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Mozilla Messaging Devs Don't Want To Duplicate Outlook

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the thanks-be-to-the-gods-for-that dept.

Communications 355

Petr Krcmar writes "Thunderbird 3.0 Alpha 1 was released last month. A few months before, two main developers left the project and development was moved from the Mozilla Corporation to the Mozilla Messaging, the new subsidiary of the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. We had the opportunity to ask some questions to David Ascher, Mozilla Messaging CEO. The interview is about present and future of Thunderbird and about related projects like SeaMonkey, Spicebird and Mozilla Calendar."

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355 comments

Nice Article, Misleading Summary. (5, Interesting)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23727721)

Nothing should be ruled out. An Outlook like summary page, sync and what not could easily happen.

Thunderbird is somewhat like a supertanker. It's been sitting in port for a few years with only a maintenance crew on board, and now we're trying to take it out to sea with a bunch of new sailors on board â" it takes a while to grease all the machinery, fix the rusty pipes, get the old-timers to train the new folks, and agree on a course.

Do you think that Thunderbird has ambitions to compete with Microsoft Outlook in near future?

I'm less interested in specifically competing with any specific product, and more focused on figuring out what the best user experience we can give users is. I'm sure that for some users, Thunderbird 3 will be a better fit than other products, but taking on Outlook or any one product isn't how we're looking at product planning.

All we can be sure of is high quality and something users will like. I like Kontact's layout and feature set, which is much larger and more flexible than Outlook. It would not surprise me to see something better from the Mozilla team, but I won't be disapointed if the interface is what I'm used to. He goes on to mention social networks. This is exciting, but I'm not sure today's social networks do enough to protect their users from advertisers and other fraudsters.

PIM as Social Network Tool? Yes! (3, Insightful)

Odder (1288958) | more than 5 years ago | (#23727953)

It's time the free software world merged PIM with social networking. The goal of Personal Information Managers is social network tracking and free software should be able to replace things like Facebook. Facebook, Myspace and other social networking sites really get their start because people in the non free software world don't have adequate PIM tools. The extras Facebook and MySpace have provided could easily be provided by free webservers and interface modules. Everyone would appreciate the granularity, control, security and privacy free software would grant them for their information.

The usual suspects are standing in the way. The M$ desktop monopoly leaves most people with an inadequate network stack and package management. ISPs block ports and do other stupid things to community sharing software. The US government is so without a clue that it's more a problem than a help. These things will be overcome.

Re:PIM as Social Network Tool? Yes! (1)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728111)

KDE is already working on aspects of this [kolab.org]. Kontact has html calendar, journal and free time exports. It would not take much to integrate this will more extensive blogging and server software.

Re:PIM as Social Network Tool? Yes! (-1, Troll)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728323)

Seeing you reply to yourself as usual to karma whore reminded me of this [youtube.com].

It's about twitter, birdies, stalkers, cyberslut attention whores (I kid you not) and social networking, so it's actually on topic as well.

teh funny from dezero (1)

willeyhill (1277478) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728561)

You must be old there. Share the love.

Re:teh funny from dezero (-1, Troll)

dedazo (737510) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728833)

And who are you again? Oh, yes [slashdot.org].

"dezero", that's hilarious. Next thing we know you'll start spelling Microsoft with a dollar sign! Hahahah!

Re:PIM as Social Network Tool? Yes! (5, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728375)

Wait, wait, so you're saying if we merged this PIM thing with social networking, we just might actually get someone laid [jwz.org]?!

Re:Nice Article, Misleading Summary. (2, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728025)

I think Lightning (or whatever it might morph into) could do worse than "taking on Outlook." I know people have security concerns with Outlook and that it's fun to bash on Microsoft, but as a communication and organization tool Outlook is an extremely polished, capable platform. I use Outlook daily on my work laptop, while I have Lightning installed on my personal machine. One of them wins hands down as a productivity tool.

Re:Nice Article, Misleading Summary. (0, Redundant)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728389)

Outlook had a few nice interface ideas but it's underpinnings are rotten. It has not been updated in years and the single database for all of your information makes it little more than a toy. The atomized aproach taken by all the free software projects is superior, allowing for faster accesss, easy portability and data integrity. Years ago, they had a device advantage for sync but Open and portable are all the rage today. The only thing that Outlook has was good integration of information. Lightning should follow that and probably will, so that there may be a superficial resemblence to the interfaces.

