Still, Thunderbird needs a bigger vision. What does Thunderbird want to be? The cross-platform Outlook? Then merge Lightning into core. The native Gmail? Then get a conversations view. The backwards-compatible, easy, and secure mailer? Then merge Enigmail into core or make SMIME easy to use or get some Rust code in. The ultra-portable mailer? Then port it to Android and iOS. The super-flexible mailer? Then somehow help plugin devs.
Thunderbird is the email client for people who want email to work exactly like it did ten years ago. that's their value-add, and it really should be their vision.
Stagnant is a negative characteristic. Keeping things that work the way they are isn't.
MSPaint hasn't been "stagnant" for decades, it was the way people liked it.
I think one thing that maybe kept ThB from innovating was that people took webmail to heart. It's few people who want a thick client or even want to go thru the config. What port, what server, etc.
On a mobile device, the UI walks them through the scenarios (Google, Microsoft, etc) so they usually don't have to guess or have "IT" set it up for them.
Plus, what ships with MAC and Windows is good enough for most people who do want some kind of thick client.
Regardless, ThB was the ugly child at Mozilla since ever. They should have taken the Opp when Eudora was finally killed, but I don't think Moz had the energy.
Airmail and Spark, among others, would like to have a word with you. Airmail in particular started out as a Mac client before being ported to iOS. There exists quite a market for good email clients, I would think.
It resembles the old Gmail interface, and it's open source.
Thunderbird will soon add support for webextensions, who knows what will happen of the legacy extensions further than short term ?
It seems to be a totally different thing than the regular message list, and only some actions work in Conversation mode.
1) Trusted identity assertion: I want to know with confidence (at a glance) that the sender is who I think they are.
2) Secure communication: I want the visual metaphor of email (private correspondence) to match the reality of email.
How great would it be if Mozilla lead the way to for email clients to adopt open standards to do easily do these things.
Some of us spell that "stable and reliable" and consider it the single most important property of our essential day-to-day software. If it ain't broke...
Once I have a functioning setup,I copy the profile wholesale from machine to machine. I use Thunderbird every day and have done for years.
What have you tried to find the cause of your performance issue ? Have you tried making a new user profile to test if your local profile got somehow corrupted ?
Also, I've met many people who experience similar performance issues, so I find it bothersome that because you've never encountered it you're asserting it does not exist.
This is also an issue that's span multiple machines and multiple clean installs.
There are bugs upstream for all of those. They're up there for years.
I've had to find a non google replacement for firefox, I don't want to go through this again to replace thunderbird.
Thunderbird has had a ML/usenet-like conversations view forever.
I am using TB as my mail client and there are so many things that work. Almost. So many things to configure, but not in the way that I feel would be natural.
TB is mostly worse than Outlook, but still much better than most other clients.
Maybe I misread it, but to me it sounded like Mozilla did not have Rust support in Thunderbird, but it seems that there is some already ...
I'm not sure how they'll get much use out of this one. They show (not very representative) screen shots and then ask broad questions, like "Would you say this design is rather confusing or clear?" and "Would you say this design is rather boring or inspiring?"
Setting aside that I don't understand why "rather" is in all of the questions, they're still not great. Is the design of a screwdriver inspiring? I guess not. Is that bad? Definitely not. I don't need my tools to be fonts of warm fuzzy feelings. I need them to be useful.
Even if the questions were material, asking it about a whole screenshot composed of many different design changes inevitably muddles things. And asking it only of 1 old and 1 new screenshot invites people to judge on novelty, not utility.
So my suspicion is that the survey isn't really testing any useful hypotheses. We know that some people like new shiny and some people like old familiar. I don't think much is gained here.
Where are the question about usability and practicality ?
Said screenshots are from much different screen resolution so one is cluttered and the other is illegible.
The whole survey gives the idea that the current design is bad and the new is better. I mean when you get asked to rate an old thing vs a new one on a scale between outdated and modern.
