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Thanks for the clarification, it seems that I misunderstood your comment. A local IMAP server would fit right into my suggestion of mail client integration, without the headache of writing a plugin.

But now you've got a background process running on a privileged port, yikes! (It's got to be a daemon that starts automatically, because "non-geeks" will not understand why they have to start another program before accessing their mail in Thunderbird.)

Better option (IMNSHO), if someone wants to read the email they don't REALLY care if it's as an email. So a reader application that parses the DL'd file so that you can do rudimentary search, find what you want, and then copy/paste as necessary.

You could still be running on an unprivileged port and bundle a preconfigured thunderbird. Or you run on an unprivileged port and bundle some webmail solution (the localhost:143 was just for illustration)

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