* The ''Compose Email'' editor is weird. Especially for hyperlinks. Why is it so hard to check the URL of links? (No tooltip? No statusbar hint? Not even a right click menu to copy or open the link in Firefox?)
* Font size handling is also quite weird. 
* But you can't ''View Source'' from compose email editor. (You have to save a draft and view source from there.)
* Getting the ''Compose Email'' editor in a tab instead of a window would be great too. (Is the Compose Email editor really the only thing still written in C and nobody wants to touch it?)
* Following authenticated RSS feeds theoretically works, but is completely unusable. 
Still one of my favorite applications. Many thanks to anyone spending time to keep it alive and improve it further.
* The onboarding experience is horrible; tries to sell me a gandi email account, then the setup wizard fails with an opaque error. Had to abort and configure manually.
* Setting a reasonable font-size on Retina requires a 3rd party plugin and results in the GUI getting garbled bad; overlapping items, truncated labels, unusable dialogs etc. Sorry but 12px is not a reasonable font-size in 2015.
* The default conversation view seems to be some kind of in-joke, it only shows the first few hundred chars of each message. A semi-reasonable conversation view can be bolted on with another 3rd party plugin but it feels rough (flickering redraws, ugh).
* Forwarding multiple messages inline is still not possible.
* Search has improved a lot.
* Fully disabling HTML mail is still an exercise in frustration.
* A whole bunch of "wtf" was enabled by default (Silverlight plugin, Flash plugin)
* During setup it tried to connect to about 8 different domains (mozilla.org, CDNs, whatever other crap), none of which was my mailserver. It should not do that.
All that said. It's still one of the best (if not the best) GUI mail clients available. That's how bad the competition is...
Thunderbird can handle high DPIs natively, at least on Linux. Hopefully OS X is similar. All fonts and UI elements are scaled up. Go to Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Config editor. Set layout.css.devPixelsPerPx to 2, or whatever looks good to you. It's the same procedure as Firefox.
* The message list can not scroll to bottom. Neither on startup, nor on arrival of new messages. That bug is open since 2010(!).
* The unread count and new message notification can not be disabled for specific IMAP-folders. Since my spam folder is a regular IMAP-folder (managed by spam assassin) Thunderbird insists on notifying me about every new Spam mail I get. Uhm, no thanks.
Shouldn't View > Message Body As > Simple Text do that for you?
If you're only worried about http image bugs, TB disables all remote content loading by default.
it probably also downloads a list of malware websites (called "reported attack site" and "reported webforgeries"in firefox)
I actually think it's a pretty good example of poor development strategy, specifically, they develop new features without polishing what is a very unpolished product - how on the earth they've spent resources on integrating a useless IM client, when there are tons of things that need work? Who knows. In the meanwhile:
1. using new windows when writing emails, especially in the context of a tabbed application, is a pain in the back. like this wasn't enough, a second window opens with the progress tracker, when transmitting. This means that every time one writes and sends an email, TB uses for a few seconds three separate windows.
2. the address book is buggy, and overall terrible, and it's been clearly untouched for a long time.
2a. it also uses as backend the single most braindamaged file format that JWZ has ever seen in his nineteen year career. as long as it works it wouldn't matter, but it actually does if somebody would like some interoperability.
3. when they updated the look and feel on a "major" release, they made the recipient email search much slower. since that release, I have to deliberately slow down my typing, otherwise TB doesn't find the recipients.
4. with another major release, they broke the shortcut for attaching a file.
All of these are basic functionalities.
Besides, the reason behind #1 is that the code is terrible to work with - some developer offered to work it out, but resigned after some weeks of code-diving.
I surely don't say that it's a terrible product (every product has snags), but I would say that, given the lack of resources, the poor planning, and the landscape of the market, TB is a product that does the job, but nothing more.
URL links: If you hover the mouse above a link, do you not see the full URL in the Status Bar at the bottom?
Font size: I hear ya. The mix of fonts make the messages appear amateurish at the receiving end. It's caused by entering text beyond the last </font>. Annoying. I hope they fix it.
URL in statusbar: Sadly no, not in the editor. Do you?
The EditHtml extension fixes that: https://freeshell.de/~kaosmos/edithtml-en.html
My only nitpick about Thunderbird: If you want to search for a message, you have to go through the menus "Edit->Find". I don't like that for two reasons, a search is not an operation that edits anything so that's really a wrong classification. And searching is not equal to finding. Maybe my search has no results. "Find" is the wrong word here (the equality of searching and finding is a very widespread misconception in software).
