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Is Thunderbird Too Little, Too Late?

You win some, you lose some. The Mozilla project has won big with Firefox, but not so much with Thunderbird. Thunderbird 3 is a decent mail user agent, but it doesn't seem to have the right stuff to break out into widespread usage.

A few weeks ago, the Mozilla Messaging folks released the second beta for Thunderbird 3.1. The list of features amount to some nice improvements, but nothing revolutionary. One has to wonder if Thunderbird will ever be relevant to a wide audience, or if the Mozilla Messaging team should be focusing on doing more than incremental improvements to an old-school mailer.

I don’t mean to harsh on Thunderbird unduly, or disparage the good work being done by the Thunderbird developers. Criticizing Thunderbird feels a bit like kicking a puppy with a boot made out of kitten skins. It seems harsh to say, but Thunderbird appears to be floundering as a project and certainly isn’t grabbing market share the way Firefox has. That’s a shame, because the philosophy behind Mozilla Messaging is very user-centric.

It’s harder to find stats for mail client usage compared to finding stats for browser usage. Looking at some email campaign companies that fingerprint mailers, you’ll see Thunderbird with about 1% to 2.4% of the market. Compare this to more than 35% for Outlook (all variants) and a pretty hefty share for Webmail clients. The iPhone comes in with more than 8% according to Campaign Monitor.

Fuzzy Use Case

One of the problems with Thunderbird is that it doesn’t seem to fit with most users’ needs for email. That is, it doesn’t work well for business users who need features like calendaring and groupware connectivity, and it doesn’t work well for casual mail users who have mostly adopted Webmail or whatever ships on their computer.

If the stats compiled by the Campaign Monitor and Fingerprint are relatively accurate, it shows that most users are either working with Outlook, Webmail, or the mailer that ships with the iPhone or their Mac. In other words, casual users who need compelling features to be motivated to switch, or advanced users who need connectivity to Exchange.

Thunderbird isn’t well-suited in either case. Don’t get me wrong, Thunderbird is a decent mailer for advanced users. But it doesn’t seem to be focused on any specific use case. It’s too complex for casual users, and not full-featured enough for business users. The audience it is well suited for is not large enough to push it into double digits.

Why’s that a problem? Mozilla Messaging needs to find some ways to fund the project and encourage more developers. The Mozilla Foundation gets most of its money off the search deal with Google right now. It can earn big bucks to pay hundreds (yes, hundreds) of people to work on Firefox and other Mozilla projects because it has enough users. And Firefox is large enough that third parties want to participate and help make Firefox better. Thunderbird is not seeing that kind of momentum.

No Developer Momentum

One of the major problems that Thunderbird has is that it has very little in the way of a developer ecosystem. Firefox was made great, and massively popular, in large part thanks to its developer community, especially the enormous add-on community. Even before Firefox was as popular as it is today, it had a thriving add-on developer community.

Thunderbird? Not so much. Actually, the mailer seems to be going backwards a bit. A friend of mine was searching for an add-on to send out emails at a specific time. Nothing like that exists for Thunderbird 3.x, but there was an add-on that did this a couple of years ago. It just hasn’t been maintained. This was what started me thinking about Thunderbird and where it was going.

The Lightning and Sunbird calendaring projects have been struggling due to lack of developers. They have been in development for years, but still haven’t made it to 1.0.

Thunderbird Stands Alone

Another problem that Thunderbird has is a lack of a server-side solution. Sure, it handles IMAP and POP3, but good luck with Exchange, GroupWise, etc. On the consumer side, it lacks solutions like Mobile Me to sync contacts and such between computers.

And there’s no mobile Thunderbird solution in the picture or on the horizon. Thunderbird doesn’t fit well with the way many people are using mail.

The Raindrop project from Mozilla Labs looks interesting as a way to unify different messaging services. But it doesn’t really interact with Thunderbird.

No Killer Features

Thunderbird has a few nifty features in the 3.x series, notably around search. But really, Thunderbird doesn’t have any features I can think of that make it a “must have” over any other mailer, especially on Windows or Mac OS X.

