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