Thunderbird is a decent native e-mail client. It does its job well enough already. IME, it's been stable and robust for a while now. Lightning is fine for basic calendar needs these days, too. Mozilla have hardly done anything significant to this whole area for a long time anyway, and short of some new protocol being developed or something like signed/encrypted mail becoming the norm, I don't see that the tools require a lot of ongoing development either.
I'd be far more interested in improvements to Firefox or, if we're talking about messaging, in having some kind of lightweight Exchange replacement with the same kind of ease-of-use so I don't have to configure a million text files on a Linux box to get a basic mail/calendar/contacts store set up. Personally, I trust the likes of Google (or any other data-driven/ad-funded freebie service) about as far as I can throw them, and they'll host my e-mail when they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands. :-)
You seem to also forget mutt, which, while substantially less useful, quite clearly does not suck.
I'm saddened by Mozilla's decision, because though I like mutt, I unfortunately live in the current decade and work with humans who are prone to sending HTML email, and Thunderbird has been the best Linux option for a while. I hope the KMail or Sylpheed people gain some development effort, because either one could be really good if it just had a few more developers.
More precisely, you work with humans who are unwilling or unable to configure their webmail accounts not to send HTML email because the webmail service providers make it hard to configure the accounts that way because that configuration reduces their ability to sell advertisements.
The 9000 ways of searching things in Thunderbird are not always an advantage, I found it makes it really hard for me to find things, because I have to select so many things. The searching of Mail.app makes me get what I want within 2 seconds for 95% of the cases.
If it doesn't there's usually a sensible drop-down suggestion of where to search (body, subject, recipient, sender). And if that does not help you, you can always use the system-wide Spotlight to drill down even further.
I've moved from Thunderbird to Mail.app about a year ago, and have been pleasantly surprised. I'm a pretty heavy mailer, receiving hundreds of mails a day and sending out 30-50. I also search my archives regularly and that has not been a problem.
I've not tried filtering into folders, but your mailserver should do that for you anyway.
We either need more extensions to IMAP (but what clients would support them?) or we need better web apps.
So from my perspective, Mail.app isn't "way behind" Thunderbird. Rather, they're at parity, and Thunderbird has a lot of other stuff that I can't use.
Edit: might be windows only, though.
There must be a good case to be made about light, responsive software. From the other posters here, I take it there's no light alternative to Thunderbird, and I'll keep using it, but 300 MB of RAM for an email client is a bit ridiculous.
At the risk of stating the obvious, a computer feels snappy when it responds to user actions (clicks, keypresses) quickly. That is a holistic problem -- one that concerns all parts of the system -- so it's hard to optimize. Software tends to evolve "within the lines"; it's hard to make changes that cross abstraction boundaries. But that's where performance is.
On the other hand, hardware has gotten faster unevenly. Disk seeks are the slowest thing your computer does besides WAN access, but those haven't sped up much over the last decade. Disk throughput (and size) have increased orders of magnitude faster than seek time.
But we're still using the same software abstractions (and the same software!) for these radically different machines. For example, stat() is still a synchronous call. In the old days it wasn't all that slow relative to CPU operations. Now it can take 30ms, which is 30,000,000 cycles on a 1 Ghz CPU. So arguably the default should be async.
C is another abstraction that had a reasonable performance model when it was invented, but no longer does. It's hard for the average developer to have a decent (portable) model of a CPU these days, especially with regard to concurrency.
It's a particularly important trade-off as you start considering, for example, more complex layouts where the size and positioning of one element may affect any number of others, elements get added or removed, etc. There's a spectrum of variations between these two extremes that let you choose between maintainable and fast, but neither end really has an ideal combination of both. Language and coding style changes can help, too, but a truly complete solution still seems absent.
The initial load is the second major source of peril for responsiveness. Even if a custom cache for the load is used, the user's first-run impression is still going to be of an uncached experience. Here the disk seek, as you mention, is of huge importance. But I find that I'm personally less irritated by load times than I am by software with intermittent spikes of high CPU usage, which will slow down the whole system at unexpected moments.
One of the other responses nailed what is a more common problem IME -- network activity and UI activity on the same single-threaded event loop. Firefox and Chrome both have this problem (or what amounts to it essentially). For example, in Chrome:
This bug has gone unfixed for YEARS (older ones were marked dupes of later ones).
