Columba: How to revive an open-source project?

Almost two years ago, maintainers of the Columba Mail mail client announced the end of their project due to obvious reasons (lack of time, being busy in “real life). Looking at some screenshots and the overall maturity of this (Java/Swing based) application, seeing this one being passed away that soon is rather sad – there’s a lot of good functionality in it already, and the world surely could benefit from having a cross-platform mail user agent written in plain Java not JavaScript. 😉 So… I wonder whether there is a good way of acquiring people in order to revive an open source project like this, and be that just for maintaining the code base, fixing basic issues, keeping the project alive. Of course, then again integrating it with, say, the NetBeans RC platform surely would be a nice thing… 🙂 Comments, anyone?

8 replies on “ Columba: How to revive an open-source project? ”
  1. That’s a good idea…
    What we have to do in order to get revived this project?
    I think the first step is to talk with the original maintainers to obtain permission and ‘write’ access to the CVS server…

  2. @Isaque: I just subscribed to the columba-dev mailing list to see whether there’s still life in there… for what I see, some very few commits have been made to SVN some days ago but nothing “substantial”… would love to see this revived, be that for the sake of replacing tbird on my machine. 😉

  3. (1) Columba Mail mail client is a great piece of cake.

    I have been interested in the past by Columba. I may re-think about doing something in that area…

    (2) if Columba may continue, the different pieces of Columba have to be replaced into the right context, because a lot of these pieces have been developped on top of custom libraries.

    Following that idea, I have thought also about NetBeans RCP for Columba. It’s a great idea. To give another example, unfortunately, Columba uses its own library instead of JavaMail, because of the limits of JavaMail. It may be more worthwhile to start with an open source JavaMail library and to hack it to overcome the limits.

    So, as said above, Columba Mail mail client is a great piece of cake, but there is a lot of efforts to do in order to do things right nowadays, that is with 2009’s technologies.

    PS : note that other people like “Yuta Aoki” – http://sourceforge.net/mailarchive/forum.php?thread_name=e22ff8510708121051l2151e18eu1967edd5be126be3%40mail.gmail.com&forum_name=columba-devel – have been also interested by Columa in the past.

  4. @Dominique: Well, at the moment (given Columba seems at least mostly asleep), I think that maybe gathering a set of people interested in reviving it at its current state would be more than one could expect… things like replacing desktop framework, core components, … possibly would be “step 2” in my opinion, given enough interest to at least get there. 😉

  5. I saw the UI it was amazing! I think it has quite a lot features, so it will be a great step if you can revive it! I hope that Sun has interests in it!

  6. I think it is a great idea, i have often given thought to writing a mail client on the Netbeans platform, but have always been daunted by the enormity of the task

  7. @Dominique
    Sounds like you have given this some serious thought already…

    I would definitely be interested in working on this project,
    and a port to the Netbeans platform would be an interesting move as well.

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