* Auto-compaction isn't working and so the .msf files are growing larger than they need to be. Thunderbird's per-folder metadata indices are stored in a weird texty append-only database format known as "mork" that you may have heard of, usually preceded or followed by some cursing. The file must be read completely into memory, and in many cases this ends up synchronously happening on the main thread. The upside to this is that the thread-pane is very fast and allows sorting on all columns, etc. Right-clicking on a folder and choosing "compact" will trigger compaction of the mork database as well as the offline cache (a per-folder mbox-style file where the downloaded messages are stored).
* Not leveraging Thunderbird's offline storage and proactive syncing of messages. If you bring up the account settings for the account, and look at the "Synchronization & Settings" tab, you want "Keep messages for this account on this computer" checked. You also want checkboxes by folders you care about in the list that pops up when you click the "Advanced..." button. With these enabled, Thunderbird will proactively download the message bodies to your computer, making them available for both offline access and rapid message display.
Note that if you only launch Thunderbird when you want to read your mail and immediately close it when done reading, you won't be getting much benefit from this and things may even go slower as you fight Thunderbird playing catch-up with your mail.
* You have a lot of of messages in the folders in question. The message file loading is O(messages) and so is sync without CONDSTORE enabled. (Thunderbird's CONDSTORE implementation regrettably has some bugs and was turned off recently. See https://bugzil.la/912216) Additionally, gmail's IMAP implementation can take some time to open an IMAP folder with a lot of messages because it needs to build a sequence number mapping and do other stuff.
I'm also a long time user, for much the same reasons as others here, and for a long time I would have agreed that Thunderbird is generally stable and has few serious bugs. However, I have noticed a serious degradation in quality in the past few months. Basic stuff like looking up names from address books when composing a message just doesn't work properly any more, and worse, sometimes it shows one address it's found as you start typing but then changes it after you've moved your focus elsewhere to be someone else. I don't have a reproducible case or a theory about what triggers this behaviour so far, which makes it hard to file any sort of useful bug report. However, I run into problems in this area many times per week now and have only been doing so for the past few months, far too often for it to just be some sort of user error. I wish I could remember exactly which update I'd just done when it started.
Also, it is more than a little creepy that Thunderbird is apparently phoning home every day to tell them I'm using it. Not cool, Mozilla. (Edit: Remove more general comment that unintentionally read as if targeted at Mozilla specifically.)
Note that if you follow the blog post's link to https://wiki.mozilla.org/ADI it says "Mozilla measures Firefox usage by the number of Firefox installations that retrieve blocklist updates from Mozilla's servers each day."
The "blocklist" in turn links to https://wiki.mozilla.org/Blocklist which says the following at the top: "Blocklisting is the ability to disable errant add-ons, plugins, and other third-party software for Firefox users. For graphics drivers, please see this policy."
Note that Thunderbird also can send telemetry data to Mozilla for performance data reasons/etc. This is notified by an infobar at first-run or upgrade that says "Would you like to help improve Mozilla Thunderbird by automatically reporting memory usage, performance, and responsiveness to Mozilla? Learn More" and then has "Yes" and "No" buttons.
relevant disclaimers since this touches on privacy stuff: I work for the Mozilla Corporation. I also previously worked on Thunderbird.
Right, but the fact seems to remain that Thunderbird is phoning home in a way I can't obviously switch off (I use few extensions, and don't feel any need for such a blacklist) and that wasn't disclosed.
I did turn off telemetry when I first installed Thunderbird, as I do for all software on any device I use where I'm not intimately familiar with exactly what it's really doing.
By quite a few years, and apparently I'm not the only one.
But that's really not the point anyway. Burying opt-out phone home behaviour in nothing but legalese small print is a dark pattern. Having no way to disable it without going into obscure parts of the UI that no normal user (or even normal power-user) is ever likely to find is also a dark pattern.
Again, I appreciate your taking the time to share the links, but this is still a screw-up if Mozilla are trying to convince people they care about privacy. I don't think anyone can effectively defend general purpose software that includes covert, opt-out surveillance in any form in 2015. It's not so much that this particular feature is causing clear harm -- maybe it really is just an innocent feature that happens to expose a user count as a side effect -- it's the principle that doing stuff behind your user's back is OK, in a world full of malware that does stuff that very much is not OK.
Specifically, I think the blocklist feature paragraph is quite good and not weasel-words. It explains:
- Tersely what/when/why Thunderbird does the blocklist ping: "Thunderbird also offers a Blocklist feature. With this feature, once a day Thunderbird does a regularly scheduled, automatic check to see if you have any harmful add-ons or plug-ins installed."
