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Mozilla The Internet Communications

Mozilla Thunderbird Gets Firefox-style Tabs 203

Posted by Zonk
from the now-if-they-can-make-lattes-i'll-be-set dept.
daria42 writes "A developer has added tabbed browsing of e-mail messages to Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail client, mimicking one of the most popular features of the Firefox and Opera Web browsers." From the article: "It is unlikely the feature will be found in Mozilla's imminent release of Thunderbird 1.5 -- currently in testing -- but software developer Myk Melez has put test versions of Thunderbird online with the tabbed browsing feature included. However, there are doubts over the suitability of these downloads for production use as they are based on bleeding-edge 'unofficial' code. "
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Mozilla Thunderbird Gets Firefox-style Tabs

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  • Interesting (Score:5, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:50AM (#14210207)
    Hey, if you drink enough thunderbird, everything has tabs, man...
    • I'm surprised they let you put that much Thunderbird on your tab. I mean, they'll want you to pay up eventually, right?

      (In all seriousness -- OK, in slightly more seriousness, this reminds me of an experiment a friend of mine did in college, whereby she drank wine coolers while writing email to determine at what point it began affecting her writing.)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Link [cob-web.org]
  • OH BOY! (Score:5, Funny)

    by utexaspunk (527541) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:51AM (#14210217)
    It's Lotus Notes! *shudder*
    • Re:OH BOY! (Score:5, Funny)

      by millahtime (710421) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:52AM (#14210237) Homepage Journal
      NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ! Not Lotus Notes.

      I have used many email clients including the Microsofties out there and Lotus is the only one to give me night mares. Terrible Night Mares.
      • Re:OH BOY! (Score:4, Funny)

        by Xarius (691264) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:03AM (#14210330) Homepage
        Lotus is the only one to give me night mares. Terrible Night Mares.

        I'd use Lotus if it gave me nocturnal horses, they'd fetch a pretty penny ;)
      • Re:OH BOY! (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Zach978 (98911)
        Why can't IBM just use standard widgets and standard look and feel? It's reallllly ugly, and it's realllly slow.
      • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !
        Anakin?



        ps: your post a bit difficult to quote because it contains so many caps that the lameness filter complains about me yelling while, ironically enough, i'm actually only quoting someone else's yell.

    • Don't you mean "Bloatus Goats?"
    • Re:OH BOY! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Solder Fumes (797270) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:07PM (#14210869)
      I used Lotus Notes for years at my last job. At my current job, we use Outlook.

      Lotus Notes. Is. BETTER!

      Who cares if it looks a little ugly, there are some themes you can skin it with too. If you're thinking about the workspaces with big square icons, that's now a legacy feature: Notes now uses a sidebar with essentially what are folders.

      But the real meat is in usability. Maybe it takes a little getting used to, but the interface actually gets pretty efficient when you've used it for a while. Lotus Notes is also 100 times better for mobile users, or even remote users on slow VPN connections. Ever tried to use Outlook remotely? You can be editing an email and the editor will freeze every couple minutes, for a minute or two, while the client check for new mail. Lotus Notes doesn't lock up your client when a connection is lost, and Replication has always been handled well.

      Lotus Notes is much more flexible than Outlook, too. We had thousands of forms and applications in Notes, making it easy to do things like get a production report or submit change requests and purchase orders. It's easy to keep them organized and see who did what, and when. I spent several million dollars of company money through that system. Maybe you can set a similar system up in Outlook, I don't know, but at least where I now work no one has bothered. Everything is done via Word documents and no one knows what the most recent version is, and they all look different.

      I've used both, and my opinion is that for the users, if you just want to get work done, Notes does the job. Maybe Outlook is easier for you IT administrators to set up, but a few hours of YOUR time is nothing compared to a few hours of everyone in the company's time. I seriously waste time now waiting for Outlook to do something and creating new forms or hunting down a document in a folder somewhere.
      • Someone's comparing apples and oranges. I think you are comparing the latest version of Notes with Outlook 2000 and Exchange 5.5.

        Outlook 2003 and Exchange 2003 is simply phenominal in its speed and synchronisation, far above Lotus. And this is using both in similar situations.
      • Re:OH BOY! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dim5 (844238)
        I used Lotus Notes for years at my last job. At my current job, we use Outlook. Lotus Notes. Is. BETTER!
        • Skinnable themes: +1
        • Replication: +1
        • Forms: +1
        • F5 = refresh^H^H^H^H^H^H^H LOG OUT: -1,000,000
        ----------------
        Total: -999,997

        Nope, sorry, still sucks.

