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The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ webmail is getting an update.

Starting June 19, Computing and Educational Technology Services within the School of Engineering will replace its current Horde/IMP webmail interface with Roundcube, which will provide a more up-to-date web interface for the existing email service.

This is the second development this month regarding improved email applications after Wharton Computing announced to incoming freshmen that it was adopting Google Apps for Education two weeks ago.

Charles Buchholtz, director of Systems Programming at CETS, emphasized that it was time to upgrade the email experience for students.

“There were no particular problems with Horde/IMP, but it was an older version and we like to run current versions of software,” Buchholtz said in an email.

Buchholtz noted that while there is no monetary benefit of switching to Roundcube, the software requires less effort to install and run.

“We preferred Roundcube’s user interface to the latest Horde/IMP, and Roundcube’s internal design made it easier for us to install Roundcube than to upgrade Horde/IMP,” he said.

Upon installation, students’ previous contacts and messages will be imported into Roundcube. However, the current webmail calendar will not be replaced.

CETS allowed students to test the newly streamlined interface before its official launch, and “everyone who tried Roundcube preferred it to the current webmail interface,” Buchholtz said.

Rising Engineering sophomore Joey Raso downloaded Roundcube and was positive in his initial feedback.

“My interface now is clunky and hard to use,” he said. “I tried [the new interface] and it seems to be a lot sleeker design.”

Other students have also reacted encouragingly to the news, often noting that the current outdated interface desperately needed to be replaced.

“It’s about time we are getting a new interface,” rising Engineering sophomore Arthur Rempel said. “I can’t wait to finally have a more user-friendly webmail to work with and organize my messages.”

The switch to Roundcube follows recent improvements to email services for Engineering students. Last year, the School of Engineering implemented Google Apps for Education services for its students, offering an alternative to the Engineering mail server.

The new Roundcube interface will not replace the School of Engineering’s partnership with Google, but rather will allow students to “make a personal choice” of which service to utilize for their email account. The upgrade will not affect the server — which stores the emails — in any way, and the new Roundcube interface will only enhance the experience for students using the Engineering webmail.

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