Re:Nice Article, Misleading Summary. (4, Insightful)

tokul (682258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728607)

I use Outlook daily on my work laptop, while I have Lightning installed on my personal machine. One of them wins hands down as a productivity tool.
I suspect that you don't use Outlook. You use Outlook and Exchange.

Re:Nice Article, Misleading Summary. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728531)

Twitter, enough with the online masturbation! Just pick an identify with decent karma and stick to it, instead of using a dozen sockpuppets to dominate a discussion. Your tactics tends to destroy the conversation, which hardly helps to get any of your points across.

Assuming you have any. There's a reason you keep getting downmodded, and it has nothing to do with an evil M$ conspiracy.

OK, actual discussion begins here:

The headline makes perfect sense. Outlook has many good features worth copying, but the overall product is a mess. People who write open source alternatives to MS products often make the mistake of copying everything, even the mistakes.

Re:Nice Article, Misleading Summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23728973)

Why are you posting at -1? Oh, yes [slashdot.org].

Vowels (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#23727833)

Petr Krcmar

Son, you ain't got quite enough vowels in your name.

Re:Vowels (3, Informative)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729027)

The Rs are actually vocallic.
That, though, should be mitigated by the fact that the C should probably be transcribed as CH.

</nitpick>

Mozilla calendar? (4, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23727837)

Can't they come up with a better name than that? Something that combines a place or condition with an animal name? Something like "streetcornerzebra" or "bridgetroll"?

Come on, Mozilla, get your act together.

Re:Mozilla calendar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23727899)

I thought it was "Mozilla Sunbird".

Slow down cowboy! It looks like you can type faster than 5 WPM.

Re:Mozilla calendar? (2, Funny)

jlebrech (810586) | more than 5 years ago | (#23727909)

How about SolarBadger!! It's a solar based calendar system, hence solar. and badger because I want it to.

Re:Mozilla calendar? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23728697)

Regretfully, SolarBadger would be plagued by mushroom and snake bugs.

Re:Mozilla calendar? (1)

doctor_nation (924358) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728965)

Well, the standalone calendar is called Sunbird, and as it meshes with Thunderbird, it's called Lightning. So I think that fits the odd name requirement.

Hmmmm (3, Funny)

aeskdar (1136689) | more than 5 years ago | (#23727895)

Mozilla Messaging Devs Don't Want To Duplicate Outlook
Neither does Microsoft's EULA

It will die to obscurity, with the rest of the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23728435)

crap only geeks could use

As well they shoouldn't (3, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23727977)

Aside from vendor lock-in, Outlook isn't some genius application. I (would like to) believe that it can be done as well or better without aiming to duplicate it.

Re:As well they shoouldn't (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728399)

iMail.

Sounds like a troll, but it is, in my opinion. Gmail is better too.

A few features that need to be improved on by anyone fixing Outlook:
  • Searching email is horrible. And slow.
  • It is hard to find contacts (ie, people who've emailed you). Google does this one right.
  • It is nice to have threaded email (iMail and gmail do this), but not necessary.
  • Don't delete all my locally archived emails just because the server crashes (yes, this has happened to me. A pain).

Re:As well they shoouldn't (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728885)

It is nice to have threaded email (iMail and gmail do this), but not necessary.
For me, this is a necessity. I hate having to figure out who said what in which e-mail when I'm at work (using Outlook).

Gmail is amazing at this. Best feature in my opinion - especially when e-mail chains get long. (Haven't used iMail.)

Re:As well they shoouldn't (5, Insightful)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729315)

I hate having to figure out who said what in which e-mail when I'm at work (using Outlook).

Whatever happened to quoting and proper mail etiquette, anyway? When I started using message boards in the early '80s, almost everyone quickly learned to quote properly, to cut out the unnecessary stuff and so on. Now it seems to be a completely lost art. I have had people at work ask me, in all seriousness, why I didn't top post and what those strange ">" characters meant.

I agree that threading is important now, but it is (IMNSHO) a technological solution to a social problem. I find hat unfortunate.

