The Bat!

by Jonathan Gennick

Today I want to plug my (current) favorite email client. If you're looking
for an alternative to Outlook for POP3 or IMAP4 email, you could do much worse
than The Bat!,
which I've been using for several years now. The Bat! is fast, intuitive,
multi-threaded, includes its own html viewer, handles any number of email accounts,
and, most importantly of all, it doesn't execute your email.


Last week I spent time with my 70+ year-old aunt, helping her get set up with
The Bat!. She'd been using Outlook Express and had been hit with some
sort of worm or virus that spread by email. The bad payload arrived, Outlook
happily executed it, and next thing you know my poor aunt was faced with the
aggravating task of wiping her hard-drive, reinstalling Windows, and, well you
probably know the routine. Actually, I think it was a cousin who got stuck with
the reinstall job. It fell to me to get her email up and running again. To prevent
a recurrance of the whole affair, I convinced my aunt to buy a copy of The
Bat!
.


In all the many years that I've been using The Bat!, and before that
the Agent Newsreader/Mail
client
, I've never been troubled by malicious email. From at least as early
as 1997, and onwards, I've never had been adversely affected by an email I've
read using The Bat! or Agent. I regularly receive suspicious-looking
email, usually html email, that I believe would be disasterous if opened in
Outlook, but because I don't use Outlook, such email passes harmlessly through
my inbox and into my trash folder. I've seen email virus alerts come and go,
watched the consternation of corporate email administrators as they frantically
sent out emails to warn users not to even read other emails, and I've always
been able to blissfully ignore the storms.


A year and a half ago, my wife's computer got hit with what we now refer to
in our family as the funchina email. This was a malicious email that
set Internet Explorer's home page to funchina.com, opened up a number
of porn sites, put some sort of sexual reference into the Internet Explorer
title bar, and I'm not sure what all else it did. Even deleting the email was
a bit of a problem, because every time she clicked on it to delete it, Outlook
would begin opening web pages. In the end, the only way I could get rid of all
traces of that email was to reformat my wife's disk, reinstall Windows, and
then reinstall all her applications. I gave her my old copy of the Agent Newsreader/Mail
client, and she's not had a lick of trouble since.


Could it be that one of the best ways to avoid attacksy by malicious software
is to simply use any email client other than Outlook? I believe that's the case.
My wife and I run Norton Antivirus on all our PCs. In a Windows environment,
antivirus software seems to be one of the keys to maintain secure and stable
systems. However, equally as important, in my opinion, is our decision to use
non-Outlook solutions for all our email needs. Did I say "if you're looking
for an alternative to Outlook" earlier? There's no "if" about
it. My aunt's and my wife's experiences speak for themselves. You should be
looking.



11 Comments

Dunx
2003-05-06 12:14:05
Blocking Executable Attachments
Not everyone has this option, but my email provider allows you to block all executable attachments at the mail server. My wife is still using Outlook, but has had no virus problems since I activated that.
dbrick
2003-05-06 12:58:50
The Bat! is awesome
Before switching to Linux I had a stint with the Bat! for about 10 months. It is by far the most USEFUL email client I have used. I was able to create boiler plate text for a variety of situations that was easy to add to an email, filter mail into folders...but also have those folders play unique sounds (or wav files) when I received messages in them, search very quickly through all my messages, and probably a dozen other cool features that I've since forgotten about. It was fast and lightweight, never taking up more than 6MB of memory while running.


I wish the Bat! was ported to Linux, and I've made suggestions to the developers that they do so. I would gladly pay for a second copy on that OS.

telus1
2003-05-06 13:06:29
No problems here
Alternatively -- you could run Linux on your desktop ;-)
chase
2003-05-06 14:42:56
or use Mozilla thunderbird
Derek Vadala
2003-05-08 06:51:16
Spammers?
I always thought that The Bat was a popular MUA among spammers. Maybe I'm wrong, but I've seen it in several header_reject lookup tables at a few different sites.
Jonathan Gennick
2003-05-08 07:50:18
Maybe not
The developers of The Bat! speak to this issue. Please visit the following page:


http://www.ritlabs.com/the_bat/spammer.html


Apparently there's a spam tool that fakes The Bat!'s header.

anonymous2
2003-05-20 06:31:02
The Bat! Rules
I've been using The Bat! for over a year now, and I love it. I tried every single email program I could find, and this one won, hands down. I especially like the Eudora-like feel and layout.


However, I am switching to Red Hat Linux, and I have yet to find an email program as nice as The Bat! Any suggestions?

anonymous2
2003-07-06 19:02:37
The feature I like most
The feature that I like most is that when you press ctrl+shift+F2 you can log in to your pop3 server and just look at the headers to the email. You can see who they are from, the subject, and the size of the email. This saves me time because I don't have to download the 90k+ emails that are always and inevitably virus laden.


Also, in my work environment I can go in to email accounts (I am the administrator) and see if a large email is blocking the pipes for the pour souls who are still using Outlook.

anonymous2
2003-07-11 00:35:15
Blocking Executable Attachments
This can help of course - exim etc can be easily set up to filter out .exe, .com and any other extensions you want which is possibily how your ISP does it. Still...the system is not foolproof and things like self extracting/running zip files can be nasty too. A combination of extension filtering, the Bat! and a good virus scanner are probably the best thing :)
anonymous2
2003-07-13 04:52:38
The Bat! Rules
I would pay for The Bat! running on Linux, too.


You can use The Bat! with wine.
It is a bit tricky but it works. :P


http://www.winehq.org/


2006-03-03 16:38:42
how do i get rid of an email account?
email addy is tomanychildren2001@yahoo.com