- What Thunderbird does with that information: "If so, this feature disables add-ons or plug-ins that Mozilla has determined contain known vulnerabilities or major user-facing issues or fatal bugs (e.g., Thunderbird crashes on startup or something causes an endless loop). You may view the current list of Blocklisted items."
- The information included in the blocklist ping: "This feature sends Non-Personal Information to Mozilla, including the version of Thunderbird you are using, operating system version, build ID and target, update channel, and your language preference. This feature also sends Potentially Personal Information to Mozilla in the form of your IP address and a cookie."
- What Mozilla does with the information (which is indeed not trivially obvious): "In addition, Mozilla also uses this feature to analyze Thunderbird usage patterns so we may improve our products and services, including planning features and capacity."
- A disclaimer about the lack of UI: "Currently there is no basic user interface to disable the Blocklist feature."
And then we have 2 more sentences:
- The link on disabling and why you wouldn't want to disable: "This feature can be disabled by following the instructions in this article. Disabling the Blocklist feature is not recommended as it may result in using extensions known to be untrustworthy."
And that was all of it.
In regards to the UI, if there had been a discussion about whether we should have a basic UI affordance for disabling the feature (there was not, to my knowledge), I think the bulk of the Thunderbird team would have argued against it because the risk to the user of rogue plugins/extensions was and continues to be serious. (Plugins probably more than extensions; Thunderbird tends to pick-up all the plugins that Firefox would see and most adware/malware implementors seemed otherwise unconcerned with Thunderbird.) Now if the checkbox also entirely disabled extensions and plugin loading, that could provide a safe trade-off for the user. But then we run into the whole "supported configuration problem". Every option adds new permutations that can lead to new failures, etc.
Incidentally, if you're reading this and thinking that I'm naive and/or over-reacting, you might want to stop and consider the company you're keeping. What other types of people use software that does things the user doesn't expect, collect data without advertising it, and make arguments about implied consent, the relevant disclosure being available somewhere hardly anyone will ever look, or how it's all done to improve the user's experience somehow? How many of those people do most of us like?
In any case, from both a practical and probably a legal perspective, anything that is not actively presented to a user is the electronic version of small print at best. You can rationalise this as much as you like, but the facts are:
1. Thunderbird is phoning home.
2. The user is not informed of this explicitly.
3. The user is certainly not actively giving their consent.
4. This still appears to be the case even if the user has explicitly opted out of sending telemetry when the software was first installed.
IMHO, any such policy is indefensible in 2015 if you want to be taken seriously as an organisation that protects privacy. This particular behaviour may be a minor infraction, but it's the general principle (and, frankly, your enthusiasm for defending it) that is of greater concern.
the risk to the user of rogue plugins/extensions was and continues to be serious. (Plugins probably more than extensions; Thunderbird tends to pick-up all the plugins that Firefox would see and most adware/malware implementors seemed otherwise unconcerned with Thunderbird.)
WTF??!! Thunderbird is apparently automatically running a whole bunch of plug-ins that I only installed for Firefox and have long ago set (in Firefox) not to run automatically, or in some cases that I didn't even voluntarily install at all. None of these things have any business being in any sort of e-mail client at all. When and how the [multiple expletives deleted] did this happen? I thought you (generic 'you') were concerned about someone installing an extension that had a buggy update and caused a hang on start-up or something. The idea that someone could send, say, an HTML e-mail with something like Flash/Java/Silverlight embedded in it and have it run by default is moderately terrifying.
But I have eight plug-ins installed in Thunderbird, and some of them I don't even know what they do. Why does Google need an update plug-in that I never requested or gave permission for to be installed in Firefox and Thunderbird?
As long as it's phoning home to tell them that someone is using it, and not that I specifically am using it, I'm fine with that. From the description in the post it sounds like that's the case, and I generally trust Mozilla to Do The Right Thing™ in these cases, but if you're concerned you could monitor the ping to confirm what it does and doesn't send.
The problem may be due to a new feature in auto-complete that searches for matches that include the entered string, not just ones that match the beginning of address book fields, which was the old method.
When auto-complete shows multiple options, arrow down till you come to the correct one and then hit the Tab key. This will make sure you have the correct email address in your recipients list.
> it is more than a little creepy that Thunderbird is apparently phoning home every day to tell them I'm using it. Not cool, Mozilla.
You can opt-out if you like:
Yes, I'm quite sure it is. At the same time, Thunderbird developed an infuriating habit of matching apparently arbitrary entries in my address book that had the letters I'm typing in there somewhere, with no logical priority order that I have been able to determine, and certainly not prioritising an address that exactly matches what I'm typing over half a dozen others that don't really look much like what I'm typing but apparently match according to whatever heuristics they are now using.