Re:As well they shoouldn't (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728947)

The good things about outlook have next to nothing to do with with sending and reading email.
Where Outlook shines is the in three areas.
Calendaring, Scheduling, and Syncing.
Your average outlook users that just uses it for POP and imap can replace it with anything. It is the business users that us Outlook with Exchange that are stuck with it.
Heck I just wish I could sync Thunderbird with my Cell Phone over bluetooth!

Re:As well they shoouldn't (3, Insightful)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729037)

The reason Outlook is good is that it's far more than an e-mail client. Yes, Gmail does a lot of the e-mail stuff better (and searching, in particular, ridiculously much better). But I still use Outlook at work and I'd really hate to switch.

The reason is that the integration between mail, tasks and the calendar is so much better than Gmail or any other competitor I have seen. As an example: I have a rule that takes any message sent from myself (i.e. when I bcc myself), creates a task of said message, and correctly populates the subject, body and category fields, and then deletes the e-mail. What's the point of this, then? The point is that it creates a "Waiting for"-task as per David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology. By just bcc-ing myself, I get the task into my trusted system so I'm sure I will follow up on it later.

I am sure this can be done in other PIMs as well. But I have never seen any other PIM where this is even remotely as easy to setup.

Re:As well they shoouldn't (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729651)

I know google is soon going to dominate us and is turning into our Overlord, but I would like to see gmail release a dedicated client that can only sync with gmail and all the other google services. I dont mean like desktop, i dont like that. But I currently use on my system sunbird set up with gcaldaemon to sync my calender to google and just use regular gmail for email. They released Picassa (IMO the best free picture manager) and integrated that with the online albums, and then there was the google docs offline mode. Where is my gmail and google calander offline mode?

Re:As well they shoouldn't (1)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729087)

Opera M2.

They copy the rest of the browser, and Opera mail has all the features you mention, including remarkably fast searching.

In fact, I believe Gmail took their labels from Opera M2 views.

Re:As well they shoouldn't (1)

shird (566377) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729151)

G-mail's searching is fast because it is indexed. If you want fast searching of your emails on your desktop, use a 'desktop search' client, such as the search indexer included in Vista. It is just as fast.

Re:As well they shoouldn't (2, Informative)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728423)

The summary is, as usual, not quite there in summarising TFA.

I'm less interested in specifically competing with any specific product, and more focused on figuring out what the best user experience we can give users is. I'm sure that for some users, Thunderbird 3 will be a better fit than other products, but taking on Outlook or any one product isn't how we're looking at product planning.
Is what he said in TFA, he's not making an Outlook clone, or an Outlook killer, just making a product that people want to use. So you're right, he's not looking to duplicate it at all, just make something better, and I applaud him for that.

Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (4, Insightful)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728003)

Why oh why oh why does message composition for new accounts default to HTML instead of plain text?

HTML email is evil; it's what makes phishing possible.

Who do I have to blow to get plain text mail made the default?

Most people wouldn't know the difference, and if someone really cared, they could enable it.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728159)

Why oh why oh why does message composition for new accounts default to HTML instead of plain text?

HTML email is evil; it's what makes phishing possible.

Who do I have to blow to get plain text mail made the default?

Most people wouldn't know the difference, and if someone really cared, they could enable it.

Not only that, but can someone please introduce people to hard carriage returns instead of these virtual ones? Ultra-long lines are not fun in these HTML-type emails... and LookOut and AOL are two of the primary culprits in proliferating this failure to actually wrap the lines somewhere around 80 characters.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (5, Insightful)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728403)

And just let me be the devils advocate.

I really think that you should only send carrige return in your mail if you want to start a new paragraph. Sending an entire paragraph as a single line is good, because then my mail program, can wrap the lines acording to my window size.

Sending mails with a specific line width sucks if my display is smaller or wider then what the sender think is the right linesize. What If I am on a mobile device which can only show 60 chars on a line. If you email have a newline after 80 chars, it will not look good.

And similary, my current mail program can show 200 chars on a single line, so why leave more then half the window empty, just because you want to wrap lines on an arbitrary position which have not really been a limit since we started using graphics display.

