I will probably have a big rant about Digital Preservation some day, but today just about personal files - the Outlook PST files.
First - why Outlook PST files, why not KMail/Thunderbird/Netscape/Sun/Whatever mail files? Well, quite frankly you will be hard pressed to find a business in the United States that does not use Outlook. One of those necessary evils as there still is no good open source PIM (i.e. email, contact, AND calendar) desktop tools that are DEPLOYABLE in a corporate environment.
Second - This is more a memo to myself when I have time, have not fully gone down this.
The primary concern I had with PST files was, well, they are proprietary. I want to fix that, and would prefer to be able to re-organize the many, many PST files and related e-mail entries I have (including, I'm sure, many duplicate email entries in different PST files).
-- Change from PST to something not PST.
* http://alioth.debian.org/projects/libpst/ - GPL, in C
* http://xena.sourceforge.net/index.html - GPL, in Java (still active, ODF conversions)
[XML output] As you can see by the sidenote, I'm leaning towards the ill-named Xena project as it is 1) still active, 2) in java, and 3) *may* be able to export in ODF. I say may, because it doesn't say it specifically regarding e-mail.
[mbox] The other, libpst, will convert the PST into a unix-style mbox format.
[maildir] Maildir would have been my preference, but with the ODF being a very close second. However, the only maildir open source export I could find was http://www.howtoforge.com/converting_outlook_pst_to_maildir, and this required PUTTING THE MAIL BACK ON THE SERVER TO RE-READ IT BACK THROUGH IMAP. Very cool for going-forward projects, not so much as a library to do a simple convert. And, any sysAdmin would have a fit if I put 5gig of PST files back onto an Exchange server.
Absolutely nothing yet. Order, remove duplicates, partition to put into CD/DVD media, a simple stand-alone client that can be put on a CD/DVD to read the archived e-mails, etc.
Please comment if you have found an open-source approach to solving PST archival and management.