No, it won't. Clearly that was the intention, but it doesn't work properly if you type/move too quickly. I suspect there is some sort of race condition where some autocomplete-related process is still searching for things if you hit tab too quickly and/or without moving down the list so you just get the default shown, and can then override what you thought you were explicitly selecting. (Again, if this had happened once or twice and I couldn't reproduce it I'd assume it was human error, but I've seen this way too many times to believe that by now.)
I appreciate the link, but I'm not sure referring to a page that describes how to opt out of 14 different phone-home mechanisms for a different piece of Mozilla software is a great counter to concern over whether Thunderbird is doing creepy things behind its users' backs (however useful and/or well-intentioned those things may have been when some developer added them).
If you're going to claim to promote privacy, as Mozilla make a point of doing, then I believe you should start from a default policy of full disclosure and requiring opt-in. Anything less on either count and you damage your credibility, even if in reality you thought what you were doing was innocent and users wouldn't mind.
If you install the add-on MoreFunctionsForAddressBook, it will give you an option to match the beginning of address book fields.
This is quite easy to do in Gmail (and presumably other webmail clients) with forwarding.
The Gmail web app can do the exact same thing: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/22377?hl=en
I can't use my domain with Google Apps now, so I use my domain registrar's mailboxes and SMTP servers from my Gmail account for the same effect.
For those of you at companies with newer Outlook exchange servers( http://i.imgur.com/J31q7xo.png ) or the even newest-newer( http://i.imgur.com/7eX8S1e.png ), get davmail proxy server. http://davmail.sourceforge.net/ ...and you have to get the Lightning plugin to handle the exchange-calendar stuff.
Disclaimer: Don't ask me about how trustworthy davmail is with handling full access to you email account. I just know a lot of people use it and I've never heard negative. Though honestly, I wish mozilla would just acquire the project and provide a verified source & binary on their site. Or just do whatever davmail is doing directly in the thunderbird code.
The davmail code even handles Outlook having two-factor auth enabled, e.g. it'll recognize the extra form field, ask you to enter your token once, and then keep the session open, just like keeping the webapp loaded in your browser tab.
Seamonkey happily provides me access to my mail (several accounts), dozens of open tabs in several browser windows and more in about 500MB of RSS. Firefox and Thunderbird together would use almost double that. While this might not matter on a recent system with 8+GB of memory, on this Thinkpad T42p with a maximum of 2GB it is a significant difference.
MailNews results in a non-trivial amount of main-thread I/O that is going to badly jank your browser experience. The good news is that the worst of it will be when using the MailNews-related UI like switching folders for display, but it's still going to have an impact.
In other words, while theoretically a problem, in practice I don't see this as a viable reason to refrain from using both mail and browser in the same process space, ie. Seamonkey, not even on a relatively under-powered (1.8GHz Pentium M) machine.
So this bubbly and optimistic-sounding blog post confused me a little. But then I looked next at the previous entry in this blog and it states that at the end of 2014 they reorganized and elected new leadership to take over from the Mozilla people who weren't working on it any more.
So apparently there are at least some people actively working on it again, and they are hoping for financial sponsorship to cover a full-time developer.
If it works out, then actually it seems like Mozilla's handling of the problem ('we have a standards-based IMAP email client with millions of users, but nobody -- including the team in charge of it -- wants to work on it any more') was pretty good. They did keep the project on life support with security updates, for a little over two years, until they found some people that did want to work on it.
You can customize its UI and functionality through thousands of community-contributed add-ons.
Works on Windows, works on CentOS, works on Ubuntu. Never crashes. Gets steady improvement since forever.
I also heard that Firefox enjoys a major market share in Germany (a not-that-reliable source is http://www.quora.com/Why-is-Internet-Explorers-market-share-...). I even heard from a fellow German university student that "everyone [in Germany] uses Firefox" - obviously an exaggeration, but there must be some truth in it.
Anyone has an explanation (preferably backed by data) for the popularity of Mozilla software in Germany?
They also really like these 2-click-social-media-buttons, because it apparently gives better privacy (load the tracking/tweeting/liking script upon the click of a button, and when clicking again run the like/tweet function) http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Fuer-mehr-Datenschutz....
Which seems like security theatre to me. Why not just load the script on the first click, and then run the tweet function immediately after?
Because the tweet function invokes a pop-up window, which browsers won't allow unless attached to a click function.
> then run the tweet function immediately after?
The site should not be able to do so, because if that worked shady sites simply would trigger "like" or "tweet" for visitors to generate spam. Loading the original widget is the only way that is accepted by the social networks.
