Polarbar Mailer Changes

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These change log pages provide an overview of bug fixes and new features for each version of Polarbar we've released. The information on these pages also appears in the welcome letter that is automatically loaded into Polarbar when you upgrade to a new release.

View changes for the current changelog, 1.22 through 1.24c, version 1.21b, 1.21a, 1.21, 1.20, changes from 1.17 through 1.19a or changes from 1.15 through 1.16c.

The following is new or has been fixed in 1.21b

  • Fixed a bug where messages would be stuck in the outbox until after Polarbar was restarted following a send failure.
  • Fixed a bug where Autosave, Save Draft, Save as Draft, and Save Template failed when no Persona was selected.

The following is new or has been fixed in 1.21a

  • Fixed a subtle bug in the POP file name generation that can result in the loss of retrieved messages when more than 36 messages are filtered into a single folder at the same time. This bug was actually introduced in Polarbar version 1.20.

The following is new or has been fixed in 1.21

WARNING! Communications timeouts have been added during message transfers (in addition to during connection attempts). Please read the section named "Server Connections" and be prepared to adjust your connection timeouts up in case you experience excessive message transfer timeouts.
WARNING! There has been a change in the message index format, please read the item under the Messages: heading.

Account Startup:

  • Message retrieval is not allowed to take place for the active account until all of its folders have been loaded (instead of as soon as the folder tree is visible) and there is a new option to autoretrieve at startup (instead of after the first interval expires).
  • In some situations when using Sun's jdk1.1.8 on Windows (and maybe other os'es) polarbar would freeze on startup. This has been fixed.

Address Books:

  • A count of the number of individual or group addresses, reflecting the state of the short list checkbox, is displayed above the address list.
  • A count of the number of members in a group is displayed above the group members list.
  • Resizing the address book window also resizes the address book panels. Note: If the left-hand panel is squished when you start Polarbar 1.21 the first time, resize the window using one of the corners.


  • When bouncing a message, the reply-to address from the original, if any, is set as the reply-to for the bounced message. But if the original does not have a reply-to address, then the original from address is used as the reply-to address, in case the sender's mail server changes the from address to match the sender's email address.

Character Sets:

  • If the character set specified by a message can't be used, then attempt to use the default character set (the user-specified outbound character set).

Choice Controls:

  • Because choice controls on Linux are implemented as non-scrollable lists, a Platform Setting has been added that causes BSD, Linux, Solaris, and Unix platforms to use a scrollable list control instead.

Command Line Options:

  • A new command line option, -launch (e.g., -launch linux.dat), allows an alternate launch file to be specified. If the file name does not include an absolute path (which requires a drive letter on Windows and OS/2), then it will be treated as being relative to your account directory.

Compose Window:

  • When bouncing or forwarding a message, word wrap is disabled by default, regardless of the global word wrap setting.
  • A new feature allows you to select the persona from a choice list and lets you add a new persona by clicking on the adjacent plus button. The persona choice list has been removed from the Compose Settings dialog.
  • The character set in a reply message is inherited in place of the default.
  • If you do not have a default persona, you are no longer forced to choose a persona until you try to send the message.
  • If the new setting "Prompt before permitting messages with no subject" is enabled and you try to send a message with a blank subject field, a prompt appears asking if you wish to provide a subject. A yes answer keeps you in the Compose Window and moves the cursor to the subject field. A no answer sends the message, even though the subject is blank.
  • If the new setting "Prompt before permitting messages without user text" is enabled and you try to send a blank message or a message with only a compose preface, then a prompt appears stating that you have not provided any text and asking if you wish to do so now. If you answer yes, then the Compose Window remains open and the cursor is moved to the text area. If you answer no, the message is sent without any text. In addition, Reply messages get a similar prompt if the text body only holds the quoted text that you marked in the original message. Note: The quote text and preface tests are based on the message not having changed since the preface or quote was inserted, which means that if you delete text to leave only the preface, then the prompt will not be triggered.
  • Fixed the infinite loop word wrap bug that occurred when the last line of a message exceeded the word wrap limit, but didn't have any word breaks.

External Browser:

  • The menu item "Open browser using selected text" now works on multi-line word wrapped URLs.
  • When the external browser is the ICE HTML browser and the selected text doesn't have a URL type, but appears to be a web address, then "http://" is prefixed to the URL, because otherwise ICE won't open the page.

