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Messenger Pro ported to Windows, Linux

By Chris Williams. Published: 23rd May 2003, 18:15:32 | Permalink | Printable

So here's to Messenger Pro 3

Since its first release in the mid-1990s, RISC OS users have exclusively treasured Messenger, the popular freeware email and news client and later, its commercial cousin, Messenger Pro. However, this exclusiveness ends this week with the launch of Gemini, a multi-platform edition of Messenger Pro, designed to run on both Windows and Linux powered computers.

Yes, that's right, Windows and Linux users finally get a decent email client.

Developed by intellegit Ltd., the Gemini port was started in 2001 and provides all the functionality offered by Messenger Pro as well as new features including the ability to display HTML in messages and also unicode font support. Messenger Pro 2 is available to RISC OS users via R-Comp.

And what does this mean for RISC OS users? Will this move into Windows and Linux territory draw attention away from Messenger Pro or will work on Gemini filter back into Messenger Pro? So, we asked Intellegit if updates to Gemini are going to be passed back to MessengerPro. The reply was that they like the idea of a consistent email and news environment on a network of PCs and RISC OS machines and Messenger Pro would be therefore updated to match Gemini. This is similar to the user response to the Windows port of OvationPro - users were glad that they could view and edit their documents on the Windows and RISC OS computers they have.

"The intention is that most of the missing features in Messenger Pro will be implemented as part of a new release, Messenger Pro 3, which I'll start work on soon, but this applies only to features which I've implemented myself rather than ones provided by the Qt library that Gemini uses", intellegit's Mark Sawle told us. Mark happens to be the original author of Messenger so it was nice to hear from him. The Qt library is a toolkit library which provides things like the HTML viewer and unicode support.

"I'm not trying to migrate people away from Messenger Pro, but recognise that a lot of RISC OS users also have PCs and a network, so I'd like to encourage use of the same client software on all machines, perhaps even using the Messenger Pro server edition at the centre. This is best accomplished if all platforms have the same or similar capabilities."

Software companies porting RISC OS software to other platforms clearly isn't as upsetting as we first feared, provided the original RISC OS software is not left forgotten. With Messenger Pro 3 on the horizon as a result of the Gemini work, it's probably not a coincidence that Gemini also happens to be the star symbol of the Twins.


intellegit website - pricing, ordering

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Windows and Linux user finally get a good email client? (!). I guess that's the ol' drobe sarcasm.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 23/5/03 10:40PM
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True though. :D It will be interesting to see how well Gemini does.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 24/5/03 7:24AM
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Yeah - maybe Windows users will realise hor good Risc OS software is and change platform! :)

 is a RISC OS UserTimothy609 on 24/5/03 10:04AM
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Does this mean a decent Windows email client which is not susceptible to viruses such as the Love Bug which specifically attacked Outlook users?

I've always maintained that the best defence against such viruses would be a multiplicity of different software packages in use (and hardware platforms!) so that a virus would have a hard time replicating itself.


 is a RISC OS UserMartyn Fox on 24/5/03 11:09AM
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I'll be interested to see Messenger Pro 3, with QT as their base on Windows, they'll have a hard job replicating all the fancy gadgets on RISC OS. But if they manage it, it may give us a pretty smooth email package.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 24/5/03 1:00PM
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Windows actually has had a decent e-mail client for quite a while, just look at www.pocomail.com

-- Gunnlaugur Jonsson, Dalvik, Iceland

 is a RISC OS UserGulli on 24/5/03 3:47PM
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/me strokes mutt

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 25/5/03 12:20AM
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I can't see the Linux version doing well at all. It doesn't seem to have anything over Evolution or KMail.

 is a RISC OS UserEl Capitano on 25/5/03 4:40PM
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El Capitano: Or pretty much any other non-RISC OS mail client. 30 quid is *far* too steep, too. It's more expensive than Opera, ffs.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 25/5/03 5:32PM
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El Capitano: Gemini has some real advantages - it's much less bloated than Evolution, which is seen as a Good Thing in the linux market; it's less tied to KDE than KMail, also a Good Thing :-) IMO, it's nicer than either (gaining a lot by coming from a RISC OS author's view of UI design), and has features that neither of the others (and very few other apps) has: it handles news, for example, and has proper mailing-list support; it also has the nice MessPro colouring of quoted text, which is nice, as well as many other little things like this.

