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Mozilla The Internet

A look at Thunderbird 2.0 Beta 254

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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  • IMAP (Score:3, Informative)

    by devilspgd ( 652955 ) * on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:48PM (#17320308) Homepage
    At least it's a painless upgrade, but as a hardcore IMAP user I'm not seeing a ton of usefulness.

    As far as I can tell labels don't work at all if you use IMAP, multiple machines, multiple clients, and have more then one folder.

    • Regarding multiple machines/e-mails/clients/etc ... will Thunderbird (or another e-mail program) handle multiple e-mail addresses well? Between businesses, home, and family, I have about 15 e-mail addresses, all POP accessible. I want something that will show me when I have mail from any of these, and if easily send from any of them. Will Thunderbird do this (I've never seen it mentioned in docs)?
      • Closest solution to this I found is Portable Thunderbird [portableapps.com]. Though if you recieve large attachments your going to need a big thumb/pen/memory/flash/usb stick/drive/thingy (Or whatever people in your neck of the woods call it).
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by duguk ( 589689 )
        Yep you can already - theres a drop down from list already in the program, and its automatic depending on the account you're reading from.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Thunderbird can easily check mail from multiple accounts. I'm sure it can send mail from multiple accounts too, but I haven't tried.
        • Re:IMAP (Score:5, Informative)

          by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <megazzt@NoSPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:03PM (#17320884) Homepage

          Yes. I haven't checked 2.0b1 out much yet, but in 1.5 and 2.0a1 you can associate a SMTP account with a POP3/IMAP account. Then when you click compose, you can select any SMTP account from the dropdown, but by default it will select the appropriate account for the IMAP/POP3 account you're browsing at the moment.

          Unfortunately even with this I have accidentally sent e-mail from the wrong account (well, an unexpected one at least) several times. Hehe, oops... guess it's a good thing I have the same name attached to each from address, as opposed to my IRC/IM nickname...

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by skiflyer ( 716312 )
            Yep, I'm in 2.0 beta, and it's just the same... easy, I'd even say too easy cause I often send from the wrong address, but I prefer taking the responsibility on myself as opposed to having to jump through hoops.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by omeomi ( 675045 )
          I'm sure it can send mail from multiple accounts too, but I haven't tried. Yep, works like a charm. I do that all the time.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Bob54321 ( 911744 )
        It is reasonably easy to set up receiving from multiple email accounts. I currently have 1.5 set up to receive from five. Multiple SMTP support requires manual addition beyond the first. I find the SmtpSelect extension (https://addons.mozilla.org/thunderbird/2234/ [mozilla.org]) useful for switch between SMTP servers based on where I am sending email from.
    • As far as I can tell labels don't work at all if you use IMAP, multiple machines, multiple clients, and have more then one folder.

      What I'd like to see is labels working with the tags from Gmail. Of course, this isn't possible because Google won't use IMAP and doesn't include the tags in the message headers...

    • Re:IMAP (Score:5, Informative)

      by skiflyer ( 716312 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:53PM (#17321268)
      If by labels you mean tags, then you're doing something wrong.

      I use multiple machines over IMAP, I use webmail/Thunderbird/Outlook and I have many folders (both IMAP and local) as well as multiple accounts.

      My tags translate fine between them all... granted my Thunderbird tags aren't available in Webmail (and I'm not sure about Outlook I don't use it often)
  • automatic grouping (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lawpoop ( 604919 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @08:50PM (#17320320) Homepage Journal
    What I'd like to see is automatic grouping of emails into folders. This would be the same as a bunch saved searches, except you wouldn't have to manually make them, they would be created automatically.