Find Dialog:

  • Typing a space into the search field no longer activates the OK button.


  • A Colorcode is now applied when the message is moved/copied
  • mark open/closed are now applied if the message is not moved/copied
  • Note! A filter that affects a colorcode or a mark open/closed MUST be listed HIGHER than a filter that moves/copies a message!


  • Under Java 2, the Font Dialog now enumerates all system fonts (in addition to all Java fonts). Unfortunately, only IBM's Java 1.3 for Windows directly supports the use of system fonts without editing the font properties file that is located in the Java lib directory (see http://java.sun.com/products/jdk/1.2/docs/guide/internat/fontprop.html). For example, to use "Andale Mono" instead of "Courier New", you could replace all occurrences of "Courier New" and "Courier_New" with "Andale Mono" and "Andale_Mono" in the font properties file and then choose the "Monospaced" font in a Polarbar font dialog. Unless you use IBM's Java 1.3, in which case you can just select "Andale Mono" in the font dialog.
  • The Compose font can be changed from the Tools / Fonts submenu.
  • Use of the Main Font has been extended to the various dialogs and log windows that used to use the default font.


  • The Trash folder will not auto-sort if it is the "current folder" when a retrieve process completes.
  • Changing the sort sequence of the Trash folder will not be remembered, and will not effect other folders.

General Settings:

  • There is a new "Retrieve at startup" setting on the Retrieving page. It defaults to disabled. When enabled, the first autoretrieve takes place as soon as the folder tree is completely loaded, instead of after the first autoretrieve interval has expired.
  • There is a new "Prompt before permitting messages without a text body" setting on the Messages page. It defaults to enabled. See the Compose Window section for information on how this new prompt works.
  • There is a new "Prompt before permitting messages with no subject" setting on the Messages page. It defaults to enabled. See the Compose Window section for information on how this new prompt works.
  • Logging of debug, info, and notice messages can be enabled or disabled individually on the Cleanup page. Debug messages are mainly of interest to the developers. Info messages are mostly copies of status messages and are the only messages that are displayed by Tools / Logs / Status message log. Notice messages are used to show the commands that are sent to mail servers and the status responses that are received in return.
  • Changed the default maximum log message file size for new accounts from 500 KB to 63 KB, due to limitations in Microsoft Windows 95, 98, and ME.


  • The problem where the help system could hog the CPU has been fixed.


  • The IMAP4 mail fetcher now properly deals with having the INTERNALDATE elsewhere than after the mail headers. (This problem was causing a ")" to appear at the end of the last header with some IMAP4 servers.)

IMAP4 Preview Window:

  • The IMAP4 preview window now uses the correct font settings.
  • The message list and message text context menus have been enabled.


  • The -mailto command line option now supports the following common methods of specifying the subject (in addition to the email address). mailto:user@domain.dom?Subject mailto:user@domain.dom?subject=Subject mailto:user+subject@domain.dom mailto:user@domain.dom+subject mailto:user@domain.dom(Subject) mailto:user(Subject)@domain.dom

Main Window:

  • A selection marquee is drawn around the selected node when the folder tree has the focus.
  • Moved the Long folder list layout menu checkbox from the Tools / Browser window style submenu to under (and grouped with) the Folder tree font... menu item on the Folder menu.
  • Renamed the Tools / Options submenu to Tools / Settings.
  • Added Utility function to mark messages sent or unsent.


  • Sent messages now show a new envelope icon, with a red "outgoing" arrow similar to the outbox folder. The "Unopened" and "Replied" envelopes take precedence over the "Sent" envelope. New message envelope file name is sentenv.gif
  • The format for index files has been optimized slightly, resulting in files that are 25% smaller on disk and load much faster. This does mean that when you want to revert to an older version of polarbar, you will have to recreate your indexes.
  • Fixed a serious bug where loading a folder would keep gobbling up memory over and over again.

Message Window:

  • Using "View message file in separate window" (from the Message menu or from any of the pop-up menus) now displays the selected message instead of the first message in the folder, uses the Message Font, and uses the appropriate message viewer style (Text or ICE HTML, based on the Browser Window Style selection).
  • Added Utility function to mark messages sent or unsent.

POP3 Preview Window:

  • The POP3 preview window now uses the correct font settings.