The way we write software now is just too difficult to get right. Once you have 1M lines of C++ code there are going to be crazy performance bugs that nobody can fix. Chrome has some of the best engineers on the planet and they're not immune to this by any means.
I guess I would amend my original answer to say that "software size" is the problem. Everybody thinks they know how to write performant software. But that's only when you can fit everything in your head.
I would say that "toss and rebuild" isn't the #1 culprit because the web browser is the ultimate "toss and rebuild" architecture -- that is, every request and response stand alone. Yes web pages can be ungodly slow and unresponsive. But it's possible to make them responsive if you really simplify -- i.e. Google or craigslist.
In theory we could have a stateful web and make it faster. But I think our collective programming skill and our languages/tools just aren't up to the task. I think the web exists as it is, and is as popular as it is, because lots of people with "domain knowledge" could write dirty PHP scripts and such. They aren't fast but they get the job that users want done.
Firstly, architectures today tend to be multitasking and event-driven. A modern GUI application is usually built around an “event loop” that waits for various interesting things to happen, such as the user pushing a key or clicking a mouse, reaching a certain time, or receiving a signal from an external device. When an event of interest takes place, the relevant part of the loop will detect it next time around, and then run the relevant code to react.
However, if that code takes a significant amount of time to run, then the event loop won’t have a chance to react to anything else that is going on until the last event is dealt with. The catch is that things like repainting your application window because the user happened to move another window over the top of it are also handled by the event loop, so if you’ve got an application that is trying to check for new mail every five minutes but your network connection has dropped and it takes 30 seconds to time out, the application might be completely unresponsive to any other kind of user interaction during that time, and might not even redraw properly if you move other windows over it.
The usual solution to this problem is to introduce a degree of concurrency, so that any event-handling code that isn’t guaranteed to complete very quickly is executed in a new thread in parallel with the event loop. The loop itself is therefore immediately free to continue responding to other events, possibly kicking off still more new threads, as necessary. Unfortunately, there are significant overheads to coding this way, so a lot of simple applications don’t bother and just accept that they might become unresponsive now and then. And of course it’s always possible to make a mistake in the design, responding to a certain type of event that is usually dealt with quickly in the main thread without realising that under some circumstances it will take much longer.
The second factor is abstraction. We used to program pretty close to the metal, because you couldn’t get acceptable performance any other way. Today, we build on top of OS kernels, hardware abstraction layers, device drivers, virtual machines, run-time libraries, and who knows how many other tools, all stacked up and each composed of many layers themselves. The benefits of this approach are many: faster development time, more effective testing and more robust software, ease of porting software to run on different hardware or operating systems, and so on.
The downside is that every time you introduce another abstraction, you are potentially introducing an overhead, and those effects multiply. Even if your abstraction is say 90% efficient compared to programming directly to whatever lies beneath it, if you’ve got 10 layers of abstraction between the code you’re writing in your end user application and the hardware you’re ultimately talking to, the effect is to reduce performance by about 2/3. And there are a lot more than 10 layers between your average end user code and the hardware on most systems today, and some of them are far from 90% efficient.
The third and final factor is somewhat related: if development time (or, if you prefer, time to market) is more of a priority than raw performance, it’s easy to skip over the kind of optimization work that used to be essential to produce software that ran acceptably quickly and within the relatively limited RAM and permanent storage capacity available. It’s one thing to skip the fine details and hand-tweaked assembly language, which was often a very expensive activity in terms of time spent vs. resulting speed-up. It’s another thing to just throw in the first data structure or algorithm that comes to mind, often because whatever software development toolkit you’re using has a limited set of options available and maybe it’s not worth the time to code up something more appropriate, or maybe because as the industry has grown a lot of developers aren’t either formally trained or keen hobbyist geeks any more and not everyone knows about all the options. This is how you wind up with abstractions that are a lot worse than 90%, or that don’t scale well as the amount of data they have to deal with increases and assumptions that the hardware is “fast enough to make up for it these days” break down.