I've created a "fairer" mockup (same resolution/size): https://i.imgur.com/wTLYTV6.png
Note how the "tasks" list is cut off because it simply no longer fits the screen (where the current version has enough space to show it), missing UI elements in the new design (the entire quick filter bar, which would reduce the available space to 3 (!) e-mail headers), the harshly truncated and thus useless subject lines in the new design, the lack of the "this is a draft" toolbar in the new design, that was added to make the old one look more crowded.
Thunderbird is forgetting their target audience. I suspect that people who like shiny over features have long switched to web interfaces. The new design would take away what used to appeal to their remaining users.
Much more important than shiny new UI, what I'd like to see is seamless out-of-the-box syncing with online calendars and contacts. (At one point, I tried all the available add-ons for syncing with Google's apps; none of those add-ons worked well for me.)
If you want to self host, just host any CalDav or CardDav server software.
And this should happen to avoid using an already available open source project that works well and you can self host (wallabag).
See Cardav and Caldav.
At the least do a pass over old bugs and let us know if they will ever be fixed, or close them.
I suspect the people getting excited about a face-lift don't really use Thunderbird very often.
I mean my 90 years old grandma is a decade long thunderbird user and she absolutely unable to make thunderbird the way she wants. She is 100% dependent on mozilla's good will.
I was hoping for a redesign of the UI, the ways you interact with your mails.
This is one of those „look, I played around in Illustrator“ things, not „I thought about the problem“.
Some UI components do need rework. Redundant search fields, password dialogs that fail to track the login state, etc.
It also strikes me as very odd that someone states that nobody needs UI work on a GUI app, particularly when GUI components make between 50% and 75% of thjs sort of app's code base
I don't remember how long ago this UI rework happened that added opening email in a tab, but to this day I still get called because "something's wrong with the computer, I can't read my emails " and I just close the gajillions opened tabs in thunderbird to fix the issue.
It improved through time as a significant portion of my users' email moved from desktop to tablets.
a) presented vertical layout is the same as it is today—you need to have a really high resolution (1080p+) widescreen to fit the entire window. Messages section could have rows with multi-line inlined metadata, thus be significantly narrowed;
b) threaded messages feed (or so called conversations) on the same screenshot is presented too vaguely for such an important feature, I bet I'll still have to jump between Sent/Inbox folders in 2018+...;
c) replying to/composing a message is impossible to do in tabs (10 years old), you have to manage separate windows. And there's nothing on this matter in current redesign proposal;
d) not a single word/screenshot on calendar/todo-lists management; etc.
Simply put, this is not the way to redesign such an important large application. Has there been any work done on analyzing user/task scenarios ? Any research was conducted on modern best practices? Instead of presenting a list with UI/UX features breakdown and several well-thought solutions, we're supposed to vote on "does it look exciting/professional?" beneath a single 800×500px screenshot. Answering the question: no, it doesn't. It's the very same application, hence stagnant. Do not take offense at the words about "stagnating product", this is what it is.
But unless they move Thunderbird to WebExtensions (which would be a total productivity disaster) it can always be modded.
Although an UI update is always welcome there are more important issues to address in Thunderbird, like better calendar synchronisation and an overhaul to its search capabilities.
The designs are shown at different resolutions: Note how the text on the old one is clearly readable, while the new one is completely unreadable. Additionally, the new design is given a much higher screen. This makes the old design look much more crowded, and obfuscates the fact that you can't fit more than 10 e-mail headers (with truncated subject lines!) onto a 27" screen with the new design. Additionally, they chose a plaintext e-mail with a boring text for the old design screenshot, while using a designed HTML mail for the new design.
Here's a slightly fairer mockup: https://i.imgur.com/wTLYTV6.png for direct comparison with https://images.typeform.com/images/7E2EfHaFjYdy/image/defaul... - I've redone the text on the subject of the selected entry to show how it would look like without the blur resulting from scaling the available mockup.
The survey itself has one question that is half about usability ("confusing or clear"), with the 4 remaining questions being about bullshitty feel-good/marketing attributes ("boring or inspiring", "unprofessional or professional", "outdated or modern", "untrustworthy or trustworthy") carefully picked to only care about visual appearance.