    The best place to start would be to automatically create saved searches for all emails in your address book. If you wanted to go nuts with it, you could do a saved search of all unique email addresses in your inbox, if they number above a certain threshold. You could then also do some standard groupings that a user could select, like 'Yesterday, this week, this month, last month', common strings in the subject lines, etc.
  • Can it use the system address book on OS X yet? Please??
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cortana ( 588495 )
      Mozilla? Integrate with the platform it runs on? You jest, sir! ;)
    • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @08:54AM (#17323764) Journal
      No, it doesn't. However, a few days ago this unofficial build with Address Book integration [tuaw.com] floated past on a Mac users' mailing list to which I subscribe. It doesn't, however, support the system dictionary (and so my Thunderbird and FireFox installs (which I use for NNTP and Tribal Wars respectively) both think I am American.

      It's a shame that the Mozilla people didn't implement things like this the correct way; create a well-defined interface for address books, spell checking, etc, and then supply a default implementation for platforms that don't support them. Even Windows has a system address book, and yet Mozilla insists on using its own.

  • edit incomming mail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey ( 83763 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:02PM (#17320430) Journal
    When I switched from Eudora to Thunderbird the thing I missed the most was the ability to edit ANY message. Including incomming ones. For example if somebody mailed me something that was unclear I could edit it to add a sentence from myself clearifying. I really like this freedom.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by timmarhy ( 659436 )
      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 hey ( 83763 )
        I was always clearful to keep the original test intact. I would enclose my notes at the bottom of the mail in square brackets. Say a user gave a me long and rambling bug report. I might read it and condense into a sentence.... eg: [Need to add some more error checking]

        Also for sent mesages its sometimes useful to add notes. Like: [They IMed me and said this fixed the problem]
    • by really? ( 199452 )
      Right click on the message ... Edit as new ... would that not do it?
    • by bustersnyvel ( 562862 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:49AM (#17322872) Homepage
      This is exactly one of the reasons why I keep using Mutt (http://www.mutt.org/). I can edit any message, and I often use that feature.

      My voicemail system leaves a message in my email box with the subject "Voicemail from <telephone number>". I always edit that subject to reflect the contents of the voicemail message. Since 90% of my voicemail messages are coming from 2 telephone numbers, this is really a requirement if I want to find a specific message ever again.

      Another feature I miss in many email clients (probably Thunderbird 2.0 too, haven't checked that one yet) is the ability to freely edit email threading. Sometimes I want to break a thread into two parts, or I want to link two emails into a thread, for instance emails discussing the same subject but different subject headers. This is also something Mutt does very well.

      The third reason I keep using Mutt is that it displays mails originating from myself in a different way. All mails from someone else show the "From" header in the index. All mails from myself show "To <recipient>" and are displayed in a different colour. This allows me to store both incoming and outgoing messages in the same folder, allowing for gmail-ish mailboxes that contain the entire discussion.

      As long as there isn't a GUI mail client that can do all this, I'm not moving away from Mutt.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anthracks ( 532185 )
      For what it's worth, there's an open feature request for this in Bugzilla, if you would like to track its progress. But for the love of God, don't go spamming it with more "me too" messages. It already has more than enough. There's also mention of an extension that helps with this. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=25473 9 [mozilla.org]
  • Import... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nicholas Evans ( 731773 ) <OwlManAtt@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:03PM (#17320446) Homepage
    Is it able to import data from other fucking Thunderbird installs yet? I'm tired of having to fiddle around with the profile folder whenever I do a fresh Windows install and need to put my e-mail back.

    Come on, guys. How hard can it be to add support for that to the import wizard? It just needs to be a frontend for copying the files! That feature has been lacking from Thunderbird and its ancestors for, like, ever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cortana ( 588495 )
      It's not that simple. Preferences would have to be scanned and hardcoded paths (that shouldn't exist in the first place, granted) to exiting files in the old profile would have to be changed... hard to do if you moved the old profile folder before importing (e.g. backed it up by copying, or put an old hard disk in a new computer causing it to be mounted in a different location or assigned a different drive letter).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Set up an IMAP server. Seriously.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by arkhan_jg ( 618674 )
      I agree it's annoying, and they should fix that. One workaround I use (apart from IMAP servers where possible) is to copy the profile to another partition with my other data that stays between reinstalls, and then modify the thunderbird shortcut to run

      "c:\program files\mozilla thunderbird\thunderbird.exe" -profile d:\mythunderbirdprofile

      Beats risking forgetting to back it up!

