This has actually been a more major update than we expected, involving a shift between versions of the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment we now use that ended up being quite difficult. The development schedule is now back to normal, though, and work is progressing on a number of interesting new features in the program, many of which will be released this year.
Note: The move to Visual Studio 2008 has resulted in a program that can no longer be run on Windows 9x systems (Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows ME). This is not by our design - it is a Microsoft-enforced limitation of the new compiler. We are working on finding a way to support Windows 9x systems for a little longer, but realistically, the days of Windows 9x support are now seriously numbered - it is likely that there will not be more than one or two more releases of Pegasus Mail at most that will still support these old operating systems, and the next major release of the program almost certainly will not be able to run on anything earlier than Windows 2000.
International versions: International language modules for version 4.51 will work correctly without modification or update under v4.52.
Pegasus Mail v4.52 is supplied as both a full installer and as an updater for those of you who currently use v4.51. If you do currently use v4.51, we strongly suggest you use the updater instead of the full installer. Click here to go to the download page, where you can get v4.52.
[ If you don't want to read the story of this release and the new features it contains, you can just click here to go to the download page and retrieve it. ]
I expect many users of Pegasus Mail v4.4 will look at v4.5 and say "what's the big deal?", because on the surface, very little appears to have changed - certainly not enough to suggest that it might have taken over two years of quite difficult - at times, even harrowing development. Pegasus Mail has been around for a very, very long time - the Windows version sent its first messages in 1992 - and a heritage that long can become a serious problem over time. In the case of Pegasus Mail, the primary problem I have had for years has been that it was developed using an ancient, but wonderfully reliable version of the Borland C compiler, version 5.02. Unfortunately, Borland C has been out of development for many years, and by 2006 it was finally becoming clear that its days were very numbered.
The solution was to move the 460,000 line Pegasus Mail codebase to a more modern compiler - in this case, Microsoft Visual Studio 2003 (and subsequently Visual Studio 2008). On its own this would have been a big job, but when the code you're moving is carrying around as much historical baggage as something like Pegasus Mail, it gets huge. Of the 460,000 lines of code that make up Pegasus Mail, more than 100,000 have had to be modified in some way during the process of modernizing and moving it to Visual C++, and the testing required has been just unbelievable. Because there has been such an upheaval in the underlying code, we briefly considered changing the version number to 5.0, but decided that a major version number change should really depend on the significance of the visible features instead.
On the positive side, the move to a modern compiler has resulted in the fixing of hundreds of minor bugs, and creates a platform for future development that will allow Pegasus Mail to exist as a viable project for a number of years, so it was definitely worthwhile, even though it took as much effort as it did. It's not all porting and bug fixes though - Pegasus Mail v4.5 does have quite a few worthwhile new capabilities:
Autofiltering folders Pegasus Mail was the first mail program to have filtering rules (back in 1990, in fact), and its filtering capabilities are still the envy of most mail programs... but they can be time-consuming and fiddly to use for simple tasks. It occurred to us that what most people want to do with filters the majority of the time is simply to file mail they receive from and send to particular people so it all appears in one place. In v4.5, you can do this incredibly easily using the new Autofiltering folder support. Any folder can be made an autofiltering folder at any time - just right-click it in the folder list and choose the option there to enable it. When a folder is marked as autofilteringand you copy or move a message into it, the program will subsequently move all messages you receive from that person, and copies of all messages you send to that person into that folder - it's as easy as that: move a message into the folder, and Pegasus Mail will do the rest from that point on. You can turn autofiltering on and off for folders at any time using the right-click option, and the program is clever about handling messages you send to multiple recipients including a person whose address is a target of an autofiltering folder. We think autofiltering is a hugely useful feature and hope you like it .
HTML line drawing The message editor now has a new Draw line button that allows you to draw horizontal lines in your HTML messages. When you reply to HTML messages, the same line style is now also used to separate your text from the text of the message to which you are replying.
Full justification available in editor The message editor now supports full justification of text in your messages. Choosing full justification will force your message to be sent as HTML.
Vista-ready help system The program now has a new help system which avoids the bugs introduced by Microsoft in the Windows Vista operating system.
New reply options The way the program initiates replies to messages has been overhauled. If you press <R>, you will get a normal reply using the reply-options dialog. If you press <Q>, however, you'll get a "quick reply" - a reply with no reply options dialog using the last settings you used. Similarly, pressing <A> will start a "reply-to-all" without an options dialog using the last settings you used. Notice also that the reply button now has a down-pointing arrow at its right-hand side: clicking this arrow will open a menu allowing you to generate any of these types of reply, as well as to change the default behaviour of the button itself.
Signature top-posting You can now instruct the program to insert your signature above the text to which you are replying when you generate replies. This practice is called top posting, and to old-fashioned people like me it's hideous, but who am I to argue with a new generation? <Grin>. Enable signature top-posting in the Messages and replies preferences page.
Spell checker works on the subject line When you spell-check a message, the spell checker now also checks the subject line.
HTML generation and rendering improved As always, where HTML is concerned, the never-ending process of "keeping up with the Joneses" continues in this version of Pegasus Mail, with better rendering of HTML mail, and considerably better generation across the board.
Transcript support Mercury/32, Pegasus Mail's mail server companion product, can generate what are known as "transcripts" - reports showing the time and details of the delivery of a message you send to someone else that can be used as pretty reliable proof of delivery. Pegasus Mail now has an option on its message editor's Special page to enable requests for Mercury transcripts on a message-by-message basis, and you can specify that the option should be on by default in the Messages and replies preference page. The option has no effect and is harmless if you do not use Mercury.
Mailbox maintenance utility Pegasus Mail now includes a utility program called MBXMAINT.EXE, which allows both commandline-driven and interactive maintenance of Pegasus Mail mailboxes from outside the program. MBXMAINT can be used to move mailboxes, check and repair folders, and to compress deleted space from folders. To use MBXMAINT, simply run the EXE file without any parameters.
Simultaneous multilingual release V4.51 is being released simultaneously in versions with full French, German and Italian interfaces as well as English.
Faster Long-term users of Pegasus Mail should notice v4.5 being much faster than previous versions due to the use of more modern software tools.
Click here to go to the downloads page, where you can retrieve the new version.