As you might previously recall, I switched to GMail earlier this summer. I am now about 90% convinced that this was a mistake. I eventually attempted to import many of my older messages into GMail using Mark Lyon's GMail Loader. This worked relatively well, except that it took a ridiculously long time and some of the messages got corrupted, causing GMail to place them in a long, nonsensical conversation.

Since I do not need old e-mail messages that often, I could live with this if it was the extent of GMail's problems. Alas, trying to read long e-mail threads from mailing lists is incredibly disorienting. This has caused a serious change in my mailing list subscription behavior. Before joining lists, I now consider the nature of the traffic of the list. If most recent threads have consisted of three or more people, I hesitate before joining. I do not want to live in fear of large threads any longer.

But where would I go? Roundcube looks nice, but it does not have the feature set I need yet. It would be a viable solution a year from now, I think, but not at the current moment. It is written in PHP, so I could theoretically contribute, if I could somehow manage to bend space-time to increase the number of hours in a day.

A custom installation of IMP would probably work, but there do not seem to be very many resources about installing it on Dreamhost. I found one perfunctory page at the Dreamhost wiki about installing Horde, a necessary prerequisite, but it looks complicated enough that I should allot at least half a day to it. I will not have a free "half-day" period for at least a week. Even then, I have no idea whether installing IMP will be successful or a failure. While I have found one person who seems to have gotten it working by recompiling PHP, this is more work that I really want to do.

My issue with installing Horde/IMP is not that the installation itself would be too much work, but that installing it on Dreamhost would be hard. The shared server for Dreamhost where my files are hosted (wilshire) runs Debian. If I had my own server, I could apt-get the relevant packages and have it installed in a few minutes. Yes, purchasing a new hosting plan on a VPS would be stupid, since my contract at Dreamhost does not end until August 2007, but the money I have made from giving out Dreamhost promotional coupons, I am technically in the black more than $1000.[1] It still feels like waste, but the ease of which I would be able to install third-party applications (like Horde or Trac) makes me think that it might be worth my while. If anyone out there reading this has already installed Horde or IMP on their Dreamhost account, or if you are using a VPS and have had a positive or negative experience, write something in the comments section.

[1] Technically, since I have no idea where that money is now.