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Encyclopedia > BlitzMail

BlitzMail is an e-mail system used at Dartmouth College. It was one of the earliest e-mail server/client packages. It became massively popular at the College owing to its simplicity and power that appealed to even the most non-technical of users. Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Dartmouth College is a private academic institution in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States. ...



BlitzMail was developed by the College in 1987 and went live in the summer of 1988. Today's BlitzMail is descended from this codebase. 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The name BlitzMail started as a joke among its programmers, as it had to be developed quickly.

In 1991, when Dartmouth required every student to own a computer, the server code was updated to allow multiple servers to accommodate the heavy demand for the system. In 1993, the server was rewritten to support mail folders, a necessity. In 1994, the client and server software was released for use outside of Dartmouth. Some non-Dartmouth BlitzMail deployments include Valley.Net, an internet service provider in New England's Upper Valley region and Reed College in Portland, OR. An internet service provider (abbr. ... Reed College is a liberal arts college with 1350 students as of the autumn of 2005 (45% men and 55% women), located in Portland, Oregon in the Eastmoreland neighborhood. ...

The first versions of the client ran only on the Apple Macintosh operating system. The client was ported to Windows around the time of Windows 3.1. The first Macintosh computer, introduced in 1984, upgraded to a 512K Fat Mac. The Macintosh or Mac, is a line of personal computers designed, developed, manufactured, and marketed by Apple Computer. ... Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems by Microsoft. ...

Dartmouth College officially chose to halt development on BlitzMail in 2004. (With the exception of bug fixes, neither client nor server software has seen major updates since the late 1990s.) The college plans to slowly transition away from BlitzMail to another client — likely Mozilla Thunderbird. Mozilla Thunderbird is a free, cross-platform e-mail and news client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. ...

This is unfortunate because having a windows based client is still in demand. Unfortunately the current version has bugs which should be easily fixable should the college choose to allow it. One such bug is the WinNotif.exe which continues to run in the background even if you log off and exit the program.

Several developers have continued to implement features of their own volition, and an SSL-enabled client is rumored to be forthcoming. SSL can mean more than one thing: Secure Sockets Layer, a communications protocol. ...

At Reed College, meanwhile, which had used Blitz since 1991, the 2004-2005 school year marked the final year in which BlitzMail was available. IMAP addresses were issued to all incoming students in the class of 2008, and current users were warned that they would have to switch before the Fall 2005 semester. Reed College is a liberal arts college with 1350 students as of the autumn of 2005 (45% men and 55% women), located in Portland, Oregon in the Eastmoreland neighborhood. ...

BlitzMail On Campus

A 'BlitzMail culture' exists on the Dartmouth College campus. The system has all but replaced on-campus landline telephone use and provides direct and immediate contact between students, professors and administrators. Official announcements are sent via the system, as well as more-informal ones from organizations about upcoming events, parties, and the like. Strange as it may sound, BlitzMail is a key ingredient of the Dartmouth social scene. An old rotary telephone This article is about telephone technology. ...

Approximately 100 public terminals are located around campus (in libraries, dining halls, and academic buildings) for BlitzMail use. In 2001, a pinkeye epidemic erupted on campus, spread in large part by the use of keyboards at these public terminals. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids), often due to infection. ...

The campus is also blanketed in a wireless network, and many students have laptops. The result is that BlitzMail is accessible nearly anywhere.

The word blitz has become a noun (an e-mail) and a verb (to e-mail — "I'll blitz you!") in campus slang. Most students check blitz on an (at least) hourly basis. Another unique phenomenon is the blitz war--which occurs when a message is sent to a large group of recipients without using the optional feature to hide them. In a blitz war, messages are sent to the entire list, with the purpose of annoying others. Hundreds of responses to the list can be generated in an hour in a heated war. Slang is the use of highly informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speakers dialect or language. ...

Very recently, cell phones have become a much more important ingredient in the social scene, as the erection of nearby cell towers allows good signals and many students prefer not to wait in lines for sometimes busy Blitz terminals.

The BlitzMail Client

The BlitzMail client is graphical, and runs on Windows and Macintosh computers. Several Java implementations exist, as well as web-based clients, such as NetBlitz and WebBlitz. The client has not had major updates since the late 1990s, with the exception of a port to Mac OS X. The client does not support HTML-based e-mail, dealing only in plaintext. (HTML files are viewed as attachments.) Java is an object-oriented programming language developed by James Gosling and colleagues at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s. ... Mac OS X (officially pronounced Mac O S Ten) is a line of proprietary, graphical operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Computer, the latest of which is pre-loaded on all currently shipping Macintosh computers. ... An example of HTML code with syntax highlighting and line numbers In computing, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language designed for the creation of web pages with hypertext and other information. ...

One of the program's strengths is its portability for users. A user's mailbox, address book, and preferences are all stored on the server. Any user can log into any installation of the client and have full access to their data. After a user logs out, no data or personalization is stored on the local machine. This feature allows the use of the many public terminals.

BlitzMail also acts as a pseudo-instant messaging client. Messages are processed by the server and delivered to the recipient almost immediately. A screenshot of PowWow, one of the first instant messengers with a graphical user interface Instant messaging is the act of instantly communicating between two or more people over a network such as the Internet. ...

