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After struggling (and failing) to compile install a few Unix search engines for my email, I gave ZOË another look today.

Since I used it last, ZOË has gained several features, including direct mbox import. It's completely un-configurable, simply looking for any files in ~/Library ending in 'mbox'. These criteria were undocumented, but a quick grep through the source code (available via CVS from the SourceForge project) pointed me in the right direction.

I moved my real, gigantic, Library directory out of the way, and renamed my mailboxes so they would import properly. It's currently chugging away at 250 MB of my email, performing its indexing and cross-referencing magic on it.

Watch out installing ZOË: by default, it is accessible to anyone. Edit the Application preferences to set a password.

ZOË is still quite rough around the edges, mainly in the setup (adding and modifying accounts, importing messages), but it's been a long time since I've been so blown away by the elegance of a Web application. What an amazing, truly useful, piece of software to take something as chaotic as years of accumulated email and neatly, logically organize it for you. Weren't computers always supposed to do this stuff?

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