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Mulberry Creators File for Bankruptcy

CowboyNeal posted about 9 years ago | from the calling-it-quits dept.

The Internet 135

kRemit writes "Isamet/Cyrusoft International, the producer of the much-beloved email app Mulberry, has announced on its website that it has filed for liquidation under Title 11, Chapter 7. On a sidenote, Mulberry-mastermind Cyrus Daboo doesn't think it will be possible to release the source, because of third party implications and the overall complexity of the program. Also, there's already plenty of open source mail apps around. Goodbye, it was great while it lasted."

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Huh? (1, Troll)

BHearsum (325814) | about 9 years ago | (#13693482)

Never heard of it.

Exactly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693488)

That was my first reaction. I've never heard of this much-beloved email app, and I don't live in a world of just Outlook and Outlook Express.

Re:Huh? (1)

JohnnyLocust (855742) | about 9 years ago | (#13693534)

I think it's a Macintosh thing.

Re:Huh? (1)

nikoliky (768458) | about 9 years ago | (#13693622)

It's available for Windows, Linux, and MacOS. I only know this because my university, Ohio U, makes it available freely to Fac/Staff/Students. I tried it for a while, but was not too impressed with it. I thought it was slow even compared to KMail. I thought it felt a lot like Eudora did back in '96.

O_o (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693483)


Best IMAP client (4, Informative)

akac (571059) | about 9 years ago | (#13693487)

I used to use Mulberry as it was frankly the fastest and best IMAP client ever. Even today Thunderbird, Apple's Mail, and anything else just doesn't compete. Not even close.

Mulberry's biggest failing was its user interface which was too hardcore and too unweildly. I think they greatly improved this in the end, but by then it was too late.

I used Mulberry for many years. Sadly the last time was also several years ago.

Re:Best IMAP client (1)

Bricklets (703061) | about 9 years ago | (#13693503)

What good is a fast IMAP client if it has usability issues? I did use it from time to time, but I certainly didn't *enjoy* using it when I did.

Re:Best IMAP client (1)

HG Slashdot (895363) | about 9 years ago | (#13693505)

OMG! No way! Are you saying it is faster than Google Mail? IMPOSSIBLE!

I first tried it 5 months ago (4, Funny)

subtropolis (748348) | about 9 years ago | (#13693541)

I'd heard very good things about it for a while and decided to check it out. It crashed hard on Fedora. And the interface was... well, pretty sad. But by most accounts, it was, indeed, a very good IMAP client. Except the interface. And the crashing.

Sliced Bread (3, Funny)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 9 years ago | (#13693836)

There is this absolutely fantastic car I know of... Well, except for the doors that open backwards, the solid orange windshield glass, the foot pedals located in the trunk and the fact that the steering wheel is square. Other than that, it's the swiftest car since, well, sliced bread!

Re:Best IMAP client (1)

bananasfalklands (826472) | about 9 years ago | (#13693554)

Its not mentioned in the (oldish) O'reilly Imap book, by the Mullets (not a joke, but the two authors names)

I'm not quite sure how an 'email client' competes against the big hitters of exchange, and notes, and groupthingy in the corporate world.

So Ive never heard of it, and we do use IMAP servers to store email. very 'under the radar'.

alternatives (5, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | about 9 years ago | (#13693584)

I mean, there exist many fast IMAP clients. Certainly Pine [] is fast, some (e.g. myself) find it very convenient, and it should be easy to recompile for OS X. It is not free software though.

More seriously, today's software market is such that selling a small app for money is not likely to be profitable. Too many people will write email clients, editors, OS kernels ... and give them away at no cost ("free as in beer"). Most of that software is actually Free Software (TM), but that's beside the point here. This is not dissimilar from the period in the 80s and early 90s when anytime someone would start selling a nice utility Microsoft would bundle similar functionality into DOS or Windows (anyone remember SideKick?). Today that means taht if your piece of software does something not too complicated, and many people would like to have this functionality, then someone will develop a free alternative. When it comes to web-browsing or e-mail reading, you have to content with massive efforts like the , which is even worse. []

This is not to say there's room for commercial software today -- but it's in a different market. Since the cost of distributing software is now about zero, and the cost of writing it is effectively small (in the sense that many projects find many people are willing to donate their effots), to charge for software it must embody something more -- some kind of expensive research or expertise that is difficult to duplicate in a community project.

For example, GCC [] is a great cross-platform compiler, but if you need a good optimizing compiler you will pay for the real thing: 's ICC, or Sun's [] compilers [] . In a different field, there is little competition for AutoCAD [] .

Re:alternatives (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 9 years ago | (#13693719)

More seriously, today's software market is such that selling a small app for money is not likely to be profitable.
You're correct, but off-target. Mulberry was anything but small. That was its biggest problem: you could go crazy figure out all the different things it did.

A smaller app would have been much more popular. Most people just want to send and receive email, and aren't interested in all the bells and whistles. But, as you point out, such an app probably wouldn't have been profitable.

Re:alternatives (0, Offtopic)

slavemowgli (585321) | about 9 years ago | (#13693812)

Actually... contrary to what you might believe, GCC *is* a good optimising compiler. Sure, it doesn't pull all the tricks that ICC does, for example, but then, it has dozens of different frontends (i.e., support for different programming languages) and backends (i.e., support for different architectures), which is something that definitely cannot be said about ICC.

Furthermore, while ICC *is* better at optimising for Intel (!) chips, that shouldn't really be a surprise, considering that it's written by the *manufacturer* of said chips. Compare GCC with other commercial compilers, though (like Visual C++) and you might be pleasantly surprised (or unpleasantly, if you're M$).

