My Mail.app is unstable

Mail.app is getting to be a real pain to work with. This is the 4th time in 2 months that I have to spend over 4 hours debugging it. As of writing this I can longer send or receive mail!
It used to just crash, which was useful because I could use dtrace to find all the files it had opened and just remove the directories in Library/Mail where it had last looked at. I could then re-import those folders later.
Since the 10.5.3 update it no longer crashes. A week ago it just either spent a huge amount of time thinking, using up over 100% of the cpu (there are two cores so it can use up to %200), and then finally recovered, but I had time to study a few chapters of "Semantic Web for the Working Ontologist before that happened. Today it just consumed so much cpu that all other applications became irresponsive. I reniced Mail with

$ sudo renice -20 -p 16410  #where 16410 was the process id of Mail.app at the time
which made it possible to use my shell at least. Then it crashed.

I am clearly not the only one with this problem. Searching the web I found that

Mail.app is really a key application of OSX. If Apple can't get this right, or don't have enough resources to dedicate to this, would it perhaps help to Open Source Mail.app? At least some of us could hunt down the problem and give them a fix. Currently I am not sure what they are doing about this. I will try once more to fix it, but I am really really close to switching to something else...

2 hours later - Solved: I had a mail folder for an internal Sun apple mailing list. I had suspected that there was a problem here as it would crash when I opened that folder. So I went to /Users/hjs/Library/Mail/IMAP-hsXXXXX@mail.sun.net and moved the apple.imapbox to a temporary folder. I then started Mail and it fetched all the threads from the server again. Having the mail on a remote server helps a lot. For one it should make moving to another client a lot easier...

Could it be that I have too many e-mails? The following seems to suggest that I have 273 thousand.

hjs@bblfish:0$ cd Library/Mail
hjs@bblfish:0$ find . -name "\*.emlx" | wc
 273761  322242 17719867
I have one gmail account, my personal imap server and sun work imap server if that helps...

Updates

It is 27 August now, and I have not had any serious crashes anymore. It could be that the last time I really cleaned up those broken folders. It could be luck...

Comments:

Hi I have exactly the same problem - just started this week. Mail.app syncs with Gmail IMAP once on startup, but never again.

Thankfully Thunderbird3 is coming soon!

Posted by Ed on June 21, 2008 at 02:41 AM CEST #

Unfortunately, i have to agree. I am working daily with Mail, and it constantly keeps crashing several times per day (i am using POP+SMTP, not IMAP).

The application is nice, however - Apple - please work on this.

I personally have the feeling that on OSX 10.4 and 10.5.1 it was okay and seems to be more unstable in the newer OSX builds.

Posted by Frank on July 09, 2008 at 07:37 AM CEST #

exactly the same problem
i had it in the past with tiger but do not really remember how i fixed it :(

now it's horrible, every time (EVERYTIME !) I answer a mail or create a new one and start to compose, it hangs 1 second, write fast what I wrote for this second, and the crash... but in fact it's true it is NOT crashed, but hang, and to be honest not hang but working and using full CPU....

Last time on tiger i tried to let it works 12 hours and it was after that solved I think, but now I'm tired of that...

By the way, I'm 99% sure it's a problem with spotlight and mdworker, because I have mail and mdwork crashs logs together...

I'm really tired of that because I use Mail always, 100% my mac is on, and my mac is on several hours a day (2 to 18)...

could we open a website for it ? :)

Posted by iSéb on July 16, 2008 at 04:02 PM CEST #

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