A Roadmap for 2005
At the time of writing, April 2005, it's been quite a while since there has been a new release of either Pegasus Mail or Mercury - but that does not mean that I've been sitting on my haunches doing nothing... :-)
2005 should be a fairly busy year, starting with the impending release of Pegasus Mail v4.3. V4.3 has been one of the hardest releases we've ever had to do, because we've been replacing fundamental parts of the program, in particular the HTML renderer, the RFC2822 message parser, and the search engine. But for all the 40+ betas and thousands of hours of testing and development, v4.3 probably won't look dramatically different to most users of the program. V4.3 marks the end of a long process of redeveloping the core functionality of Pegasus Mail to bring it into the 2000s. Now it is time to look to the future.
The next release of Pegasus Mail will be Pegasus Mail v5.0, and while I try to avoid rash predictions of release dates, it is my hope that the first releases of v5.0 will be available this year. The key development goals in v5.0 are to incorporate a shared (or "group") calendar/scheduler, a completely new addressbook, an entirely new user database, a powerful new encrypted folder format, and a couple of other powerful new features that I do not want to describe at this point because I am considering applying for patents to protect them (something I should have done for mail filtering, which I invented back in 1991). We also plan to add native support for Windows Networking platforms such as Windows Server 2003. From this, you can see that v5.0 offers major advances on the functionality of the v4.x family.
For Mercury, we have two priorities this year, and really only two: the first is to revive development on the NLM version of Mercury to at least a limited extent: I have opened the source code of Mercury/NLM to an enthusiastic external developer, and hope that this may result in some new releases being available this year. For Mercury/32, the overriding priority this year is to get working web interfaces for the program - both for management (at both the user and administrator level) and more importantly, for providing Webmail services. As with Pegasus Mail, we hope to have this working before the end of this year.
Now, I would be a liar if I didn't say that my situation is very difficult at present, purely for financial reasons. A combination of reduced levels of financial support from users and the effective collapse of the US Dollar as a viable international currency have made for a very bad situation. To give you an example, I was really only able to recover from a recent serious file server crash because of the generosity of my beta test team, who pitched in with unparallelled generosity to help me purchase new hardware. I remain committed to providing Pegasus Mail and Mercury as free packages, but there is the looming possibility that lack of funding may force me to find other ways of making a living, reducing the amount of time I will be able to spend developing them. After fifteen years of service, it would be a shame if Pegasus Mail and Mercury were to become nothing more than a pothole in the landscape of the Internet, and I hope that my users will rally around financially to prevent this from happening.
Doom and gloom aside, I would like to believe that there is still a healthy need for alternative applications such as Pegasus Mail and Mercury, and I hope that circumstance will allow me to continue providing them for a long time to come.
I look forward to sharing the fruits of my work with you in 2005, and hope the year is kind to us all.
-- David Harris --