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The Dartmouth
April 15, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Blitz: The problem is software, not infrastructure

To the Editor:

In "Committee to consider outsourcing e-mail" (Nov. 2), the article confuses the difference between e-mail infrastructure and client software and suggests that the only way to have features like GMail is to simply move all student services to another system. This is not accurate.

The BlitzMail client software most students use is lacking in many features (i.e., threaded conversations) but the infrastructure at Dartmouth supports more advanced clients such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail and Mozilla's Thunderbird which have these features and many more. In fact, these IMAP-compliant programs are so popular that Google now supports them as well.

Considering a move to an outsourced service for e-mail should be a discussion of things like cost, reliability, service levels, security and privacy -- not client software features, which are an entirely different issue. My impressions from over a decade of advising undergraduate students on campus is that the majority of complaints about student e-mail could be resolved with better client software (either by upgrading or replacing the BlitzMail client) and the infrastructure is not the issue.