On Mon, 2010-11-22 at 19:48 +0100, Yves-Alexis Perez wrote:
> As I understood it, SSL meant a tunneled connection over SSL/TLS, using
> the relevant port (995/pops, 993/imaps, 465/smtps, 636/ldaps). TLS means
> STARTTLS over a normal connection, so usually using the standard port
> (110/143/25/389).

Thanks, that at least explains some of the original intent.  It may well
be that mail accounts still work this way (I haven't looked closely yet)
but I've seen several address book and calendar backends whose behavior
appears to be basically "try a secure connection first, or else fall
back to a normal connection".  I'll take a second look with this new
information in mind to make sure I haven't misunderstood something.

> It's still quite confusing, especially since SSL is called TLS now since
> quite some time.

Yeah, the labels need to be clarified regardless.  But from a usability
perspective, I see no reason why the user interface needs to be any more
complex than a "use secure connection" checkbox.  If that means we first
try a tunneled connection and then fall back to STARTTLS (or vice versa)
then that's fine, but we should do it *silently*.

Plus we can easily record which method worked for a given mail account
or data source and try that method first next time.  If picky users want
to control which method is tried first then, well, key files are easy to

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