A much more attractive redesign idea would be showing full threads with sent and received messages in context like Gmail does, while maintaining the standard three-pane view (just allow to scroll up in the bottom pane to see older messages, including sent ones).
Edit to add some things I noticed while writing another response: Note how the "tasks" list is cut off because it simply no longer fits the screen (where the current version has enough space to show it), missing UI elements in the new design (the entire quick filter bar, which would reduce the available space to 3 (!) e-mail headers), the harshly truncated and thus useless subject lines in the new design, the lack of the "this is a draft" toolbar in the new design, that was added to make the old one look more crowded.
Though I'm not sure it has been intently designed like this. Hanlon's razor tells us this probably happened because of incompetence and being clueless. IMHO it reflects the survey authors bias more than a malicious intent.
I'll trade everything for being able to see as many messages as I'll always did. Not another Skype like redesign with lots of useless white space around messages, thanks.
* Sync accounts and settings between multiple computers. (Using syncthing only works so well...) Over my local LAN. I am not going to send my information out into the cloud if I can help it.
* Thunderbird on my Android devices, also synced with my desktop and laptop.
* Groupwise integration so I don't have to log into webmail every time I have an appointment to accept or reject.
* Integrated calendar. Why is it an addon? Seriously. I have never understood that.
Anyway... I'd also love to see an easier to understand community platform. I have no idea where I really should post this comment in the official Thunderbird ecosystem.
Has some warts, but works generally well.
sshfs would work if you are on the same network all the time. I have yet to get dynamic dns working for my home connection, so when I'm at work I doubt I'd be able to access my home sshfs share.
Here's a quick link to the survey: https://thunderbird-design.typeform.com/to/f7wiiq?utm_referr...
I hope these people stay the hell away from my favorite mail client.
I believe it's trustworthy because it's open source and backed by Mozilla. The only aspect of the interface that would lead me not to trust it is advertisements.
That being said, with good luck they'll get more useful feedback to the open-ended questions.
thunderbird has over 20 years lineage, and I've screenshots of the major stages at:
You may argue that it's because email is a solved problem by now, but I don't think so:
Setting your own personal email server? Still a hassle to do correctly. Full text search a la Gmail? You can forget it. Threaded conversations across folders? Not for you. Hosting a webmail? Good luck finding a maintained one. Want a desktop client? The flagship Thunderbird is not the healthiest project right now.
I would really like to see the Redis or the Golang of emails.
Setting up your personal email server correctly hassle free: mail-in-a-box
Most gmail features requires losing all expectations of privacy and as such are not desirable or feasible. That said IINM full text search already exists in kde's kmail.
I have no use for threaded conversations across folder, so I have no suggestions for this, sorry.
Maintained opensource webmails do exist, e.g. roundcube, mailpile, rainloop, zimbra, ...
Non thunderbird desktop clients do exist too: claws, sylpheed, kmail, mail, geary, ...
: https://mailinabox.email/ and https://github.com/mail-in-a-box/mailinabox
If the design looks broken or amateurish, maybe that would lead you to not trust the application because you feel it is poorly made and will lose your data one day.
Or maybe the new design is so focused on stickers & gifs* that you don't trust the application to reliably handle your professional business communications with clients anymore.
* (I'm looking at you, Skype, with this comment...)
The survey begs the following answer: the new redesign UI will give thunderbird a bigger market share.
If you have this on and it's still taking seconds, the problem is probably coming from something else.
Or is the Mozilla development and contribution process broken?
It looks like it is realitively straight forward to compile from source:
Some email clients have multiple rows of information in that column - the first row might have name & subject, the next row might show the first two sentences of the email. Or it might have the subject on a separate line, so the column can be kept narrow but still show the full subject line.
Think of the iOS Mail or Android GMail interfaces, for example.
This entire discussion is not about complex interface design and the lack of technical solutions, but the stagnating product. And about questionable actions to give it a peppy appearance.
It's not doable with CSS only anyway, so it won't happen if they just design a new theme on the current XUL toolkit (correct me if anything changed about that lately).