  • The Popper Message Retrieval Center has been changed from a spacious panel-oriented layout to a compact column-oriented layout with just one row per account and the title bar icon is set to the default icon.
  • The new message count now reflects the number of Popper messages waiting to be processed into the indicated account. (Before, redirected accounts would count the number of messages waiting for the destination account.)
  • All pop-up error windows have been replaced with log messages.
  • When the Popper is inactive, the background color is set to gray.
  • When the Popper is active, the background color is set the the system control color.
  • When Popper attempts to retrieve messages for an account, the background color for the account row is set to green.
  • If Popper encounters an error trying to retrieve new messages for an account, the background color for the failed account row is set to red.
  • If an account has new messages that Popper has retrieved, but haven't been retrieved into the account, the background color for the account row is set to yellow.
  • Don't retrieve mail for the active account if the preview mail window is open.
  • The Popper now has a title bar icon (a copy of the Polarbar title bar icon). The icon is dimmed when the Popper is not active. When the Popper is active, the icon is normal. When any account has unprocessed messages, the icon has a yellow tint. When any account has errors, the icon has a red tint. Finally, when any account is attempting to retrieve messages, the icon has a green tint.
  • It is no longer necessary to close the Popper window before changing the General or Advanced Settings. A side-effect of this fix is that if you change the autoretrieve status of an account, it is reflected in the Popper window immediately. If you change the autoretrieve interval, it will be used by the Popper after the current interval expires.
  • After closing the Popper window, it is no longer necessary to restart Polarbar or switch to another account and back to resume autoretrieval for the active account.
  • If you close the Popper window while the Popper is active, then the next time you start the Popper, it will automatically activate. Consequently, if you close Polarbar while the Popper is active, then the next time you start Polarbar, the Popper will automatically start and activate. Note: When the Popper autostarts when Polarbar is started, there is a delay before the Popper window appears, because message retrieval is deferred until after all folders for the active account have been loaded.

PGP signing support:

  • Support for signing and verifying email with PGP 2.6.x (RFC 1991)
  • A message with a PGP verified signature will show up with a padlock in the subject and the status line will show it is a PGP verified message. If the message failed verification the the padlock in the subject will have a red X through it and the status line will show that the message failed verification.
  • If the email message contains a valid PGP keyblock you can add it to your keyring by RMB->PGP-Add PGP keyblock to public keyring
  • You can query the MIT PGP keyserver for the user's public keyblock by RMB->PGP->Get From addr public from keyserver and add it
  • You can get a list of all IDs on your public keyring by going to the menu item Tools->PGP->View public PGP IDs
  • PGP headers, signatures and public keyblocks can be optionally hidden from the message display and reply text. Two new checkboxes are added to the Headers -> menus. [] Hide PGP Headers. The PGP signature block and PGP begin and end headers will all be hidden, except for the "BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE" header. This header will also be hidden when either the Headers -> Brief or Headers -> None options are set. [] Hide PGP Keyblock. Any PGP "Public keyblock" contained in any message will be hidden. The temporarary "Reveal Headers" option, and the "Headers -> All" option will show all PGP headers regardless of the setting of the above checkboxes.
  • The Polarbar PGP Quickstart web page can found at http://rudman.ieaccess.net/polarbar/pgp_quickstart.html

Preview Mail:

  • Don't auto-retrieve mail, or allow the Popper to do so for the active account, if the preview mail window is open.


  • Message / Print... and the Print icon now print the selected messages instead of the first n messages (where n is how many were selected).
  • Fixed a problem where certain types of encoded messages would print as a single line.

Retrieve Messages:

  • Message retrieval is not allowed to take place for the active account until all of its folders have been loaded (instead of as soon as the folder tree is visible) and there is a new option to autoretrieve at startup (instead of after the first interval expires).
  • Don't retrieve, or auto-retrieve, mail if the preview mail window is open.

Tab Panel:

  • The tabs in Tab Panels now adjust to make all tabs at least partially visible within the window, instead of using scrolling. The currently selected tab is always fully visible.
  • When any button has focus, Ctrl+Tab selects the upper Tab Panel in the Address Book, Persona Dialog, General Settings, and Advanced Settings and Ctrl+Shift+Tab selects the lower Tab Panel in the Persona Dialog. Once a Tab Panel has focus, navigation between tabs is possible using alpha keys to move to the next tab with a name starting with the key pressed, PageUp or PageDown to move to the previous or next tab, and Ctrl+PageUp or Ctrl+PageDown to move to the first or last tab. Note: Because InnoHelp doesn't have any buttons (the tool bar doesn't count), Ctrl+Tab is enabled in the index list, the index input field, and the URL input field.