nunfetishist: True, it's pricey (especially in the linux market) but time will tell whether Mark's got the price right. As for a comparison with Opera, that's not entirely fair - they're an older, established company with an additional revenue stream (adware version). -- John Pettigrew, Cambridge

 is a RISC OS Userjohnpettigrew on 26/5/03 10:20AM
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johnpettigrew: Your arguement's problem is that you're comparing only to a few mail clients for UNIX, and assuming they're similar to all the others.

The comment about Evolution is unfair - Evolution does a lot more than most 'email' client does, some features of which people find useful.

Just go along to freshmeat and search for mail clients - there are hundreds. Some awful, some *very* good.

(btw, I moved to using mutt as my main mail client from Messenger Pro some time ago - OK, it's not a pretty GUI, but it *is* easy to use, it has proper mailing-list support, it's extremely flexible and customisable, and lots of other little bits. Of course, people will discount it instantly, simply because it doesn't have pretty icons everywhere.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 26/5/03 12:41PM
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Gemini may not offer anything over the alternatives on Linux/Windows, but if they roll it back to RISC OS, it should certainly be an improvement on what we've got here.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 26/5/03 1:07PM
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Indeed - it's pretty much cornered the market for mail and news clients for RISC OS, and it's clearly the best over-all one (I never did like Pluto much...) but it's completely different market when you bring something to the Windows and Unix world. I'd consider buying it for a tenner, but never 30 quid.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 26/5/03 1:58PM
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Sounds like an intersting move. Good luck to them.

-- RISC OS: Really Is Software Coding (for the) Old Skool.

 is a RISC OS Useriamnotamused on 26/5/03 2:16PM
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luv this one :-)

as long as it can handle the dreaded crap of M$ exchange - he got a customer! :-D

...dreams of easy work email like home...

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis_RISC OS on 26/5/03 7:36PM
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What's this, mail client wars? :-) "Pretty much cornered the market" and "clearly the best over-all one" sound like rather subjective comments to me...

Equally subjectively, most RISC OS users I've talked to prefer Pluto (including those who've bought both, and use both for business reasons).

By contrast, Messenger Pro seems to get far more coverage in the printed press (especially Acorn User), for some reason...

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 28/5/03 4:27PM
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Strage - I've noticed the complete opposite: Almost everybody I know prefers Messenger. :) The last time I used Pluto (must be nearly 3 or 4 years ago) it's UI was utterly impenetrable, and it had a habit of crashing. Although the UI issue is simply a personal one, and other people *insist* that StrongED is stable where Zap isn't, where I suffer the exact opposite there, too.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 29/5/03 10:59AM
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I find StrongEd unreliable too! As for Pluto and MPro, don't like either of them. But at least Pluto has a built in editor.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 29/5/03 12:45PM
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Why do you need the built in editor, when you have Zap? :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 30/5/03 12:33PM
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Anyway, Pluto is clearly the best over-all one. Seems to have pretty much cornered the RISC OS market, as well.

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 30/5/03 1:49PM
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Atlast something great has come from a RiscOS news client, one for windows and linux also. But will it be as easy to work one windows, and more secure then outlook? -- I havent got one.........

 is a RISC OS Userbekka on 3/6/03 8:42PM
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Actually it's bad all round. It has the same nasty quoting "feature" as Outlook Express. Most Linux users are too clued-up to want to use that, Windows users won't want to pay for a broken newsreader if they can get one free *and* download a fix for it. Associating RISC OS with broken newsreaders that cost money won't do it any favours.

 is a RISC OS Userngolian on 6/8/03 12:20AM
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 is a RISC OS Usersaranda on 18/12/04 5:05PM
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