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Mozilla The Internet

A look at Thunderbird 2.0 Beta 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-peek dept.
lisah writes "Linux.com has reviewed Mozilla's first beta release of the Thunderbird 2.0 email client and says that, while it 'won't knock your socks off,' there are plenty of reasons to try it out or upgrade from previous versions. The new Thunderbird does away with the limitations of labels and instead allows users to tag emails to their heart's content, in the same vein as Google's GMail. Developers also tossed in a bunch of other useful features like customizable pop-up notification of new email, better search capabilities, and a neat way to navigate through the history of recently read emails. Mozilla developers didn't get everything right, however, since the account setup continues to be something of a headache."
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A look at Thunderbird 2.0 Beta

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @07:55PM (#17320374)
    Why can't you just setup some message filters? You know, create a folder ("saved search"), and then just copy messages matching a certain criteria into that folder.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:12PM (#17320520)
    not a good idea. a year from now how will you know it was you that edited it? unless it tags your changes in a way YOU can't change it'd turn into a mess.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:18PM (#17320558)
    So... is the pop-up notifier for new e-mail as useless as the current system tray "new mail" icon from Thunderbird 1.5?

    You see, there's only a handful of things that I want to be notified for immediately. And those things can be only identified via rules. (From a particular domain, or with a specific subject line.) Preferably *after* the anti-spam filters have cleaned the bogus messages out of the way (sometimes domains are spoofed).

    Which, sadly, is one thing that Outlook rules does properly where Thunderbird 1.5.x (and older) has failed at.

  • UI Responsiveness? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WuphonsReach (684551) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:27PM (#17320634)
    Have they finally fixed the UI responsiveness issue? In Thunderbird 1.5, I find that the message pane is nigh unusable if Thunderbird is trying to retrieve mail in the background. Then there's the issue that Thunderbird gets a bit slow when dealing with folders with a few thousand messages (such as a popular mailing list where you keep a year's worth of posts for easy reference).
  • Re:Import... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nicholas Evans (731773) <OwlManAtt@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:33PM (#17320670) Homepage
    Which is exactly why Thunderbird's import wizard needs handle importing its own profiles.
  • Re:hashcash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:34PM (#17320672) Journal
    Hashcash would be better off DEAD. It was conceived of in the days when legitimate mail originators outnumbered spam ones, and the worst kind of attack on your MTA was "mailbombing". Zombie herders have vast amounts of CPU to burn now by generating hashcash, and it will barely impact their mailflow, while legitimate mail senders like (smaller) ISPs would be punished by it.
  • Just one feature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AVryhof (142320) <[moc.bawag] [ta] [fohyrva]> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:54PM (#17320818) Homepage
    I'm a web developer... and maintain hundreds of sites.

    So, if you can imagine... even with asking people to at least let me know what site is theirs, I have hundreds of messages with the Subject "Web Update" or "Website"

    I would simply like the ability to edit the subject line of messages I receive for organizational purposes.

    That would be the "Killer" feature for me...

    Another novelty feature that could be useful is a Calendar view of messages, so I could graphically see when each message arrived and prioritize it appropriately.
  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:06PM (#17320900) Homepage
    From what I've read about Thunderbird, the only options for whitelisting (passing to inbox without spam filtering) are your whole address book, or everyone that you've ever sent email to. Are there any plans to make it more flexible than that? Here are some things that I can think of that would be handy. Sorry if any are already included -- I can't play with Thunderbird until I upgrade to GTK2 (soon):

    1) Ability to easily whitelist all email coming from a particular domain. This would ensure that you get all emails from a client company, not just one individual. Perhaps there could be a preferences setting that allows you to indicate that you want to be prompted each time you send an email to a new domain to see whether the whole domain should be whitelisted or just the recipient. I assume I could create a mail rule to filter a domain, as I currently do with Netscape Communicator, but that is pretty inconvenient.

    2) Ability to easily whitelist an address without putting it in your address book or sending mail to it, e.g. by simply clicking a button while viewing a message from the address. For example, if I receive an emailed newsletter that I requested, it would be nice to whitelist it without cluttering my address book.

    3) Are emails sent by someone on the whitelist visually differentiated from other emails in some way, such as coloring the sender name differently? That could make it easier to differentiate between valid emails and any spams that slip through the filter.
  • Re:hashcash (Score:2, Insightful)

    by redcane (604255) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:08PM (#17320916)
    I don't think you understand the ratio of work between verifying and creating the collisions. The example given in the FAQ is a requirement of an OC12 to flood a reasonable email server with too many hashes to verify, and 2-3 seconds on cutting edge hardware to generate each hash. So your basically stemming the mail to the rate of a 2400 bps modem across the zombie networks. Sure it doesn't solve the problem, but it makes it that bit more expensive to send spam, locking more spammers out of the game.
  • Re:Import... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NSIM (953498) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:54PM (#17321270)
    I agree, being able to import message folders should be an option, it's not that hard to, MozBackup on Windows can save an existing profile, everything, passwords, mails, accounts, plug-ins etc and import them into a new install, made life bearable when loading each new Vista build :-(
  • by acroyear (5882) <jws-slashdot@javaclientcookbook.net> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:14PM (#17321402) Homepage Journal
    I was about to say (having finally read the article) - *most* users only need one SMTP server, but there are extensions that make it easy to set up alternates. This is why extensions exist: keep the basic interface simple, allow "power users" to improve things.
  • Re:State of email (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:31PM (#17321530)
    - very responsive client for reading mail - very responsive client for writing mail - effective communication between client and server that doesn't require the user to wait