Re:alternatives (1)

KillShill (877105) | about 9 years ago | (#13693928)

no it's not better at optimizing for intel chips, it purposely cripples compiled output for non-intel chips.

that might be in AMD's suit... i haven't read all the details.

like microsoft purposely crippling competitors software, it is a widely known phenomena, except a lot of slashdot shills make it seem like intel is not at fault.

Re:alternatives (1)

aftk2 (556992) | about 9 years ago | (#13693850)

While I agree, I'm going to add in a different point of view:

some kind of expensive research or expertise that is difficult to duplicate in a community project.

...or, something else that you don't necessarily get from a community project: mainly coherent, unified design. For example, Transmit [] and Unison [] : FTP and Usenet software for Mac OS, respectively. Now, most people would ask themselves, why create utiliities that do what so many utilities have already done? Well, Panic takes those utilities, and gives them a polish that you don't get from a committee. And people will pay for that. They've also made a concerted effort to make their products simply better enough than their free competition to make them worth paying for. Perhaps that was Mulberry's problem: it just wasn't better enough. I can see that being a problem with email clients: like another poster mentioned, there are some pretty damn good free email clients, on all the major platforms.

Granted, this may not be fair: maybe Mac users are more apt to pay for software like this than are Windows or Linux users (at least, that's what people have said in the past - is it true? Who knows.), and maybe Mac users care more about unified, well-thought-out design than their Windows/Linux counterparts, but Panic has stayed around, primarily because they innovate within their products, and not necessarily attempt to create new niches.

Re:alternatives (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13694222)

[re: Pine]
> It is not free software though.

Oh give me a fucking break

Re:alternatives (1)

blincoln (592401) | about 9 years ago | (#13694648)

In a different field, there is little competition for AutoCAD

My dad, a mechanical engineer, would probably take exception to that statement.

Ever since I was a kid, he's hated that program. Apparently a lot of the way it works is still based on the old (e.g. Apple IIe-era) versions, which don't make sense anymore.

His company uses SolidWorks, and I know there are a lot of other CAD packages out there.

Re:Best IMAP client (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 9 years ago | (#13693649)

what market is this for? MACs?
I've never even heard of this, and neither has enybody I asked. Perhaps they need some marketing.

Re:Best IMAP client (1)

GungaDan (195739) | about 9 years ago | (#13693790)

Marketing isn't likely to do them any good now. ;-) There is a Windows version of Mulberry. A few users here prefer it over Thunderbird.

Re:Best IMAP client (1)

OneSeventeen (867010) | about 9 years ago | (#13694517)

As a technical support individual who has supported this piece of software to only 75 individuals, all I can say is: WooHoo! (homer style)

The guys were very imaginative, bright, and wrote good code, but the human interface of this seems to be geared towards Computer Science and Engineering majors. Mulberry was one of those amazing IMAP clients that could do everything. No really, everything.

The downside, is it is email, I don't want it to do everything, I just want it to send and receive email, perhaps with a simple filter feature as well.

Since our network administrator left, I have been using Thunderbird, and while the actual typing and sending of mail is slower, receiving mail is far more responsive than ever. Plus there aren't over 299,792,458 options to possibly go wrong, preventing each of my 75 users from getting their mail for roughly 3,997,232 different reasons each.

Goodbye to a well written horrible program. I wish the guys the best of luck, but I'll be glad to never support that product again.

Now, for the cake and ice cream!

Seriously though... *chew chew* the guys who wrote it did well on the software *chew chew* but it was far too complicated for its own good. (good cake, btw)

Re:Best IMAP client (1)

_vSyncBomb (50710) | about 9 years ago | (#13694532)

Ugh, I already posted to this story, but now your post is the first thing people see when hitting the link. And it's crap!

Mulberry was DEFINITELY NOT THE FASTEST IMAP CLIENT except in VERY UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES (such as being on the same gigabit Ethernet LAN as your mail server).

And while "best" is obviously not something you can hash out a consensus about on Slashdot (or most other places for that matter), you should try and defend that statement if you want it taken seriously.

Q: For example: which apps lock the whole app up modally most often?

A: 1. Mulberry, 2. Thunderbird, 3. Outloook, 4.

Q: Which apps have a human interaction design that features the fewest app-modal dialogs and nested-Nested-NESTED modal preference panes!!!! (That's triply nested, in case it is not clear to those who've never used and app with such an insane UI design.)

A: Um... Thunderbird, Outlook, or Mail. Definitely not Mulberry, since that's the only app I have ever even seen to commit those UI sins.

Q: Which app features the fastest interface to DISCONNECTED MODE features like reading your mail offline, etc.?

A: Dude, totally not Mulberry.

So man give it up. Mulberry is a LOT closer to the "slowest and worst" than the "fastest and best". (Although, there have actually been worse email clients than Mulberry in both respects. But thankfully, they died much quicker and more appropriate deaths.)

You say you "used to use Mulberry". I assume you don't mean that you just now gave it up because it's been discontinued: so, if it is the "FASTEST AND BEST IMAP CLIENT EVER" (capslock emphasis mine) then WHY DID YOU STOP USING IT?

Be honest. It sucked.

What a bunch of anoraks. (-1, Flamebait)

Pig Hogger (10379) | about 9 years ago | (#13693498)

If I were bankrupted, I'd most definitely leak-out the source code through untraceable channel, just to show the banks and the other assholes who bankrupted me that their money doesn't mean that they can always have their own way.


Re:What a bunch of anoraks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693509)

That's the most retarded comment I've ever read.

Re:What a bunch of anoraks. (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 9 years ago | (#13693519)

I've seen several copy-paste trolls which were much more so.

Re:What a bunch of anoraks. (2, Funny)

fm6 (162816) | about 9 years ago | (#13693535)

Remind me not to trust you with anything.