  • You can create multi-line taglines by inserting two semi-colons (;;) wherever you want a newline to be inserted (this works both in the persona tagline prefix field and in the tagline file).


  • The keyboard shortcuts for Select / All and Select / All messages have been standardized, so that Ctrl+\ is always mapped to Select / All (even though it is still greyed out everywhere that it appears) and Ctrl+/ is always mapped to Select / All messages.

Select a Folder:

  • The Select a Folder dialog now shows the account name, so that it is again possible to create top-level folders from within the dialog.
  • If there is a selection error, the Select a Folder dialog remains open after the error dialog is closed.
  • Creating a new folder properly selects and displays the new folder.
  • When reopening the Select a Folder dialog the vertical scrollbar now correctly moves to the correct spot.

Server Connection:

  • Server connections get the same timeout value as the initial connection timeout value specified in General Settings for each server. This is to allow Polarbar to detect if a connection fails during a receive or send.

Virtual Folders:

  • Added the ability to search the results of a previous search recursively.
  • Now also accessible via Edit->Search Folders...
  • Added a fix for an out of bounds string condition when the search includes a remote folder.
  • Display remote folders in the search results using the same format as in the main folder tree.
  • In the calendars, the day of the week is no longer off by one.
  • A search for header contents no longer causes a null pointer exception if a message does not have a message body.
  • The correct fonts are now used for all virtual folder elements.
  • Added Edit / Select / All messages.
  • Now handles HTML and message attachments the same as the main window.
  • Now handles more than 10 attachments the same as the the main window.
  • Clear button was not actually clearing the checkbox states. Search now works if the clear button was used to clear prior settings.
  • Performance improvements. Index fields are all tested prior to searching the message body. All tests are internally sorted in order of complexity.
  • Searching for sent messages now works. This was a bug in setting the sent flag on the message at time of sending. This is fixed so all newly sent messages can now be found. A new utility function has been added to the main window utility menus to permit the sent state of a message to be corrected.
  • Added menu items to the Message -> Utilities menu, and the message list and message body context menus to set and un-set the "Sent" flag.
  • Changes made to color codes, sticky notes and opened / unopened flags are now passed correctly to the real note found by the Virtual Folder.
  • Inverted body search logic. The default is now to NOT decode attachments

The following is new or has been fixed in 1.20


  • When switching accounts or closing Polarbar any and all compose windows are autosaved and closed and the current address book is also closed.
  • Fixed bug where after switching accounts the account name would sometimes be highlighted instead of the inbox folder.

Address Book:

  • The Address Book Import has some bug fixes: Addresses can now be imported from exported PMMail address books. Blank fields are (once again) treated as blank fields (a bug in 1.19 caused them to be discarded, which resulted in the fields not lining up properly for some records).
  • The Address Book Import feature has some new features: A small dialog is displayed while Polarbar analyzes the delimited import file. There is no limit on the number of imported fields. Combining multiple fields for Notes and Postal addresses inserts a newline between each imported field (instead of a space).
  • Moved the Sent Folder and Persona selections to a new tabbed page.
  • Because of the Compose/Reply change that allows both space and comma as email address separators, the @ character is not allowed in the Full Name.
  • The nickname, email address and full name fields on pages 2 and 3 are now updated when the save button is pressed.

Addressing Approach:

  • There is a new addressing approach, "bcc-multiple", that sends a single message to all non-bcc addressees, but for bcc addressess, sends multiple messages, one for each bcc addressee. This addressing approach is the new default for new accounts.
  • There is a new addressing approach, "undisclosed", that sends a single message to all addressees and substitutes all to, cc, and bcc headers with a single "To: Undisclosed Recipients <list@localhost>" header. Note that servers that are RFC-compliant will change the localhost part to the mail server address, (e.g., smtp.parrett.net).