When I compare Thunderbird to other Linux mailers, I can’t think of any features that make it super-compelling next to Evolution or KMail. It’s not bad, it just isn’t across-the-board better, either. And for power users, it’s probably not as interesting as Claws or Mutt. Thunderbird is moderately customizable, but not to the extent of Claws, Mutt, or Gnus for Emacs.

Suggestions

Despite finding flaw with Thunderbird as it is today, I’d really like to see Mozilla Messaging succeed, and succeed wildly. There should be little doubt that the Web is a better place today thanks to Mozilla Firefox, regardless of whether you use Firefox itself.

Email, calendaring, and other groupware is a cesspit today. Email has not improved significantly in the 15 years I’ve been using it. Calendaring is still a mess of corporate and individual silos that mean it’s next to impossible to conveniently set meetings between individuals or organizations.

It’d be a good idea for the Thunderbird folks to think seriously about fixing some of the back-end problems, and deciding whether to focus on consumer or corporate use. I’d recommend consumer for the time being. Moz should also think about not only fixing some of the back-end problems, but hosting mail for users as a way to help fund development. Perhaps even developing a Webmail solution instead of concentrating on a desktop client.

Thunderbird also needs to have some killer features that help it stand out from the pack. Being able to send timed email would be a start. Allowing users to annotate emails and do more contact management within the mailer would be another great feature. Thunderbird desperately needs calendaring. The project should stop focusing on Sunbird and make Lightning an optional part of the Thunderbird install.

A mobile strategy also seems like a necessity, though Thunderbird mobile seems unlikely. Apple probably wouldn’t approve it on the iPhone, and I’m imagining it would have a hard time gaining traction on Android or Blackberry.

Thunderbird is a decent mailer, but it’s not a game-changer the way that Firefox was. If it doesn’t improve drastically, it seems doomed to always have only a sliver of the market — which makes it unlikely the project as a whole will succeed. So far, the improvements in Thunderbird 3.x have been too little and too late to drive mass adoption.

Comments on "Is Thunderbird Too Little, Too Late?"

timrichardson

Thunderbird is cross platform, which is attractive to me and why I use it on KDE. It\’s less buggy than kmail (Thunderbird\’s search folders work, it automatically makes IMAP accounts locally cached and it works out-of-the-box with gmail, none of which is true of kmail), and has a working funambol synchronisation plugin for address book synchronising.

Outlook 2007 is a very horrible piece of software and I wish Thunderbird had a MAPI plugin so I could use it as my Outlook client.

So I like Thunderbird a lot. You\’re right that it doesn\’t have any killers features. All it can claim to be is a fast, stable, cross platform, easy to use email client, but that\’s pretty good.

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aigarius

What are you talking about? Thunderbird has great calendaring and groupware features using the Lightning addon. This means that people that don\’t need the groupware don\’t have to have it loaded and cluttering their interfaces.

I am using Thunderbird 3 + Lightning + DavMail to connect to our corporate Exchange 2007 server and it works perfectly and is much easer to use and far faster than Outlook.

Maybe it would be useful to have a Thunderbird Groupware package that would have all those three components preconfigured to work together for newbie users, but a simple manual describing how to set them up is just as effective here.

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netmatrix

It\’s funny to me to hear these comments. I would assume that these people have never tried to get \’newbie users\’ to try to use this software. Thunderbird with Lightning has some serious issues when trying to schedule meetings with other people. Things weren\’t syncing correctly and invites sometimes just didn\’t work at all. I recall a particular time that I was helping someone and Lightning wouldn\’t run at all.

As far as cross platform goes, last I used this Lightning wouldn\’t just work anywhere you tried it. I understand that things can be hacked to made work, but that\’s kinda the point of the article isn\’t it.

Welcome to 1%.

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scathew

First, there are ton of Thunderbird users, so I think it\’s a little premature to \”deprecate\” it.