Re:What a bunch of anoraks. (2, Interesting)

avalys (221114) | about 9 years ago | (#13693538)

What the hell are you talking about? You can't [b]pay[/b] to bankrupt someone.

Bankruptcy is what a person / company declares for itself when it no longer has enough money to pay what it owes to other people.

Unless you're saying that other companies with more money bankrupted Cyrusoft by producing better products and taking away their customers, in which case...that's the way it should be.

Re:What a bunch of anoraks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693638)

What! If those bastard banks hadn't kept demanding they pay back their loans, this never would have happened ('cause we know developers work for the sheer joy of writing code). I've watched Micheal Moore movies, I know banks don't make Republicans pay back loans, unless they're minorities.

what an asshat (2, Insightful)

subtropolis (748348) | about 9 years ago | (#13693551)

Oh, and having the source wouldn't do anyone much good unless they planned on forever keeping it closed lest they find their asses sued.

What a bunch of anoraks.-Slashdot QA failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693601)

"If I were bankrupted, I'd most definitely leak-out the source code through untraceable channel, just to show the banks and the other assholes who bankrupted me that their money doesn't mean that they can always have their own way.


*rolls eyes*

Let's see. Who would have the source code? Why Mulberry of course. How does an "untracable channel" misdirect anyone investigating?

"just to show the banks and the other assholes who bankrupted me that their money doesn't mean that they can always have their own way."

They bankrupted you? What did they do? Not throw good money after bad? Nice to see that you're entitled to those "assholes" money.


Well no. Screw you. I suspect you'll find those "banks and assholes" need you less, than you need them.

Looooozer ... Re:What a bunch of anoraks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693632)

Not Interesting
Not Insightfull

+ 5 Informative - you show that you can not be trusted to live up to your end of an agreement.

"overall complexity of the program" ? (3, Insightful)

KlausBreuer (105581) | about 9 years ago | (#13693501)

Cut the third party stuff out, and drop the messy endresult into our lap.
Let's see what we can do with it, even if it's just learning something new!

Re:"overall complexity of the program" ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693536)

Maybe that's a metric fuckton of work for someone who really doesn't want to put the time into it. Don't just assume that "wanting to opensource something" means "wanting to spend lots of effort to opensource something".

Re:"overall complexity of the program" ? (2, Funny)

Cerdic (904049) | about 9 years ago | (#13693694)

"Maybe that's a metric fuckton of work for someone who really doesn't want to put the time into it."

For our non-metric friends, that is equivalent to 1.5 shitloads of work.

Re:"overall complexity of the program" ? (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 9 years ago | (#13693578)

Cut the third party stuff out, and drop the messy endresult into our lap.

While I'm certainly no expert in banckrupty laws, I'm pretty certain that it is illegal for a company to purposefully devalue its assets during it by, for example, giving source code away. I think that is the "third party implication" mentioned. Didn't read the article, never heard of the program or company before, could be wrong.

Re:"overall complexity of the program" ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693641)

If anyone actually wants the program's source, now is the time to start raising money or pledges to buy it. If you move quickly, you can get enough money in the pot to discourage any competeing bids from other companies.

Also, an effort that was collecting money would likely stop the code from simply being lost forever in the chaos, as people would track it as a potential asset. The source code to Dragon Naturally Speaking was almost lost under similar circumstances, and I believe this is what happened to the source code to Word Perfect 5.1 ( WP 5.1 was the last all-assembly, ultra fast version. Subsequent versions got more featureful and slow. )

I would send someone a check for $10 for this fund, just on general principle, provided the code was to be GPL'd and not BSD'd -- I'm not paying to open up the source just so it can be locked up again.

Re:"overall complexity of the program" ? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 9 years ago | (#13694194)

Besides, I seriously doubt it's more complex than, say ... Mozilla, GIMP, Open Office, or any of a thousand other sophisticated open source applications.

My interpretation of his remarks is more along the lines of: "this is a typical 100,000+ line closed-source hack with two, maybe three comments in the whole thing, and we're not about to let anybody see the crap we were pushing on them for so long". Besides, where's his motivation for releasing it? Just out of a sense of pure, unadulterated goodness? I don't think so.

Re:"overall complexity of the program" ? (1)

Duke of URL (10219) | about 9 years ago | (#13694716)

Have you used Mulberry? I've been using it for over five years. It is very standards based, works well, and is cross-platform, running on Linux/UNXI, MacOSX, and Win32. It also lacked the cartoony Edura style UI that even seems to have rubbed off onto Thunderbird in small ways. I would be suprised if the code base is a "closed-source hack with two, maybe three comments in the whole thing." Cyrus was very responsive to input from sane users too.

I was very disapointed yesterday afternoon when a friend of mine told me they'd gone bankrupt. I had just downloaded the latest Linux version of Mulberry just two days before hand. Mulberry is one of the very few closed-source applications that I really liked and cared for at all.

Right on the heels of... (2, Interesting)

GenKreton (884088) | about 9 years ago | (#13693510)

And this is right after the new thunderbird 1.0.7 announcement. I never personally used Mulberry myself but it warms me to see opensource thriving so well in areas where everybody needs the applications (as opposed to extremely niche apps).

Re:Right on the heels of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693670)

Are you expressing satisfaction that Mulberry is going under? Mulberry is great software. There are no alternatives that are cross platform that have Mulberry's feature set. NONE. The loss of Mulberry is a great loss indeed.

Open source isn't thriving so well for people who need cross platform IMAP and Kerberos.

Jason C. Wells

The death of software. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693515)

" Also, there's already plenty of open source mail apps around. Goodbye, it was great while it lasted.""

Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the future of "software as a product". Hello to "software as a service". Oh wait! []

Oh well (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | about 9 years ago | (#13693522)

I'd never heard of it until I saw this story. Their website seems to be devoid of much information now.

A Google Image Search [] shows a pretty interesting-looking client, and seems to show it running on Windows, MacOS, and what I presume to be a *nix variation of some form.

interesting is one way to put it (1)

subtropolis (748348) | about 9 years ago | (#13693576)

I wasn't very encouraged when i tried the linux client last spring. I was willing to ignore the look (ah, the things we'll accept to use linux...) but the interface was also less than intuitive. Supposedly, it's internals were top-notch and so i hoped the front-end might catch up.

Then it crashed and i removed it.

Morbid timing... (1)

mccalli (323026) | about 9 years ago | (#13693525)

I was actually advised to fetch this down today when I asked about email clients to use with ancient Macs (SE/30, System 7.5.5) that might support SMTP AUTH. So right up until the end people were being advised to look at it.


Much beloved? (3, Insightful)

Idaho (12907) | about 9 years ago | (#13693531)

..producer of the much-beloved email app Mulberry..

Much beloved? I've never heard of it. I wonder what's so special about it? No wonder they went bankrupt if you ask me, I'd say the market for mailclients is (a) rather saturated (plus, every OS already includes at least a halfway decent free-as-in-beer client anyway), and (b) more and more people switch to webmail clients, such as gmail and the like.

Re:Much beloved? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693746)

Much beloved by all of it's 3 users!

Re:Much beloved? (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about 9 years ago | (#13693783)

The interface was different. (Some really hated it.) Separate windows for everything, unlike all the all-in-one clients you see today. Very useful for reviewing three-four old messages while working on the current one.

It supported IMAP, completely.

It had separate identities, which could be tied to folders. An identity could have different signature(s), quoting preferences, set any header. Reply to a message in a folder and the reply would automatically get the identity. (Wonderful for mailing lists.)

PGP or GPG support.

Full quoting tools, including rewrap, indent, unindent, paste as quoted...

Basically if you spent the time to learn the program, it could greatly ease your email life. It has feature sets that I have seen in no other client. Much like emacs. I can see why some would not like it, but... I hope my version will keep working a long time...

Great mailing list manager (2, Interesting)

AnotherScratchMonkey (592037) | about 9 years ago | (#13694008)

I'm a data packrat and a voracious reader, and subscribe to tons of mailing lists for all the open source daemons I use. I don't know of any other mail client (including Thunderbird) that can manage this load as effectively, while allowing me to keep the mail in folders on the server so that I can view it from both home and office.

I initially switched from Evolution to Mulberry because I wanted a system that allowed me to preserve my filtering rules when changing mail clients. The result was my use of procmail server-side to do all my filtering, and IMAP to allow any client from anywhere to access it. But when researching IMAP-capable clients, Mulberry stood out as the most capable. Only Mulberry can quickly check dozens of folders for new mail without subscribing to all of them. (It's also important to use a fast IMAP server. Dovecot is serving that purpose pretty well for my small server with a handful of clients.)

I've considered using Thunderbird, but so far I've been unable to get it to check all unsubscribed folders for new mail, even after setting the undocumented mail.check_all_imap_folders_for_new to true. And it lacks Mulberry's novel separation of the concepts of identity and account.

Some have critized Mulberry's appearance on Linux, as if that was a show-stopper. For me, it's sufficient that it run at all on Linux, as I switch between Win32 and Linux platforms. I don't need it to fit some desktop theme for it to be useful. Eye candy is a nice-to-have, but not essential.

Re:Great mailing list manager (1)

sjkmac (640260) | about 9 years ago | (#13694864)

Re: And it lacks Mulberry's novel separation of the concepts of identity and account.

That's one of Mulberry's unique features that's made it trivial to use dozens of mail addresses in several domains with different accounts. Is there any IMAP client (for OS X in particular) that has that sort of identity/account separation? If/when I'm forced to abandon Mulberry (e.g. buying an Intel-based Mac in a few years) I really hope by then there's an IMAP client that doesn't require creating "dummy" accounts just to use different mail addresses.

Mulberry certainly has its shortcomings but it's clearly superior in many ways to other mail apps I've used. ISAMET/Cyrusoft's closure is unfortunate, but maybe it can have a positive side effect of bringing overdue attention to some of Mulberry's strengths that other mail app developers will notice and implement.

Lastly, mulberry-discuss list has remained one of my favorites for several years. The sophisticated depth of knowledge and information shared there is always a refreshing change from the "newbie noise", immature mudslinging, and excessively cynical banter on too many other support/discussion lists and forums. It's definitely a been class act that I'm sure many of us who've participated there will miss. And a much deserved big thanks to Cyrus Daboo for his passionate dedication to Mulberry and its support over the years.

Re:Much beloved? (1)

vanye (7120) | about 9 years ago | (#13694248)

Got to back this up, this was a great application. I'll be sorry to see it go.

For me (and I understand thatI'm different) it just worked - and more importantly it worked exactly how I worked. It was designed by people who knew what it meant to spend the entire day reading and writing email.

A single UI that was the same across Windows/OS X and Linux. Oh, and no crappy three paned windows rubbish that everyone else seems to want. I have a window system, why don't I let it manage the window placement ?

Greate IMAP support - this was the reason I first started to use it in 1999 on Linux - I wanted to move from mbox to IMAP and hte client I'd been using for the previous 6 years (mush/Zmail) didn't work with IMAP.

I only stopped using it a few months ago when my company moved to exchange and I had to do enough calendaring that I finally moved to Entourage, but Entourage sucks.