      I modify the my documents folder location also (right click on it on the start menu) - saves a hell of a lot of effort on reinstalls.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:18PM (#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.

  • Tabbed Messages (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob54321 ( 911744 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:19PM (#17320578)
    Does any one know what happened to message tabs. Its a feature I would really like as I become sick of having to re-find a message if I want to check another at the same time. I saw this proposed at some stage and thought it was going to be a 2.0 feature but there is no comments on it in the review. Did it get pushed back to 3.0?
    • by shokk ( 187512 )
      Without tabbed messages, I don't think I'm really interested in this. Thunderbird 2.0 is just going to be a Thunderbird 1.9
  • by WuphonsReach ( 684551 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:25PM (#17320614)
    If you've ever used SpamBayes for MS Outlook, you'll understand why bayesian analysis engines need to have some sort of grey area instead of just a binary spam / ham bit. With SpamBayes in MS Outlook, I have (3) results after spam processing:

    "ham" - Messages which scored below a rather low value (10?) and are considered non-spam. Those messages get left alone in whatever folder they were found in.

    "unsure" - Anything that falls in the middle gets moved to a "Maybe Junk" folder. For the most part, this stuff is spam, but the bayesian engine isn't quite sure. So it's worth checking for false positives (which are rare, but can happen until the engine is trained).

    "spam" - Stuff in the spam folder scored so high on the bayesian value that it's almost certainly spam. The odds of finding a false positive in this folder are extremely low so I never bother looking.

    Now for the real magic of SpamBayes... it remembers where a message was when it was flagged as "unsure" or "spam". If you find a message that was mis-tagged, you can tell SpamBayes that it made a mistake and it will add the message to its ham corpus and move the message back where it belongs.

    (That and intelligent message notification are the two things that drive me nutz with Thunderbird 1.5 and prevent me from switching over entirely.)

    • Why not use the non-outlook version of SpamBayes? It works fine with any mail client...
    • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:24AM (#17321848) Journal
      I'm with you on message notification, but it's not a huge issue for me -- I just check it frequently on my (Linux) desktop, and watch the Dock icon on my Powerbook. But if you know of a better Linux email client I could be using, I'm listening -- my solution works with ANY IMAP client. Read on...

      I use bogofilter, but it's the same thing: spam, unsure, and everywhere else.

        - Filters on the server, as messages come in.
        - All the features you're talking about, from any IMAP client.

        - Linux only (uses inotify to detect messages dropped to the "spam" folder)
        - Any other filters (LKML goes here, girlfriend's stuff goes here) must be implemented on the server, currently Maildrop only.
        - Filters on the server. If you have limited server resources, this may be a problem.
        - Could conceivably lose mail during a retrain, due to the (admittedly stupid) way in which I handle retrains.
        - While it works on any client, no client that I know of has decent keyboard shortcuts to help me out.

      Basically, when a message comes in, it goes through bogofilter first, then maildrop. Maildrop looks for a bogofilter header, and drops it in the "spam" or "unsure" folder when it finds it. Otherwise, it goes to the rest of my maildrop rules, which mostly sort things into folders by mailing list.

      There are also retrain folders: Retrain as spam/innocent. When a message is dragged to retrain/spam, it's retrained as spam and dumped in the spam folder. When it's dragged to retrain/innocent, it's retrained as innocent, with an extra header added (I think it's a bogofilter commandline option) to specify that it was reclassified (as it still might have a score of spam), and then is sent through the maildrop filters again. The maildrop filters look for that retrain flag, so it's guaranteed not to end up in spam this time, and gets sorted according to mailing list rules, etc.