Second, as a \”mail tool\” (forgetting calendaring etc.) it is pretty exceptional and far better than Outlook in functionality (Outlook tends to \”know what you want\” even if you don\’t want it). It also, unlike Outlook 2007, correctly renders HTML rather than forcing everything into a broken Word DTD.

That said, yes, more integration with contacts/calendering would be nice. And yes, for business environments this presents a problem (frankly for business environments, it needs all that plus to work with Exchange).

However, you can use Thunderbird and Outlook together, which I do.

So, I\’m not saying you\’re extremely off, but maybe giving it a bit too short of a shrift.

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dford

I agree. I\’ve been using Thunderbird/lightening since version 2 and little has happened over that time except it has become more bloated and clunky. I used it because it could do IMAP and I like having my mail backed up on my own mail server. But those days are gone – I\’m trialling gmail at the moment to see how it stands up to my less than optimum Internet connection. Gmail gives me the same as I have with running my own mail server and thunderbird/lightening clients.
Do I really need to have a mail system that ties me to my own server any more? Even with Squirrellmail I need to run a web server just for \’out and about\’ mail access.
The main advantage of gmail (anywhere access) is hard to beat. Is it the future of thunderbird to be reborn as a simple, fast \’app\’ for gmail/Live/yahoo (rather than have a plugin to the huge clunky beast for those services)?
Or is the future of thunderbird just to die quietly? That would be a pity, a lot of people have put a lot of work into it.
David

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tbuskey

I think most email users are doing Outlook/Exchange or a web client (gmail/hotmail/yahoo/your ISP). The days of the standalone email client are waning. The only place I can think of growing is on smartphones (blackberry, iPhone) where a web browser might not work as well as a web client.

I used to fetch mail from the server to my local system into MH with exmh as my front end. Gmail caught up enough with filtering. Its search is better, its capacity is more then I need, it\’s reliable enough. I got used to its lack of folders. And its spam filter is better then what I can casually do.

As for calendaring, I haven\’t seen anything I really like yet. Exchange comes closest, allowing sharing, syncing to phones/PDAs and being available via OWA. I wish resource booking was more reliable, but I don\’t really have an alternate. Google Calendar isn\’t there yet and it\’s harder to share with non tech users.

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eionmac

Funnily enough. When working for a company with 40 odd thousand desktop/laptops it was not MS Windows or Linux or MS Office etc. when we searched for ways to reduce cost, that was the \’killer app\’ but MS Outlook! This and this alone kept company tied to MS .

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billie0w

I\’ve used Thunderbird exclusively since it\’s first release, in both Windows and Linux applications. I have always found it to be an excellent e-mail program.

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sgsax

Some of us happen to like an email client that *only* does email. I find that all-in-one \”communication suites\” are bloated and overrated, as are pretty much every webmail client I\’ve tried (that includes you, gmail). Thunderbird will be my email client of choice until something significantly better comes along that is an email-only client.

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billseitz

(Personal context:
* I have used Thunderbird for years, on both Mac and Windows, both within startups and for personal use.
* I\’ve never used Lightning or Sunbird, partially because until recently I kept my calendars on unsync-ed Linux PDAs.
* I pay TuffMail for my own IMAP account.
* I have a GMail account, and recently started having GMail scrape my TuffMail account so that I can easily see new mail for both on my NexusOne Android phone when I\’m away from a computer.
* If I were starting a new multi-person startup I\’d probably pay for GoogleAppsForBusiness, but still use Thunderbird as my client.)

I think your advice is completely the opposite of helpful.

They should focus on a particular niche and target features and UI to that audience.

I think the small-business (including sole-prop) is probably the right target, since I think \”consumers\” are going to overwhelmingly go with webmail, and big-companies are too likely to have already to have bought into the Exchange ecosystem. (Though friends don\’t let friends use Outlook.)

I think Lightning should probably be built-in. (Or else structured in a way that makes it auto-download-and-plugin based on some simple user action.)

I think they should focus on having Lightning work really well with GoogleCal (esp because of Android) and Zimbra. Other open-source calendar servers should probably at that point \”just work\”. I think maybe they should actually *host* an open-source calendar server, since there doesn\’t seem to be much of a hosting market out there like there is for IMAP.