So, in summary, and in more of a cause-to-effect order:
1. The emphasis on reducing development time because of commercial pressures or other non-technical factors, combined with a certain complacency about the capabilities of modern hardware, means that not as much optimization tends to be done before code ships today. Sometimes this introduces a modest overhead, but it can be severe if a poor choice leads to scalability problems.
2. Even if the overheads of any one function are modest, we build modern systems from a stack of many abstraction layers, and their overheads multiply. The compound effect can easily be the equivalent of running on hardware from several years ago, even if no individual layer was grossly wasteful.
3. Because we tend to use event-driven architectures for a lot of modern software, including most GUIs, a single slow operation can block the whole event loop and effectively make the whole UI unresponsive indefinitely. More advanced architectures that would prevent this have significant development costs and aren’t always used for the same reasons as above.
[Edit: OK, this is getting a few upvotes and no-one’s replied suggested cutting it down, so I’ll leave the whole post as it is. Sorry if anyone does feel it’s too long.]
At least, in Windows, explorer is pretty much instant.
What operating systems? Is there anything specific features/aspects/licensing that would push you to $50?
If neither, (I assume free or close to it) why? How much time do you spend in an email interface? How much is your time worth?
The thing is, however, $100 paid to closed-source software vendor never guarantees he won't be out of business or bought by some Novell that will promptly run it into ground in a year or two. With open source chances for product survival are higher - though, as we see here, are in no way guaranteed.
Just in case anybody cares, I'm currently on Mac OS X, but when I worked on Linux & Windows, I used Thunderbird too, and the same applies for both of these OSes too.
That would seem to be the catch, I was originally talking about just an email client. This would now be an email client, exchange client, calendar, address book...
These are all things that Thunderbird doesn't get right. Also, search is completely broken.
I've got a tray icon in Gnome Shell (and I had one when I was using Gnome 2), using the FireTray extension, and there is also a Gnome Integration extension that provides a tray icon, in theory, but it doesn't work for me.
All of this can be solved by installing addons.
What is a tray icon? Is that a windows thing?
PS: What is the signifigance of the italicized is?
The "is" was just emphasis.
Exists in OS X, Windows, (both since their nascent editions) and Gnome since at least 2 if not 1, and KDE since at least version 2 as well.
Usually shoved off to the right as a cluster of icons designed for some core verbiage and notifications.
Edit: I saw you use Ubuntu. I happen to use Ubuntu as well. Does cross-platform matter to you?
Edit2: Got it, cross-platform doesn't matter. Cool, thanks for the responses!
Edit: I'd be happy if the developer of Sublime Text 2 decided to have a go at making a modern, cross-platform email client. Something tells me it would be exactly what I want.
Anyway, I'm starting to get to the point where I don't trust a piece of proprietary software to not try stealing my data, so that's a non-starter for me.
This is not my first tricycle ride around the HN block.
In the "who's the user, whose the product" dynamic, I'm a bit confused over what's what in the Mozilla empire. And while no, I wasn't a user, Thunderbird's among the better and more complete email clients out there, I don't see this as a good thing.
The alternatives -- including Thunderbird -- are bulky and poorly designed. I believe the wide migration to gmail is in no small part due to the extremely poor showing of e-mail clients on Linux and Windows.
Spam protection is a more serious issue, I think. Both mail servers and desktop clients do it. Mail servers, especially if they get feedback from clients, have a huge advantage though in that they can learn from all their users. The desktop client has to work with a single user's input; unless you implemented some kind of p2p collaborative approach (which would be really cool).
No ads (and no need to try to avoid them). Nobody systematically reading all my mail to custom-tailer said ads.
Easier integration with client-side encryption tools to facilitate end-to-end encryption.
Better support for plugins and other modifications.
I'm sure others have variations on this theme.
I have several GMail addresses, and a Google Apps email address for work, and variously-hosted other email addresses, all managed from within Thunderbird (with several extensions found over the years).
I don't want to merge personal stuff with my work email; I don't want to merge my work email into a personal gmail account; and above all I don't want to do either of those things then find that some robot in the system has locked me out of my account.
I also really need to have full offline access, so I can work in spite of unreliable or infrequent net connections. I.e., in 20 minutes of internet access in a crowded coffeeshop, I can upload dozens of responses to yesterday's mail, and collect today's mail, and fit in a few rapid realtime messages, then go. I'm not often forced to work this way, but when I am this is a lifesaver.
if Mozilla wanted to do "good things" and not "lets try to be another corporate company!", they' buy off postbox and release that open source, and keep the devs working on it.
