DISCLAIMER: All work has been temporarily stopped until somet time after july 2005. (I have to finish my masters)
The vfsmail project, hosted on Sourceforge, is an attempt to simplify the emailing experience of desktop users.
An email is one of the most objectified datastructures on the net. Emails are normally regarded as objects. This is in sharp contrast to reallity. Normally all your emails reside in one huge file, sort of like a very long list. You can't directly acces them because they are all batched together in a special format in this (so called) mbox-file.
It is the purpose of the vfsmail project to get rid of this contrast. Vfsmail will allow you to browse your mbox as though it where a directory containing files. This is done by implementing a plugin for the Gnome Virtual File System (GVFS). This enables vfsmail to expose itself to popular file managers such as Nautilus - the standard file manager shipped with the Gnome Desktop.
The major goal of vfsmail is to fully integrate emails into the desktop experience. You should be able to store a draft for an email on your desktop, not only in some "virtual folder" in your mail client. Right clicking this draft will bring you a "Send..." option.
It is not the intention to implement every feature of a modern mail client in vfsmail. Vfsmail should first of all be a convenient and fast way to acces mails already stored on your computer. Contact managing, scheduling and other sorts of more complicated tasks should be performed from you mail client of choice.
Yes, there are a few conceptual issues that need to be dealt with. One is finding a proper naming scheme (what happens when someone tries to rename an email?).
Vfsmail consist of three parts as of writing. A fourth module is under way.
And ofcourse. This is all written entirely in C, to maximize portability and speed. It is also regarded as important to keep dependacies at an absolute minimum.
Vfsmail is still under heavy development. Unless you are really really curious (and know what you are doing) you shouldn't try vfsmail yet. You can obtain sources from our CVS repository at sourceforge.