The *Real* Elephants in Bush's Living Room

Economizing on the Wrong Margin

Live from Evans Hall: A correspondent at another university, which shall be Nameless, writes:

Please use gmail: they truncate my university mail account and delete incoming messages at random...

And lo and behold, here's an example of such a policy at yet another (and different) Nameless University:

Electronic mail is both useful and fun. However, it can be abused. The entire system spool for incoming mail is only 100 megabytes. It serves the entire user base of about 500 accounts, more or less. We therefore restrict individual user spools to 200K bytes or less.

You can use the command "emchk" at the % prompt to check up on your mailspool. If you notice that the size of your spool is growing large, please clean it up. You can delete mail you don't need, or move it to a disk file. In any case, read your mail and do something with it other than leave it lying around in your spool.

The system mailspool is checked frequently, and anyone over the 200K limit automatically has their mailspool truncated. We truncate oldest messages first, and place the old message in a disk file in your home directory that is clearly identifiable...

It is a definite mercy that at this Nameless University they don't delete your mail, they just save it to a file in your home directory.

The puzzle is that hard disk space now costs less than a dollar a gigabyte. That's 0.02 cents spent on one's mailspool disk quota.

Surely there are more important margins on which to economize than this one?