The program also has great strength in its integration with the Dartmouth Name Directory, or DND. With this, users simply type the name of the recipient in the To: field (for example, Throckmorton P. Scribblemonger, and the DND determines the full e-mail address of the intended recipient (throckmorton.p.scribblemonger@dartmouth.edu, in this example.) The DND also allows users to create any number of aliases for their blitz address (for example, 'throckie', or 'tps') that require less typing. However, Theresa P. Schultz, should she enter 'tps' as her alias, would prevent Throckie (and herself) from receiving such mail. Only the fully-qualified name guarantees delivery. (theresa.p.schultz@dartmouth.edu or throckmorton.p.scribblemonger@dartmouth.edu)

Technical Specifications

BlitzMail speaks its own protocol between client and server. Thus, the BlitzMail client is the only one that can utilize the full feature-set of the server.

Messages entering and leaving the BlitzMail domain are handled via SMTP. As of 2004, patches were available that allowed clients to connect to a BlitzMail server via POP3 and IMAP (with SSL.) The client communicates to the server on TCP ports 2151 and 1119 and the notification service runs on UDP port 2154. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is the de facto standard for e-mail transmission across the Internet. ... In computing, local e-mail clients use the Post Office Protocol version 3 (POP3), an application-layer Internet standard protocol, to retrieve e-mail from a remote server over a TCP/IP connection. ... The Internet Message Access Protocol (commonly known as IMAP4, and previously called Internet Mail Access Protocol) is an application layer Internet protocol that allows a local client to access e-mail on a remote server. ... Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS), its successor, are cryptographic protocols which provide secure communications on the Internet for such things as e-mail, Internet faxing, and other data transfers. ... The Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) is one of the core protocols of the Internet protocol suite. ... The User Datagram Protocol (UDP) is one of the core protocols of the Internet protocol suite. ...

In 2002, SpamAssassin functionality was added to BlitzMail. The DND server was also modified to allow LDAP lookups. SpamAssassin is a computer program released freely under the Apache License 2. ... In computer networking, the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, or LDAP (ell-dap), is a networking protocol for querying and modifying directory services running over TCP/IP. An LDAP directory usually follows the X.500 model: it is a tree of entries, each of which consists of a set of named...

The BlitzMail and DND servers run on DEC Unix and many Linux flavors. The OS must support POSIX threading or the now obsolete Mach kernel-style cthreads. The server will run on systems with very low hardware requirements. Unix or UNIX is a computer operating system originally developed in the 1960s and 1970s by a group of AT&T Bell Labs employees including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and Douglas McIlroy. ... Linux (also known as GNU/Linux) is a Unix-like computer operating system. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Mach is an operating system kernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University to support operating system research, primarily distributed and parallel computation. ...

The BlitzMail servers have run on a variety of hardware at Dartmouth. In the early 1990s, the mail and DND servers ran on 25 MHz NeXT cubes named after Santa Claus' reindeer. At the time, BlitzMail's performance was nearly unparalleled; hundreds of sessions could be handled on each machine. Later, the servers were migrated to DEC Alpha 3000/300s. NeXT was a computer company headquartered in Redwood City, California, that developed and manufactured two computer workstations during its existence, the NeXTcube and NeXTstation. ... DEC Alpha AXP 21064 Microprocessor The DEC Alpha, also known as the Alpha AXP, is a 64-bit RISC microprocessor originally developed and fabricated by Digital Equipment Corp. ...


The BlitzMail client and server software are available under a GPL-like open source license. The GNU logo Wikisource has original text related to this article: GNU General Public License The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or simply GPL) is a widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU project. ... Open source refers to projects that are open to the public and which draw on other projects that are freely available to the general public. ...


BlitzMail's developers include Rich Brown, David Gelhar, Jim Matthews, Pete Schmitt, Steve Campbell, Steve Ligett, Paul Merchant, Kevin Schofield, Jim Van Verth, and David Greenfield.

The Blitzmail Bulletins feature was designed by Nancy Hossfeld and Randy Spydell.

The Windows version of the BlitzMail client was developed by Doug Hornig.

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Access Alumni Email via BlitzMail (279 words)
BlitzMail is an electronic mail client developed at Dartmouth College.
BlitzMail allows you to organize messages in folders on the server, instead of on your hard drive.
If you are using an older version of BlitzMail (2.1 or earlier for Mac or 2.5.3 or 2.5.4 for Windows), you should upgrade to the latest version of BlitzMail.
Dartmouth College - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3662 words)
Technology plays an important role in student life, as Dartmouth is perennially ranked as one of the most technologically-advanced colleges in the world (as in Newsweek's ranking of "Hottest for the Tech-Savvy").
BlitzMail, the campus e-mail network, plays a tremendous role in social life, as students tend to use it for communication in lieu of cellular phones or instant messaging programs.
Student reliance on BlitzMail (known colloquially as "Blitz," which functions as both noun and verb) has led to computer terminals being installed all around campus, so that students can check their "blitz" in between classes or while away from their rooms.
  More results at FactBites »



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