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Preview: Aethera Brings Business-Level Contact Management to KDE2 - page 2

Linux Email for Business

  • January 17, 2001
  • By Dennis E. Powell

Aethera 0.90 compiled uneventfully on a Linux-2.4.0 machine using gcc-2.95.2, glibc-2.2, and qt-2.2.3 with the xft extensions (qt-2.2 is required). At initial start a "wizard" guides the user through configuration. There are a couple of rough spots here; I was able to get it to collect the mail from a POP3 server only by storing my password in the Aethera configuration file which, unfortunately, does not encrypt it, meaning that anyone who can get to your home directory can learn your mail password. And once it's configured, it automatically checks the mail with considerable frequency -- every minute or so. This is a virtue on a broadband connection, but with a dialup, well, at a minimum you want to turn the modem's speaker off.

In addition to POP3, Aethera works with IMAP and local mailboxes.

But it's a lot more than a mail program -- just how much more remains to be seen, because, frankly, I haven't entirely wrung it out, and it isn't all there yet. After a "progress"-type splash screen as it loads Aethera presents a window with four buttons on the left. The top one, with a house icon, is the initial default; it will oneday show a summary of the data contained therein. For now, it's blank. The second button leads the user to a full-featured address book, offering multiple pages/views for each contact. A nice feature is the tab column at the right, which allows the user to navigate easily if the contact list is very long. Aethera's contact manager additionally allows the assignment of persons to groups, making group mailings easier.

Third is the mail program, which is highly configurable (though the configuration is not blessed with an entirely logical layout. The choice of text or HTML, for instance, isn't found in the mail configuration but instead in View > Formatting.

At bottom is a note application similar to the familiar sticky notes application shipped with KDE from the beginning (as well as with numerous other operating systems and desktops). The color and other attributes of the notes is configurable, with the Aethera page showing all of them in icon form, to be opened with a click. There is no "Save" facility -- they're automatically saved, though they can be "recycled" by editing, and deleted through a right mouse button menu.

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