    • Notes 6.5 is awesome. Earlier versions sucked (buggy, crashes, no tabs). Too bad, my workplace is migrating to Outlook 2003. :(

      What's wrong with Notes?
    • Re:OH BOY! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sbrown123 (229895)
      Yeah, Lotus Notes tabbing sucks. My current employer uses it and it drives me nuts. Not a feature I would like to see in Thunderbird. What I would really like to see in Thunderbird is plugins (extensions) for sync'ing with phones and PDAs. Hell, I have a better idea: how about an iPod sync where you can transfer emails AND media file attachments to an iPod. That would be cool. You could remove the whole iTunes store and have stores that send out purchased media files via email attachments. That woul
      • Too bad that MIME blows up the size of the file by around 50%, making it a very stupid way to distribute large amounts of big files.
        • I wasn't thinking of sending the actual raw file as part of the email. MIME issues are the least of the limitations with that since most mail servers don't allow for attachments over a few megs. I was thinking more along the lines of sending URLs that include a unique key to allow the special Thunderbird extension I spoke of to download the audio/video file and send it to the iPod. Sweet.
          • From your post just now: I wasn't thinking of sending the actual raw file as part of the email.

            Yes, you fucking were.

            From your own post that I responded to: You could remove the whole iTunes store and have stores that send out purchased media files via email attachments.

            What the hell else is that supposed to mean?
  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by patio11 (857072) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:51AM (#14210221)
    I'm all for new features but can't really see a use case for this one. You can already switch between emails at the touch of a button, and unlike modern internet browsing you're almost working with multiple mail windows at once (and with email I presume you'd never tab over to another screen while waiting for a page to render, which is one of the main attractions of tabs for me). There also isn't a compelling need to auto-launch your favorite twelve emails when you open Thunderbird so you can, uh, re-read them again, like you would add your news sites to a tab-group in a browser.
    • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:02AM (#14210320) Homepage Journal
      We have Lotus Notes at work. It is not uncommon for me to have more than two messages open at once, each under its own tab. Even my reply is under its own tab. Another example of a good use, I am reading an involved message and an urgent one comes to my attention. Open the new one in its tab and leaving the other's display undisturbed.

      Bringing OSS applications up to the level of current business applications is key to gaining acceptance. As with any other feature it should be selectable. Now there are many OSS packages that have features I would love to see in the commercial applications I use by feature movement is much easier one way than the other.
      • We have Lotus Notes at work...Bringing OSS applications up to the level of current business applications is key to gaining acceptance.

        Lotus Notes is hardly the model of current business applications. If you want to model a business app, clone Outlook (which doesn't feature tabs).

        As with any other feature it should be selectable.

        This is a double edged sword - users really don't like when the interface is inconsistent (be it jumping between machines, or accidentally toggling a setting), especially when it's a
        • If you want to model a business app, clone Outlook (which doesn't feature tabs)......90% of the time when there is a "choice", the designers should have had the balls to save everyone the trouble and just picked one model.

          While I agree Outlook is a nice user-friendly app (and MUCH better than Notes IMO), I don't see the above statements to be all that consistant. Outlook probably has more "choices" than just about any basic app out there. Now there are certainly other apps with more, but trying to think
          • I don't see the above statements to be all that consistant

            The two statements weren't intended to be consistent - Outlook is, by far, the most prevalent email client, and it is usually detrimental to the experience when the interface is customizable. One can achieve the former in spite of the latter.

            In Outlook's case the interface is used in a "stock" manner by the overwhelming majority of users, and Outlook makes changes "difficult" enough that it isn't something you normally do accidentally (the kind where
      • Therefore it can't possibly be any good. We need Yet Another OSS Project to enumerate each feature in Lotus Notes to make sure mainstream OSS remains free of them. Come to think of it, Notes has address typeahead, and so does Mozilla. We'd better go purge that one, QUICKLY!
      • Yup - in Tbird, I hit reply to all the messages I need open - stupid workaround but it sure works.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:13AM (#14210404) Homepage Journal
      Even in GMail, with its excellent thread support, I sometimes find I want more than one email easily accessible.

