For more about this, see my message RE: use only interoperable standards-compliant protocols and data formats in Dan Gillmor's discussion forum about Becoming Independent of Microsoft. Net-My-Services-(Hail Storm)-like centralization, I recommend that you read what Mark Lucovsky, Hail Storm chief architect, says about it because he's got a lot of good ideas (but the wrong business model).

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A container of mailboxes and possibly other directories (subdirectories or child directories).

Directories can be used to create a “mailbox tree” or “mailbox hierarchy.” For example, I store my solicited-bulk-email boxes in a directory named SBE.

Note 3: These terms, especially the terms mailbox and directory, are not used consistently in IMAP software or on the web sites of IMAP service providers.

This inconsistent terminology is a source of much confusion in the IMAP world.

--------------------------------- | a user's mailbox space | | | | ...........................

| | : directory : | | : : | | : ----------------- : | | : | mailbox | : | | : | | : | | : | --------- | : | | : | | message | | : | | : | --------- | : | | : ----------------- : | | ...........................

I am not affiliated with any provider (*) or software maker.

I am simply trying to find good IMAP providers and IMAP tools for myself and my friends & family, and in the process I am hoping that others will benefit from my research.

A list of mailboxes that a user has subscribed to using the IMAP subscription mechanism.

A user's list of subscribed mailboxes for a particular IMAP server is usually stored on that IMAP server and is thus available to all IMAP clients (both desktop and web-based) that support IMAP subscriptions.

It is nice that I have received some donations and fees for referrals, but that is not the reason I'm doing this and it does not affect whether I recommend a provider.