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Software Communications

Why Desktop Email Still Trumps Webmail 340

p3net writes "Shortly before the release of Thunderbird 2.0 RC1, Wired held an interesting interview with Scott MacGregor, the lead developer of Thunderbird. He presents some views as to why desktop email clients still triumph, even in this much-dominated web age. 'Some users want to have their data local for privacy and control. Furthermore, you can integrate data from different applications on the desktop in ways that you can't do with web-based solutions, unless you stick to web solutions from a single provider. For example, you can use your Outlook address book with Thunderbird. We'd like to continue to expand the kinds of data you can share between Thunderbird and other apps (both web and desktop applications).'"
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Why Desktop Email Still Trumps Webmail

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  • by avronius ( 689343 ) * on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:22PM (#18678249) Homepage Journal
    It looks like Lightning is already available for download for Thunderbird 2...

    I haven't tried it yet - I've been using Sunbird - but the additional features that lightning provides will help Thunderbird on the road to becoming a more complete Microsoft Outlook competitor. If only we could convince someone to write the Exchange competitor on an open database...

    From the Sunbird / Lightning page / []

    Which is right for me?

    You may prefer Mozilla Sunbird if...
    you prefer your calendar to be separate from your email client
    you don't currently use Mozilla Thunderbird for your email
    you don't like adding add-ons [such as extensions or themes] to your applications

    You may prefer Lightning if...
    you send or receive meeting invitations via email
    you already use Mozilla Thunderbird for email
    you customize your applications with add-ons [such as extensions or themes]
    You can follow the Mozilla Calendar Weblog here >> []
  • by Phoenix ( 2762 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:32PM (#18678443)
    But on the other hand Webmail is catching up when you consider some of the features of G-Mail.

    Gmail has the distinct advantage of being both web accessible while at the same time also accessible via any pop3 e-mail client.

    Sort of a "cake and eat it too" scenario.

    I currently use Thunderbird to keep track of the 4 accounts that my wife and I use. I also have the ability to access my mail online should I not have my laptop with me. I also have the ability to use GMail as an offsite backup of my mail should I ever have a total OS crash and need to reinstall. The large amount of storage on the gmail servers plus the ability to re-download anything stored on the gmail servers means that I can restore my local copy of my emails.

    If more webmail sites used gmail's strategy, webmail would likely catch up to pop3 and possibly surpass it
  • by dorix ( 414150 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:45PM (#18678713)
    You mean this one?

    Tools -> Account Settings -> [your account] -> Composition & Addressing
    Check "Automatically quote the original message when replying"
    And select "Then, start my reply above the quote"

    Granted, that's not the default, and not everybody will bother to change it, but there is indeed a configuration option. Even if it were the default, some people would probably change it back to what it is now anyways. If you're participating in a long email thread, you can always trim out old quotes yourself every three or four replies so it doesn't get out of hand.
  • Re:Yes, Gmail (Score:4, Informative)

    by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:48PM (#18678751)
    Actually, Zimbra has that as well. As well as integration, and integrated mashups via Zimlets.
  • Re:Sorry... (Score:3, Informative)

    by tenchiken ( 22661 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @01:51PM (#18678795)
    Not true. The Zimbra guys released Zimbra deskop, which allows for a full offline mode for Zimbra. That isolates you from network latency issues, lets you view and edit, send and edit email, calendar entries and contacts, and queue it in a outbox. It's also open source.
  • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:07PM (#18680077)
    t's pretty much guaranteed to be backed up

    No it isn't - GMail lost 40-50 of my e-mails, and said they could basically do nothing about it. So much for storing all data!

    Now, all of my GMail accounts get periodically - every 5-15 min. - fetchmailed to my backup server. And I find myself using GMail less and less now since it's easier to just fire up Thunderbird, pull POP off the backup server (my laptop automatically opens an SSH tunnel to my office network) and be able to read/write messages without waiting for a web site to update.

    And GMail's POP implementation is horribly broken for use with more than one client. Recent mode is great, but not if you haven't used a given client for > 30 days. Give us a "normal" POP3 option, please, GMail!


  • interesting project (Score:3, Informative)

    by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:46PM (#18680663)
    There is a group working on an open source clone of Exchange using a reverse engineered version of MAPI. This is still pre-alpha, but it is interesting. The project is called Openchange. []

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