       

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (2, Informative)

brunascle (994197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728949)

totally agree. I really hate it when someone inserts a carriage return in the middle of a sentence just because that's where he hit the end of his text box. it makes for a very uncomfortable read, because my mind initially thinks it's the end of a sentence, and i have to reread it to figure out what's going on.

it's the end users's (application's) job to decide where to wrap the line, not the author's.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (2, Funny)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729199)

I really think that you should only send carrige return in your mail if you want to start a new paragraph. Sending an entire paragraph as a single line is good, because then my mail program, can wrap the lines acording to my window size.

That's being very thoughtless and is bad netiquette. How is he supposed to print the e-mail out looking nice on his dot matrix printer if you do this?

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729425)

And similary, my current mail program can show 200 chars on a single line, so why leave more then half the window empty, just because you want to wrap lines on an arbitrary position which have not really been a limit since we started using graphics display.
But this is part of the "plain text" mode. If you're going to use plain text and have it convert these HTML emails into plain text, you'll end up with these ultra-long lines that force horizontal scroll bars at the bottom when you include the text of the email as part of the reply. It does not auto-wrap the line... and if it does, it fails to put the little marker in front of it to indicate that it's text quoted from the original message.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (4, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729437)

There's a good book about this, called "The Mac is not a Typewriter:" http://www.amazon.com/Mac-Not-Typewriter-Professional-Level-Macintosh/dp/0938151312 [amazon.com] It's not specific to the Mac, but it tries to dispel the old ways of thinking about how to create documents. (i.e. use the tab stops in your word processor instead of just hitting space a bunch, stuff like that, use only one space behind a period when using a variable-width font, etc.) It applies equally well to all GUI computers, but was written back when the Mac was about the only one out there.

This is one of those endless debates between old fogeys who hate everything that didn't already exist in 1975, and people who realize that, hey, paragraph breaks make a hell of a lot more sense than line breaks!

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (2, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729619)

Not only that, but can someone please introduce people to hard carriage returns instead of these virtual ones? Ultra-long lines are not fun in these HTML-type emails... and LookOut and AOL are two of the primary culprits in proliferating this failure to actually wrap the lines somewhere around 80 characters.

Um, no; 80 characters is entirely wrong. We don't use punched cards any more (though I do have a small stack of them as souvenirs of the Bad Old Days ;-). The display software that shows a message to a user should wrap long lines at the edge of the window, whatever size it is. Any other choice is imposing a width that will be wrong on some nonzero-sized population of users.

I can see the objection that most email software can't do this, because it can't see the window that the email will (eventually) be displayed in. But such software has no business doing line wrapping at all. Line wrapping is to make the text readable on the user's screen. So it should be done only by the software that's actually putting the text onto the user's screen.

Doing line wrapping to any fixed size, or before the final rendering, is simply user-hostile and should be publicly mocked by any sensible users.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

kjorn (687709) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728201)

Email sucks.

Just invent something better. I'm sick of spam and how much it clogs everything up.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (2, Insightful)

sherriw (794536) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728795)

Holy crap. Your post just clued me in to why all my friends have stopped checking their email, and now use Facebook 'mail' almost exclusively. Can't believe I didn't credit spam at least partly for this annoying transition.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728953)

What Facebook lacks in private message spam is more than made up for by requests to install the Puff Puff Pass-type applications.

I get MySpace spam all the time (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729331)

They're trying to control it, but only with partial success.

I get friend requests, but know not to accept them blindly. When I check out their MySpace page, it's sometimes a fairly blatant ad for a pornsite.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23728211)

Who do I have to blow to get plain text mail made the default?

Me, for a start!

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728267)

Why oh why oh why does message composition for new accounts default to HTML instead of plain text?

HTML email is evil; it's what makes phishing possible.

How is that different from non-plaintext websites?

It's easier to dupe people with email (1)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728911)

If someone doesn't know about phishing, it's easy to make them believe an email really is from their bank. A website you have to visit on purpose, and you're not likely to think it's your bank if you just stumbled on it by clicking a link.

If you think only idiots fall for phishing, I can prove you wrong:

I know a guy who is a college professor, has a PhD, has published lots of highly regarded papers, has scads of grad students supported by grants that he gets easily.

And he entered both his credit card number and bank account number into a phisher's web form. He lost four thousand dollars!