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dragonwisard

I agree that Thunderbird lacks \”killer features\” or compelling advantages over webmail. In particular, while I use Thunderbird every day, I also use Gmail\’s webmail for my primary email account. (Thunderbird covers my work and secondary accounts.)

Gmail\’s search is a LOT faster than Thunderbird\’s \”Message body filter\”. Also tagging is a better paradigm that folders. Further more there is a lot to like about how Gmail\’s threaded representation of conversations, especially with mailing lists. If Thunderbird had a way to pull that off, it would be great, but I don\’t see it happening.

Maybe Thunderbird and similar traditional mail clients are doomed to fade away, but considering email is long overdue for a major overhaul that\’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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ecartman

I wouldn\’t be calling the undertaker yet, in spite of the forms bug (see https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=533545). I still use it, with the Lightning plugin; find it to be an excellent tool. I don\’t use it exclusively, but it\’s my main email client and certainly the one I recommend to others.

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sonshine

I agree with the comments about the good features of Thunderbird, and the not so good…I prefer it to anything else on any platform.

I think it has to meet the M$ Window$ platform where its connectivity happens. Thunderbird needs to be able to hook up seamlessly with Exchange and other backend mail server systems. That would make it more popular.

It also has to be able to replace Outlook painlessly for those users who resist change. Many M$ customers know little about applications that don\’t ship with the operating system. They get almost everything (albeit less than the best) they need or want including office suite, web browser, email client, games, toys, photo viewers, paint program, etc; they often don\’t look for anything else…..

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rooth

Market share is definitely tricky with mailers, because some of us use more than one, regularly. I have Firefox sitting next to Thunderbird right now, but I use the Gmail web client for gmail and Thunderbird for my company mail. Why? Because I\’m behind a slew of firewalls and proxies, and sucking gmail down into an IMAP or POP client over that bridge would be like sucking a basketball through a straw. I would probably count in that study as being a webmail user, but I use Thunderbird much more often.

Our company standard is Lotus Notes. I\’ve never seen a mail client with so many bells and whistles and \”enterprise\” fu! I\’ve also never seen a mail client so dysfunctional and non-portable — if I\’m sitting at a different computer in the company than my usual workstation, and want to read my mail, I have to use the webmail client, which is awful. With Thunderbird, it\’s right there on a network share that both platforms can get to, and functions the same on any Windows PC or Linux box I decide to sit down at. Plugins and all. Lotus Bloats can\’t shake a stick at that.

Oh, the calendaring might be better on Lotus, but only when it\’s accurate. I had a meeting yesterday, and I was the only one who showed up because everyone else saw it as being an hour earlier. And it wasn\’t a timezone issue, it was literally different times for different people for the same meeting invite. I had to take screenshots to prove it, I knew people would think it was PEBCAK. Enterprise-ready? Yeah, if you\’re interested in inefficiency in your workplace.

Oh, and for those \”lab\” environments where you\’re isolated from the corporate network, standing up a Lotus infrastructure is really cost prohibitive. Thunderbird (or other free/low-end mailer) and a simple IMAP/SMTP server is all you really need.

Point is, while Thunderbird may not be as enterprise & corporate friendly as other options, the other options compensate their shiny exteriors with garbage performance and unreliable functionality.

All that said, I agree that Thunderbird needs some verve. Here\’s a thought for Thunderbird development: turn it into a local service that you interface with using your favorite browser. The common consumer likes webmail, so give them webmail. Maybe they\’ve grown used to gmail\’s interface, so offer a plug-in that morphs the service info into something resembling that interface.

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boxofrocks

It\’s interesting when someone posts an article like this just for shock value.

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jzb

Thanks for all the comments so far — lots of thoughtful responses. I appreciate that most folks understand the main point: Being a good enough mailer is not enough to sustain Thunderbird as a project. To continue funding the project, Moz Messaging needs to find revenue sources that will support it. While Thunderbird may be fine for x% of the market, it\’s not appealing in its current form to y% — that is, the % that would be large enough to sustain development + growth.