Re:Much beloved? (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 9 years ago | (#13693786)

Much beloved? I've never heard of it. I wonder what's so special about it?
It had a shitload of features. I found it a few years back when I was googling for email clients with IMAP [] support. This was the middle of the Open Source boom, and everybody and his uncle was working on an email client — but almost all of them only supported POP3 [] . I downloaded a trial, found it much too difficult to use, and lost interest.

In hindsight, it seems obvious the developers threw in IMAP support not because they thought it was important, but because they just didn't leave out any feature they could think of. So when somebody says the app is "beloved", they must mean "by feature geeks".

Re:Much beloved? (1)

geniusj (140174) | about 9 years ago | (#13693829)

Mulberry was originally and was always focused on being an IMAP client. POP3 was added well afterwards.

I think not (2, Funny)

garat (899448) | about 9 years ago | (#13693539)

"much-beloved" huh? That's some tough loving...

Multi-Purpose Explanation (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | about 9 years ago | (#13693570)

... doesn't think it will be possible to release the source, because of third party implications and the overall complexity of the program...
Which is also why nobody adopted this program. Lots of great features, but they didn't fit together in a useful way. The developers threw in every feature they could acquire or develop — but they never thought through the product as a whole.

I've said it before [] : an app is more than a collection of features.

Re:Multi-Purpose Explanation (0)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 9 years ago | (#13693600)

Which is also why nobody adopted this program. Lots of great features, but they didn't fit together in a useful way. The developers threw in every feature they could acquire or develop -- but they never thought through the product as a whole.

And that makes it different from most Linux apps how?

(And let's see how many clueless mods mod this as flamebait or a a troll when it isn't....)

Re:Multi-Purpose Explanation (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 9 years ago | (#13693695)

Your comment is factually correct, but pretty off-topic. Mulberry bore little resmeblance to a typical Linux app. It was a commercial/closed-source, multi-platform app. There was a Linux port, but they didn't particularly focus on Linux. Or any other platform for that matter — they supported a lot of different platforms. Which certainly helped drive them into bankruptcy.

Re:Multi-Purpose Explanation (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | about 9 years ago | (#13693698)

And that makes it different from most Linux apps how?

And what happens with crappy linux apps? They don't get used. There's a mountain of unused crap on Freshmeat.

And let's see how many clueless mods mod this as flamebait or a a troll when it isn't....

Because there's no -1, Irrelevant Nitwit mod.

Re:Multi-Purpose Explanation (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 9 years ago | (#13693822)

The specific mod would have been -10, assumes previous post was a pro-Linux flame, even though Linux was never mentioned.

Re:Multi-Purpose Explanation (5, Interesting)

minkie (814488) | about 9 years ago | (#13693876)

I was an early adopter of Mulberry, first on Mac, later on Linux. I really am sad to hear that the Cyrusoft folks couldn't make a go of it. Over the years, I got to know Cyrus and some of other people there; they were all nice folks, and the company was a pleasure to work with. That being said, this news really isn't that surprising, for two reasons.

One is that while each new release brought more features, it also brought more complexity. It got to the point where I was never quite sure I understood how to configure it any more (to be fair, the same is true of most mail clients these days, including Pine).

To a certain extent, some of the complexity was difficult to get away from, because IMAP itself is very complex. IMHO, one of the worse design decisions in IMAP was to not standardize how mailboxes are named. This means different servers export different sets of names, and this non-uniformity is visible to the user. It's especially annoying when you're using one client to connect to multiple servers. One of Mulberry's failings was to expose all of the underlying complexity to the user.

The second reason is that it's really hard to sell something into a market dominated by free software. They got squeezed in both directions. On the one hand, they had to compete with the Outlook jaugernaut, but people who rejected Outlook also had plenty of other choices for free.

I'm not too sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693573)

Having used Mulberry as a requirement here at school for the last 4 years, I have to say I am not sad to see it go. It looks like it would have been easier to use than it was, but our college's system admin customized the heck out of the "College Official" version so it could be used as a kiosk client ... and didn't bother to switch it for the individual students computers. No address book, no personal settings, a dictionary that was broken half of the time. I won't be shedding any tears to see this thing go.

Re:I'm not too sad (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693955)

Back in 2000, CMU [] switched to IMAP and started reccommending Mulberry as the standard mail client. I was pretty surprised by this. CMU had previously used open-source or locally developed software. Some of the locally-developed software was pretty quirky and hard to support, but they had generally been trying to make it open source or switch to open source. (For example they switched from AMS to IMAP, and were working on switching from AFS to CODA. [] ) So I was pretty surprised when they started reccommending a closed source mail client. I remember thinking, "A closed-source, third party app? I wonder how long that's going to last..." Today I got the answer - It lasted about 5 years.

Shortly after they started using Mulberry, they started using some other closed-source third-party service called Blackboard. [] I wonder how long that's going to last...

Re:I'm not too sad (2, Insightful)

typical (886006) | about 9 years ago | (#13694166)

Shortly after they started using Mulberry, they started using some other closed-source third-party service called Blackboard. I wonder how long that's going to last...

Given that Blackboard is a buggy, slow, ugly piece of shit, I hope not long.

Re:I'm not too sad (1)

smeenz (652345) | about 9 years ago | (#13694695)

Blackboard is utter shite, but it costs lots and lots of money, so therefore it's good and we must have it.

Here endeth lesson one of 'How management thinks'.

Open sourcing it (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 9 years ago | (#13693595)

I understand the third party implications with open sourcing it, but complexity? They've got to be kidding. There's office suites, entire operating systems, databases, and tons of other stuff that's probably way more complicated then their mail client. I think it's probably just that their code is so bad, that it's shameful for them to release it to the public.

Something strange is afoot at the Circle K (1)

mactari (220786) | about 9 years ago | (#13693970)

"I think it's probably just that their code is so bad, that it's shameful for them to release it to the public."