  • Detect attachment filename when specified on Content-Description and Content-Disposition header.
  • A method of launching external programs for attachments has been added. A user interface for setting it up will be added in a future release. For now, you must create a text file named 'launch.dat' in your Polarbar Mailer/Maildata/{account} directory. On each line, first put a filename extension, then a space, and finally the fully qualified pathname to the program that is to be launched for this filename extension. If you click on the attachment icon for a file that matches one of the extensions in the 'launch.dat' file, then that program will be launched, with the fully qualified name of the attachment appended to it (with a space separator). If the attachment extension isn't in the 'launch.dat' file, then the View/ Store Attachment dialog appears.
  • The attachment toolbar now has a context menu for each attachment icon. The menu has the following items: Examine, Launch, and Store. The Examine menu item opens a text window with the contents of the attachment. Please note that despite the text window having a "Save as" dialog, saving it to a file will not necessarily give you an exact copy of the attachment. To do that, you'll want to use the Store menu item. The Launch menu item will either launch the attachment with the external program associated with the file extension (see above) or bring up the View/Store Attachment dialog. The Store menu item brings up the View/Store Attachment dialog, even if an external program is associated with the file extension.
  • Attachments of type application/applefile have their file extension set to ".bin", which replaces the specified file extension on short file name installations, but gets appended to the specified file name for long file name installations. (See RFC 1740 for the details about this MIME type.)
  • If an image file attachment is zero bytes, it will not be displayed.
  • When storing an attachment, directory paths are stripped from the file name.
  • Added a file overwrite confirmation dialog for environments that do not support this at the operating system level (e.g., non-Microsoft Windows). This confirmation dialog shows up when saving to a file name chosen using a file chooser dialog.

Character Sets:

  • Alter, Bounce, Draft, and Route now properly decode the message based on the Advanced Character Set Options.
  • Character set decoding is finally working properly on OS/2 and Linux. The recommended advanced character set settings for all platforms are now:
    • Character Set for OUTBOUND High ASCII Characters:
      • ISO-8859-1 or ISO-8859-15 (-15 supports the Euro symbol)
    • Encoding style for high ASCII characters:
      • Quoted-printable, only when high ASCII characters present.
    • Display of incoming messages:
      • Decode according to each messages header lines.
  • All character sets that are supported by your system's Java platform are available to be selected as your default character set. This is primarily to allow maximum flexibility when importing text files into a compose/reply message. For maximum compatibility with non-Polarbar email programs, use of an ISO character set is highly recommended.


  • The Auto-BCC address, if any, will not be duplicated if it is already specified as a regular BCC address or after altering the message.
  • Multiple addresses, whether manually keyed in or expanded from a group list, are now formatted correctly when using the Address Tool.
  • Changed the Compose dialog nickname expansion handling of bad nicknames to use the [Yes] [No] [Cancel] dialog (instead of the [OK] [Cancel] dialog). [Yes] means to accept the bad nickname as-is, [No] means to remove the bad nickname, and [Cancel] means to stop the nickname expansion and leave the Addresses field unchanged.
  • Several addressing headers that are typically found only in mailing list messages will now trigger the Reply Address dialog. If you choose one of these additional addresses, it will be sent as a To address.
  • Polarbar can now deal with RFC 822 addresses that use a comment to attach a name to an email address (e.g., dgh@acm.org (David, ACM)) by converting them to RFC 2822-compliant addresses (e.g., "David, ACM" <dgh@acm.org>).
  • With one exception, Polarbar no longer requires commas between addresses or nicknames entered into the Addresses field in the compose window. The exception is that if a nickname is followed by an email address, then a comma is required, or else the nickname will be combined with the name part of the email address. For example, if "gina" is a nickname that expands to 'Gina Gershon <gina@gershon.net>', then Polarbar will convert 'gina David G. Holm dgh@acm.org' to 'To: "gina David G. Holm" <dgh@acm.org>', but will convert 'gina, David G. Holm dgh@acm.org' to "To: Gina Gershon <gina@gershon.net>, To: "David G. Holm" <dgh@acm.org>'.
  • If you type or paste a "mailto:" address into the compose/reply address field, it will be converted into a "to:" address when the address field is validated.
  • New ComposeSettings window for overriding the Sent Folder, Persona, and CharacterSet. Activate using the "Settings" button, where the Sent Folder "Select" button used to be.
  • If you choose an addressing approach from the Edit menu, changing or adding addresses will not change your selection. (But when the message is sent, any Bcc addresses will force the multiple addressing approach.)
  • When you import a text file, the chosen CharacterSet is used to translate the content of the file to the Unicode character set that Java uses. For example, Windows users will want to select the appropriate "Cp12xx" set, most Japanese users will want to select SJIS, and most OS/2 users will want to select "CP850". After importing the text file(s), you should change the character set back to your default outbound character set.


