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Mozilla The Internet Communications

Must-Have Extensions for Thunderbird 2.0 262

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the for-some-definition-of-must dept.
Operator writes "While Firefox has been in the spotlight for some time now, Thunderbird has yet to enjoy the same wide adoption or glowing praise despite being an excellent email client. It's no surprise that a popular topic has been Firefox's best (and worst) extensions while Thunderbird add-ons have gone largely unnoticed. In celebration of the recent release of Thunderbird 2.0 here are the best extensions for the program along with some honorable mentions."
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Must-Have Extensions for Thunderbird 2.0

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  • enigmail extension (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnixSphere (820423) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:37AM (#18868761)
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon /71 [mozilla.org]

    Enigmail adds OpenPGP message encryption and authentication to your email client. It features automatic encryption, decryption and integrated key management functionality. Enigmail requires GnuPG (www.gnupg.org) for the cryptographic functions. Note: GnuPG is not part of the installation.

    • A True Must Have (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fishdan (569872) *
      I agree, and in fact for me the article lost credibility for recommending against Enigmail -- Enigmail is a must have. If we're ever going to have digital signatures become the norm (something I'd like to see) then the advanced users are going to have to model it for the neophytes. Digitally sign every email you send, and when people ask why you do it, spoof an "I'm joining a cult" email from them to their friends. I'm pretty confident that eventually only signed emails will be delivered -- be ahead of t
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Threni (635302)
        > If we're ever going to have digital signatures become the norm (something I'd like to see)

        Most email users have never had anyone try and fake messages from them to other people. I can see the advantages, but non-nerds aren't going to jump through hoops to add the required encryption subsystem to their email systems when it offers no advantage. I can see encryption itself being marginally more popular, but not much so.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by keithius (804090)

          Most email users have never had anyone try and fake messages from them to other people.
          Errr... what? People get spam emails all the time with the "From" address faked - often from people they know, and sometimes even from themselves! (There's a strange feeling when you get an obviously junk/spam email and it claims to have been sent by... you!)
        • by mpe (36238)
          Most email users have never had anyone try and fake messages from them to other people.

          With the "obvious" exceptions of spam and viruses spread by email.
        • Re:A True Must Have (Score:4, Informative)

          by CheShACat (999169) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:57AM (#18869731) Homepage Journal
          "Most email users have never had anyone try and fake messages from them to other people" Having spent some time working at an ISP and ICANN domain registrar, I know that pretty much anyone with a domain name has had their email spoofed at one time or another, if not all day every day. While this might not actually cover "most email users", the rest run the risk of their email domain (e.g. hotmail.com) being spoofed by spammers. In the case of spoofed emails, it's often the recipient that is at most risk, digital signatures that allow a recipient to verify that a mail's source was actually the domain it claims to be from are a great help in combatting spam.
      • Regarding popular use of Enigmail and GPG, one thing I've come to realize is that there needs to be an easy-to-access public key infrastructure. By this, I mean not just the existence of GPG key servers, which already exist, but an easy and user-friendly way to get anyone's key.

        For example, the other day I was composing an email message, and thought, "I should encrypt this." But I didn't have the recipient's public key. (I think the recipient was a software developer of a program I had just downloaded.)
        • IMO it is the top-down, x.500-inspired PKI that needs to change to become more like PGP's system. The current system is fairly useless at the moment, but it is so, so profitable for the lucky few companies who are blessed by having their CA certificates included by operating system and application vendors.
  • Lightning (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nedmud (157169) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:37AM (#18868763)
    It's not complete yet, but it's already worth using it, IMO. Having a calendar integrated with my mail helps me to check my schedule as regularly as I check my mail.
    • by thsths (31372)
      > It's not complete yet, but it's already worth using it

      It is better than nothing, but it is not a proper calendar either. BTW, is there any way to get rid of it temporarily if I don't want to use it? It takes up so much space that could have better use sometimes.

      Anyway, if you need a real calendar, you have to go for a more powerful solution, such as Gmail, KMail, Evolution or Outlook. Note that the later two programs suck quite a lot.
      • Re:Lightning (Score:4, Informative)

        by ppz003 (797487) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @10:04AM (#18869845) Homepage

        > It's not complete yet, but it's already worth using it

        It is better than nothing, but it is not a proper calendar either. BTW, is there any way to get rid of it temporarily if I don't want to use it? It takes up so much space that could have better use sometimes.

        Anyway, if you need a real calendar, you have to go for a more powerful solution, such as Gmail, KMail, Evolution or Outlook. Note that the later two programs suck quite a lot.
        From an article not too long ago, you can use Google Calendar in Lightning [mozilla.org] or Sunbird nightlies [mozilla.org].
    • by acroyear (5882)
      Tell Lightning and Sunbird to support upload-via-FTP and I'll use it almost exclusively. Right now, as long as their only web access is "Webdav", it sucks and it locks out using it to only those who have total control over a web server.

      I use reminder fox right now because it supports FTP upload. I then view the calendar online with phpCalendar parsing the iCal file.
    • by joe 155 (937621)
      I assume that lightning is a good add-on, but as you say it is far from finished - so far from finished that it wouldn't even let me create a calender when using the xpi on linux with thunderbird 2.0 (the last "next" button just didn't work, so I could only go back or cancel)... I wish that they would get it to version 1.0 because I would be interested to use it along with my google calender (there is an add-on which allows communications between them called provider, if you're interested)

      Having said tha
  • by xTK-421x (531992) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:38AM (#18868769) Homepage
    I find this extension to be helpful when dealing with certain email issues. It displays an icon representing the user's email software if it's in the known list of mail agents.

    Home Page: http://cweiske.de/misc_extensions.htm [cweiske.de]

    Extension Link: http://www.cweiske.de/files/download/misc/dispmua- 1.3.2.xpi [cweiske.de]

    List of Supported Agents: http://cweiske.de/misc_extensions_dispmuas.htm [cweiske.de]
  • The list (Score:4, Informative)

    by hywel_ap_ieuan (892599) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:38AM (#18868773)
    The extensions in TFA, which is a one-pager: Minimize to Tray, Quicktext, Quote Collapse, Nostalgy.

    Runners-up: Dictionary Switcher, View Headers Toggle Button, Contacts Sidebar.

    It also mentions "Mozilla has three recommended extensions, Foxytunes, Enigmail, and an adblocker"

  • Wait for Penelope ! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rastignac (1014569) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:38AM (#18868777)
    Now that the great Eudora is dead (no more updated), the Penelope project will bring Eudora's goodies to Thunderbird.
    Just wait for Penelope, a better Thunderbird than Thunderbird !
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:39AM (#18868783)
    Alternatively, you can use my preferred method for eliminating the giant 200-line quoted message bombs that appear below a two-word response. Just bitch at the person repeatedly until they either start deleting the old e-mail quotes themselves or they just stop e-mailing you. Either way, problem solved.

  • Sloooooooo.....oooow (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee (775178)
    I've recently tried Thunderbird 2 on a WinXP system, where I'd like it to replace Outlook Express. Feature-wise Thunderbird 2 seems to offer everything I need and it wasn't too hard to find them. However, Thunderbird 2 seems a lot slower than Outlook Express. Another annoyance was that Thunderbird 2 orders mails by send date, not received date: Spam often has a bullshit received date, making them pop-up all over my inbox, instead of neatly at the end where I can filter them out more easily. Even though I bl
    • Isn't that a feature, not a bug? The malformed date tag is a spam indicator. So it is good Thunderbird will put it at the top of the list, out of sight. Just mark the folder read. If you have legitimate correspondent using legal software has wrong dates, it is because his/her machine is riddled with viruses. So dont want to read their mail either. For a long time Outlook express used to mess up the subject tag and in Thunderbird (older versions) the subject line was missing, and thus filed in spam folder. A
      • by mwvdlee (775178)
        How can you say Thunderbird is right sorting e-mails the way it does, when I want it differently? Is that the level of user-friendliness one is to expect of Thunderbird; "my way or the high way"? Besides; it's not uncommon for legitimate e-mail to have old dates. For instance when it has been sitting in somebody's outbox for a number of days. I guess if Thunderbird thinks it should force it's ideas on me instead of letting me work the way I want, I'll just not use Thunderbird any more.
        • by thsths (31372)
          > Is that the level of user-friendliness one is to expect of Thunderbird; "my way or the high way"?

          That is the impression I get, too. I was a regular user of Mozilla Mail, but since they cut up the suite, there is really no reason to use Thunderbird anymore.
      • by sidney (95068) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:26AM (#18869303) Homepage
        You can order by receive date. Click on the icon on the right side of the column header of the preview pane to see all the column headings that are available, and select "Order Received". That adds a column to the display which is a message number that is incremented as each message is received.

        You can sort messages by the contents of any column by clicking on the column header. Click again to sort in the opposite order. So once you have an Order Received column, click on its heading to have messages sorted by the received date instead of the Send Date. The sort order you select is remembered when you exit and restart Thunderbird.
    • by gfxguy (98788)
      Well, you should work on training the built in spam-filter, then.

      Moreover, while it doesn't have a "recieved date", it does have an "order received" field, which means you can sort by that with the same results as sorting by recieved date.
    • by elinenbe (25195)
      Lets say "well over 90%" is 97%, and you say you are getting a few hundred spam messages each day... lets say 300. That means without a spam filter you would be getting TEN THOUSAND (10,000) spam messages each day. I call your bluff. My email which is ALL over the internet gets maybe 100/day. Time to get a REAL spam filter.
    • by QuickFox (311231)

      Another annoyance was that Thunderbird 2 orders mails by send date, not received date
      There's a menu with several options for sorting: View -> Sort by.
  • wake up editors. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:44AM (#18868823)
    how on earth did this dire article make it through the editors process?
    Its of abysmal quality and precious little substance.
  • 2 in a row? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:47AM (#18868853) Journal
    Taco are you trying to feed the trolls?

    Slashdot : news for nerds, payed fpr by Mozilla and Google.
  • Because it sucks? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by thsths (31372) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:50AM (#18868895)
    Sorry to be so blunt, I'll try to explain what I mean. Whichever way you look at it, Firefox is the gold standard of browsers. It is more standard compliant and easier to use than IE, more compatibly than Konqueror, and much more extensible and better looking than Opera. While you can find better browsers for niche applications (lynx on telnet), there is no general purpose browser that comes even close to Firefox.

    Thunderbird on the other hand is just a lot of promises. It still uses folders, while labels are obviously the way to go. Threading is poor. Integration between different message sources is basically non-existent. The search function sucks really badly. There is no integration with any reasonable calender (and don't call sunbird reasonable). And it is actually difficult to use, certainly compared to the competition (Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Outlook, Opera, KMail...).

    I mean seriously: can Thunderbird even sort threads on the date of the most recent message in a thread? Last time I tried it could not. GMail does that by default, and it is by far the most sensible way to order messages. Make Thunderbird not suck, and I will give it another try.
    • by cspruck (28447) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:39AM (#18869487)

      can Thunderbird even sort threads on the date of the most recent message in a thread?
      If I understand the above: View > Sort By > choose Date, Descending (or Ascending if you want), and Threaded

      Options usually work if you just try them. :-)
      • by gfxguy (98788)
        Yeah, but send date != recieve date. Thunderbird's "Date" field is the send date.

        What the user wants, in TB parlance, is "Order Recieved", he just couldn't figure it out and so complained that TB couldn't do it.
      • by thsths (31372)
        > If I understand the above: View > Sort By > choose Date, Descending (or Ascending if you want), and Threaded

        Interesting, that actually works. It used to sort threads by the date of the head of the thread only, and now that has been changed to the last message in a thread. I am impressed.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pebs (654334)
      Thunderbird on the other hand is just a lot of promises. It still uses folders, while labels are obviously the way to go.

