Bruce Perens: What's Going On About Open-Sourcing the OpenMail Program

In late 1995 Shell Canada rolled out HP OpenMail as a replacement for MS Mail (and PROFS which was IBM mainframe-based). No MS Mail to OpenMail translator existed.

That summer, a co-op student (a very talented engineer who's now at the Robotics Institute, his talent was totally wasted at Shell) tried in vain to write a translator but the tools available at the time for MAPI just plain didn't work. If they did he would have finished it before his work term was over.

A few weeks after he left, Windows 95 came out and it shipped with MAPI 1.0, which actually worked. I wrote a complete translator in 3 weeks and Shell Canada used it to translate all their mailboxes. :-)

I remember my boss telling me HP wanted to buy the translator from Shell because noone else had one and all their customers wanted it. As far as I know, they didn't buy it but it was very flattering at the time, especially so early in my career. So, it's sad to hear OpenMail is dead.

Written on March 5, 2001