You'd think he'd know better - but he was simply unfamiliar with phishing; his professional area has little to do with computers, so he's simply not very clued in to Internet scams.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (4, Insightful)

LO0G (606364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728283)

That's just silly. HTML mail doesn't make phishing possible. Crooks make phishing possible.

Crooks have been running phishing scams since well before the internet first went online. All you need is a telephone and you can mount a phishing scam: "Hi, this is xyz from your bank. We're running a quality check on the vendor who produces our checks. Could you please repeat the 12 digit number located at the bottom of the check? Now can you read the little numbers near your address? Great, thanks a bunch!". The phisher just got all the information they need to completely drain your checking account.

If we banned HTML mail, the banks wouldn't be able to send HTML mail, and the phishers would simply copy the non-html mail that the banks send.

HTML mail has it's own set of issues, but enabling phishing isn't one of them.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728395)

Banks don't send email, the phishers aren't copying HTML from anybody. What makes phishing possible, isn't HTML, and it isn't crooks. It's the people who fall for it.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

LO0G (606364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728491)

Banks don't make phone calls usually either.

I totally agree with your second sentence. On the other hand, the problem wouldn't be a big deal without the con artists who run them - being gullible isn't a big deal if there's nobody trying to scam you.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729273)

If you're gullible why wouldn't someone scam you. This didn't just come around recently. There's been people trying to scam other people for thousands of years.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

doctor_nation (924358) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729073)

Hum, I suppose that's why I get three separate emails every month from two different banks informing that my statements are ready. Or other kinds of information. I get all kinds of email from my banks.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728489)

You're not thinking hard enough. Sure a crook could send a txt email pretending to be a bank, but they'd have to type out the full URL of the phishing site in the email. If they use HTML, they can hide it behind a friendly blue link. Also, html email allows spammers to embed an image link. If someone accesses that URL, they know that that email address has a real person behind it. That's highly valuable information to spammers.

HTML email doesn't cause phishing or spam, but it does facilitate it. HTML email is bad practice.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

LO0G (606364) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728647)

My bank doesn't call me either, they send letters. My point was just that phishing cons can be launched without HTML email.

I'm not aware of any email clients released in the past 4 years that automatically opened external links in email messages, and I wouldn't use one because of just that issue. The web bug problem is a huge issue not just for phishers but for spammers in general.

And if we banned HTML email, then the phishers would just switch to text-only email. People will still click on http://www.yourbank.com.evil.com/default.htm [evil.com] because they think it's the bank. It's not hard to obscure a URL such that people will click on it.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728429)

HTML email is evil; it's what makes phishing possible.

Wow, has "evil" lost all meaning? I like to think of "evil" as things like, say, gassing people or conquering a neighboring country with extremely brutality. Now adding pretty pictures to emails qualifies.

In any case, phishing was possible when emails were text-only. I saw dozens of phishing messages in text-only emails, so in addition to deflating the word "evil" to uselessness, you're also flat-out wrong.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

strimpster (1074645) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729251)

Wow, has "evil" lost all meaning?
Wow, has the dictionary lost all meaning? Maybe you should stop trying to think of what a word means and look it up. I think the individual was referring to it being harmful.

1. morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.
2. harmful; injurious: evil laws.
3. characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.
4. due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.
5. marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.
-noun
6. that which is evil; evil quality, intention, or conduct: to choose the lesser of two evils.
7. the force in nature that governs and gives rise to wickedness and sin.
8. the wicked or immoral part of someone or something: The evil in his nature has destroyed the good.
9. harm; mischief; misfortune: to wish one evil.
10. anything causing injury or harm: Tobacco is considered by some to be an evil.
11. a harmful aspect, effect, or consequence: the evils of alcohol.
12. a disease, as king's evil.
-adverb
13. in an evil manner; badly; ill: It went evil with him.
-Idiom
14. the evil one, the devil; Satan.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (2, Informative)

bmajik (96670) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728629)

You could use Outlook, which lets you set the default composition type. Additionally, it lets you change it easily from the Ribbon bar :)

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728751)

I get plain text phishing messages all the time. It isn't eye candy that makes phishing work, it's people's gullibility. I know somebody who gave her credit card number to somebody who claimed to be from her ISP's tech support department, even though he misspelled the name of the company he supposedly worked for!

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729447)

Why oh why oh why does message composition for new accounts default to HTML instead of plain text?