They're abandoning TB because it sucks. Frankly. It's buggy, leaky, etc. No one really cared for it, for too long.
However -- at least for my primarily work and OSS-focused e-mail usage -- Sparrow's simplicity and focus is misaligned with my requirements and preferences.
There is interesting innovation going on, for instance <http://notmuchmail.org/>; (and satellite projects such as <https://github.com/teythoon/afew>; and <https://github.com/pazz/alot>.
Any further features for Thunderbird can be developed as an extension or as a fork (like, say, Postbox -- which is actually really more of an extension rather than a fork, as far as I know).
As an added bonus of FOSS, the code base can be forked into a new project and continued by those who are interested.
You type in their name/email and you get this separate tab (so many tabs). There are things like To Me, From Me, Attachment, People, Starred and a bunch of statistics at the top. You can see a screen shot here:
The regular search could be good for advanced searches. There are probably a bunch of options for it somewhere. But for most searches you really want the Quick Search which is some menu bar option.
Not sure what kind of design decision this is either. In Mail.app except for saved searches, I usually try a simp search, if that fails, then there is an option to try and refine it.
What triggered the article was the unresponsiveness from the Thunderbird team about ugly bugs we reported and they removed!
I miss Eudora :( Now that was a simple, fast, clean email client.
What the above is is ignorance of what it means to develop open source code.
EDIT: an please let's try and stop this trend here on HN of replying to comments ignoring half of them. I wrote "doesn't prevent that project from continuing" not "it will definitely find other people to carry on"
But now that I think about it again, I think I was a little harsh. There are plenty of good news sites about Open Source software and community.
No one's interested into making it better. Wish I was wrong.
Only that it was soulcrushingly slow. Firefox is quite snappy theese days (especially with pentadactyl, mmhm sweet jezuz) but TB was always a hog.
One part of me saw this while reading the letter: "Google Chrome is whooping our FireFox browser's ass and we need all men at their battle stations, including people from the Thunderbird team. We've been neglecting Thunderbird for so long that it's not like anyone's going to notice. After all, it took us 10 years to get Sunbird (Mozilla's Standalone Calendar Client) to version 1.0."
And the other part of me saw this while reading the letter: "The era of desktop software is coming to an end. Most people have smart phones, multiple computers, and use web-mail to keep it all in sync and accessible across all of their devices. Desktop email client users make up a small percentage of users and there's no reason for us to keep spending money and resources on something that will one day be emulated by a web interface."
=== Things Wrong With Thunderbird That Will Probably Never Get Fixed (too expensive / not worth it) ===
- The biggest problem with Thunderbird is that it tries to be a bare-bones email client with poorly integrated functionality in the form of third party add-ons. What really makes email clients shine is when a lot of usable features are tightly integrated with a very intuitive and snappy interface. Thunderbird out of the box comes with so few features that it can't compete well with web mail and when you do add on much needed features, they just get generically "bolted on" to the interface. Sometimes in ways that just seem unintuitive and backwards. And every time you update Thunderbird, ALL of your add-ons are rendered useless and you have to wait days/weeks/indefinitely for the addon to be updated. This is the biggest downfall of Thunderbird in my eyes. You'd have to redesign Thunderbird and that isn't happening, it isn't worth it.
- By default Thunderbird tries to send all my outgoing mail through 1 smtp account. This alone causes so many problems. Each email account should send emails from its own stmp. Not doing so can mark your "from" field incorrectly (has happened to me many times), trigger red flags (happened to me before) and make other email clients mark your email as "Gmail thinks this message is a scam".
- The SPAM filter in Thunderbird is A.W.F.U.L. Let me repeat that A-W-F-U-L. Despite training it for years it routinely misses the same spam, with the same title, and the same content, while sometimes marking very important emails as junk.
- The time and date selector for Lightning is just atrocious to the point where I hate having to use it. It FORCES me to set everything in military time and makes date selection more cumbersome than it needs to be.
- The tasks todo list for Lightning has never worked for me. Never.