Ha! Have you look at the source of many open sourced projects lately? (Actually I get your point, but sometimes I think the difference between open and closed source programmers is that the former has enough confidence to allow someone else to look at their crappy code, not that one type of code is inherently worse than the other. In my experience, depending on the maintainer's outlook (particularly the, "If it works, use it" attitude), open source code can get quite a bit uglier with all the chefs in the kitchen.)

What I don't understand is why if you can't release as open source and the company's in bankruptcy that it automatically equals the death of the application. If he's in bankruptcy, doesn't he (or, I suppose more precisely, doesn't the fictious entity that is the company) sell off its goods? Seems like someone else buying the beast would be an option.

There's something in this story that's not quite making sense, however. Either the app's so rough that it's losing money now and there's nothing, given the state of the code, that anyone could do to fix it in a cost-effective manner, or the author's too attached to let anyhone else take a look and the company doesn't have any creditors. Or I suppose he may have already sold the rights to the code to his new fictious entity for a song before going belly-up and there's nothing left for this one to sell!

Re:Something strange is afoot at the Circle K (1)

mixmasterjake (745969) | about 9 years ago | (#13694190)

I suppose some other company might buy it just to scrap it for parts, or to simply kill off the competition. Although a relatively unknown email client - I don't see MS getting too worried about that hurting their Outlook sales.

I'm not sure what would happen if the code is never sold? Maybe it remains in some kind of limbo and nobody can legally touch it?

Re:Open sourcing it (1)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#13694557)

Now they've declared Chapter 7, if the liquidators can get even $10 for the codebase, they're going to sell it to pay off the creditors. Companies in Chapter 7 bankruptcy aren't in a position to give away their spare staples, let alone the codebase that constituted their only actual product,

I weep (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13693609)

Yes, we in the community should be crying tears of grief for a company that never bothered giving back to the community.
I'm entirely indifferent to proprietary closed source bloatware. Seriously, what have they done for us?

Nice IMAP Client - but flawed (1)

Stephen Chadfield (7971) | about 9 years ago | (#13693665)

It was a pretty nice IMAP client. I did find problems using the Solaris version where the windows all turned into empty grey boxes which never got resolved.

Every release seemed to bring bugfixes, a bunch of new features and a load of new bugs. It seemed like they never released a feature complete, stable and bug free version.

The Unix/Linux clients were built with a custom toolkit which looked out of place on every desktop. You couldn't even change the default grey colour of the UI to match whatever theme you were using.

Suggestions for Webmail to replace SilkyMail? (1)

just someone (13587) | about 9 years ago | (#13693696)

Anyone got any suggestions for webmail replacments for silkymail?

The webclient, silkymail, was also by cyrusoft.
Looks like it was based on IMP.
well, guess some admin is going to have to download the dependencies and build it themselves, rather than a single package.

Re:Suggestions for Webmail to replace SilkyMail? (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | about 9 years ago | (#13693795)

Squirrelmail is supposedly OK (haven't tried it myself, though).

Re:Suggestions for Webmail to replace SilkyMail? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13694037)

As you note, it was based on IMP. So go back to the source and try the latest version of IMP. [] and [] .

You're all morons (0, Flamebait)

rognvaldr (602788) | about 9 years ago | (#13693697)

Not one comment that would show some compassion with the person who is subject in this -no doubt- personal tragedy.

Mirror of last releases (1)

stefanb (21140) | about 9 years ago | (#13693715)

Since their FTP server seems to be /.ed, here's a mirror of what I managed to pull down so far [] .

It was great while it lasted (1)

Ulrich Hobelmann (861309) | about 9 years ago | (#13693744)

talking about the server, huh?

Suggestions for a replacement? (1)

hta (7593) | about 9 years ago | (#13693750)

I've used Mulberry for years - it's one of the few clients that I can use in a sensible way to handle hundreds of emails per day.
What I'll miss is the multi-pane mode.
Every mail client (including Mulberry in later versions) supports the 3-pane mode where the list of folders is to the left, the list of messages is on the top and the message you're previewing/reading is on the bottom.
But with Mulberry, I can have a window with my folders on the left side of my screen, open up 4 folders at the same time, open up 7 different messages and cut/paste between them, start replying to one and go back and look through archives to find the point I wanted to make.... all in DIFFERENT windows.

What other client can offer me that (and disconnected IMAP, too)?

Re:Suggestions for a replacement? (1)

Matthew Weigel (888) | about 9 years ago | (#13693834)

Indeed, that sort of functionality is why I use graphical clients at all. If I didn't mind seeing only one message or one folder at a time, I'd still be using pine (and trn for news, for that matter).

However, you're mistaken if you think major clients can't handle that. You can disable the message pane in OS X Mail, Outlook, or Thunderbird so that all messages open in new windows (even without doing so, you can double click on any message to open it in a new window); in at least Thunderbird, you can double click on a folder to open it as a new window as well (I haven't tried it in Outlook, and I don't think it's possible in OS X Mail).

All three of those clients also support offline mode, and do it quite well I might add.

Re:Suggestions for a replacement? (1)

AnotherScratchMonkey (592037) | about 9 years ago | (#13693899)

Two features that are important to me and that I've not found elsewhere are the ability to rapidly check 100 folders for new mail (I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists, delivered by procmail to individual folders), and the inheritance of properties for folders, accounts, and identities.

Individually subscribing to hundreds of folders is the only way to monitor them in most IMAP clients, and then I have to remember to do so with each new folder I create. With Mulberry, I can use the subscribed flag to indicate a different frequency of checking and to use a different alert style for new mail. So "subscribed" to me means important mail (as opposed to low-priority list mail). I subscribe my boss, my customers, and close family, and Mulberry checks those folders every 5 minutes, while checking the unsubscribed folders every 20. Ordinary new mail just beeps, while I set subscribed new mail to say (via voice synthesis) "important mail arrived". (This can be extended to per-folder custom alerts.)