Part of the problem can be seen by skimming over the replies, and noting how many people ignored that "default". Most of the replies argue sending only plain text or only HTML. Anyone who has looked at Thunderbird at all should be aware that it can do either, and the only question is which is the default

Funny related story: My wife works from home a lot, using VPN, Skype, etc, and her office is mostly Windows users. She was complaining about problems with handling the large amounts of email, and I tossed out the suggestion that she try Thunderbird. Last week, during a lull, she decided to download it and give it a try. Several times a day now she tells me how much she loves it.

The one problem was that several of her co-workers had said that her messages had no text. They had compared her messages on several machines, and on some of them, Outlook showed the text, and on others, her messages were blank. I'd never seen such misbehavior, but then, I don't use Outlook. I did notice that she was sending HTML, and asked why; the answer was that that's what TB sends. So I showed her the "send HTML"/"send plain text" choice, and she switched it to plain text. No more problems.

Microsoft software is, of course, notorious for having its own special version of HTML that's not quite the same as anyone else's, but this one baffled us. She hadn't set any colors, and messages she sent me didn't include any colors in the tags, so it probably wasn't a white-on-white sort of problem. I don't have access to the remote machines where Outlook suppresses the text, so I can't do much to diagnose it.

But HTML in email is, well, not really evil, but more like pointless unless you have some real reason for the markup. It doesn't make any sense that a mail package would default to sending HTML without first asking the user if that's what's wanted. All it does is invite silly problems like this one with software that doesn't do HTML correctly.

OTOH, ignoring that this is a preferences setting, and arguing over whether HTML or plain text is the only correct way is also pointless. TB can do HTML, and sometimes it's useful to people who know how to use it effectively. But HTML definitely should not be enabled by default. At best, it's a waste of bandwidth, and it invites silly problems like the one above.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

Bent Mind (853241) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729465)

Who do I have to blow to get plain text mail made the default?

Most of the world. In business e-mail, I see colored text used a lot to denote inline comments. Personal e-mail, on the other hand, tends to make use of inline pictures.

The argument against HTML is fairly weak. Loading inline images from an external site could verify that you received the email, and the IP address it was received at. The solution to that is to block external images. E-mail programs that support HTML also support pictures as attachments.

Certain e-mail programs can't render HTML. Luckily, most HTML capable e-mail programs allow you to set defaults based on the recipient.

Phishing isn't an argument. It's a social engineering technique used to trick people into providing user names, passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information. You don't need fancy graphics, or HTML, to trick people.

Re:Thunderbird, Mozilla Mail's Worst Misfeature (1)

Kuj0317 (856656) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729613)

Yeah, who needs things like boldface, or different color text to emphasize points. All words were created equal, and that's how it should be.
/likes HTML mail, hates plaintext mail. What are you doing, emailing me from your skytel pager?

Sync (4, Insightful)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728021)

I just wish they could get calendar / mail sync with portables going. That one single thing would be the difference in $GOBS spent on MS Office, Exchange, server hardware / OS, and just using Thunderbird + Sunbird, which (outside of that one feature) everybody here really likes.

Re:Sync (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728573)

Calendar sync is possible via Google Calendar. I use it in Thunderbird and it doesn't work too badly... unfortunately you have to activate sync on the BB, but small price to pay...

Now I just need a job that is more meeting/schedule driven :)

Re:Sync (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728825)

Right you are. If T/S had a builtin SyncML server, it could be used with pretty much every smartphone out there.

Re:Sync (2, Interesting)

ACMENEWSLLC (940904) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728847)

>>That one single thing would be the difference in $GOBS spent on MS Office, Exchange, server hardware / OS

What you *could* do is purchase an Exchange seat with 1and1.com for $6.99/mo.
For that, you get a copy of the latest Outlook, you get an Exchange seat @yourdomain.com, you get antivirus & antispam, active sync, Outlook Web Access, 1GB of space.
Since this is Exchange, you can do OTA sync too.
$6.99/mo. That's pretty cheap. There is a free 3 month trial right now.
1and1.com [1and1.com]

Re:Sync (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729407)

Affiliate linking aside, Exchange is not the solution - doubly so when you're hosting it through a third party. How on earth are we going to get data portability when you've gone and locked yourself into TWO vendors? Being the DIY type, I'd just have a little web service sitting on my server that my devices can ping to update which would then notify the other devices. Open Exchange, if you will (I don't know the exact underpinnings of how Exchange's push functionality works, but I know it's anything but easily portable). A wrapper for a database (which is relatively portable) that provides a web interface for remote access and some sort of service (quite possibly along the lines of xml-rpc) that your device can hit to sync up or push stuff out to the other locations.