- Thunderbird is stuck to one device (desktop). Technically you can have Thunderbird across a lot of computers by using IMAP instead of POP3 but that slows down and cancels out a lot of your speed benefits.
=== Why Mozilla Should Fix Them ===
- Originally I had typed up a HUGE list of things that desktop email clients can do that web mail clients cannot. Upon further inspection I found that a LOT of those features, everything from multiple accounts being displayed in one stream and searching across multiple accounts is now available in gmail.
- Email Clients allow me to have full control over my email inboxes and contacts without having to feed them into gmail.
- Email Clients give me a lot of options in how I can display, index, read, and write email.
- Email Clients allow me to search emails and contacts from across ALL my email accounts (gmail currently has a limit of 5 accounts).
- Email Clients allow you instant one click access to all your email accounts with powerful and expandable features, an intuitive and lightning fast interface, and god-like control over massive amounts of email accounts. For business people, entrepreneurs, assistants, community organizers, and domain owners email clients are a necessity.
- The same way power-users like using Seesmic for twitter and facebook, and people like downloading and using native apps over web based ones, the speed and control of software is what's keeping me with Email Clients at the moment.
- As soon as you have more than 5 email accounts to manage on a daily basis, the speed of an Email Client wins out. Gmail only allows 5 multiple accounts to be imported into your stream.
=== Why Mozilla Will NOT Fix Them And Instead Leave Thunderbird ===
- Everything I mentioned above is slowly getting emulated by web mail. At the moment gmail is the winner when it comes to email client emulation but in a few years I can see an elegant php+mysql web based email client that not only does exactly what Thunderbird does, but does it across all your devices. And without breaking all your addons after every update.
TLDR: The end is near for Outlook + Thunderbird + Mail + Evolution + The Others...
Thunderbird is stuck to one device (desktop). Technically you can have Thunderbird across a lot of computers by using IMAP instead of POP3 but that slows down and cancels out a lot of your speed benefits.
Your complaints about Lightning are misplaced. It's an extension, not part of Thunderbird itself.
=== Security Wise ===
If anyone somehow breaks into ANY of my email accounts I still have access to all of my emails, they can't delete any emails, and they can't read any of my emails. With IMAP they can just look through old confirmation emails and see your username, go to that site, try to log in as you, click "I forgot my password", and have it sent through email, log in with the new reset password and change all your credentials to a new username, new password, & new email so you can never log back in. Effectively creating a massive mess for you to clean up. Email is the greatest failure point of your digital existence.
I've reached a point in my digital life when I realize how insecure I feel to have so much information all over the place with ANYONE in the world able to access it all just by knowing a password. With everyone claiming a stake to own my digital property I feel the best way to truly be in control of my own words is to pull my emails out completely and keep them locally. I want to own my words, I want to completely control where they are and on what hard drive they exist. It makes me happy.
As someone who has also been a heavy Thunderbird user for years, I have not had the same experience. If anything, same content/subject/sender email spam is where Thunderbird's spam filter shines for me.
I have two fairly heavily spammed accounts, one of which has a public email address. They consistently catch and remove same or similar content spam every day without issue.
In regards to false positives, it does happen sometimes. Although in most cases the emails that end up in the junk folder legitimately resemble a spam message. Almost any time a legitimate email has been marked as spam, which doesn't really happen all that often, unspamming it is sufficient to ensure the sender doesn't end up there again.
Maybe its because I'm using a portable version of Thunderbird. Although it shouldn't matter.
??? You want to explain this a little further? IMAP is fast you only download headers.
This is the sane default. Your average access provider gives you an smtp server. Your average mail provider, if it provides smtp, may give you an smtp server that will rewrite your enveloppe and worse that is not available everywhere. So the smtp server to use should depend on where your computer is, not which mail account you are using.
> Not doing so can mark your "from" field incorrectly (has happened to me many times) trigger red flags (happened to me before) and make other email clients mark your email as "Gmail thinks this message is a scam".
See it is better to have only one good smtp server to configure to avoid those problems.
This makes me think that today, defaulting to using one smtp for all accounts is saner than bugging the user and having 8 out of 10 mail accounts that cannot send mails.
KMail / Kontact is actually a very nice client / integrated suite (and it will happily play either way). I consider it the best general PIM I've encountered on any platform.