The inheritance feature is a powerful way of reducing configuration work by allowing one to group properties common to a set of folders or identities and then deriving a new one, changing only a single feature. For instance, many of my identities share the same accounts (servers and logins) and differ only in the name and email address. I set up a "base" identity with the common settings and then derive the others, specifying only their unique features. I can configure a subtree of my folders to always use the same identity for replies by tweaking a setting for the root of the subtree. All child folders inherit settings from their parent and the settings can be individually overridden.

Wow . . (1)

geniusj (140174) | about 9 years ago | (#13693811)

I for one am quite sad that this has happened. I have been a paying user of Mulberry for the past 4-5 years. It really was technically a great email client. The UI could have used some more work, but no other client could handle huge mailboxes anywhere close to as well as Mulberry could. I *really* hope they find a way to release the source for this product. I think with some UI reworking, it could be something truly great. Not to mention this is one of the only clients I've used that supports IMSP/ACAP, so that my mail preferences are the same wherever I go.

I am truly sad to see them disappear.

Ummmm (1)

numLocked (801188) | about 9 years ago | (#13693818)

So no one else thinks that Mulberry is absolutely awful - slow, unwieldy, and obtuse? My university has been using Mulberry for years, and it's almost universally hated by students.

Re:Ummmm (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 9 years ago | (#13693944)

Mulberry is definitely not slow. Obtuse I would buy. Unwieldy, I suppose if you don't like reading documentation.

Because of the way it is structured I would think that it is a poor choice for something like general use in a university environment.

Re:Ummmm (1)

numLocked (801188) | about 9 years ago | (#13694057)

For whatever reason, it performs INCREDIBLY slowly here. Most people have started using webmail as the preferred alternative.

Re:Ummmm (1)

ChickenBlood (812039) | about 9 years ago | (#13694113)

I agree, Mulberry is a piece of shit. Campus here tried to shove it down everone's throats, nobody liked it at all. The IT dept finally decided to sack it this year.

Re:Ummmm (1)

ItalianScallion (145653) | about 9 years ago | (#13694515)

i really really wanted to like mulberry, and tried several versions extensively over the years, but so hated the illogical interface, the buckshot approach to features, the crashing, the inability to cache correctly, and the companies propensity to add major new features (calendar, etc) rather than properly working out the bugs and logic burps in the old ones, made me finally switch to thunderbird for IMAP. not great but again, not bad at all...

anyway, rest in peace folks

Mulberry is great because... (2, Interesting)

dbosso (457577) | about 9 years ago | (#13693949)

I'll speak up here in defense of Mulberry. I've been using it since '99, and for all its flaws I still love it. The organization I work for has it deployed for about 500 users.

It's a bit of a two headed beast. On one hand it's an incredibly feature rich and customizable client, built using IMAP from the ground up. It supports POP3 and local mailboxes, but both are add ons to the IMAP core. It doesn't have the greatest GUI in the world, but it's simple, fast and powerful. The GUI is very close on Win/Mac/*nix which makes it very easy to support.

Now, that doesn't sound like a good email client for the masses, but the other side of Mulberry is the centralized IMSP preferences and the Admin toolkit.

An IMSP server for preferences and addressbooks allows users to have consistency between locations (home, offices, a co-worker's computer, labs) for all their settings and addressbooks. Sorta like a webmail solution, but much FASTER. IMSP options are inherited on the server, so you set up _your_ defaults for new users that make sense. You can also lock specific options to keep users from getting in trouble, or creating security problems.

The Admin Toolkit is what lets you take a copy of the Mulberry Application and customize it for your user base. Prevent creation of local mailboxes if you want, or keep users from saving their passwords so they actually remember what they are. Set attachment size limits or warnings, prevent the use of custom headers, or whatever.

I'm really not sure what we're going to do now that Cyrusoft/ISAMET is gone. Any other option is going to have a big support impact on out helpdesk.


Re:Mulberry is great because... (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 9 years ago | (#13694580)

what are the licenseing terms you use it under? Is there a way you can effectively make your position regarding being allowed to use it secure for a long timer?

Re:Mulberry is great because... (1)

dbosso (457577) | about 9 years ago | (#13694892)

The license is perpetual and per-user, not per machine. Quite nice.
I'm sure we'll use it as long as we can.


Re:Mulberry is great because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13694905)

The Admin Toolkit is what lets you take a copy of the Mulberry Application and customize it for your user base. Prevent creation of local mailboxes if you want, or keep users from saving their passwords so they actually remember what they are. Set attachment size limits or warnings, prevent the use of custom headers, or whatever.

You can customize other mail applications for your user base. You could set an attachment size limit or whatever in Thunderbird, compile it and distribute that. I mean, isn't that the whole point of open source?

Stuff that matters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13694182)

Stuff that matters? The fact that this has 70 comments after 4 hours on Slashdot's front page (hand half of those are people asking "WTF is Mulberry?") should be pretty indicative that this is not.

Seems like any application, no matter how obscure and unintuitive, gets a place on Slashdot's front page as long as it has a Mac version...

Mulberry is the best email client around (1)

fief (12961) | about 9 years ago | (#13694209)

I have been an amazingly happy customer of Cyrusoft/Isamet for over 5 years (having paid for two upgrades). All of my friends know this as whenever the subject of email clients comes up, I priase Mulberry. I do not believe that there is ANY email client that can compare with it. Because of Mulberry I now have a requirements list for email clients that no other client can complete.