For a home user, $85ish/yr for a ton of features that probably aren't necessary is just stupid, and that's not just me being a cheapass. Quite frankly, what most people are going to want is something along the lines of Apple's recently-announced Mobile Me. Yeah, the price is the same or a bit higher, but there's (hypothetically) no need to fuck around with all of your software to get it working properly and reliably. And while not open, promises to be very much more cross-platform. Conceptually they'll function pretty similarly, but I think in practice the experience using Exchange is just going to be a lot worse for most people.

Re:Sync (2, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729029)

There is a Funambol plugin for Thunderbird/Lightning that can sync the calendar and address book with a SyncML server (and via that to any device which supports SyncML). For mail, I use IMAP, so its always on the server, whichever device or workstation I access it from.

Re:Sync (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23729117)

The idea is to sync to the server, not sync to the client. Why would you want your client to support X device, at extreme hardship to the developers and reverse engineering and buggy connectors, when you can sync your client to the server and the mobile clients could also sync to the server.

It only makes sense this way. The 1980's mantra of syncing your pda to your desktop is over. The focus of new products is (and should be) more accurate and consistent syncing to the server.

Hmm. (5, Interesting)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728067)

I use Thunderbird for all my email. I got used to the Netscape Messenger when I migrated from Pine a few years back, and I liked it enough to move to Thunderbird later on. It's a nice enough mail package. I do have some gripes though:
  • If you use POP3 on really hefty mailboxes it occasionally decides that all the messages are "new" and downloads them all again. Very annoying.
  • If you use IMAP there seems to be no easy way to tell it to always download a local copy of all messages in all folders. Perhaps there's a magic flag somewhere that I haven't found, but the closest I seem to be able to find is downloading the text of the messages that I've read (not the same thing).
  • There's no conversation-style view of messages. This would be a killer feature as even GMail seems to do it wrong (threading by subject text instead of message Id)

Still, it's good enough - I don't have much to complain about and I still like it a lot more than Outlook.

Re:Hmm. (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728889)

What exactly do you mean by "convesation-style view"? How is that different from simple threading?

Re:Hmm. (3, Informative)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729441)

Gmail's conversation view shows your messages and the replies of your correspondent in context. It is, if you will, a combined threaded view of your inbox and outbox at the same time.

The only problem with GMail's conversation view is that it uses Subject rather than Message ID. While the threaded view in Thunderbird does indeed use Message ID, it only ever shows one half of the conversation (and I'm not sure how or if it handles multiple correspondents in a conversation).

It's not an enormously big deal for me, but it's not a feature that's currently in Thunderbird. I would use it if it were available and I suspect that for GMail users it would be a big deal.

Re:Hmm. (1)

Anml4ixoye (264762) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729043)

You mean like this [cornetdesign.com]?

I use it all the time. I think it does a /better/ job than Outlook at that aspect.

Re:Hmm. (1)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729487)

No. That's a threaded view, not a conversation view.

A conversation view shows both sides of the exchange in a threaded format, allowing you to recap on a discussion without having to constantly flip between the Inbox and Sent Mail views.

Re:Hmm. (1)

DJGreg (28663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729097)

user_pref("mail.strict_threading", true);

This will get you closer to proper threading by message ID. It's just too bad it isn't available in an easier to use config dialog.

Re:Hmm. (1)

DJGreg (28663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729505)

Oh.. and I forgot, I have my TB install set to put sent items in the Inbox, instead of the sent items folder, that way both sides of a conversation are together.

Re:Hmm. (1)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729547)

Well, I guess that's one way to achieve it - but I have no desire to put my sent items into the inbox! I just want the ability to view them in that manner from time to time. In general I want to keep the distinction.

Re:Hmm. (1)

RpiMatty (834853) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729153)

Right click on your account name. Choose Properties.
OR
Go to the Tools Menu and choose Account Settings.