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jzb

@boxofrocks not at all. I really am concerned about Thunderbird\’s future. I don\’t see anything at the moment that is pushing it more towards the mainstream, where it needs to be to survive as a profitable project like Firefox.

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jzb

@dragonwisard: \”Maybe Thunderbird and similar traditional mail clients are doomed to fade away, but considering email is long overdue for a major overhaul that\’s not necessarily a bad thing. \”

Well, yes. I\’d hope Moz would be at the forefront of overhauling email/messaging — but so far, I\’m not seeing it. The Mozilla team made some \”daring\” choices for Firefox that paid off well, but I don\’t see the same thing in Thunderbird…

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mrrtd

Thunderbird needs to have the calendar included by default.

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troll666

traditional email clients are not going to fade away, most fortune 500 companies are not going to drop all their internal email on a gmail account, not for good while anyway. I use TB 3.0.4 with Lightning 1.0b1 and Davmail 3.6.6-1032 to hit our corporate exchange server (50K+ users). been doing this since Davmail 3.6.6-1032 was released and not had any problems. It was also not a hack to get it work but the average M$ user would probably not want to bother. I also use gamil and dislike it. some people like tags, I prefer folders. I use enough folders that searching is not an issue. I also agree that the calendar should not be included, like Firefox, it needs to be single focus and you add what you need. I just moved my wife from Outlook to TB, took 10 minutes to cover the differences and no questions after 2 weeks. TB will have a long life, there are a lot of internal corporate employees using it and keeping quiet.

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ppmyers

I\’ve used Thunderbird for years. Just upgraded to latest release. I think it\’s the weirdness that keeps Tbird from widespread use.

Let\’s take forwarding emails. When my conservative buddy sends me a picture of Obama playing golf with Satan, and I click \”Forward\”, so I can send it to my other conservative buddy, I want to send both the PICTURE AND THE TEXT. Same thing when my liberal buddy sends me a picture of \”W\” having sex with a chicken. I don\’t want to click \”Reply\”, then overtype my first buddy\’s name. Is that too much to ask?

When I click forward in Outlook, it sends a copy of the entire email to the intended recipient.

And what\’s with this tabs thing? Maybe it\’s just me, but it seems like tabs are wonderful in Firefox, and suck in Thunderbird. Actually, they sucked in the new Firefox until I figured out how to get them to act like they used to, but now they\’re wonderful again.

Weird.

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andr999

I\’ve used Mozilla since day zero (and before that Netscape). I continue to use the Mozilla suite, now called Seamonkey. It includes the equivalent of Firefox (fully compatible, one step behind the latest ff code), as well as the equivalent of Thunderbird (almost right in step).
Maybe the Thunderbird (or the suite\’s version) doesn\’t have all the pizaz of Firefox, but it is much better than Microsoft\’s Outlook Express (I haven\’t used the full Outlook). The 3.x version has many exhancements. Seriously, webmail is sooo slow compared to POP or IMAP access available with Mozilla mail. You just leave Thunderbird/Seamonkey running, and it automatically downloads any mail at regular intervals (from all your POP/IMAP mail servers), classifies it for you, sorts out the junk mail. True, you have to configure it a bit. Which is very easy and clearly documented.

As for email suppliers, there are many free ones available with POP or IMAP access, which also give web access, for those who want to access mail on the move. (But don\’t complain the next time Google or whoever looses your email if you choose to leave it on their server instead of storing it on your own computer.)
And it you have a portable computer, you can always use it to access your email.

As for corporate users, I don\’t see what needs they could have that exceeds Thunderbird\’s capacities.
(Or the Mozilla Seamonkey suite\’s capacities.)
(Albeit with additional configuration.)
(I have several email accounts – for different purposes – directed to over 100 folders – mostly according to sender – including one for Linux Magazine.)

