05 January 2015


FastMail is proposing/developing a replacement for IMAP.

(IMAP is one of the protocols that many e-mail clients use to talk to e-mail servers. For instance, it is how my iPhone gets my e-mail for all my e-mail accounts.)

My first reaction was negative.

First, I’m not convinced that many of the innovations in e-mail are all that useful. Secondly, today’s climate seems so opposed to these kinds of standards, the seem stacked against it.

But IMAP has bigger problems than end-user features. IMAP has technical issues that keep it from being good at the things it does support. They’ve convinced me that JMAP makes sense.

The bigger issue here is that we seem to be moving further and further from interoperable standards. Companies claim that the standards keep them from innovating. But on the whole, I’m not seeing a lot of benefits to end users in trade for this lack of interoperability. Instead, lock-in seems to encourage companies to care less about what is good for their users.

I’m hoping JMAP will be able to buck that trend.

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