    Those requests are about as useful as asking for them to make the internet go faster. You want to store all your messages on the server? Fine. There's a drawback to that. It's called latency. You want speed and responsiveness? Then you're stuck with local.

    Similarly, Thunderbird strikes me as a really good attempt at producing a product idea that is fundamentally flawed. We should be working to phase out monolithic email clients.

    Comparing Thunderbird to Office is absurd. In what way is it "monolithic"? It does the very basic requirements needed by an email client, and provides an extension mechanism for optional increases in functionality. If you wanted an example of a monolithic email client, I'd point you in the direction of Outlook, which bundles calendar and task management into an email app. Oddly enough, though, Outlook seems to be one of Microsoft's most popular offerings. Could it be possible that people that aren't you actually prefer their "monolithic" clients? I know I'd hate you forever if you forced me to use webmail, or connect to the internet whenever I wanted to check my stored mail.

    Don't use it if you don't like it, but Thunderbird's doing most of what I want it to do now, and I'd certainly rather use it than the centralized system you propose.

    should deal only with plain text - non plain text should be flattened to plain text. It would be nice to automatically bounce office files with a message to tell the person to send stuff as PDF or plain text.


    Good luck with that. Once you've got that generally accepted you should start campaigning to make lynx the default browser.
  • by Bill Dimm (463823) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:41PM (#17321576) Homepage
    I would simply like the ability to edit the subject line of messages I receive for organizational purposes.

    I just want to follow up on how this might be implemented, since I think it's a great idea. Thunderbird could allow you to insert an additional header, perhaps called X-ModifiedSubject, where you would enter your modified version of the subject line. When the messages are listed, the X-ModifiedSubject would be displayed as the subject if it existed. If there was no X-ModifiedSubject line, the normal Subject would be displayed, but in a different color from the X-ModifiedSubject, so you can easily distinguish the ones you changed from the ones you didn't, and not confuse anybody when talking about the email on the phone (since the sender won't know you've made the change). When you reply to an email containing a X-ModifiedSubject, Thunderbird should have you choose between the new subject (more descriptive) and the original subject (vague, but more recognizable to the recipient) when generating the subject line of the reply. I suppose any searches you do on the "Subject" field should search both the Subject and the X-ModifiedSubject.

    For example, your mail headers might contain:
    Subject: WebSite
    X-ModifiedSubject: Need to update copyright date on website

    That way, when you browse your mail listings you see "Need to update copyright date on website" instead of just "Website," and you can easily tell what the message is about without clicking into it and reading the whole thing.
  • Re:IMAP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spiffyman (949476) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:40PM (#17321918) Homepage
    Thunderbird can easily check mail from multiple accounts.

    A side note to this: because of the way GMail does POP, any time you send an email from the web interface to GMail, Thunderbird will download it to your Inbox. I've grown to expect this and have filters set up to move these emails to appropriate folders, but it's something users should be aware of before migrating from webmail to Thunderbird using GMail. If anyone knows of a solution, it'd be nice to see here.

    GMail does retain copies of everything on their servers, though, which makes me a happy user. Far too many times I've been on-campus without my laptop and needed something from that account.
  • Re:State of email (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halfnerd (553515) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:32AM (#17323040) Homepage
    OfflineIMAP [complete.org] would fix most synchronization problems. Dovecot [dovecot.org] is a fast IMAP server and Maildrop [courier-mta.org] coupled with your favourite smap filter could take care of the server part. Couple that with a good mail client (mutt [mutt.org]) and a way to synchronize contacts. mutt can be customized with own keybindings, so that way one could add support for training the mail filter. I keep my home directory in a darcs [darcs.net] repository to keep it in sync between machines. Other people use [kitenet.net] Subversion [tigris.org].
  • Re:Compact folders (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @08:33AM (#17323994)

    It's actually worse than that. Failing to compact folders will eventually result in bugs and apparent data loss, requiring higher order geek hackery to restore what's left.

    Moreover, if you do switch on the prompt to compact folders automatically, it comes up so regularly that it makes Vista's password prompt for system-wide settings seem positively user-friendly. Also, the explicit menu command to compact folders sometimes does nothing, with no indication of why; I assume this is a bug, since it often seems to do nothing even if there's stuff to do.

    Seriously, it's nearly 2007. Remind me again why users should ever have to care about this sort of implementation detail?

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