  • Handle connecting to multiple imap and pop accounts.
  • Be able to send messages from multiple identities. This must at the least include having different fcc's, from addresses, and smtp servers.
  • Automatically choose the correct default identity to send from depending on the message being replied to.
  • Handle threading of 10k message mailboxes easily.
  • Be able to arbitrarily define what mailboxes are checked for new mail.
  • Have a fast and powerful search feature.
  • Be able to intelligently have a local cache of an imap account.
  • Be able to have local mailstores in nonrmal mbox format.

Some of thoses requirements are easy to handle. The big problem I have with most email clients is the lack of support for identities. Mulberry is unfortunately not a program for casual users. It is a program for people that wish to seriously get to know their email programs.

Re:Mulberry is the best email client around (1)

chrysalis (50680) | about 9 years ago | (#13694367)

Mutt does all of this.

Downside of closed source (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 9 years ago | (#13694211)

This is the downside they don't talk about very often when comparing the risks of using closed source to open source. And they don't even consider all the patent violations that may be occuring in closed source (which I think will come to light within the next 2-3 years when some lawyer finds the right language to make closed source reveal source code).

IMAP is... (2, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | about 9 years ago | (#13694217)

It's good that we have a standard protocol that all mail clients can use to access all mail servers. It's good that the protocol is open and unencumbered. It's a shame, though, that the protocol we standardized on was IMAP.

IMAP is an ugly, convoluted mess. And as I tend to rant about often [] , overly complex protocols encourage buggy implementations. "Keep it simple, stupid." If something like POP4 [] had become the standard, there would be a better selection of quality, non-troublesome email clients out there.

Although, with an increasing number of richly [] functional [] webmail [] systems out there now, perhaps the email fat client will become less relevant anyway. Of course, email clients will never go away entirely: you still need text-based access (pine and elm), and non-interactive clients such as Fetchmail...

Oh hell, I'll just come out and say it... anything is better than Outlook. :)

Re:IMAP is... (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 9 years ago | (#13694448)

Webmail will go away too, if anything ever happens that causes the public to start valuing encryption and signing. Webmail is a technological step backward from mail clients, because the software that the user is running, doesn't really understand what it's doing.

Re:IMAP is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13694493)

IMAP is an ugly, convoluted mess.

Yes, your blog entry says that too. But it doesn't say why, other than "you can do the same thing multiple ways." Okay I'll take that under consideration, but still you haven't shown me anything.

SIEVE filtering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13694289)

While admittedly OSS has provided a variety of reasonable alternatives for simple mail clients, Mulberry seemed to provide the most complete implementation of IMAP functionality available. For me, even though I check my mail through pine, I needed to set up server-side SIEVE filters at my local installation using Mulberry, because there do not seem to be any reasonable alternatives.

A few months ago when I last looked, I found maybe two broken programs, one a project related to GNOME, and the other one an emacs extension that seemed to be outdated. Is there now any way to get SIEVE filters uploaded and written from *nix? It would be a plus if this could be done without learning the SIEVE filter language as well.

It's not much-beloved. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13694385)

My school (the University of Virginia) uses Mulberry as its email client of choice (though they also offer a web client and you can set up Outlook or Thunderbird yourself). It is ugly and has a terrible user interface. The only good thing about it is that user profiles are stored server-side.

Yeah, "much-beloved" by all 9 was crap! (2, Interesting)

_vSyncBomb (50710) | about 9 years ago | (#13694473)

I know a bit about this. In former times I went on an annual IMAP pilgrimage, looking for a client that didn't suck the proverbial donkey balls, for Mac (and Linux, though that was hopeless in those days).

Mulberry was hella not it, although I tried out every new version as part of my quest.

Somebody said it was fast--that's true, if you happened to be connected directly to your mail server on a local gigabit ethernet link. Otherwise, Outlook Express, Thunderbird,, and Eudora were all faster (in their respective times). Plus a bunch of others.

In fact, the only true claim to fame Mulberry ever had was the undisputed title for the Worst Software Interface Of Any Mail Client (Or Perhaps Any Type Of Application) Ever. Even after the "interface overhaul" they did with those unpaid college students! (Not that I blame them: your average college kid was SURE to know more about human-computer interaction than Cyrusoft apparently ever did...)

Mulberry did have FEATURES though, which is why your average thinking user hated it even more. You always wanted to believe, because you wanted the 89,734 features it had--more than any other client ever, 'm pretty sure--but after a week (or maybe a day) of seeing the whole app modally lock up for ten minutes while checking mail, the disjointed and otherworldly user interface, the crashes, and the general 80's-ness of it, you went back to Thunderbird, Mail, or Outlook or whatever.

Goodbye Mulberry, and my condolences to the 9 poor slobs who will actually miss you. Software that sucks that bad shouldn't really take so long to die.

Mulberry's competitors beat 'em fairly (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 9 years ago | (#13694535)

I tried out the demo for this program in 2002, when I was evaluating email clients for Linux, to replace SeriousVoodoo (the program I had been using on my Amiga).

Mulberry looked reasonably capable (it supported my requirements: PGP/MIME, IMAP over SSL), but the UI had a strange look and feel to it. It didn't really suck, but it just felt .. oddly foreign, sorta like a Java or WINE program. I don't have any intellectual reason for saying that's a bad thing, but nevertheless, it rubbed me the wrong way.

And since it wasn't open, I could never be sure that it had a future and would get bugfixes. I wasn't averse to buying proprietary games (e.g. from Loki), but relying on mysterious and potentially-orphaned code seemed a bit dangerous for Internet-related client software that I would be using on a day-to-day basis. So I ended up using Sylpheed [] instead, and it has worked fine for the last 3 years. And now, it looks like my thoughts about getting orphaned have finally been justified.

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