Balsa and Thunderbird (GNOME).
From what I recall and read: sup is the ruby-based implementation of mutt. I believe there are also forks of the mainstream mutt which incorporate indexing, tags, and notmuch.
Note: No built-in IMAP (use fetchmail). Uses Xapian for searching. Handles multiple SMTP servers well (unlike TBird)
In seriousness, I'm not sure there is one.
I used thunderbird for a while but it doesn't show or work with conversation threads as well as gmail and it's search functionality is terrible (I always had to open up gmail to find old email)
The steps I believe are:
1. Forward All Email to 1 email address (you can use a filter to even forward the spam if you don't want false positives getting stuck in an email account you don't log in with often.
2. Set up the ability to send mail as all the email accounts on your main account (this is done in settings, i think it was under identities or something)
3. Select the option to (on reply) send email from the address it was sent to
With this you will also be able to send from any email account from your main one.
Also I don't really want all my email from these 3 services mashed together into the one inbox as it'd be almost impossible to undo and it'll get messy really quick.
All I really want is a side pane in Gmail similar to Thunderbird / outlook which shows the 3 accounts and their folders with how much mail is in each folder, then I can easily click on any folder to navigate to it straight away.
By far my biggest frustration as a 5-account, 3-OS (plus mobile) GMail and Apps user is the client. Two personal accounts, an academic and side project, and a professional one. Oy. Thunderbird provided some cross-platform consistency, but was far too clunky to last in my workflow - not surprised it died.
What I've done for the last six months (before recently experimenting again) was keeping the six accounts completely separate and using Sparrow on OSX/iOS as the primary means of access. It kept headers from getting all effed up with Gmail aliasing, but was a real pain when I would occasionally have to log in via web (signing in/out multiple times to check inboxes, etc.).
I've now decided to keep all non mission-critical forwarded to the same account (for me 5 Gmail/Apps accounts, for you would be your personal and side project accounts) and the professional account (Apps) separate. With Google allowing a max of Gmail and one Apps account at the same time, this works fine, so long as I'm willing to have my headers display stupid "sent by [me] on behalf of [my other email]" text. Which I am at this point for a little simplicity.
Agreed that an aggregator/navigator plugin would be killer (even if it just forwarded you to an incognito tab with your mailbox, to keep you from having to sign out of your main Google account) but the implementation details are onerous/likely impossible.
Note I don't mean Gmail/YahooMail/Hotmail. Just a web-based email client that can talk to multiple accounts using standard protocols. Some light server storage support for buffering the POP3 mails would be great.
Last time I tried the nightlies Thunderbird was coming together as a great "Messaging" client - with IM, IRC, Facebook, GTalk support, filelink for sending big files with dropbox.
It's just too bad, I don't find any of the new features in Firefox nearly as exciting as those. Without addons it is still set up and functions pretty much like phoenix does the way I have it configured. I never liked insert tab after current - which is copied from chrome, never liked tab previews which slow down ctrl+tabbing, despise the autoupdate service firefox installs now - they're pretty much jamming firefox with all these useless and copied features and stopping true innovation with Thunderbird.
I've used Thunderbird exclusively for all of my IMAP accounts (8 of them) for years. I cache all my mail locally so I can get to it with or without an internet connection and if I'm on the road and haven't got my laptop with me, I can still get to all my mail via a web interface. It's the perfect setup.
I will be a very unhappy bunny if Thunderbird dies on the vine and all I'm left with is Outlook or Windows Mail (neither of which have decent IMAP support).
Damn you Mozilla!
Allows you to do all sorts of templating within emails. A huge time saver. Great for customer service any any type of standard replies.
(Anyone know of any other way to do this should TB ever vanish? Can you write extensions for other email clients?)
* litmus reports 2.4%
Not the huge market share that you'd expect.
(Virtual Identity is a godsend when you have a domain; it lets you set up identities on the fly while writing an email, and manages them beautifully and helpfully for you)
I don't have good recommendations for the other two systems, though, sadly.
For sure, there are bugs never fixed and some features that would need polish. I hope support will continue for some time.
Thunderbird simply didn't have the other half of the equation, Exchange clones failed to live up to their promise and Thunderbird floundered with the introduction of Gmail.