A note about a calendar/agenda : It doesn\’t make sense as part of an email program. It is really a separate fonction. Before Firefox was split off from the suite (and developped separately for a few years), the suite had a calendar module, like it currently has an IRC Internet chat module. This fonctioned separately from the navigator and email modules, as it should be.
That is a current weakness of Mozilla. The Lightening calendar can be installed in Thunderbird or Seamonkey, but inside the email module instead of separately. I\’ve tried it, and it messes up the email module. Hopefully, a variation will be introduced that opens in its own window, like the old calendar module used to.
By the way, using Firefox and Thunderbird together is more of a load on the system than using the Seamonkey suite, as a lot of duplication is avoided.

So maybe many potential Thunderbird users are actually using the Mozilla Seamonkey suite.
Note that aside from integration factors, the suite\’s email client uses almost exactly the same code. And has the same functionality.
Note that almost any Firefox or Thunderbird addon module can be installed in Seamonkey. (Essentially, the developper has to designate the compatible Seamonkey/Firefox/Thunderbird versions.

The problem with M$ users not being bothered to download third party software for Internet access is nothing new. Why do you think MsIE still has 80% of the browser market ?
So someone will finally make the effort and downloads Firefox. But they won\’t download Openoffice, It\’s too big. They won\’t download the latest version of Java or Flash, it\’s too big or too complicated.
They wouldn\’t even do M$ security updates, if Microsoft didn\’t nag them.
So why is it surprising that they don\’t download Thunderbird, when they can use Firefox for (albeit slow and cumbersome) email access ?
By the way, I use Linux, Openoffice, Mozilla. Almost everything on my system is open source. And I contribute to various open source projects.

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andr999

@ppmyers
I agree with you about tabs in emails.
Fortunately, they can be deactivated. (It\’s a little complicated in Mozilla Seamonkey, as there is currently only one variable for tabs at the moment. But there is a temporary workaround.)

By the way, the Lightening calendar installs in a tab in Thunderbird, which is why I uninstalled it.
The developers evidently didn\’t realize that most people wouldn\’t like tabs in the email, even those who prefer tabs in the navigator. (There has been lots of feedback, especially in Seamonkey.)

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andr999

@ppmyers #2
To forward, just click one of the options under \”messages\”.
There are 3 options, you\’ll have to try it to see which works.
It seems to be
1) text only
2) text with attachements integrated
3) text with attachments as supplementary files
But I\’m guessing from the titles.
(Thunderbird could use somewhat different titles + my Seamonkey is in french.)

You should see what it will do before you click send

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kmoffat

Some thoughts:

At my office we use Firefox and Thunderbird exclusively. We have MS Office, but do not use Outlook. The Mozilla apps meet our needs. I would like Lightning to be improved. I would like it in it\’s own window.

We have not upgraded to TB3 yet, since change is not always welcome by the entirely non-techy staff.

I personally have used Firefox/TB since day one (started on Mosaic!) and run Linux (Debian) at home. I continue to root for the underdogs.

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ctryon

I agree that Thunderbird and Lightning need to be bundled as an optional install. I\’ve used the two for a year or so now (after abandoning Evolution because it crashes all the time), but in order to get any of the decent features, I\’m forced to use the beta software, and trying to keep the two in sync with each other is a pain in the *xxx*! Personally, I find Thunderbird works reasonably well in an Exchange environment, and Lightning syncs OK with my Google calendar (but NOT with Exchange).

The one thing I would REALLY like to have is a working task manager — something that can actually sync with something or other (Google, Exchange, *anything*!)

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ronjensen

Thunderbird would be my choice for email except I can\’t get Thunderbird 3.0 to work with Gmail. Cannot get it to send mail from Thunderbird.
Seems it would be important to get this fixed.

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catalina

I use T-bird on a regular basis as my primary e-mail client. Also use lightening for syncing multiple calendars and another slick add-on called \”Quick Text\” which I cannot live without in my business environment. I can get similar features with G-mail/Outlook…but I have not found something that will do what Quick-Text does. It reduced my customer response time by 75%.

I think sometimes a little negative advertising is necessary at times to bring back an awareness to a project that has not received enough attention.

