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A Guide to BeOS System Objects


Mail Daemon Icon

The Mail Daemon Icon
Location in the BeOS: /beos/system/servers/mail_daemon

The Mail Daemon sends your mail!


The act of sending and receiving e-mail in the BeOS, using the standard applications provided by Be, is actually split between two pieces of software. The first one you think of is of course Be-mail, the front-end of e-mail on the BeOS, allowing you to write and read messages. However, in the background, lurks the often unknown (and under-appreciated) Mail Daemon.

Despite what your initial impression might tell you, we're not talking about some ugly, troll-like postman with a pitchfork, waiting to take possession of your soul for all eternity. Rather, a daemon (in computer terminology) is any program that is not used explicitly, but waits for a condition (or conditions) to occur before doing its pre-ordained task.

In the case of the Mail Daemon, it waits for a connection to your mail server in order to do two things:

  1. Download any mail that may be waiting for you, and

  2. Send any e-mail messages (recognized in the BeOS by the MIME attribute "text/x-email") that are queued, or ready to be sent to the mail server.

So, just as the Audio Server serves as the interface to a sound card for the developer writing a sound application, the Mail Daemon serves as the interface to the outside world for the e-mail client developer; the developer only needs to worry about creating new and reading existing e-mail files -- the Mail Daemon does the rest (timing the pauses between receiving/sending mail, talking to the mail server, etc.).

While the Mail Server does its job well, it does lack a few features, namely: the ability to handle more than one e-mail account, and to leave your e-mail on your mail server. This is why other e-mail client developers like Adamation have written their own mail daemons (called Adam Daemon) to add these features to their software offerings.

So now you can sleep at nights, knowing that instead of lurking in the shadows, pitchfork in claw, drooling with an insatiable bloodlust for your innocent (because all BeOS users are innocent! ;-) soul, the Mail Daemon simply passes the time by patiently waiting user-defined intervals to leap into action and, with electronic stamps in hand, serves as your very own e-mail Postmaster.

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