With a powerful Exchange replacement on the server side, it could've flourished as the client of choice.
Not to mention that Thunderbird did not have a source of revenue like Firefox did.
Exchange + Outlook are horrible and mostly used due to the power of Microsoft's monopoly.
PS - I am an MCP and have administered Exchange in the past.
Almost all companies do? Or do you propose they use the public social web instead of groupware like Exchange or Google Apps?
>Exchange + Outlook are horrible and mostly used due to the power of Microsoft's monopoly.
What's horrible about them? Also, you don't need Outlook to communicate with someone using Outlook, so I don't see much of a monopoly effect unlike with Word or Excel.
If there's an alternative server and client software that costs much less than Exchange and is easier to administer but has similar or more features, why won't people switch? The lack of such server software is what killed Thunderbird. After all, some are moving to Google Apps.
>>Almost all companies do? Or do you propose they use the public social web instead of groupware like Exchange or Google Apps?
Odd you equate google apps w/ exchange.
Most companies have an intranet that includes a wiki, evernote, or forum. Also, many source code control systems include a knowedge base, wiki, and comment system. Google docs + hosted domain gmail is easy to use, more secure, more robust, and lower cost than Exchange + Outlook. The reason large companies don't do this is they have sunk costs in Exchange and an admin who likes it -- why change? But for start-ups and new companies it is a no brainer. Licensing alone of Exchange (plus windows server with active directory) is prohibitive. Most users have IM accounts on AIM, Skype, or Gmail to use for chatting.
>>What's horrible about them?
UI, stability, security, documentation, user license agreement, required system resources, remote exploits that grant admin rights. I'll run out of space to list them all!
>>I don't see much of a monopoly effect unlike with Word
Good point, for example MS is appealing the verdict that it in fact abused its monopoly position with Word vs. Wordperfect. It is more subtle when it comes to Outlook. For example, the only workstations Dell sells come with a MS operating system, that includes IE and Outlook (but you must pay for Outlook/office after 2 months or something). Or staples. Or Office Depot.
>>why won't people switch
The power of mono-culture aka monopoly. It is well documented in the public record that microsoft repeated abused their monopoly position.
This is beyond the scope of email clients, but look into:
Novel Networking (IPX),
3COM lanman licensing,
Sysbase & MS SQL server,
Apple's UI lawsuit vs win95 that MS settled,
IE & Netscape,
Real media vs windows media player,
The Samba group trying to get docs ,
Word & Wordperfect,
>> The lack of such server software is what killed Thunderbird
Wow, ummm, no.
I recently set up an email system for a small company using cPanel, hMailServer (a Windows mailserver) and Thunderbird. I actually looked at Zimbra but decided to go with a Windows-based solution. I also considered Google Apps, but was afraid it wouldn't allow for fine-grained control over access permissions (i.e. managers seeing subordinates' accounts and restricted shared folders) and also unrestricted creation email aliases/accounts.
Should I have taken a closer look at Google Apps? Thunderbird isn't the easiest to use, but I like how it's easy to work with shared IMAP folders. Do you know of any solution (groupware suite, etc.) to the need for shared email folders with user access control?
Advice from anyone is appreciated!
The bigger reason that with locally hosted mail, you have accountability and control over your own data.
>UI, stability, security, documentation, user license agreement, required system resources, remote exploits that grant admin rights
I am sure Google Apps has none of those issues, except things like this http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4198080
>It is more subtle when it comes to Outlook. For example, the only workstations Dell sells come with a MS operating system, that includes IE and Outlook (but you must pay for Outlook/office after 2 months or something). Or staples. Or Office Depot.
That sounds extremely roundabout. A 2 month trial of Outlook is not going to convince anyone to keep using it.
>Wow, ummm, no.
You have not provided one shred of reason to counter my point that, if there was a Exchange alternative that integrated well with Thunderbird, it might have been a success.
Web stuff is for groupware, but not MILSPEC.
Yesterday's Thunderbird is superior to today's Outlook as an email client.
I got tired at the end of my last reply.
There are better mail clients, but I've never, ever seen anyone doing collab-calendaring better than Outlook. (oh and google doesn't apply, most serious companies simply cannot use it for all sorts of legal or strategic reasons)