One thing to note is that Thunderbird and Firefox were instrumental in my migration to the Linux environment. I did not know anything about the Open Source world until I stumbled upon Firefox/T-Bird. I have a soft spot for anything that is open source that performs as good or better than a closed project. I think the current and past developers of T-Bird deserve a pat on the back for putting out a great piece of software and hey, the price is right!

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ewbaptist

I have several computers running Mac OS 10.6, Windows 7, and various flavors of Linux. Although I use Outlook and Mac Mail enough to be ready for support questions, Thunderbird is my favorite and is installed on all of them. I don\’t like the tabs however. They just don\’t translate very well from web browsers..
I support many users who employ only webmail. This is very flexible and also convenient for managing your quota on the IMAP server. However, I did have to help a user who found that webmail saved *.docx files on her XP PC as the literal XML folders. A quick Thunderbird installation and configuration fixed that problem.
As far as Outlook goes, it\’s a PIM app which can email but you tolerate that for the calendaring.

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three_jeeps

I am a longtime T-bird user beginning after the emergence from Netscape. In my university environment, it worked fine..yes, a few quirks but…it was solid and fairly peppy, even when I was dealing with 2000+ emails. We used a different scheduling app..which underscores the point that these two things don\’t really need to be bundled together. Then we were forced to migrate to Exchange and Outlook 2007 (or, affectionately known around here as \’Lookout!). Talk about quirky behavior (At *least* two clicks to do every operation). Its design screwups are legendary (oh, all your mail is stored in one BIG file on your PC, which has interesting ways of being corrupted). Not to mention synching with the Exchange server is painfully slow. But the powers that be wanted it because \’it worked so well with Blackberries.\’ In the corporate scheme of things, some features just win out by dictatorial decree, not necessary the better technology..I\’d love to have T-bird back….
BTW, I never had any problem getting it to work with Gmail, unless this is a feature with a newer release…
-j

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navico

I completely disagree with the article.

I run a Linux laptop in my Corporation (+19.000 ppl) with the Exchange collaboration platform. I always used Evolution as collaboration sw for the past 18 months, but it was buggy in its Exchange feature and the new MAPI driver is still unstable and incomplete. Moreover with Exchange 2007 the exchange feature of Evolution doesn\’t work anymore.

So I turned to the already mentioned Thunderbird + Lightning + DavMail configuration and IT WORKS OUT-OF-THE-BOX with everything: Exchange, GMail, other POPs accounts.
IMAP autoconfiguration is fantastic.
Meetings, LDAP, contacts sharing with the server. It can send meeting invitations in Outlook style and correctly process the attendants answers, they wont recognize I\’m on a Linux box.

There are still a few minor issues, mostly about contact mgmt: in those cases I use OWA and that\’s all.

I don\’t see any reason to turn back to Evolutin (not to mention M$).

Niccolo

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ijstokes

For me, there are two killer features of Thunderbird that have kept me loyal for almost 10 years: 1) It is cross platform, so I can run pretty much identical setups on my Linux, OS X, and Windows machines; and 2) It has great off-line functionality. I spend a lot of time working on planes and in cars where I have no connectivity, and the TB offline mode is essential to my work.

As a bonus, there is a good mix of add-ons that I can use to customize TB to my tastes.

Ian

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bnight

Still using Thunderbird here!

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ArchieK

The killer feature for me which doesn’t seem to be in evolution (don’t know about the others) is sort by date and view by sort, this is so tidy and as for Outlook 2010!! what a confusing interface, and people like it? Tabs are great, just get used to them, when I first started with tabs I thought it was broken as I couldn’t find my email! but now wouldn’t want to go back to no tabs, and the filtering works really well, presenting a tabbed list so it can be kept open and referred back to with just a click. I use it for IMAP (local Exim Server) and Yahoo mail,the only thing it doesn’t do is copy what I send back to the yahoo account, but maybe I’ve missed something. Long live Thunderbird!! Oh and it doesn’t hoover up virus’s on our windows boxes.

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Thanks for the article post. Much obliged.

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I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this site. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?

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