      Usually, it's when I'm composing a message containing a composite of information from a number of past emails. Happens most when I'm coordinating between different people.
      • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

        by wx327 (782536)

        Even in GMail, with its excellent thread support, I sometimes find I want more than one email easily accessible. Usually, it's when I'm composing a message containing a composite of information from a number of past emails. Happens most when I'm coordinating between different people.

        When you are composing an E-mail/reply, there is an icon on the far right (two overlapping squares, one with an arrow) of the send/save now/discard buttons. Clicking the icon will launch your composition window into a new wi

    • That was my first thought, too, but then I remembered the way I used to use Eudora. At least when I last used it, Eudora was a standard MDI app with a sidebar for the folder view (which could switch to a list of stationery and other stuff). If you always kept your subwindows maximized, you ended up with every message being in the same position.

      It's not the same as tabs, but it's similar for some use cases.

      That said, I used Eudora that way because I had to. Well, choice is good and all that (up to a point
  • Looks out of place (Score:5, Informative)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:53AM (#14210239) Homepage Journal
    From the article it looks like they have replaced the preview pane with tabbed email views.

    That looks like it would be confusing - especially if the list above doesn't tally with which email is visible.

    I cannot quite see how this would help (tabbed browsing is easy to see the benefits), tabs for the sake of tabs seems pointless.
    • by millahtime (710421) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:55AM (#14210255) Homepage Journal
      I cannot quite see how this would help (tabbed browsing is easy to see the benefits), tabs for the sake of tabs seems pointless.

      After using Lotus (not by choice) I have grown quite fond of tabbed emails. It can be a real convienance when you need to have several emails open and don't want new windows for each as it will get cluttery. Just like with many web pages when it was a pretabed browsing world.
    • Why can't people spend drop lame not-so-useful projects like these for something more userful... Project Lightning has gotten nowhere... (Combining Mozilla Calender into Thunderbird)
      I know many people who would switch over to full mozilla if they weren't so tied down to their outlook calender...
  • Lotus Notes (Score:3, Informative)

    by tscheez (71929) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:53AM (#14210241)
    Notes has had tabs for a very long time. It's nice to see that other people think that is a usefull feature.
    • Ok Notes-lovers, so did Eudora, and like Thunderbird, Pegasus opens a window for every mail you wish to double-click, but then also adds them to the Windows list.

      It's not what I was waiting for in TB, i was hoping for a richer search, easier filtering, reorganizable maps.

  • by Philosinfinity (726949) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:56AM (#14210262)
    Maybe I just don't get it. Tabs are great for web browsing because it allows you to organize sites withing tabs within windows like a heirarchy. Emails are a bit different. I can already dump the actual items into a folder to do the same kind of sorting. Previewing the messages allows me to quickly find what I am looking for without opening multiple items.

    The only thing I would like to se (and it is prolly there, but I just haven't looked for it) is heirarchical email display. Instead of showing me messages, show me entire threads as a single entity. Also, clean it up and make it look nice. That would be a greater asset.

    • by technothrasher (689062) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:04AM (#14210332)
      The only thing I would like to se (and it is prolly there, but I just haven't looked for it) is heirarchical email display.


      Yup, already there. "View | Sort By | Threaded"

      • The only thing I would like to se (and it is prolly there, but I just haven't looked for it) is heirarchical email display.
        Yup, already there. "View | Sort By | Threaded"

        And set the inbox as your "sent mail" folder.

        • oh. this is interesting. i had to think about this for a couple of seconds :)

          i wouldn't want to mess up my mails, so i will not try this right now though ;)
          i can think of a couple of problematic situations :

          1. what happens if i have all mail from one organisation in one folder (autofilters) ? probably i should set outgoing filter that would drop all messages to that organisation in the same folder... would this work ?

          2. in sent items, if i do a filtering by 'sender', it actually searches for recipient. what
          • It would be nice if you could set all replies/forwards so they saved to the folder of the original message, instead of some generic "sent mail" space. Other mail clients can do this, but AFAIK Thunderbird can't at present. For all the nice things about TB, I really miss this option.

            • i was unable to find anything like this in bugzilla - maybe you know bug# ?
              if there is none, maybe you should file it ;)
            • Yeah, I generally go through my sent-items folder once every week or two and move messages manually. It's a pain, but it's very useful later on when I'm looking for stuff.

              Back when I was using Eudora, I had filters on outgoing mail that would automatically file messages I sent to my most frequent correspondents. That didn't seem to be available when I switched to Thunderbird (which was actually pre-1.0 -- I found a lot of import-from-Eudora bugs and helped test the fixes, but I really needed something tha
      • Problem:
        it only puts emails from the current Folder int the thread hierarchy.

