Things I'd like to see improved:
- Native CardDAV and CalDAV support (there is caldav, but no discoverability of calendars).
- Native PGP.
- Better search, the UI is horrible and the search string is hard to get right (need fuzzy search and partial contact completion).
- A bit of UX work, some preferences are just a nightmare to find.
- Automation (auto tags, auto threading (for example, I get an order confirmation from webshop X, and a while after a shipping confirmation from webshop X, I want those to be grouped)).
- Improved storage engine, thunderbird is often freezing to compress folders.
- Critical bugd being fixed, like "imap"->"local folder" messages vanishing.
Too bad it's enabled by default and plagued by issues: https://pep.foundation/blog/enigmailpep-current-update-1024-...
As for keyservers even GnuPG is diminishing their role. Web Key Directory is promoted as a replacement for discovery and updates of keys. Coincidentally Enigmail will automatically fetch recipients keys using WKD when composing an email. For example kernel is using it (https://www.kernel.org/category/signatures.html#using-the-we...) so does ProtonMail.
As for PeP I don't quite understand how it works and what is it for (and I'm quite proficient with OpenPGP in general). I don't mind Autocrypt, it's good for people on commodity mail providers, but I rather prefer Web Key Directory where possible.
Native CardDAV integration can come via KHard or other sources, CalDAV can be integrated with org-agenda, GNUPG while not native is really quick to add, search is at another level + tags & saved searches, automation is via external tools like afew and it can be (with a not so small works, unfortunately) really efficient, for instance I auto-archive pdf attachments of my monthly bills in a proper tree, with proper filenames and a note in the org-agenda.
The real problem is only that no one still do not package anything in a sole comprehensive software with a simple config. You have to make it yourself perhaps with the help of org-mode and a bit of extra scripting. A price not anyone is willing to pay but a real opportunity for ThunderBird IMO.
Everything is there, needs only integration for casual users.
This would have been great about 5 years ago, and still would be useful, but I think we're going in the direction of unified protocols, like ActiveSync, JMAP, MAPI/EWS etc.
IMHO x-DAV should have been there from day one. I'm using SOGo for my family's groupware and although SOGo provide plugins for Thunderbird, I've been missing an integrated, seamless approach.
I used to use SOGo but found it used way too much resources. None of us really even used 'webmail' so I ditched SOGO.
I went with https://radicale.org most of my family either uses mail clients, Thunderbird, (with Lightning), Canary Mail (the mac user), DAVx⁵ (formerly Davdroid). Radicale allows for ldap authentication which was a must for us.
On a side note the SOGO Integrator plugin took AGES to be updated for Thunderbird 60. I found https://gitlab.com/CardBook/CardBook/ to be WAY better, particularly as it replaces the crufty-old Thunderbird addressbook.
I've wanted to use z-push with a PSQL backend for a while, mostly to cut off gmail and repatriate my email archives
SOGo being written in obj-c means it's fundamentally much better suited to this task.
Have you tried migrating to using maildir instead of mbox?
> Maildir is disabled by default because there are still many bugs. It is not 100% ready for users.
Edit: there's still 35 bugs tagged maildir (albeit all unconfirmed or new): https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/buglist.cgi?classification=Clie...
Plus Outlook was a security nightmare anyways.
That will happen after it makes it's way into standard Firefox releases as Thunderbird is based off ESR. It is happening.
See Martin's reply:
> Martin Stransky October 9, 2018 at 8:12 pm
> Unfortunately Thunderbird 60 is based on Firefox 60ESR which misses lots of Wayland patches.
> We can consider backport but I’d leave it on X11 for now and fine tune the patches on Firefox first.
Overall progress can be monitored here https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=635134
I have been wanting to switch from i3 to Sway for some time now and not have blurry fonts in Mozilla products. (That's what happens if you use them through XWayland).
I use the TbSync and Provider for CalDAV and CardDAV add-ons. So far it works perfectly. But yes, I would prefer built-in native support.
Also, I wish there were more tutorials online for workflow processes on thunderbird. With more funding by mozilla and dev support, I hope people make higher quality tutorials online, many of them are highly dated.
More robust addons. I've tried dozens but I currently only use 2 now, one for attaching images with website URLs and another for image-previewing multiple attachments.
I haven't really bothered compressing anything because it freezes my PC everytime. I set everything to IMAP, my localstorage on thunderbird is about 100 GB since I send out and receive a lot of large files. It's not a great way of handling things, but it works since my server has a 3 million file limitation. Storage is cheap, but security is nonexistent in this regard.
Automation with autothreading would definitely be a nice feature. I personally don't use any autotagging in any email system, I normally just rewrite subject headers instead / use filters alot / get better at searching.