      This is where inotify comes in -- which means it MUST be a Linux server for this to work. As soon as the message appears in that folder, maildir structure guarantees it's just been rename'd in, so it's complete and safe to touch. Therefore, I can immediately retrain stuff, meaning the wait is less than a second, but I don't have to poll.

      Boring implementation details follow:

      The one major design bug is that I don't really know how to deal with maildir folders, so when I see a message appear in one of the retrain folders, I immediately open it, then unlink the file, to prevent Thunderbird or my own script from touching it until I finish piping it through the retrain process. I probably should be putting it in some temporary place, and indeed, maildir folders do have a "tmp" dir, but I simply don't know how to use it properly -- and I would have to rename it where I'm unlinking now. Basically, if the rename/unlink succeeds, it means I've beat the client to it. But if it fails, it means the client has done that stupid thing it does where the message is "delivered" to the folder as new, then the client marks it as read, which moves it from the "new" to the "cur" dir within that maildir.

      I suppose I could build this into the IMAP server, but I like how this solution has already been ported from Exim/Courier-IMAP to Postfix/BincIMAP. I could write it as an IMAP proxy, but that's both more complicated and potentially slows down operation other than retrains -- an IMAP proxy would have to intercept and parse every line, whereas I only get to notice when an actual file is created in the retrain dir, and until that happens, my script does absolutely nothing.
  • by Aphrika ( 756248 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:26PM (#17320624)
    ...can be found here [oup.co.uk].

    I have to say, it looks awesome! Any idea when we can get our hands on it?
  • UI Responsiveness? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WuphonsReach ( 684551 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:27PM (#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).
    • No, in fact in the last few days of the beta I often have to close/restart just to read email. It gets stuck in some process or another, I believe it has to do with attachments, but I don't have the time at the moment to diagnose it, so I just close re-open.

      And no, I haven't submitted a bug or anything, I know I should, but I haven't.
  • State of email (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The OPTiCIAN ( 8190 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:28PM (#17320640)
    In the last few years the browser platform has matured and after a long period of it being awkful, I'm content with the current state of things. But I feel that email has not improved at all over the last ten years. The only major change has been the rise of spam - a step backwards.

    Some of the comments below will link to my lack of skills in areas of system administration and I encourage replies to those issues as much as any other feedback. Better yet - write a howtoforge article describing how to set such a system up under debian stable :)

    My needs for an email system are:
    - data should be stored on the server (centralised backup, provision for web mail when you need it, ability to have an administrator control it, access from multiple hosts)
    - server-side spam filtering which can also take easily feedback from the client on what proved to not be spam, or what was and was missed.
    - server-side addressbook
    - 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.
    - effective searching
    - 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

    I don't really see how thunderbird's design lends itself to fitting into an infrastructure that meets those requirements.

    Perhaps my biggest problem with Thunderbird and all mail clients that I've encountered is that IMAP proves to be inadequate. Communicating with an email server over IMAP makes for a klunky experience (*particularly* over a latent connection), and it shouldn't need to be this way. Perhaps IMAP is a bad fit for the task.

    Time and time again we see people trying to build a 'Microsoft Word killer' without them ever stopping to think about whether a monolithic word processor is even a good idea (I suggest that it's not). 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.

    Surely all that should be required of a good client is this:
    - Keep the client's disk archive of the mailbox synchronised with the server so that searching is easy, and do so inobtrusively (all the IMAP clients I've used are quite obtrusive and brittle as the number of possible connections rises), but reflect changes to the client back on the server (I don't think fetchmail does this)
    - Composer that has access to the server's addressbook and sent folder and has a spellchecker
    - Email viewer
    • In the last few years the browser platform has matured and after a long period of it being awkful, I'm content with the current state of things. But I feel that email has not improved at all over the last ten years. The only major change has been the rise of spam - a step backwards.