        Is there to get it to display a merged hierarchy of both my "In box" and my "Sent" folder?

        maybe some kind of virtual folder, or something?
      • I don't think he's talking about just displaying the message subjects in a tree, I think he's talking about displaying the entire body of the emails that way, like Gmail does. I'm not aware of Thunderbird being able to do that...
  • one use (Score:5, Interesting)

    by harmanjd (414263) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:57AM (#14210269)
    One Use I could see for this (maybe) is with an rss feed or newsgroup reader. You could have each topic in the rss feed open in a seperate tab. For a newsgroup, you could get each thread in a seperate tab.

    But for regular email? I don't open multiple email windows in thunderbird and never really had a desire to. So why would I need tabs?
  • Nice work. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:57AM (#14210271)
    From the related links: "Compare prices on Mozilla". Compare prices on free software? Are CoolTechZone running the ads on here? [slashdot.org]
  • Email tabs == good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by digidave (259925) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @10:58AM (#14210288)
    There are only two comments above my threshold right now and both are negative, however, if you've tried the Opera email client you will know that tabs are a good thing. Email tabs are not quite as useful as web browser tabs, but they are equally as good as file manager tabs (Konqueror, anyone?).

    Since I've switched from Opera to Kmail for my email it's the one thing I've missed. Don't knock it until you try it. With any luck, Thunderbird tabs will be implemented as well as Opera tabs.
    • by digidave (259925) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:08AM (#14210369)
      Now that I've taken a closer look at Thunderbird's tabs I will offer my opinion: they are doing it wrong. Tabs should replace all windows, but Thunderbird's tabs seem to only allow tabbing through the small email preview box.

      What I'd like to see is a fully tabbed interface where the address book would open in a tab, an integrated Sunbird calendar would open in another tab (if Sunbird is installed), each email would open in their own tabs, etc.

      Simply tabbing through previews seems like a half-assed way to do it. It still looks moderately useful at the expense of having an inconsistent interface.
  • Extension (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Any plans to release this as an extension?
    • Re:Extension (Score:3, Informative)

      by mykmelez (6506)
      Unfortunately, I had to touch too much of the core Thunderbird code that it would be quite hard to make the patch into an extension.
  • Good idea! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by beforewisdom (729725) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:04AM (#14210340)
    This is a good idea. I often finding myself futzing with windows so I can display two emails at the same time.

    Now, if you could use thunderbird to filter out a person in usenet and replies to his post without taking out the entire thread, that would be cool too.
    • I often finding myself futzing with windows so I can display two emails at the same time.

      As do I, but it is not clear to me how tabbed email solves this problem...

  • GMail is the future! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chalex (71702) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:05AM (#14210341) Homepage
    I like Thunderbird. But ever since those guys from Google made GMail, I can't imagine being tied to a desktop mail client.

    I believe a web-based interface accessible from anywhere is the inevitable winner in e-mail clients. Just like Linux will inevitably be on all computers, eventually.
    • Gmail-or-similar + POP-client as backup is the future. That way you have the ability to keep a local message-store for offline periods (very useful on a laptop)

      I don't like trusting anyone to back up my data for me - I prefer to do that myself. Gmail is the backup for my POP3 inbox and my POP3 inbox is the backup for gmail.
    • by daranz (914716)
      Personally, I dislike webmail interfaces.

      There are many reasons for that. Some of them being that I have several email accounts, and an email client checks all my email faster than I'd check it manually. Another being the fact that my email client can regularly check my email without me paying any attention to it, and notify me if I have new messages (I know that there's gmail notifier, and stuff, but again, gmail is not all I use). Also, downloading messages via POP3 is a more viable option than using we
    • MMMMM I'm not tied. I have IMAP in my server and I check my email using Thunderbird. When on the road I use SqurrelMail for checking and sending my email.

      And you won't have t do any server admin for this... mainstream hosting like Dreamhost have it already.

      Hugo
    • Because it's not nicely formatted for use on mobiles.

      IMAP is where it's at - because I can access it from a client if want to, or from a web client if I'm somewhere I can't use a normal client from.
    • Until the network is down, that is.