For example, they have more rules for Streetview. Also, German authorities were some of the first objectors to their wifi data collection:
Overall, I'm quite satisfied. The program is solid, the interface is good, and it does a great job of handling the many messages I both send and receive each day. It's smart about handling being off-line, many different accounts, and my other needs. Searching for messages within a particular mailbox (which I do a lot of) is fast and easy.
I realize that it's in vogue for everyone to use and love Gmail -- but several of my clients have forced me to do so, and I really can't stand the Gmail interface. Maybe it's just me, but having a standalone e-mail application is just about what I want. (Although I still do miss SuperCite in Emacs...)
There was talk years ago about Mozilla abandoning Thunderbird, or spinning it off. I'm very happy to see that they continue to invest time and money in its development, that it continues to be popular, and that they're proud to celebrate its popularity.
I also use several Gmail-backed custom domains, and that works just fine as well -- no one knows I'm using Gnus (unless they look at the User-Agent header, of course).
I have all of my GMail forwarded to my regular account, so it's mostly just a bother with sending out messages. Twice in one week, I responded to e-mail from Thunderbird, rather than GMail, and thus ended up exposing the fact that I'm a consultant rather than an employee of the company. The client went totally ballistic on me over this.
I'm pretty sure that there's a way for me to configure Thunderbird and/or Gmail such that I can use Thunderbird as a front-end client to their Gmail domain, but I didn't bother. Mostly, I just found it to be a foolish and controlling way for them to run their businesses, and hide the fact that I'm a consultant (when the simplest search on Google or LinkedIn would reveal otherwise).
When composing an email, pay special attention to the "From:" field. It is a drop down list that shows all the email accounts configured in your Thunderbird. Choose the one you need to use to save your client's face.
A more sophisticated approach is use the Identities feature of Thunderbird.
Gmail was built by engineers to manage email efficiently. Everything can be keyboard driven. Labels work better than folders. Filters super easy to create. I receive 200+ emails a day, and Gmail keyboard shortcuts are my go-to tool. Aside from sub-optimal (usually chorded) keyboard shortcuts, every local client I've ever tried has simply choked on the volume of mail I deal with, Gmail doesn't.
I use MailPlane to get the Gmail UI but with smooth integration into OS X and multiple Google accounts loaded in parallel with the Google multi-login nightmare.
Thunderbird (and other decent desktop packages) allow me to reuse the over a decade worth of training I have with my OS's KB shortcut semantics.
In addition, using the keyboard in a browser is a mess. It is very easy to not have the current context set to a different application, and Gmail's non-standard K/B shortcuts can lead to unpredictable (and destructive) changes in other applications (for example, accidentally entering random text in a document open in my text editor). Using standard OS K/B shortcuts means that if I am doing a search, and even if my current app is not the one I think it is, it's likely to still do a search, and not enter random characters.
Come on, you did sort of ask for clarification didn't you?
The UI could also use some cleanup. While I don't like apple changing things because they can change things (when they do), i feel like Thunderbird UI has room for improvement in usability and aesthetics.
Well, i've been thinking about setting up a mail client in my linux VM, guess I could install it and see how it fares.
Are there any other open source email clients that people use, that are maintained?
There's also Geary by Yorba, which has a similar look and feel to the mail client on OSX but for Ubuntu-based distros. It is standard on ElementaryOS.
Imho, none of them is very good. I prefer gmail for its UI. At work, I use Thunderbird because it sucks the least.
Thunderbird's UI could be a bit better but it performs well and does its job without causing too much trouble, so I'm quite happy with it.
I've considered PostBox but never got as far as installing it. What are your experiences? How does it compare with Thunderbird?
I do however have two gripes:
1) When saving an e-mail as a draft, and then re-opening it another machine, it often changes the From mail account. As such, I end up sending mail from my personal mail account when intending to use my business mail account. This was reported as a bug years ago, but has still yet to be fixed.
2) When logged into the same IMAP account from several machines, sometimes a mailbox created on one machine doesn't show up on another, and the only way to get it to show up is to toggle "show subscribed folders only", restart Thunderbird, toggle it back, and restart again.
Issue 2) I haven't. As annoying as it is when it does happen, it's not that common and although requires some extra steps, doesn't result in looking unprofessional to clients like in 1). However, there has been a few instances lately where my staff have created new subfolders within a shared imap folder and moved e-mails into them, and I've been unable to find those emails until I recall this issue. So it's probably worthwhile to start gathering details and file a report to prevent this interruption in workflow.