      There's a solution to this -- use the Web browser as an e-mail client. GMail fits every one of the points you list. I'm still not entirely happy with it (mostly because there's no reasonable way to do GPG), but I find that it g
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by daveburnham ( 952469 )
      If you take a look at Blitzmail you'll find that it actually hits most of your specs. It's still in use at Dartmouth (where I'm a student) but hasn't seen any major updates since the early 90s. It uses its own protocol instead of IMAP, which means you need to run the Blitzmail server too, but the server software supports Blitzmail, IMAP and POP. It also allows fuzzy matching of names when you send an email to someone in the Dartmouth directory, which is a pretty handy feature, also implemented on the server
    • My needs for an email system are: - data should be stored on the server (centralised backup, provision for web mail when you need it, ability to have an administrator control it, access from multiple hosts)

      The only way to do that is by IMAP. I know you don't like it, but unless someone writes a new protocol, you will have to live with it.

      - server-side spam filtering which can also take easily feedback from the client on what proved to not be spam, or what was and was missed.

      I have the following setup:
      Spamassasin filters my emails on the server and moves spam into the spam-folder. I open said spamfolder with thunderbird and let thunderbirds Junkfilter do its work (moving spam into the Junk-folder). The remaining mails are read and if necessary either moved into the ham-folder or the junkfolder. Every night a cronjob runs which learns the con

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by The OPTiCIAN ( 8190 )
        Yeah - you mention inadequacies of IMAP a few times. Which makes me wonder - why is there constant effort going into IMAP mail clients yet no effort to create a protocol that fixes up all the problems with IMAP.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LordLucless ( 582312 )

      - 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 pr

    • Check your ISP's IMAP server.

      IMAP supports server-side E-mail notification and storage. Your mail client can cache the headers or the whole messages as they become available with no interaction on your part. IMAP servers can also handle multiple tasks simultaneously since commands are tagged (analogous to how TCQ works with hard drives) and can do server-side searching too.

      What exactly can't IMAP do that is IMAP (the protocol's) fault?
    • Re:State of email (Score:5, Insightful)

      by halfnerd ( 553515 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:32AM (#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].
  • Just one feature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AVryhof ( 142320 ) <`moc.hcraeserfohyrv' `ta' `soma'> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @09:54PM (#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.
    • I really like that idea... I'd like the client to color code it so I know I did it, and I'd like access to the original subject line... but yeah, I agree, cool idea.
      • I agree. If you could tell it had been changed, and see both the original and the changed version, that would be great. I get emails from clients all the time with non-descript subject lines, and it would be a lot easier to understand what the email is about when viewing the mail listing if I could view my own description instead of the sender's subject line.
    • by Bill Dimm ( 463823 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:41PM (#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.
  • Meh (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SCHecklerX ( 229973 ) <greg@gksnetworks.com> on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:04PM (#17320888) Homepage
    I looked at Thunderbird a couple of times to see what it had to offer. I always end up going back to Sylpheed [sraoss.jp]. Sylpheed has its own little problems, but overall is a good mail client. I use it with IMAP over SSL and SMTP Auth with Starttls to my home server, and also take advantage of its multiple account capability to use as a dual mail client at work (I'm the mail admin, so the SMTP servers forward to a local mailbox on the linux box on my desk ... local mailboxes is one thing that thunderbird continually fails to get right). I have Sylpheed on 2 different machines at home, my work machine, and as a windoze portable app (nothing special to do there, it just works, point it to a config file on the USB key). Coupled with IMAP this works great for me.
    • by h3 ( 27424 )
      Hear hear. I've been using Sylpheed (actually, the Claws branch) for nigh 5 years now and love it. The multiple account handling is an absolute *dream*. I have about a dozen accounts configured and it just always knows what I want to do.
  • by Bill Dimm ( 463823 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:06PM (#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.
  • mutt (Score:4, Interesting)

    by whoisjoe ( 465549 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:11PM (#17320956) Homepage
    Still hard to beat mutt--I can use it over an SSH connection and it's much more responsive than any GUI or web-based mail client. It's also insanely configurable.

