Exorcism. Or: Not the Best Day For Microsoft

I'm so happy right now. I bought a brand new laptop today and I really love it. It had Windows VistaTM installed, of course, but after my experiences with VistaTM on my desktop PC, I didn't even wanted to bother with it. So currently I'm expelling Vista and replace it with my new best friend: Linux. My desktop PC works so perfectly well with Linux, so I decided there won't be anything else for me in the future.

At about the same time, my friend Julia messaged me. She got a new laptop today herself. Funny coincidence, isn't it? She and VistaTM met for the first time. She messaged me to tell me how much VistaTM sucks. Like I never said it before.

Does Microsoft realize that VistaTM isn't doing them any favor?

Back to stable

Do you know how it feels when you come home after a long time, when some of your friends got married recently, and the neighbors refurbished their house? It feels strangely familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time. Well, I have that feeling with my computer right now.

I wrote in my last post that the days of Pearly Spencer VistaTM will soon be over. Too many times I had to reboot the entire thing. So, last weekend there was the showdown. This is my first post I'm writing on my Linux Computer.

Jebus, Linux has changed a lot since I last used it at home a while ago. I mean, my computer at work is a Linux PC, but it hasn't any cool features switched on, and our administrator configures everything. But at home, back then it took me days to get my sound card working. More days to get my printer working. Weeks to get my scanner working. You get the idea. In the beginning when I was a novice, each change in a system setting required lots of googling, reading, trying, praying, and confusion. And, to be honest, windows looked more beautiful.

Well, things have changed a lot since then. I had a running system (printer, webcam, soundcard, etc.) in less than an hour. It configured all devices itself, I didn't do anything. It looks cool, doesn't crash, is easy to maintain, fast, and much fun. And it feels like coming home after a long while.

Here's a video of how it looks. I'm amazed. I'm sure I will switch off some of the effects after a while. I think they will get annoying after a few days. But currently I enjoy them. Say hello to my new love...

I didn't create this video, I just found it on youtube to give you an impression how Linux looks today. By the way, the video calls the composition manager "CompComm" as this is a early preview. Now they found their real name, it's "Compiz Fusion".

I hate Vista

I hate, hate, hate it. My old computer died two weeks ago, and I had to get a new one. Since you can't find one without Windows VistaTM installed, I'm the "proud" owner of a Vista Computer. Yeah!

I never was a big fan of Windows, I used to use Linux on my systems. But then I tried XP when it came out a looong time ago, and I really liked it. My old computer had XP running when I bought it, and it was very stable, it never crashed. I was so happy about XP that I switched from Linux to XP back then.

But now??? Vista is worse than crap. I haven't rebooted my old XP in five years as often as I did with Vista in two weeks. It often freezes during start-up. I often need to reboot after "highly sophisticated tasks" like launching Excel, or sometimes even minimizing just one window.

How dare you, Microsoft, to ship such crap? I'm a Software Engineer myself. If I sold a program as unstable as Vista, my client would sue me, and as a justified punishment a deathsman would behead me on a public square behind the castle in front of a cheering audience. Only Microsoft can get away with that.

I'll switch back to Linux as soon as I have enough time for the installation. I'm sick and tired of Vista. There, I said it.

Import Mails from Thunderbird to (Part II)

Some of you know, I was trying to import e-mails from Thunderbird to Apple's own for a friend. It's supposed to work, but it just didn't. Mail showed only one huge e-mail in each folder, and the mail itself contained all other mails.

I wrote a litte perl script to fix the files so that Mail will import them properly. And I made my solution available on this blog in case somebody else is having the same problem. See the datails about the solution in my post from February, 6th.

This week I got an E-Mail from Lars Kobbe who used my script to fix his files. He also made a Droplet out of my perl skript, which makes using it easier for those of you that don't like the command line.

Just save the Droplet on your Desktop, drag your mbox-files on it, and it will fix the files for you without any need to use a command line.