But, I do find it interesting that anyone would chose an app mail reader over an online mail reader, one that I can access all my mail from any device anywhere in the world. (should I choose to trust that device).
Yes, I get that maybe you don't trust gmail/hotmail/yahoo but I guess I just wonder if maybe the time and effort making Thunderbird would be better spent on an open source email server that's as easy to install as something like wordpress but more secure.
Of course maybe it's just me. I haven't used an email app since about 2003. First it was oddmail, then yahoo mail, then gmail. There's no way I could go back to having access to my mail stuck on one machine. If you like your setup good for you.
I guess I'd be curious what you get out of it though. Do you run Thunderbird on all your devices? Does each device have access to all your email? Can you search it quickly? If you don't have thunderbird everywhere do you find yourself waiting until you get back to device that does have it to use email?
You don't have to use just one IMAP client, you can use many clients, just as you might use several different web browsers or text editors. They all access the same mail store, and the message state (read, flagged, replied to, etc) is synchronized among all the clients (this is what the IMAP protocol is for).
On a decently powerful computer, searching is typically faster than any online service, including Gmail (though it depends on the mail client).
Thunderbird's search is fairly poor. On OS X, I mainly use MailMate and Apple's default Mail.app client software. Both of these can search through my 500,000-message email archive (all my personal email in/out since 1995) much faster than any online service I have seen.
With a dedicated mail client, you can also have all your mail without being online -- to me, this is essential for working on international flights.
Being able to use multiple standards-based clients also lets you avoid keeping all your eggs in one basket. You can use the best client on each platform that suits you.
I only ever use Thunderbird on Windows, where there are not many good email clients. OS X, Linux, iOS, and Android all come with better (for my needs, YMMV) email clients than Thunderbird.
Finally, IMAP is a real standard with a huge body of work behind it. I look forward to even better standards emerging, e.g. something like JMAP maybe, but for now we do have IMAP, and it solves every single problem that web-based email solves (indeed there are many webmail UIs that give you online browser access to your IMAP email store). But with native clients you also gain several advantages over typical webmail service from Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, etc.
Plus no ads.
I think the main thing is that you can't really add on a lot of things to webmail. Look at the success of outlook in office, because you can add so many things to an exchange server that IMAP doesn't support. Reserve rooms for a meeting, schedule events, and more.
Or, small organizations often have a single IMAP server, and do not use gmail. If you are part of several servers(graduate students/scientists/professors), a client allows you to access your mail from all of these systems. If they have webmail at all, it's awful(Think Squirrel Mail). I sort of tried adding my university email to my gmail account, but the feature always broke in weird ways.
There's no way I could go back to having access to my mail stuck on one machine.
Curious that you should say this, because with webmail, your mail is on the server. With IMAP, it's on the server and on as many clients as you want it to be on.
one that I can access all my mail from any device anywhere in the world
'anywhere in the world'? Good luck reaching your webmail from a place that doesn't have internet connectivity, of which there are a great many places in the world. Or if there's network issues. Offline clients still give you access to email history during network outages.
It's rather nice that Mozilla maintains Thunderbird but doesn't change it much. The Firefox UI keeps changing, but not improving. Over three years, Firefox moved add-on icons from the top to the bottom, then hid them, then moved them back to the top again. I'm worried that if they change Thunderbird, they will "add social features", make it send your contacts list to Mozilla HQ for "syncing", or something like that.
For a relatively consistent experience across platforms, without having to depend on a local application.
Nothing is life is so important it can't wait until I get home for an answer. If it is so important like work email then they will provide me with a phone and an email account which they do. I'll gladly carry that. But for my personal use. I just don't see the point. Do I really need to see that recruiters email right now? Do I really need to see the amazon shipment confirmation right now? Nope.
I have all of my passwords in a keepass db which is also only accessible via my home desktop. I can't access anything even if I needed to since everything has its own pw which I don't know.
As I said. Nothing is that important.
POP hasn't been the only game in town for a very very long time.
That way I get an interface that allows me to open multiple emails at once, and all the keyboard shortcuts I like, that uses a lot less CPU than a gmail window.
please please add support for something which is not mbox format storage.
Maildir, sqlite, whatever. I hate "From" inside an email becoming ">From". It's fragile as hell (although, last time I suffered corruption was in 2006 in Windows; never had my mbox corrupted in Linux).
Even with this, I prefer it to all other email clients, native or web, that I've tried.
Support for maildir format has existed since Thunderbird 12.
You can follow the steps outlined here but to minimize the risk of data loss, please back up your profile first.
What exactly do you mean by syncing Thunderbird with Firefox OS apps?