    When I first started using it at the office, I used to joke that when it came to Word document attachments, in the time that it took an Outlook/Netscape user to open the document in Word, I was able to open the document in catdoc, skim through, confirm that the document was not worth reading and delete the message.
  • In outlook I can link to a specific email using a URL from, say, a personal wiki. Is there any protocol to do this in Thunderbird? So that by clicking on a link in a Wiki, it would open up a specific email? That is my #1 request!
  • It was the gig/jpg bug that did it for me. But then, evolution is also better integrated into Gnome so I can now access my contacts, calendars in other applications as well.

  • So the comments here are turning into a bit of a "Email Client Wishlist" so I figure I'll throw my own two cents in...

    I'd love to see a "smart" email client that that can analyze incoming mail, strip quoted text, and turn the emails into a threaded forum-like format. The "top-reply [37signals.com]" is simply the way everyone [I exchange mail with] seems to go these days, and nothing sucks more than having to read a forwarded email bottom-to-top.

    Does something like this (or something that makes achieving this easier) exist
  • Now if only I could see a Gmail conversation or thread like view so all my sent emails and incoming emails are in one location. That would be just swell!
  • usable calendar address books, able to past multiple emails into send line sperated by semicolons, store the data in some comprehensible NON unix format so it can be backdup in an intellignet manner (lets not go further here, it sucks so bad)find function for people not nerd geeks, .....
  • 1 hour (Score:2, Informative)

    by Swimport ( 1034164 )
    I've had it one hour and it crashed already. Not that outlook is any better.
  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:56PM (#17321678) Journal
    ...of some years, I can no longer find any real reason to run Outlook at home. I've got the whole family on Thunderbird & Google Calendars, and we're loving it.

    One lovely little thing about Outlook I've always thought useful though was the English language date parser in the "Meeting Request" form -- you know, where you can type in "two years from yesterday" and it parses it to the correct date? Bloaty but useful, if you remember it's there. (Anyone willing to tackle that one? LoL...)

    Some of the best features in Outlook are buried -- VBA forms, because they don't show up in the preview pane (which many folk use in preference to opening the message), Journalling, because not all of us have the discipline or inclination to account for our time that tightly (and those who need it want to bill directly, too) and the email-addressable public folder (ES only) with it's extended rule set is nice.

    Trouble is, of course, these features aren't really used. Some of this is just bad tuning, but a lot of it is just streamlined out of our day because the return on effort is bad.

    A lot of brainy people got together and dumped features in bulk into Outlook, and the result is just too many features -- features that consume eyeball space, that aren't used and just get in the way. UI Clutter can be a real pain when you sit in front of a screen all day.

    If people want mail and calendaring, no point in buying Outlook just for that. And even in sophisticated corporate environments, the niche features just don't get used.

    Wasn't there a recent thread where folks said they're not interested in technology any more, they just want things to work? I really like simple, rugged messaging, and I think the appeal of Thunderbird for the masses is that it really does just one thing very well, and doesn't try to be a games console or a file explorer too. Not everybody likes to keep ten different rule sets in their head when they open a program. To be anywhere near successful, the next generation of Outlook should divest itself of all that nichy stuff. Any fool with a dollar can buy air time, but simple ideas have broader appeal, because not all users are nerds anymore. Microsoft's marketing should spend less on advertising and more on learning what the non-nerds really want to use.

    Thanks for the rant. T-bird rules, ok?

  • One of my favorite features of Mac OS X's Mail.app is the meta-inbox folder, a folder that contains the inboxes of all accounts set up in the client. I have four IMAP accounts and I wish I didn't have to switch between them to read each of them. Mail.app lets me read (and search) all of my mail in one place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by salesgeek ( 263995 )
      If you use POP3 this can easily be accomplished by simply setting delivery to Inbox in local folders. Not sure if this can be done for IMAP.
  • Icedove! (Score:5, Funny)

    by gardyloo ( 512791 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:19AM (#17321814)
    I use Icedove, you insensitive clods!
  • 2.0 is nice (Score:4, Informative)

    by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:53AM (#17321994) Homepage
    Thunderbird has a couple of very nice new features:

    1. Threaded messages with your replies included in the thread! This alone is going to may 2.0 better
    2. New filter rules: forward and reply with template!
    3. A little better speed...

