Reminiscing this and that, on the web since 1995


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XkBiff is my attempt at a biff program that understands kpop. When there is mail, it pops up another window featuring the From and Subject fields of the mails.

Update :

The XkBiff project is discontinued and no longer maintained, mainly because I don't even use POP anymore. If you want to use it, you probably have to fix it as well.

Update :

There is now a source distribution of XkBiff 0.8.1! Beware; I haven't set things up for configure or imake yet, so you have to edit the Makefile by hand.

Update :

Version 0.5 of XkBiff released. This is the first version I consider working, and all versions before this date are now happily forgotten.

The main window of XkBiff displays one of three small images, signifying mail, no mail, or failure to check. When XkBiff finds new mail it can pop up a window with the From and Subject info from the mail. If the check fails, most probably because your Kerberos tokens expired, it can pop up a message telling you why it failed.

According to the Mime standard, characters missing in us-ascii (e.g. þåäö) can appear in the header fields, encoded as quoted-printable. XkBiff decodes this correctly.

XkBiff also understands plain POP3, but if you use unencrypted POP, you really shouldn't.

How it might look when there is incoming mail.


Kpop is POP extended with Kerberos authentication. You might want to have a look at the KTH-KRB web pages.

If you are picky about security you should not use plain Pop3, since it sends your password unencrypted over the network. XkBiff don't make this worse in theory, but in practice it means sending your password more often over the network, which might make it easier for a cracker to find it. On the other hand, both Netscape and Microsoft does periodical check for new mail over pop3, and neither of them mentions any security problems with that (as far as I have seen). So the message here is: If you want your mail to be safe, don't use plain pop3! If you use pop3, you might as well use XkBiff also.

Project status

XkBiff is free software, but Copyright © Rasmus Kaj 1996 - 1998. There is no warranty (but hey! Micro$oft don't give warranties either).

This is the things that was supposed to be fixed in a future version. Since the project is discontinued, I guess that wont happen now. None of this is what I consider 'serious' errors.

  • Better geometry management, for instance if the image window is on the lower and/or right edge of the screen the message window pops up off screen by default. Also, 'negative' geometry needs to be recalculated each time the popup pops up.

  • Different colors (foreground & background) for the different statuses.

  • Maybe a dialog to enter the password in non-kerberos mode. Right now I use the getpass() function, which get a password from standard input.

  • Load color images (xpm, png, gif?) as well as xbm:s.

  • Some mailers seems to encode 8bit headers as Base64 instead of QP. Seems stupid, IMHO, but I should probably add support for it.

  • A whole load of clean-up.

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