* For times when I have slow or no internet, I can still read and compose email, and it will be quite responsive
* It works with all the mail accounts I use, like my gmail account I'm trying to depricate, and the fastmail account that now hosts my own email address
* The Enigmail plugin is probably close to the best UI one can create for GPG
* While the UNIX romantic in me would prefer to use Mutt all the time, even my finely tuned Mutt setup can't seamlessly deal with things like HTML emails all the time.
* It's a huge software package, and often takes quite a bit of memory
* I don't currently know how to make it tie into a keyring for storing passwords, so I either have to let it store my email account passwords in plain text, or essentially have a second master password
* It's not the prettiest software in the world, but it's not bad either. the UI is at this point pretty unremarkable, so while it doesn't amaze, it doesn't confuse too much either
* I don't know its keyboard shortcuts, or even if they exist, well yet, so I'm using the mouse a lot
You can choose from hundreds of community-contributed add-ons to customize Thunderbird's UI, or you could write one yourself.
> Cons: I don't know its keyboard shortcuts, or even if they exist, well yet, so I'm using the mouse a lot
Thunderbird at this point is mostly maintained by community members. Feel free to get involved.
- Control over my emails instead of being behind a wall
- Supports all the features of SMTP instead of what the web application guy decided to provide
- Graphical representation of common text patterns used in emails since the early days
- Allows me to store all my contacts information without sharing it with whatever server somewhere in the internet
- Aggregation of multiple accounts
- A very cool feature of editing existing emails as new ones, instead of doing a copy-paste dance
- I favour native applications over web ones when given the choice
EDIT: Forgot to mention NNTP support
I've since given up on PGP and offline access for the most part and have been using FastMail's web interface.
Will add no adverts, no 1000s of ajax calls trying to show things unrelated to email, does one thing and does it well, works well on slow connections, does load one day and require me to understand the new UI moving mails to tabs or whatever that stupid thing gmail did a while back, No harvesting of my mails
Question is, why do people use webmail instead of thunderbird
I can backup my email. To anyone who thinks GMail will be around forever, Google "Ozymandias".
Don't get me wrong, I like and use Thunderbird but sometimes I wish they would put more effort into improving the UI
Why programs insist on an UI update every so often - well commerical programs to convince you to buy a new license.
Tool makers don't go, every few years "hey we have this spanner, it looks like a spanner, works well as a spanner, lets redesign it so it no longer looks like a spanner, doesn't work as good as the old spanner but maybe we can convince people to buy it again"
If they want to kill some low-hanging fruit, search is fundamentally broken. I've almost never found what I'm searching for -- it's reddit bad. It's usually better for me just to go log into that gmail account and search from there.
1) I mark 100% of the emails from a particular sender or with a particular subject line as junk, yet the junk classifier still puts emails from that sender or with that subject in my inbox. This is the low-hanging fruit -- the stuff that is so obvious that it is spam that a human can figure it out without looking at the message body at all, yet Thunderbird can't seem to get it right no matter how much you train it. I can only guess that they are placing too much weight on the body content (which is easily padded with hidden text to con the algorithm) when a bad sender/subject should trump whatever is in the body.
2) Emails from people that I've emailed in the past sometimes end up in the junk folder. I thought they were supposed to be whitelisted automatically (by automatically being appended to some special section of your address book).
3) I've implemented message filters to detect certain words like our product name and move the incoming message to a high-priority folder, yet messages that should match the filter still end up in the junk folder on rare occasions (and, yes, I have it configured to run the filter before junk classification is applied -- I'm assuming that junk classification should not be applied if a filter moves the message out of the inbox).
4) It sometimes seems to just stop learning, so I have to reset and retrain the junk classifier or it gets to the point where the only emails that it recognizes as being junk are the ones in a foreign language.
Actually, I've developed a theory that the search actually uses a stochastic method that randomly samples emails from my mailboxes in the hopes that some of them will match my search result.
The search also biases the results based on recency and things like whether the message has been starred/flagged, whether it was authored by/involves contacts in your address book, etc.
e15ctr0n is right that your best option is to use quotes to do a phrase search of "open house" in this situation, although you will still run afoul of the porter stemmer. (Unfortunately a post-pass filter if you realllly want "house" was never implemented. There is an open bug, however.)
The results were literally what I describe, just a random sample of emails from the last few years. I keep using the search hoping I get something useful returned, and even when I do things like put in exact phrases I know are in the message, I get a random pile of junk back.
I should just learn my lesson and stop trying to be honest.
1) If you use quotes, it is looking for the quotes in the text, so I'm surprised you got any matches at all.