    Now all we need to make thunderbird closer to perfect:

    1. A way to view conversation by recipient.
    2. Better template managemetn
    3. something that can identify non-spam commercial email and newsletters and get them out of the inbox.
  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:24AM (#17322112) Homepage Journal
    One feature that Outlook has right is its multi-line header display, where you get sender and date on one line and subject on the next. That way, you can have a "wide" (group-headers-mail text) display on a non-widescreen monitor. Even the gmail method is better than the current Thunderbird one, which hasnt changed since the first graphical clients.

    It is a bit like tabs I think. You cant imagine how you lived without it once you get used to it.
  • Compact folders (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tsa ( 15680 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:32AM (#17322146) Homepage
    I've used Thunderbird for years before I found out that if you delete a message, it doesn't get deleted at all, but is just made invisible. It doesn't delete it until you 'compact your folders'. There's an option in the settings to have it do that automatically. I find this behaviour annoying, because if you don't know that you have to compact your folders (and which non-computer-savvy user does know that?) you will be left with an ever-growing, huge mail folder. I didn't discover this until my backup script started to take a long time copying my mail folders. I haven't seen this 'feature' in any other email client I've used. I hope the Mozilla team will correct this in the future.
    • Re:Compact folders (Score:4, Informative)

      by AaronLawrence ( 600990 ) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @07:06AM (#17323368)
      This and several other difficulties and restrictions (like being unable to edit mail) are because Mozilla is based on an ancient but well established format for email folders - basically all the emails live in one enormous text file, and there is a separate index for finding it fast and caching headers.
      But of course if it's just one undifferentiated text file, there IS no efficient way to edit or delete mails out of the middle.
      Realistically, Mozilla should probably update to a decent database format but that is a huge change.
    • Re:Compact folders (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @09:33AM (#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?

  • SeaMonkey/Mail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wysiwia ( 932559 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:46AM (#17322484) Homepage
    I'm astonished nobody mentioned SeaMonkey/Mail so far. I always though Slashdot commenters are power users which IMO better use SM/Mail than TB. Most of the complains about TB are fixed and several important features are included. And MozBackup helps with moving profiles and mails back and fore. So instead of complaining why not simply switch to SeaMonkey?

    O. Wyss
  • by artifex2004 ( 766107 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:44AM (#17322652) Journal
    I have mail from several .psts and other things I'd like to import. Problem is, I have some mail that dupes over different stores.
    Has anyone found a way to get TBird to search for duplicates and then delete extras?

    I'd be happy to import into folder trees called pst1, pst2, etc., then tell it to delete any dupes copied in pst3, then search and delete for any copies in pst2, etc., so that I'm left with just one of each that I can then sort properly into my main tree. But the functionality isn't there. Someone wanna write a plugin? :)
  • May give it a whirl (Score:4, Interesting)

    by polyp2000 ( 444682 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:18AM (#17322996) Homepage Journal
    I use thunderbird - but there was one feature in KMail that saved my life on a couple of times - basically it would scan your email for references like "please find the attached file" (probably just the word attached rather than the whole phrase) but I've lost count of the number of times I have written an email and forgotten to attach a file. KMail would intercept the email send process and ask if you meant to attach a file - giving you a second chance to make the attachment.

    Does thunderbird 2 have this great feature? (here's where someone tells me its been in Thunderbird 1 for years! ... )

  • by Dan Ost ( 415913 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @11:02AM (#17324808)
    I'm currently using Evolution to read my work email because the powers that be refuse to turn
    on IMAP support on the Exchange server.

    Could I use the new Thunderbird to do this?

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson