alpine descent

Fans (and regular users) of the text-based email client “alpine” might be interested to know that as of 3rd December we will be reverting to the previous upstream release, 2.11 on DICE SL7. The noticeable effect of this change should be minimal, except if you are in the set of users affected by bugs in the 2.20 release, in which case it should be wholly beneficial. DICE SL6 won’t be affected by this, as it has remained on the comparatively stable 2.10 release for some time now.

For those who have not been following the development of pine/alpine in recent years, this history gives a good account.

The version we’ve been using for a little while (2.20-1) was taken from an alternative fork to previous versions and contained several flaws – some of which we’ve noticed in practice – and unfortunately the updated package (2.20-2) referenced above adds a further bug affecting normal workflow (specifically: entering the “Compose” menu causes a repeatable fault if keylabels are disabled; in due course this should be reported upstream).

Given the comparatively unstable state of upstream alpine packaging, we’ve taken the decision to revert to 2.11 for now, and in future we will almost certainly build and package our own release of alpine as we had done for most of the course of DICE SL5 and SL6, but based on Eduardo Chappa’s releases. This invites some additional maintenance load to using our upstream distribution, but should hopefully result in a better, more stable alpine on SL7.

2 thoughts on “alpine descent

  1. Ian Stark

    So we get to keep Alpine? Brilliant, thank you.

    I’m confused, though, and I hadn’t realised there had been another fork — is the 2.20 on DICE not the same as Chappa’s 2.20? Or is it just that the Fedora EPEL / SL7 / whoever packagers upstream couldn’t get Chappa’s build together properly?

  2. gdutton Post author

    @Ian Stark,

    The split (not formally a fork I suppose) is explained in the history link above – but that doesn’t answer your question. It would appear RH switched (at some point) to the re-alpine project, though it might have appeared to be “by default” (I’ve not attempted to investigate this any further and could be severely misinformed!).

    The 2.1x releases are Chappa’s as far as I can see on quick inspection. The lack of clarity is another reason why I’m keen to start maintaining again. We’d take sources from there.

    My attitude is that alpine, quite apart from its obvious advantages as an email tool, is as close as we have to a reference IMAP client. My expectation is we’ll attempt to carry alpine as long as we’ve got IMAP servers to talk to, and hopefully beyond.

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