      Thunderbird 2.0 has tags, which if I understand correctly is the same as labels, except you get to (or "have to") use folders in addition to tags. It doesn't appear to store the tags on the IMAP server, though, which is bummer and makes it useless for me (haven't tried it myself, but read some forum posting that said it didn't). IMAP is of course still folder based, so eliminating folde
      • by Noksagt (69097)
        It seems to me that tagging works with IMAP. Everything looks the same with different TB profiles that have the same tags defined in prefs.js (for color, etc.).

        Even before 2.0, thunderbird supported virtual search folders. This seems to be as good as labels in most cases--most gmail users I've observed have filters to auto-apply labels to their messages & few manually tag posts.
    • Re:Because it sucks? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @10:22AM (#18870137) Homepage Journal
      Tunderbird V2 adds tags but frankly I like folders. I do not see how tags are obviously the way to go. In fact that is the one thing I don't like about Gmail.
      Yes you can sort however you like. It really isn't a problem.
      And so far the search works well for me.
      Kmail and Evolution only run on Linux and I have to use Windows.
      Outlook has caused me more grief with blown PSTs and other issues than I can shake a stick at and it only runs on Windows and I have to use Linux.
      Gmail and Yahoo mail? They are not bad but I need to access my office email server.
      Thunderbird while not perfect.. Get a good calander interface going guys. Is a good email client. It just isn't a good calender client.

      I have yet to see as complete of a solution as Outlook+Exchange yet. I am just not willing to pay the price to use Exchange.
      • Maybe it's just because I have no personal reasons/need for using a calendar program, but what does a calendar have to do with e-mail ?

        I understand that Outlook merged the two and a lot of people who used to use (or currently use) Outlook got used to it. But I really don't see how calendar / scheduling and e-mail is related and why Thunderbird (or any e-mail client) should feel pressed to integrate a calendar application.

        Wouldn't you be better served using a stand-alone calendar / scheduler and stand-alone
        • by afidel (530433)
          The reason they are integrated is that in order to invite someone who is not on your system you need a method of transferring the invite. Since we already have a reliable method for transporting messages between parties on separate systems it makes sense to use SMTP as the transport mechanism rather than reinvent the wheel.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          The simplest reason is that invites tend to be sent as emails so having them integrated make life easy. I guess it could be possible to create a mime type that is of the type invite and have it call whatever ca lander program you use.
          The long reason is that your contact list in pretty much at the center of email, your calender, and your todo lists.
          An email client and a Personal information manager are very closely related now.
          Lets say you going to schedule a meeting. You then check your calender and put it
      • by Dionysus (12737)

        Tunderbird V2 adds tags but frankly I like folders. I do not see how tags are obviously the way to go.

        The thing about tags is that you can have multiple tags for a given message. Very useful if the boss write about different topics in the same email, and you usually sort by topics. You could fake the same functionality by copying the same message to the different folders, but it's somewhat a waste of space, and if you delete the message, it won't all be deleted.

        I faking tags in kontact these day by dumpi

  • A ways to go... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    You know that Thunderbird has a ways to go when the #1 extension is minimize to tray??
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @08:56AM (#18868959) Homepage
    That allows message filters to run on the body of IMAP messages? That's pretty basic functionality for Thunderbird to still be missing, given how long it's been a known issue. And yes, I've tried the "might work-arounds", and they don't.
  • After fighting with Evolution and Thunderbird, I've given up. I just have gmail pop all my mail. Not only does this eliminate the hassle of checking my mail from multiple machines, but gmail actually handles meeting requests properly. (Evolution never seems to recognize the timezones of any meeting requests I get... so all the meetings were scheduled for the wrong time, and Evolution wouldn't even let me change them).
  • Virtual Identity (Score:5, Informative)

    by ccarr.com (262540) <chris_carr@slash ... m ['t.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:23AM (#18869273) Homepage
    Virtual Identity [mozilla.org] is essential if you, like many of us, maintain more addresses per inbox than can be conveniently managed via Thunderbirds's stock identity manager.
  • I like tbird - really. I like it more than outlook, for certain.