Or outlook 2003
https://www.microsoft.com/middleeast/office/images/editions/... which was released like 15 years ago. I remember because I made an office 2003 theme for thunderbird. I am never touching that 1500 CSS files clusterfuck again.
15 years ago
28 days ago
How the years go by.
edit: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Talk:Thunderbird:2.0_Product_Planni... Users were talking about it for the 2.0 release.
From what I gather it uses some of thunderbird and firefox code but is heavily modified and is proprietary software.
Too bad they decided to drop linux support, it renders it useless to me.
(obligatory xkcd link: https://xkcd.com/1172/)
There are some enhancements to functionality and some bug fixes that would be helpful in Thunderbird, and security fixes are always welcome. However, this is essential software that I rely on for serious work. It doesn't need to be flashy. It doesn't need a UI overhaul that shifts things around for no particular reason and almost certainly breaks things that matter. It just needs to work, reliably and unobtrusively, and not mess anything up.
So far I'm really happy with Postbox, basically a fork of Thunderbird with loads of modern features. I absolutely hate Outlook.
It has all the stuff people expect today - dim grey text on a light grey background, large decorative graphics to fill space, little round icons for people, images in your face for every email, and integration with calendar and contacts. The people who send out "newsletters" (i.e. email spam) will love it.
If that was combined with the surprisingly comfortable keyboard shortcuts of Rainloop[^2], that would be brilliant, but the world doesn't need yet another electron-looking app.
I guess a fork will come out if it goes the way of Ubuntu.
I love Mozilla's products and mission.
As for Thunderbird itself, I have only two wishes:
1. Support Exchange calendaring natively and reliably. I've used different extensions (like Lightning along with DavMail or Exchange Provider), and have always had to revert back to OWA (Outlook Web Access) just to have a usable calendar. Without this, I cannot even recommend Thunderbird within my organization (where almost everybody else is stuck with Outlook; this is not the only factor that makes Outlook attractive to users in the recent years — Outlook also has good integration with Skype and Skype Meetings in the calendar, where people start chats on Skype based on calendar events).
2. Make it perform better. Most people who are Thunderbird users surely have been using it for several years and use multiple mailboxes, with each being at least a few GBs in size. Very few users adopt regular archival, folders, inbox zero and other approaches. I have multiple mailboxes, with a couple of them where the Inbox is about 1GB or 2GB. Thunderbird takes several minutes to startup and show its screen. I know it uses MSF files for the indexes, but it doesn't seem like it does an optimized load of the mail data (mbox) file or takes a lazy approach to loading information that may not be recent. Downloading mail content from IMAP also seems to be slow, though that could be a combination of the servers (across providers) being slower, the protocol and Thunderbird's design/implementation.
P.S.: I donate regularly to the Thunderbird project to show my support. Here's the link for the English version of the donation page (the donation goes only to the Thunderbird project and not to Mozilla/other projects) — https://donate.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/
I think that much of what passes for user interface design is mere fashion. While a bad user interface is eternal, it doesn't seem possible to have a good one over any length of time.
The menu buttons is really what make Thunderbird weird to me. The "write" button has a drop-down that say Message, Event, and Task... So write an event? They also never seems to line up, nor do they actually look like button. Sadly non of this is addressed in the presented design.
My gmail interface has neither of those problems.
I would consider going back to Thunderbird because it pulls together multiple email account better than gmail does. But they've got to get a better underlying storage engine.
E-mails can benefit from headings, bulleted lists and tables just as much as a web page. It's all about communicating information in human-digestable format.
OR PERHAPS ALL EMAIL SHOULD BE SENT TELEGRAM STYLE WITHOUT PUNCTUATION SINCE THAT IS JUST A DISTRACTION STOP ALSO ONLY IN ASCII CAPS STOP
I'm not actually opposed to markup at all, but you know exactly the kind of over-designed barf I'm talking about being happy not receiving. I can always open an email from a tmp file in the browser (by hitting <v> then <enter> in mutt) but in more than 9/10 cases that just isn't necessary. W3m renders an approximation of the html layout just fine.
Has someone audited this for malware?