  • You can now use nicknames in filters that send email. All nicknames are validated when you create or edit a filter, but they're not expanded until the filter is executed. So, for example, if you use a filter to send email to a group nickname, you don't need to edit the filter when you make changes to the group. When you click on the [OK] button to save the filter, the address field is validated, much like it is for the Compose dialog. If click on the [...] button to the right of the address field, then a modal dialog pops up with the expanded email addresses and their addressing types (e.g., To:, Cc:, etc.). Bad nicknames are omitted from this dialog.
  • Mail filters can now specify "Route Now" or "Route Later" as actions. The Route action sends the message as an attachment, and must follow a move or copy action that moves the message to a folder.
  • Regular filters that use the expression "Headers" will now search the header tags as well as the header contents, allowing such expressions as "Headers" "Contains" "Junkmail: Yes" or "Headers" "Contains" "X-Mailer:".
  • Added tool tips to the [...] buttons in the Mail Filter Detail dialog for regular filters, because their function can vary by filter action.

Folder Tree:

  • The old folder tree has been replaced with a completely new one. Not only does it look better, but the stability of Polarbar has improved as well.
  • The new folder tree icons can be replaced by icons of your own choosing. You do this by collecting them into a two row by twenty column array of icons named treebar.gif. Place this file into a directory named "image" that is directly under your Polarbar directory. You need to place ".;" as the first component of your classpath environment variable or the -cp or -classpath command line argument list.
  • The size of the icons in the collection must be even, but is not limited to any particular set of even numbers (the default set is 16 by 16 pixels). The first row in the set is for closed icons and the second row is for open icons. The column positions are as follows: Plus or Minus, account, normal folder, remote folder, compressed folder (planned enhancement), trash folder, inbox folder, and outbox folder. The remaining slots are currently unused.
  • The new folder tree automatically detects the icon size as being one half of the image height of the treebar.gif icon collection. The plus and minus icons, while fitting in the same size cell as the other icons, must be an odd number of pixels in size, with the size determined by dividing the icon cell size by two and then adding one. For example, if the icon size is 16 by 16 pixels, then the plus/minus icon size is 9 by 9 pixels.


  • A new Folder menu option has been added to "Maintain Trash Folder". This option will trim the Trash Folder and the Transaction log, if those options are enabled in the General Settings.
  • Fixed the bug where after moving a message, the next message in the list would get highlighted but would not get displayed.
  • Fixed the bug where a remote inbox folder could end up being treated as if it were the inbox folder for the current account.
  • Autosaved messages now appear in the drafts folder. This replaces the old autorestore feature that forced you to choose between either restoring or deleting all autosaved messages at Polarbar startup. Autosaved messages can be distinguished from regular drafts by their POP File Names, which start with "AUTO" and have the "POP" file extension (regular drafts have either the file extension "Draft" or "DRA").
  • There is a new menu item to select all messages in the current folder: Edit / Select / All messages.
  • Reindexing a folder (and it's subfolders, if any) now reindexes the existing folder items in addition to removing deleted items from the index and adding new items to the index.
  • When a new folder is created, an empty folder index is also created, so that moving messages into the new folder won't cause them to get marked as unread.
  • Added new Message menu and popup options to "Delete Message - Do not copy to trash". This option will always prompt to confirm delete, and then deletes the messages without copying them to trash.

Keyboard Navigation:

  • Various problems where the spacebar and Enter keys were being double- recognized have been fixed.
  • In the new folder tree, successively pressing a letter key cycles through all of the non-collapsed folders that start with that letter. Note: In order to activate keyboard navigation of the folder tree when viewing a message, press the Tab key twice.

Message Browser:

  • View / Word Wrap now works when using the Text Browser, but switching the word wrap mode operates slowly, because of the need to switch to the ICE HTML Browser, prevent the message from loading, and then switch back to the Text Browser in order to reload the message in the correct word wrap mode.
  • There is a new message viewing mode where messages are shown in a separate frame window. Switching to or from this viewing mode requires a Polarbar restart for the change to take effect.