Fuzzy searching really needs some work. Usually, I will know exactly what email to search for (be it an automated subject header with a unique identifier, or a person I deal with), but I cannot find it on my first try.
Second, from a UX design prospective, I wish thunderbird would have an accordion-like collapsible method for threaded messages, indicated by a "..." in the UX. For instance, I might have a 10+ chain response email, I only need to see the first 2 emails sent, and the last 2 in the chain, not the 6 in the middle (collapse by default). This is mostly for items that need a lot of clarifications.
UX needs improvement for handling multiple emails. As of now , I just forward every email to my main email and filter out appropiately. I don't see a better way of doing things in thunderbird.
Thunderbird doesn't support threaded messages outside main inbox, AFAIK.
Baynesian junk filter could use some improvements as well. Some vendors will mix spam and important mail from the same email address. Thunderbird doesn't do a great job filtering these out, even after training junk filter consistently.
This post makes it sound like the Thunderbird team has been growing within Mozilla during 2018, and is targeting another 75% headcount increase in 2019.
I mean, that's awesome, as someone who wants there to be a viable desktop email client option out there. But geeze... what a muddled mess of messaging and pivots from this organization.
I understood it was just their personal opinion, but finding myself advocating for Thunderbird against someone who works for Mozilla was a little strange. My take away was that Mozilla doesn't really know what its priorities should be and there is significant disagreement within the org about what they should be spending resources on.
In terms of who fit where, a few of the people at the head of the Mozilla Foundation were definitely strongly supportive, but I think most of the upper-tier management levels tended to be against Thunderbird as too much of a distraction from fixing issues . This resulted in a lot of mixed messaging about how much Mozilla was or was not supporting Thunderbird. By the time you get down to most of the development staff, there was usually a desire to be kind and helpful towards Thunderbird but utter confusion as to whether or not they could be so due to the aforementioned mixed messaging.
 I'd argue that this was strongly short-sighted. To me, Mozilla deciding to ultimately screw over embedding, and a lot of the issues with Thunderbird would have been solved with a big push to a new, stable embedding. I even made arguments to that affect nearly a decade ago, but to no avail...
Yes, together with nearly any other MUAs except few termina's based ones and Emacs based one. And that's clearly demonstrate how someone decide to push them to the oblivion. Someone that's probably interest in webmails...
> didn't see the point of using an IMAP client
Well, me neither. I use a local client that's operate on my very personal, well backed-up, maildir. My "imap client" (mbsync) is a mere imap sync tools not much different than intra-server sync tools like Dovecot DSync...
On "the better" part... Well, for me is better to have my messages on my iron, to act on them locally so at lightspeed and without the need of a connection and an working remote imap just to search or refile or compose messages. Also I do not know why I may prefer to download my MUA anytime I access my mail (like webmails) when I can have one, lighter and powerful locally...
It's a matter of taste :-)
Someone like freedom, someone like jails. Mozilla most important "business" is a browser so essentially a modern way to the jail (not because of itself, of course). Perhaps they have to choose, perhaps since they move big money they have managers more interested in money and trends than in tech, or even incapable of really understand tech and simply following current trends trying to feel "up to date"...
"While Thunderbird is now an independent project separate from Mozilla, Mozilla has agreed to collect donations on our behalf"
( quote above is from https://donate.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird?utm_source=tb_b... )
>Contributions go to the Mozilla Foundation, (...) to support Thunderbird. Mozilla reserves the right to find another use for the funds if it determines that Thunderbird is no longer furthering Mozilla’s mission.
Is that true if it's now a separate project?
Who are these staff members working full-time for, then?
What I would love to see is a small team in Mozilla create a spin-off Electron app, and do it well. Electron has a bad rap, but it's mostly due to being misused. Electron can be used well (VS Code for example).
Mozilla LightningBird for example. I could get on board with that. Heck, I'd probably help out.
Edit: Jeeze! You guys sure hate Electron. Just because a tool is misused so often, doesn't mean it's a bad tool.
They have issues with:
1. Memory usage and cpu usage (you're running a browser to run your application)
3. Platform and windowing behaviors.
I agree with the other commented to you.. if it changed to electronic, I would drop it as well.
This is a different target audience to the people who typically use Thunderbird at this time.
For some people Apple Mail is enough.
You live in a strange bubble.
Between github, SMS, social media, IRC & slack, video-conferencing, blogs, RSS, etc., email has become the medium of last resort. I still get a lot of email, but it's mostly automated notifications, and I usually have to log in somewhere to actually recieve a document because email is insecure.
Plenty of people I know use that at work, but email is really nice, and I love the features Thunderbird has.
Perhaps he/she work for a company that do not really know IT so force their workers to use limited and limiting platforms, but it that's remain for personal world then no, it's might appear to you a tech savvy person but that's only due to Kant-ian glasses, not reality.