2) If you don't use quotes, it is still looking for an exact match (except that it's not case sensitive), so searching for "open house" without quotes should not match unless the words are adjacent to each other.
3) It doesn't seem to pay attention to token boundaries, so a search for "house" (without quotes) matches "warehouse"
So, it is a little unintuitive (and really should have a help button that explains exactly what it does), but it seems to work for me. I don't use IMAP, though, and the comments by qznc about IMAP  seem like they may explain why you are seeing what you are seeing if you use IMAP.
Edit: I just noticed e15ctr0n's link to info on the global search -- I don't have that enabled (probably disabled it to save disk space a long time ago) so if that's where you are seeing problems, that explains why I never noticed.
So for fun, I just sent myself an email with the subject "open house" and body "open house" (no quotes).
I then searched for "open house" (with quotes) and got a list back. Sorted by relevance, they return in the following chronological order: 2008, 2012, 2013x7, 2012x23, 2011x12, 2010x12 and on and on. Nothing from 2014 at all, and nothing from 2015 at all.
All of the returns have "open house" (or some variant) in them, quite a few have punctuation or non-alphanumeric characters right next to them, so that's cool. In quite a few "open houses" scores more highly than "open house".
So I filtered down to one mailbox. Now, I get a few from 2014, but no joy on my recent one.
I change the filter to another mailbox. About 10 down (there's only 12 "matching" in this mailbox) I see one of the relevant emails I was looking for earlier, but not the one I explicitly just sent myself.
If I remove all filter constraints and sort by date instead of relevance, the email I just sent shows up at the top, followed by some emails where "open houses" match my query, followed by the earlier email I was looking for.
So it's kinda working if I sort it by date. Sorting by relevance seems to be entirely useless. Sorting by mailbox is kinda useful, but doesn't seem to show most recent.
I dunno, it still seems faster and more accurate to hit each of my mailboxes separately from the web interfaces if I need to search them.
I think qznc might have hit the nail on the head about IMAP and getting weirdly out of sync.
1) It shows me two search fields and irritatingly I need them both. One is the global search in the index. The other searches linearly per folder without an index.
2) If you disable local caching for IMAP, it does not index the emails, so the global search reports nothing. (if you enable caching it regularly goes out of sync with the server and behaves weird)
3) Linear search through an email folder in 2015? It is slow, for full text search.
Altogether, no fast full text search in Thunderbird for me. Compare that to Gmail, where it works great.
It's possible that your index is corrupt, too large and so may not be functioning correctly. You can rebuild it by following the steps here:
As a work-around, the quick filter search seemed to work better for me.
more or less maintenance only
I absolutely agree with this. I really don't want my e-mail client to be innovative. I just want it to work, connect to as many of my accounts as possible and keep everything separate (I hate unified inboxes with a passion that could melt the heart of stars).
I do wish it got a visual update every once in a while, and they fixed search. But other than that it does what I need it to do and it gets out of the way the rest of the time.
The giant step in usability was the intrusion of a fast search engine. Outbound filters were another nice improvement but not as important. Not UI anyway.
I have the settings the same as the MS online app smtp.office365.com, port 587, and I can receive mail just fine. I have spent a few minutes here and there googling around and trying to figure it out but so far no luck sending mail (if anyone has any ideas...)
Then click "Done" and not "Re-test".
That said, TB has been my email client for years and years. It has everything I need, and works well. It also has warts, but if you use any kind of software you get used to warts.
Otherwise it was a great client, and it was much easier to customize than Outlook.
Thanks for all the work invested into it.
"Did you forget to add an attachment?" ("Oh, I didn't!", "No, I did!")
You can move your profile across computers, or back them up to restore later.
Reading the documentation on those links just proves the point :-)
Would like an extension to be able to execute actions in 1 click (such as creating a pdf rather than multi menu clicks) and I'm willing to pay for that. Anyone who can write thunderbird extensions contact me by reply.
Keep the good work, and evolve it please!
Here is a related, tutorial-type blog post with screenshots:
Thunderbird releases go like 24->31->38...
Thunderbird now follows an Extended Support Release process, rolling out every eight release cycles equaling every 54 weeks.
This is because Thunderbird is no longer in active development; it is primarily in maintenance mode.
(Why don't they make a new UI and add more stability?!)
It has a bad integration with gmail/outlook for students (I know it's their problem).
It doesn't have a modern UI (things like a multi line view that would make users happier). Furthermore, I can't use it in background since it takes 300+ MB. I may list something else, but these are things that could be solved with a more active development.
What is better? I would use mailpile (it promises a lot!), but web apps doesn't give you so much freedom.