The End of Pegasus Mail by Adam Shand

Dad emailed to saying that David Harris has shutdown development on Pegasus Mail. This is sad on a couple of levels:

  1. Pegasus Mail has been around since the "beginning of the internet" and was one of the very first email clients I ever used.

  2. Back in 1993 when I was struggling to setup Earthlight (the first ISP in Dunedin), David was one of the few people in Dunedin to have a permanent internet connection. His generosity with his time and advice came along at a key moment for me, and for that I'm forever grateful.

  3. David's reasons for developing and pursuing Pegasus Mail were (and are) a wonderful example of doing what you love, and doing it for all the right reasons.

He talks a little about the history of Pegasus Mail on the website:

In 1989, the University where I worked (in Dunedin, New Zealand) installed its first Novell NetWare network. It wasn't until after we installed it that we found that it didn't include an e-mail system, but we'd already used up our budget and the commercial mail packages that were available were very expensive. To fill the gap, I wrote a simple e-mail program in my own time and made it available on the network: I was quite surprised to find that people liked it.

Early in 1990, after tidying it up a little, I made it available on the Internet at a friend's FTP site in Hawaii, expecting that four or five other sites might find a use for it... In the first week of availability, it was downloaded more than 100 times, which also surprised me. I found that I was receiving mail from people thanking me for giving them something they couldn't have afforded any other way -- communication. I grew to understand that communication had to be regarded as a right, not as a privilege: it seemed to me in 1989, as it still seems to me now, that freedom of speech is useless if nobody can hear you. Giving away Pegasus Mail seemed to be a means by which I could try to make communication more accessible to a much wider range of people who needed it - it was, if you like, my attempt to level the playing field a little, to remove some of the power from the faceless corporate giants who saw profit as the only possible end to enterprise.

Thanks David, and best wishes for whatever comes next!

journal posted on 22 Aug 2007 in #reflecting & #working

Copyheart 1994–2024 Adam Shand. Sharing is an act of love.