Now this is something you don't read everyday on Hacker News...
The Web still sucks, and we don't need to shove The Web into native applications. Learn to make an actual program. Heck, QT exists, learn to use it.
I'm not saying you can't use an HTML layout engine for help and info screens, but for the entire program it's pants-on-head stupid. The time spent trying to warp one's web designer skills to make an "app" could have been used to learn how to make an actual application that would've been portable, and take less than a gig of RAM.
I use Teams at work, and it's taking 300+ MB of RAM on startup when it's basically a glorified chat client. Insanity.
90% of the time I'd agree with this sentiment, but modern email clients need to be able to render rich web content. A browser engine integration is just the reality, at some level.
No they don't.
I get more HTML emails than plain-text. I won't switch to a mail client that can't render the majority of my inbox.
Its not clear to me you need anything resembling a modern web browser to render HTML emails. Do they even commonly use HTML5 features?
However have a browser as a framework and environment for anything is even worse than actual X server architectures.
So yes, we need to rethink desktops, perhaps looking at past solutions like LispM GUIs and Plan9/Rio but certainly not move toward actual trend.
You essentially can't found a QML GUI that not exhibit tons of error, from commercial one like TeamViewer to Kde/Plasma. It's surely more flexible than classic widgets but it's flexibility is not designed in a manageable way.
Well yeah, you need to implement the properties and data models in C++ and export them - if you are doing it right that is. But the UI code is very quick and easy to write in return!
> it's mostly designed with web principle in mind, not desktop one
Not mainly desktop, true - it is designed mainly for touchscreens, mobile or embedded. It is easy to use exactly because it's not a web technology bent for user interfaces.
> exhibit tons of error
Not for the things I've been working on, which includes KDE / Plasma and many commercial applications.
The technology in use is called XPFE. For a full (graphical) overview, see http://mb.eschew.org/1
Which is to say, exactly like Electron. The only relevant difference that I can see between XUL and Electron is that the former had its own non-HTML-based markup language for UI.
$ cloc build/ ldap/ editor/ mailnews/ mail/
3938 text files.
3848 unique files.
949 files ignored.
github.com/AlDanial/cloc v 1.80 T=6.01 s (497.6 files/s, 127309.9 lines/s)
Language files blank comment code
C++ 360 36718 26562 207587
CSS 278 7371 2664 30455
C 83 5339 8278 29463
C/C++ Header 413 7091 8979 24034
IDL 238 3205 0 18852
XML 40 1365 690 16902
JSON 24 7 0 5367
DTD 180 772 1360 5344
Python 24 893 2422 3740
NAnt script 118 489 0 2512
Objective C++ 5 461 163 2231
HTML 62 178 22 1666
XHTML 14 186 98 1096
INI 28 46 12 687
Windows Module Definition 7 24 156 354
LESS 1 33 52 183
make 4 36 22 133
TOML 1 17 7 110
Freemarker Template 6 24 0 98
WiX source 1 11 25 71
Ant 1 6 5 49
Markdown 1 10 0 49
Bourne Shell 3 8 11 23
Windows Resource File 2 6 11 15
SUM: 2992 103445 115231 546849
Lightning is strictly speaking an independent project from Thunderbird, but it is far and away the most-used extension in Thunderbird and parts of it (particularly the backend) have essentially moved into the TB distribution for various policy reasons. There's some other stuff that's basically build system, release engineering, or testing gunk, but that stuff is mostly Python anyways and won't impact the SLOC metrics too badly.
Too simplistic :-)
The largest pieces of the backend that are in JS are the RSS functionality and gloda (one of the search backends), as well as half of the MIME parser.
The most recent version (Thunderbird 60) introduced sweeping UI changes that went much deeper than even Chrome 69's.
There's an electron based mail client called Mailspring, and having used it for a few months, I definitely understand the antipathy towards electron. You might like it.
I sympathize, but I'm not sure what you expect the team to do. The bug seems highly intermittent even when it does occur and there doesn't seem to be anything in common between the systems that are affected.
I agree such bugs are at best obnoxious and at worst cataclysmic. But having been on the receiving end of such nebulous intermittent reports myself, I'm not going to simply conclude the team is incompetent or uninterested.
The mails were still on the server but having to create a new profile and redownload everything and retrain the spam filter was not fun.
It is not what I'd call an intermittent issue: it is a black swan. Happens very rarely but with huge consequences for the user. If it happens a second time thunderbird is being uninstalled and put on a blacklist of software to avoid.
i mean, as a user this would suggest that the product is outright not fit for purpose.
i would expect the team to include a clear and obvious warning on the homepage (preferably near the download link) that emails are subject to deletion due to this bug.
