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Webmail as an idea is great, but as of yet there are couple of things that make current implementations bad:

  • Slowness. Most of the services are really slow. I once showed my father (who used Iobox's service) what I could do from a shell account. "What? It was already sent?" =)
  • Lack of power, or, if the power is there all right, the slowness of the power. Your average E-mail client program has million and one interesting features that take no time to execute, but in webmail you need to wait seconds or even minutes to do anything interesting - as an anti-spammer, I would get easily annoyed if displaying headers would take many seconds. If, of course, it can be displayed at all.
  • Insecurity. I prefer to read my mail from a box that I can ssh to; there are some webmail services that offer SSL. But the rest... well, as secure as unencrypted transmission usually is.
WebMailTM is Netscape's web-based email service. Considering it's technically owned by AOL, it's surprisingly free of advertising whoredom.

Although I cannot prove conclusively that it is superior to Microsoft's Hotmail (it is, BTW), it has the following advantages over it:

  • it's always 1 or 2 clicks away on nearly any Netscape browser.
  • it has never in my knowledge suffered a major security breach, also is probably less frequently targeted by haX0rs.
  • the servers are not being migrated to Windows NT for political reasons (as we all know this would be detrimental to the users)
  • Don't have to give any details to the wack-ass MSN Passport system.
It has the following advantages over Yahoo! Mail (which in turn has several advantages of its own):
  • Doesn't put an incomprehensible string of characters into the sender field of outgoing mail.
So now you have a third web-based email service (that is likely to stay alive) to choose from.

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