download of mail.

The InfoWorld Test Centre found several bugs in Netscape’s IMAP support - some of which could hamper performance of the software on the client.

For example, when a client configures IMAP support in the “edit/preferences/mail server” option of Communicator, the first receipt of mail works fine, but subsequent attempts cause the client machine to lock up. The user must close Communicator from the task list. The only work-around appears to be manual deletion of the IMAPMAIL entries.

Netscape confirmed that the problem affects certain Innosoft messaging servers and a bug fix is coming. InfoWorld found the same problem with Apache servers. Netscape officials say those are not on the University of Washington’s published list of IMAP vendors.

“This isn’t a large piece of the market -— we’re still testing out some stealth implementations in freeware,” says JF Sullivan, senior product manager for mes-saging at Netscape.

Another problem is that Communicator locks up if a user con-figures for IMAP and a service provider doesn’t support it.

Again, the client must reboot or use the task list to abnormally close Communicator. This is independent of the mail server involved. Net-scape says a fix will be shipped shortly.

Finally, a setting change from IMAP to POP3 causes it to incorrectly route Communicator messages; users must manually access their IMAP mail inboxes.

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