I've been using Thunderbird for years and have never encountered this issue (cross fingers, knock on wood) but reading that thread makes me seriously consider whether I should migrate to another email client. Or at least have regular reliable backup.
An actual working atcivesync support for calendar and contacts.
With Exchange being still very pervasive in corporate environments, it's quite useful.
The second feature I would very much like them to work on is search. It is horrifically slow, seems to miss some mail (html only maybe?) and the result window has terrible UI. You can't preview why the search found something so either you run a more narrow search or manually go through each email it found. There is also no threading in the result window so you lose a lot of context.
Also, with a proper maildir cloning support (mbsync like for instance) it may give to the casual users the opportunity to have locally their messages.
Otherwise anything Mozilla can do can at maximum keep a zombie alive simply because of lack of less ugly widespread and generic alternatives.
I'd almost guarantee that your tab-scroll-position bug is fixed first. It seems to be the way of things.
Thunderbird seems incredibly janky to me (unstable and easy to break, rough around the edges). Maybe my experience is rare ... would love to see it become solid and fast.
Still haven't managed to debug so can't use Thunderbird properly yet; changing app is a major upheaval after a decade or more [not quite continuous use, tried Kmail, Opera, and a few others like Sylpheed, Mutt(!), in the interim -- after Pine, proprietary apps TB was my first desktop MUA].
So, I need to audition new MUAs (family friendly), then recover what I can.
Edit: typical 'your pii is an asset we transfer when we get acquired' clause
Information Shared with Third Parties. We may share aggregated information and non-identifying information with third parties for industry research and analysis, demographic profiling and other similar purposes.
Information Disclosed in Connection with Business Transactions. Information that we collect from our users, including PII, is considered to be a business asset. Thus, if we are acquired by a third party as a result of a transaction such as a merger, acquisition or asset sale or if our assets are acquired by a third party in the event we go out of business or enter bankruptcy, some or all of our assets, including your PII, may be disclosed or transferred to a third party acquirer in connection with the transaction
One thing I would add to performance metrics is that tests for very large folders (of about 1M) should be added. I was talking with someone last night who was complaining about how long it took to delete 200K messages from his inbox, so it's not a wholly implausible metric. I just worry that people are going to focus on metrics that go "oh, there's no issue with a 1K message folder since it's all within the 16ms budget" without looking to see their impact on 10K or 100K folders, which is where people really complain about performance.
Thunderbird itself does a nastily poor job of scaling to massive folders, since it assumes that it can do UI-thread-synchronous operations like "get a list of every message in the database." (And fixing it is hard... as I have way too much experience with).
The biggest drawbacks is overall slowness (especially when syncing with server) and search UI (which really needs to be condensed). BTW it would be nice to have option to search for all mails involving some address by just right-clicking the address, like in Mailspring.
Now I'm on MacOS and I use MailMate, see: https://freron.com/
I wish Thunderbird would be more like it. It's simple, fast, uses Markdown in its editor, has nice keyboard shortcuts, plays well with Gmail's labels, has smart filters and works well with multiple accounts and aliases.
Seeing some of the comments, I’m surprised to see people putting emphasis on Thunderbird’s calendar or missing CardDav support. Well, MailMate provides no such support.
I.e. for calendars I simply use Apple’s Calendar, for contacts I use Apple’s Contacts. I don’t need my email client to handle these.
That Thunderbird can do it, that’s cool, but I think Thunderbird has problems in handling email that should be fixed first. And I’m glad to see them invest in better Gmail support. I don’t even use Gmail as my personal account, but in this day and age it’s a must and the features (like labels) will prove handy for other email providers too.
Not able to find emails in my email client is a 100% deal breaker.
Back to Outlook I go. It's search isn't perfect, but at least emails show up eventually.
The practice of having plugins do core functionality is just not a good idea. Things that 90% of the users use should ship in the product.
For instance, cloud Exchange support is lacking. I couldn't even login to my work account, while other clients (Windows Mail, iOS, Outlook, etc...) have no issues whatsoever.
The calendar is just awful. The contacts is completely bare bones.
Here is hoping the new folks breathe some life into it.
Sigh. That probably means Thunderbird mobile is going to take till... 2021? 2022?
For me it's like a Swiss Army knife versus my full kitchen. I use a basic email client on my phone for on-the-go stuff (seeing what has come in, making quick replies). But for doing anything serious, I want a full keyboard and reasonable screen real estate. I don't think it's possible to have a particularly consistent experience, so I'm fine with using a different client on my phone.
Email clients also sometimes impose some level of formatting, and I'd like that to be consistent across mobile/web as well
I don't even use Thunderbird for email anymore, so I guess what I really want is a standalone calendaring application that I can migrate to.