      I like webmail a lot, I really do - but there are still a couple good reasons for a mail client, such as having a second copy of your mail - if my server storage goes completely south, I still have copies of lots of vital info on my workstation; the ability to use mail when the web server doesn't work - usually, if there's a problem with the webmail I don't know about it until someone tells me, because the SMTP still works; and as I stated above, if for some reason I can't
  • The screen shot reminded me of an issue I have with Thunderbird's UI. That message summary area in Thunderbird 1.0 (subject, from and date) is a bit of pain. It's rather too limited. Clicking on the plus to expand it shows all headers, which can often take the height of the screen! I really want to see all of the recipients, be they to:, cc: or bcc:. I also want to see email addresses there. Does anybody know if this can be configured to show this?
  • Yeeees! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jimwelch (309748) <jimwelchok@@@gmail...com> on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:12AM (#14210400) Homepage Journal
    One of the big items I miss at home. While the Lotus system sucks big time at work, (poor IT management) this is one of the few items that I love about Lotus.

    After using linux for over ten years, Mozilla is the best thing that happened to FOSS.
  • Thunderbird Wishlist (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roubles (716740) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @11:16AM (#14210443)
    I wish they'd get the basic features developed first - before implementing all this gold plating. I still cannot filter imap messages based on text in the body. I can do this with outlook, evolution, pine, to name a few ...
  • Clients (Score:2, Informative)

    by Threni (635302)
    I use Gmail. Is there any reason I should go to the effort of configuring Thunderbird to pop3 into my Gmail account when the webmail interface is good enough? I used to use Thunderbird to post to Usenet, but Google is better for that too - it's easier to see replies to your posts using Google than Thunderbird (where there's apparantly no way of doing this except for clicking on your `sent` folder, then looking at the subject line and Usenet group, then locating those, looking for your post.... then back t
  • It's a simple, good idea.

    Currently Thunderbird opens a new window for every email I want open (not previewed, open - I will be working with info in there for the next hour). This change makes a tabbed MDI version so they all share a window. I like this sort of thing. It reduces my screen clutter.

    [Why the hell am I reading so many whinges about how this is unnecessary?!]

    Justin.

    • [Why the hell am I reading so many whinges about how this is unnecessary?!]


      It's like Gay Marriage.

      Tabbed emails take nothing away from folks who don't want to use that functionality (it's an option, not a requirement), but there's a certain type of person who can't see beyond "I won't use this, therefore it's stupid/unnecessary/obscene/heresy".

      Also, Tabbed emails will destroy their marriages and turn them all into raving assmonkeys.
    • note that current implementation adds tabs for preview window.

      i'm not sure what exactly i would prefer here - tabs in preview/full window/both, but i know that i would like the tabs in tb ;)

      somebody also suggested fully tabbed interface with addressbook/calendar/messages getting their own fullsize tabs. i guess, i would have to use something like that for some time to know what works for me best.
  • Eudora beat them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hkb (777908) on Thursday December 08, 2005 @12:09PM (#14210891)
    And the feature was annoying and cluttery. Something like the standard Outlook Express/Thunderbird setup, but with tags, is perfect.
  • Mail client with tabs? Opera [opera.com].

    Opera opens everything in tabs, including views of mail folders, e-mail composing windows, etc. They're all saved in session as well.

  • I like how "tabbed browsing" sounds better than "multiple document interface" - you know, what it really is, and which fans of old Netscape and IE laughed derisely at Opera for using.

    My, how thing change. Or rather, don't.
  • I'm so glad someone did this. Now Microsoft is going to have to scramble to tab Outlook and OE.

    Of course it won't be out until the two releases from now, but if you're a Microsoft lapdog you need not worry. As your open source friends are blowing your doors off, you can be safely assured that Uncle Bill loves you.
  • I looked at the screen shot, and it appears the tabs let you switch between e-mails. That's interesting, but not NEARLY as useful (for me) as it would be if you could have tabs open to either mail folders or mail accounts.

    Right now I have three accounts that I actively read with the same instance of FireFox, and if I could switch between then with tabs, that would make life nicer. One of the accounts has normal messages going into the inbox and, via filters, messages from two developer mailing lists g

  • let me hide it in the system tray, and display a number over the icon.

    until which time, i'l be forced to use kmail.

    how come system tray isn't a standard feature for modern gui email clients?
  • I wish they'd get on that. It would really cut down on spam annoyance if people had an easy way to integrate hashcash generation/verification for messages.

    (Or is there a plugin I haven't found yet?)

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