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Mozilla Thunderbird

I've been gradually tiring of using Outlook lately (say the last 2 years) and have been on the lookout (excuse the almost pun) for another mail client that will serve my needs. I've returned to Eudora for a while and even considered Outlook Express. I know also from that the Bat is highly regarded. However...

I've recently downloaded and been looking at Thunderbird. Although an alpha, it actually seems pretty good and stable. I like the UI and it appears to offer all the functionality that I need such as multiple accounts and rules. Above all, I like that it doesn't run incoming viruses by default.

As yet, though, I have not made the switch. I was wondering, is there anyone else out there that has been using it for a while that has any useful experience to offer?... such as "don't use it, it's stinks" or "it's better, even, than sliced bread"


Sam Strachan
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Not that you asked this, but I too have searched for the perfect email client over the years. There's something to hate about all of them. The best I've found yet is "Becky."

You can default to showing the text of an HTML message or the HTML (and turn off scripts), compose regular text or HTML messages, have multiple accounts with different check times, threaded message viewing (or flat), and quite a bit more.

It lets you choose your own editor for messages, or use the (quite good) built-in editor. Here's the part I also like: You can edit incoming messages. If you want to trim out all the fluff in a message to just keep the part you want, you can use "Edit Mode" on a message to change it. You can change the subject or body. It's a much more valuable feature than it sounds -- you can add phone notes to an email you received, if you like to use your Inbox as a to-do list, like I do.

It also supports plug-ins that can work on the messages, the GUI itself, etc. There have been quite a few good plug-ins written.

Troy King
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

I just started using the mail client in Mozilla 1.4, and I must say that the junk filters have worked perfectly so far.    This and popup blocking are the killer feature of Mozilla for me so far.

I looked at Thunderbird, but it seemed kind of "alpha" quality, as you say.  If I get used to Mozilla, I think I might switch over to Thunderbird as it gets more stable.

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Troy: thanks - I will take a look at Becky.

Anon: Same here. I like the idea of a separate web and mail client. I like the Mozilla mail client but don't want to have to go via the web browser... (or if configured otherwise, get to the browser via my email client. Don't ask me why - I can't justify it - it just feels better that way.

Sam Strachan
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Question: have you used Mozilla before installing Thunderbird, and did you import your old mails? (If that was possible and stable, I'd switch immediately.)

Most likely you also have heard that Mozilla 1.4, just released yesterday, will be the last "all in one" release, and from 1.5 on releases will consist of several components (browser a.k.a. FireBird, mail client ThunderBird etc.)

- Roland
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Roland: Yes, I've done successful imports with both Mozilla, and thunderbird. I think I'll just take the plunge; it can't be any worse than Outlook ;-). I didn't know, however, that 1.4 was the last all-in-one release. I might RTFM from now on!

Sam Strachan
Wednesday, July 2, 2003

I've been a staunch supporter of The Bat! for many years. I just tried Mozilla Thunderbird, and I'm pretty much positive that I'll be using it full time when it's released. So far it's only crashed on me once in the few hours it's been running. Not bad for an admitted alpha.

The UI is slick, the filtering is good, multi-account support is good. The signature support is weak, but I'm wondering what I can't cook up with the templates to overcome it (still haven't experimented with templates yet).

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, July 2, 2003

I have been using Netscape Mail (version 4) for years, then switched to Mozilla Mail ~2 years ago. This spring I started using Thunderbird.

There were times when I was looking for alternatives (Eudora, The Bat, ...), but I kept using Mozilla because I like the UI.

Thunderbird is a great mail client. I didn't have any crashes or other program errors, no loss of data. Importing mail profiles works like a charm. So I can really recommend it to you; there are still some UI inconsistencies (e.g. differently themed buttons), but that's what they are working on at the moment, so it will change rather soon.

The spam filter, as mentioned before, works great. I have not had a false positive for months, but occasionally spam passes the filter.

My main issues with Thunderbird are:
- There is no alternative to the old nsnotify utility which resided in the Windows tray and checked for new mail. If you want to be informed of new mail you have to keep the program running.
- You will be notified of new mail even if all you received was spam which then got caught by the filter. This is being worked on, but could take some months to be resolved.

Thunderbird/Mozilla Mail is the best email application there is.

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Thanks for your responses guys. I'm a convert!

Sam Strachan
Thursday, July 3, 2003

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