Go to the Offline and Disk Space section.
Check "Make the messages in my inbox available when I am working offline"
Press Select folders for offline use.
Check whatever folders you want.

That seems like it would let you download all the messages, I'm not sure if thats what you are looking for.

Pfff... (5, Funny)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728087)

I don't know what I will do if it doesn't duplicate all Outlook's amazing features like

-Being slower than sh#^ starting up or closing down
-Always telling me I didn't close it properly when I did, and making me sit through some shadowy scanning procedure that doesn't seem to do anything.
-Slow performance when sorting
-Slow performance when searching
-Slow to initially render the Outlook today page
-Resource pig for the simple functionality you get

How will I ever survive without something JUST LIKE OUTLOOK?

Re:Pfff... (1)

Tomy (34647) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728621)


Yeah, it seems like Evolution copied most of those 'features' of Outlook. The only thing it does better than Outlook is delete messages. It can empty a trash folder with 20k messages in less than two minutes, whereas Outlook takes about four hours.

Both of them are slow and randomly lock up on me. Unfortunately my work uses Exchange without OWA turned on, so those are the only two options I have right now :-(

Re:Pfff... (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728633)

With the large amount of email that people seem to accumulate, and the importance of being able to find email, I don't know why there isn't a good email client that uses a real database engine to store the data. Searching and sorting could be much quicker, and much more functional. You also wouldn't have to worry about large email collection, as most DBs can handle quite a bit of data very well. Something like a light version of Postgres or MySQL would work well. SQLLite might work alright, but some people have some very large collections of mail and it may not perform so well. The storage engine and the client could be developed separately, so different clients could be designed for different needs. And the storage engine could be located anywhere.

Re:Pfff... (4, Insightful)

shird (566377) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728943)

I think Exchange integration is the big one that most other similar clients lack. Being able to schedule a meeting and have it show in a shared calendar, book rooms etc, its pretty much required by any decent sized organisation and I haven't seen anything that comes close to replacing it.

Re:Pfff... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728967)

Quite right. Plus those little yellow notepad windows with no scrollbars. Who needs scrollbars, anyway? Scrollbars are for wimps!

Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot (4, Informative)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728161)

Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot [macrumors.com] on some forum. Here is a Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot direct link [imageshack.us].

Re:Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot (5, Funny)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728353)

Pah, i wouldn't use it. Have you seen how blurry certain parts of the screen are? It's totally useless in its current form.

Re:Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot (4, Interesting)

singularity (2031) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729127)

And they still do not seem to have grasped the concept of the global Inbox. Mail.app is about the only program I have seen that does it how I want it:

Inbox
  >Account1
  >Account2
  >Account3
Sent
  >Account1
  >Account2
  >Account3
Trash
  >Account1
  >Account2
  >Account3

If I click on "Inbox" (first line above), I see all messages in all the Inboxes in all three accounts. If I want to just see the Inbox for Account1, I can click on that instead (second line).

Thunderbird and others seem to be convinced that everyone wants to break up everything based on accounts. Does anyone know the UI reasoning for this?

Re:Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23728651)

Remove the tabs and the fancy-pants Apple UI styling and the app looks like Outlook 2003 with right-side preview turned on.

Re:Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728709)

When nine hundred years old you are, speak this well you will not.

Re:Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23728759)

When nine hundred years old you are, reply to the wrong post you will.

What language interview questions translated? (3, Funny)

ClayJar (126217) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728411)

Before creation of organization project left two main Thunderbird developers. How this situation remarks project and how are these developers involved in Thunderbird now?
That simply *must* be a mechanical translation. Not even *Yoda* speaks in that manner.

moD down (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23728499)

declined 1n @market

sweet, spicebird. (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#23728705)

For some reason as soon as I read "Spicebird" I thought of some gecko-rendered porn content delivery client. think of XULRunner that indexes all of the YouPorn/RedTube type sites of the internet. Yeah I know, I have a twisted mind.

Eudora (1)

The Insane One (25793) | more than 5 years ago | (#23729495)

I'm still waiting for the Eudora integration. Eudora, an excellent mail client in my opinion, was abandoned for Penelope [mozilla.org] which is an open source integration project with Thunderbird.
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