Get Lars' Droplet here ...

Import Mails from Thunderbird to Apple's OS X

I'm sure this post is boring for my regular readers, but it's about a workaround for a bug that kept me busy for some hours, and I didn't find any solution on the web that worked for me. I found some people that had the same problem, but the workaround that worked for them didn't work for me - which actually almost freaked me out. So, I hope this post is useful to anybody who has the same problem. I tried to write it as detailed as possible, in case there are people that aren't very familiar with a command shell and all that stuff.
If this post was helpful, please leave a note. Thanks. :)

A friend of mine bought a macbook recently, and he wanted to import mails from his outlook on his old PC to which came with his mac. We figured out that there's no way to do that directly. But you can import the mails into Thunderbird (which is my favourite mail program, by the way), and then you can import those to apple's mail.

At least that's what we were thinking. But it didn't work. Each folder contained only one big mail, it didn't create seperate entries for each mail. First I thought its a matter of line ending, since Unix and Windows use different characters to indicate the end of a line. Recoding Thunderbird's mail files didn't work.

I knew that the mbox file format that Thunderbird uses to store the mails is like this: Each folder is one file that contains all mails of the folder, and the beginning of a mail is marked by a line that starts with "From " and then some additional information. (Mind the space after "From", it's very important).

Most programs that use mbox files don't care about the data in the line after the "From ". A typical line in Thunderbird would look like that:
From - Mon 29 Dec 1997 23:45:58

Googling showed that is picky about the format of the From-Line, and there were some posts where people said that you need to replace the "-" by the address of the sender. I wrote a perl program that changed the From lines to something like this:
From sender@host.tld Mon 29 Dec 1997 23:45:58

But still, it didn't work. Still only one HUGE mail in each folder. It seemed like this worked for everybody except me. But I figured out that the date was not correctly formatted. seems to expect the date in another format. It needs to look like this (mind the different order of the fields in date):
From sender@host.tld Mon Dec 29 23:45:58 1997

So, I wrote this perl program that fixes the mbox files, and finally it worked. This script changes the From line to the format that needs. It adds the actual email address of the sender, and changes the date (if neccessary).

If anybody has the same problem, here's how it works:

  1. Save the file mboxfix to your desktop. But you probably want to skip this step after you've read the update at the bottom of this post.
  2. Go to your Thunderbird mail dir (on windows it's probably c:\Documents and Settings\ YourUsername\ Applications\ Thunderbird\ Profiles\ default\ StrangeChars\ Mail, and on Mac its most likely /Users/ YourUsername/ Library/ Thunderbird/ Profiles/ default/ StrangeChars/ Mail. (I've inserted blanks for better line wrapping results))
  3. For each mail folder there are three files or folders, e.g. Inbox, Inbox.msf, Inbox.sbd. Only the Inbox (without extensions) is important. Copy those files (one for each mail folder) to your desktop as well.
  4. Open a Terminal on your Mac. (Applications -> Accessories (probably, I don't know the English name) -> Terminal).
  5. Type cd Desktop and hit enter.
  6. Type chmod 755 mboxfix and hit enter.
  7. Now do this with each mailbox file (this example uses the mail folders Inbox, Sent, Private and Office. If you have different names, and/or more mail folders, alter the command to your needs:
    ./mboxfix Inbox Sent Private Office
  8. This creates the files Inbox.mbox, Sent.mbox, Private.mbox and Office.mbox
  9. Open Mail, go to "Import Messages", select "Import from Other", and point it to your desktop. Make sure to import only the files with the ending .mbox.
  10. You're done. Clean up your desktop and say "thank you, Rian". :-)

Update (March, 25th): (see also post from March 25th, 2007)
Lars Kobbe created a Droplet out of my perl script. Just download my script wrapped up in Lars' Droplet here (i.e. skip step 1), and replace step 4 to step 7 by just dragging your mbox files on this Droplet.