Message Headers:

  • A message date with a year in the range 100 through 199 is now converted to the range 2000 to 2099.
  • Polarbar no longer treats a blank header continuation line as the empty line that signals the end of the message headers.
  • The "References:" header is now generated in compliance with RFC 2822.
  • Spaces within Q-encoded header text are now converted to underscores in compliance with RFC 1522.

Outbound Mail Servers

  • The outbound mail server settings have been moved to a separate General Settings dialog tab and multiple outbound mail servers can be configured.
  • Each server can be configured for restricted usage based on IP address or for general use, regardless of IP address.
  • Server usage is prioritized from top to bottom. If the top-most server is accessible and not restricted, then it will be used. If it is restricted or can't be connected to, then the next server will be used, etc.
  • If you set up an AuthSMTP server configuration for a server that doesn't support AuthSMTP, Polarbar will fall back to a standard SMTP connection when using that server configuration to send messages.
  • Note: Your previous server settings are automatically converted the first time you run Polarbar 1.20, but the old settings are not removed, so that you can switch back and forth between Polarbar 1.19a and Polarbar 1.20.


  • The two new addressing approaches make the "Send Options" tab page taller than either of the other two tabs, which is likely to require resizing the dialog in order for the "Send Options" tab page to display correctly.
  • If the default persona has a tagline and you switch to a persona that doesn't have a tagline, the default persona tagline is no longer used.
  • When altering a composed message, the persona specified by the X-Persona header will stick, as if it were user selected, because it is possible that it was user selected. (It can be changed using the new Compose Settings dialog.)
  • Prevent the loss of a persona from a shared address book if the persona is not part of the current account.
  • When bouncing a message, the tag line field is no longer populated.

POP File Names:

  • Modified the generation of POP file names so that in any given Polarbar session, only the first name is based entirely on the current date and time. Subsequent file names have their last four digits incremented sequentially from the previous file name, but still have their first four digits based on the current date and time (year, month, day, and hour). This significantly reduces the amount of duplicate file name avoidance that used to be needed when moving, copying, or creating thousands of email messages in a single batch.


  • When quoting text into a new message, unformatted text lines will be wrapped to your word wrap limit, if word wrapping is enabled. For now, unformatted text is defined as any text line that is 40% longer than your word wrap limit. For example, if your word wrap limit is 72, then text lines longer than 100 characters will be word wrapped. The quoting is done after the word wrapping, so the quote characters do not contribute to word wrapping. (Text that is already quoted will still not be word wrapped.)

Sent Folder:

  • Changes to Sent Folder processing for consistency between Persona, Address Book, and Compose windows.
  • Fixed bug where a remote folder could not be used as a SentFolder. (If a remote folder was used, the sent message would be lost after the message was sent.)


  • When Polarbar starts up, it will automatically rename backup copies of the Account Settings, Help Settings, Platform Settings, and/or System Settings files back to the original file name if the original file does not exist.
  • There is a new system setting that will make Polarbar open in the drafts folder if Polarbar was closed (or crashed) with any autosaved compose windows open. It is the "Start in drafts folder when it has new autosaved messages" option under Tools / Options / General / Messages.
  • Fixed bug that caused third external browser settings to not get saved.
  • A new menu item, Tools / Fonts / Menu font... lets you change the font for all menus (including pop-up menus provided by Polarbar, but not pop- up menus provided by the operating system). All menu fonts for the main window change immediately, but menu fonts for other windows only change after you close and reopen those windows. The default menu font is Helvetica 11 point normal (other Polarbar default fonts are Helvetica 12 point normal).
  • When using the advanced option time zone override with daylight savings time (DST), the correct time zone offset will be reported during DST.
  • Reworded General Settings Cleanup option. "Do Not Copy Discarded ..." is now "Copy Discarded Messages to the Trash Folder". (The negative logic that was used by this setting could be difficult to follow.)
  • Changed "Decode messages and attachments" to "Decode messages", changed "Only decode first attachment" to "Decode attachments" (which also applies to UU encoded attachments), and removed all attachment debug messages.
  • The lists of available character sets for encoding and decoding are now shown in alphabetical order.
  • New printer settings have been added to the Advanced Settings Printer tab to allow users of Un*x and/or Un*x-derivative operating systems to assign default values for the Java print dialog. NOTE: If you have any problems with assigning default values, please be sure to enable both of the extra X-Mailer headers in your persona before submitting your problem report, so that we can see which OS and JVM you are using.
  • Added a Tools / Option / Platform dialog that allows the platform test for the file overwrite confirmation dialog to be changed. (In case you have a Windows JVM that doesn't use the native file save dialog or a non-Windows JVM that provides its own file overwrite confirmation dialog.)

Status Line:

  • The "Looked in the mailbox {time} ago" status message now has a dedicated field in the status bar using the format 'd h:mm', along with a tooltip.
  • Sending and receiving mail progress indicators are now consistent between various server types and send/receive methods.

Unread Messages:

  • Fixed bug where choosing Next Unread with "Scan unread messages across folders" enabled caused an infinite loop if started in the outbox or drafts folders when there were no unread messages in any folders.
  • Allow Next Unread to work in trash folder if the trash folder is already highlighted (just like in the outbox and drafts folders).
  • Next Unread automatically expands the folder tree to reveal the folder with the next unread message and then collapses the tree if another folder is chosen or if the next unread message is in another branch of the tree.
  • The unread message count is displayed in the title bar and the title bar icon is set based upon whether or not there are any unread messages, but not all system platforms support title bar icons. When there are no unread messages, the icon file 'images/pbmdef.gif' is displayed (Polarbar provides a default icon with this name in the Polarbar ZIP file). When there are unread messages, the icon file 'images/pbmunr.gif' is displayed, unless it does not exist (Polarbar does not provide a default icon with this name), in which case Polarbar adds a red tint to the 'images/pbmdef.gif' icon.
  • The default title bar position for the unread message count is after the "Polarbar Mailer" text. The position can be moved to in front of the text by enabling the "Move unread message count to start of title bar" option on the Tools / Options / General / Messages tab page.

Virtual Folders:

  • In the Virtual Folder dialog, the OK button and various selection criteria controls are now grayed out when they're not accessible.
  • The Virtual Folder date calendars can be closed without changing the date.

Known bugs, problems, and/or issues in this release:

  • Many visual display problems that you may encounter with Polarbar can be eliminated by upgrading to a new version of Java. For example, if you are using Java 1.1.8 and you are having strange display problems, upgrading to a newer build of Java 1.1.8 is likely to solve most of the problems. If you are using Java 1.2, you need to upgrade to Java 1.3.
  • When adding enough addresses to cause the Compose window to display the Address Tool button rather than the text entry field, sometimes the button isn't displayed. Resizing the window or other actions causing a redraw will display the button.
  • Address book is initially searched by nickname, however all subsequent access during the compose process is by Email Address. If there are multiple entries with the same email address, only the first one found will be used for sent folder / persona resolution. This can make it appear that sent folder assignment is not working properly.
  • Changing the main font in Compose doesn't always reflect it right away. Closing the compose window and starting another one reflects the change however.
  • Keeping sort order is global across all folders (with the exception of the trash folder).
  • If you run Polarbar on a Windows system with Stardock's Object Desktop Network installed on it and you have the WindowFX child window animation enabled, then you may find that saved pop-up window position is ignored when the window size and position are restored. If you want the windows (such as the Select A Folder window) to always come up in their saved positions, you will need to add the Java VM program that you use to run Polarbar to the WindowFX exclusion list. And if you have WindowBlinds, windows may not redraw properly when you resize them and you may wish to add the Java VM to the WindowBlinds exclusion list. Also, WindowBlinds interferes with the new Polarbar feature of changing the title bar icon to show when there are unread messages. You must exclude the Java VM in order for the Polarbar icons to show up in the title bar. And you must unload WindowBlinds in order for the Polarbar icons to show up on the Windows task bar.
  • If you run Polarbar on a Linux system and settings changes are not being saved, this can be caused by not having the correct permissions set on the settings files. If the file is set with root permissions only, then you cannot write to the settings file when Polarbar exits. The settings files are <base>/Mailer/jstreet.ini (or JSTREET.INI if using short file names) and <base>/Mailer/Maildata/<account>/Account.Settings (or, if you are using short file names, ACCOUNT.SET).
  • If you use JDK 1.3 on a Win32 platform, you cannot correctly copy data from the message text window to the system clipboard by using Ctrl-C. Pasting within Polarbar with Ctrl-V will work fine but external applications will get data from the start of the message. This is a bug in Sun's code.

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