What Ever Happend to Pine

Posted by abefroman on Sep 17, 2012 10:06 PM EDT
PCI Compliance Forums; By Terry Newbury
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Today when people hear the word Pine, they automatically think about the Christmas tree, about its meaning and the joy of Christmas. For others, the word PINE brings back memories from "the good old days", the days when Linux and especially the folks at the University of Washington needed a good, easy to use and most important: free mail managing program. Thus, in 1989, Pine was conceived, and its name had nothing to do with the tree, simply because PINE is an abbreviation of the most generic software name: Program for Internet News and E-mail.

Pine's History and Evolution

Today when people hear the word Pine, they automatically think about the Christmas tree, about its meaning and the joy of Christmas. For others, the word PINE brings back memories from "the good old days", the days when Linux and especially the folks at the University of Washington needed a good, easy to use and most important: free mail managing program. Thus, in 1989, Pine was conceived, and its name had nothing to do with the tree, simply because PINE is an abbreviation of the most generic software name: Program for Internet News and E-mail.

Originally built from the ELM (ELectronicMail) source code, Pine went through constant changes and updates so that it could remain simple to use but it also needed advanced features. And so on April 17, 1991 the 1.0 version was pre-released, having the most basics and advanced functions for that time. Elm source code was also used for other mail clients like: Mutt.

Like most Unix mailing programs, in its early versions Pine had to choose between Vi and emacs. Both were relatively less user friendly, and so a modified version of emacs was chosen. Pine`s mail composer also came with a stand-alone editor called Pico, simple to use with good help for every single step, unlike vi.

Over time, with even more changes in the code, Pine was able to support IMAP by removing more and more of its original Elm code. One year later after it's pre-release, Pine 2.0 was released and it source code was open to the public. Of course, the IMAP support was great but Pine needed more features, such as attaching a file to a mail, this meant that Pine needed MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions). With MIME mails could contain binary files (non-text attachments); text in character sets other than ASCII. This meant that files could be moved with ease from a Linux to a PC environment via mail.

If a desktop mailer was to be useful at UW, it had to have full support access to the remote folders (inbox / saved-message) as well as the local folders. In order to accomplish this, extensions to IMAP were required as well as a new version of the IMAPd server code, and more work on Pine to support multiple collections of folders.

After another year of hard work of coding focused on making a better and more solid Pine, the first DOS version was almost ready. Since it was desperately needed, and with Pine`s MIME capability, people could easily transfer files like spreadsheets, images and word processing documents through messages. Making Pine work on Dos was difficult because of many reasons, but the main reason was the memory management on DOS. On June 17 1993 Pine had its first major release, version 3.83, with DOS support and with this release it also got the well-known name of "Pine Is Not Elm". Pc-Pine was able to run on a PC with ease even with the annoying DOS problems, but even so, Pine always felt at home in a Linux environment

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I still use it jacog 4 617 Sep 18, 2012 10:25 AM

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