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Monday, May 31st, 2004 · 4 Comments

thunderbird.png Mozilla creates better software than Microsoft, there’s no question about that. Yet somehow I always find myself stuck in a world of Internet Explorer and Outlook. That’s because, like most folks, much of the corporate world and the software and systems built around it are Microsoft-centric.

I’ve had Firefox 0.8 installed on my PC for a while, and use it mostly for compatibility testing. I keep trying to get myself to use it in place of IE, since it’s a superior browser in so many ways (speed, ease of use, tabbed browsing, etc.). The problem, of course, is that a lot of my day-to-day work happens leveraging bookmarks I have stored in my Yahoo account and access via the Yahoo Toolbar, available (sadly) only for IE.

[Related posts: Mozilla Firebird | Google Toolbar 2.0]

I’m also an avid Pine user. The problem with using Pine, of course, is that it’s dependent on your connection to your server, which is dependent on your Internet connection. If there’s any kind of lag, it can be frustrating trying to type a message. Sometimes a connection may even drop, forcing me to reconnect to server, login, resume message, etc.

I love Apple Mail, but can only use that on my Mac, of course. And Outlook just isn’t good for IMAP email.

So it occurs to me that Mozilla must do mail right. I’ve always known this in the back of my mind (and heard from others), but for one reason or another haven’t really acted on it. Until today.

Along comes Mozilla Thunderbird, the open-source power mail app. It’s very similar to Apple Mail, with full support for multiple IMAP accounts, junk mail filters, etc. “Mozilla Thunderbird is a powerful open-source mail and news client, supporting advanced junk mail detection and other useful features.”

I like it. As with other Mozilla products, it’s blazingly fast, simple, and loaded with a wealth of customization options (send message as both plain text and HTML, reply to message and put cursor at top or at bottom of quoted text, and more).

Pine will continue to be my primary mail client, but I like having a windows-based GUI alternative to Pine — for more easily sending attachments (vs. having to FTP to my Web server, then attaching via Pine), downloading attachments, viewing HTML mail, and the like — when necessary.

Thunderbird seems to be the best candidate for the job when I’m on my PC.

Tags: technology

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Dave Reed // May 31, 2004 at 3:11 pm

    Eudora is equally good, though, to gain unencumbered use, you’d have to pay for the full, non-ad version. It’s worth it, though. Eventually, I’ll have to get the current version, but I’ll wait until I have an XP- (or, possibly, Longhorn-) base system.

    I’ve been itching for Firebird/Firefox to reach 1.0 before trying it out. I really don’t like trying out pre-1.0 versions, though I’m itching for a browser that’s more worthy of the “Netscape” name than anything else borrowed from Mozilla.

  • 2 Jordan // May 31, 2004 at 4:01 pm

    If you’re an IMAPPER, Outlook Express handles it pretty well (compared to Outlook). But hey Mozilla is awesome.

    In a bit of response to Dave, I wanted to say that Wired just ran a recent article called “Mo’ Beta Testing Blues” which basically said that the perpetual Beta period of open source projects is likely to be the norm. It’s meant to state to users, “Hey, we don’t have a QA team to validate this stuff, so we can’t really say it’s all working in any good way.”

    And finally, I’ve been building a web CMS system for a company that stores content in XML and uses XSL to turn it into web pages. The resulting well-formed and fully validating XHTML breaks like crazy in Internet Explorer for reasons like:
    A large number of empty tags cannot self-close in IE. will cause rendering errors. won’t load scripts. And my favorite, , , etc. will cause “Socket Exceptions” and tend to crash IE. Missing will cause CSS to render improperly under some rare circumstances…. ohh, it’s been fun for sure.

  • 3 Mere Sketches // Jun 1, 2004 at 11:57 am

    Techie Watch

    I’ve been using Mozilla’s integrated browser & email on my laptop for a few months now – it is great. The only problems are some server time-outs when I’m on a dial-up connection. Now Gabe is excited about a new…

  • 4 Adam Lau // Jul 7, 2004 at 10:13 am

    No way that Thunderbird is the best client for Windows-based systems. It’s Eudora for POP3 and Mulberry for IMAP. Period. Thunderbird weighs in at a chunky 20 MB (default installation) with a large working set. Nifty features, yet inferior to the above mentioned clients.