    However, I wish there were a WM(5/6) client that would sync through activesync. Call WM any names you want (I've used most of the profane ones at some point in the past 5 years) - but it's on practically all poratble devices that aren't named after a small fruit or body part (hmm, well it does have significant marketshare, even if I coulnd't say "most").

    I'm tempted every now and then to want to switch to outlook for the simple reason that it Ju
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:29AM (#18869345) Homepage Journal
    Before some random dork starts spouting about how Thunderbird sux0rs because open source doesn't have an end-to-end Outlook/Exchange replacement...

    Thunderbird+Lightning connected to a Citadel server [citadel.org] does the job quite nicely. Mail, calendar, contacts, all server-side and end-to-end, 100 percent open source.

    Thanks for asking. :)
    • by metamatic (202216)
      How's Citadel's integration with LDAP for Apple Mail and Apple Address Book?
    • by throx (42621)
      Except the calendar and contacts *aren't* server side. They are client side with replication to/from the server using SyncKolab - an extension that I've found actually deletes more contacts and calendar entries when used across multiple clients than it does distribute them.

      All I want to do is natively store my Calendar and Contact information in an IMAP folder. I don't want to replicate it to the client. I don't want to have to manage merge conflicts. I just want it running directly out of IMAP. Nothin
  • I'm using:
    Show InOut: adds a column to the thread pane which shows whether you or someone else wrote the message. This is useful if you want both incoming and outgoing messages in the same folder
    Mnenhy: Among other things, allows you to have different columns shown in the thread pane, depending upon which folder you're viewing.
    GMailUI: Among other things, improved searching of your folders.
  • TagZilla (Score:5, Interesting)

    by T.E.D. (34228) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @09:45AM (#18869575)
    The only add-on I use is TagZilla [mozdev.org], which adds a randomly selected tagline from a file to every email. I'm so attached to this that I won't upgrade to newer versions of Thunderbird until TagZilla supports them.

    I have people ask me all the time how I get those randomly selected tags on my emails. Of course the answer starts with "First off, you have to be using Thunderbird..." :-)
  • A must-have from 1.5 that the last time I checked had not moved to 2.0 (at least not for T-Bird on the Mac.)
  • I don't know if its already in Thunderbird but I couldn't find it. I want my Inbox mails to be group by the 'From' field. Is it possible or is there any extension to do it?
    • by alexgieg (948359)
      Just click que "From" column title. One click set it from A to Z, another from Z to A.
  • External Editor (Score:3, Informative)

    by crabbz (986605) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @10:24AM (#18870165)

    No one mentioned the External Editor [globs.org] extension yet? Nice to be able to kick off your favorite editor without cut-n-pasting. Something every mail client should have, but maybe I'm just old fashioned.

  • by MidnightBrewer (97195) on Wednesday April 25, 2007 @10:54AM (#18870601)
    I recently downloaded Thunderbird 2.0 and was surprised to see that it was basically the same application as before, except that the icons were slightly prettier and I could no longer find the junk mail controls. Address book handling is still obsolete, as well as editing entries (editing a person's name is awkward, as typing a first and last name may actually require you to edit *three* fields - go figure.) One particular annoyance is that you can only store two emails for each contact. Many of my close friends have work, home, and cell phone, so this is a bit of an annoyance for me. Rule editing is also crufty; you cannot move rules across mail accounts, and there is no way to base a new rule off of an old one - also, basing a rule off of a message is only useful if it is set to filter based on that particular sender's address. Threading is over-complicated, split across two sub-menus, and rife with unnecessary options that usually end up with new users unintentionally hiding their emails.

    I have always had a soft spot for the children of Netscape, but Thunderbird hasn't seen a serious reworking since it was split off from the original program. Let me know when the developers release a serious update, and I'll take another look. Until then, I will continue to use the PortableApp version of Thunderbird to check my email at work; it's not that it doesn't work, it's just that it lacks elegance.
  • by afidel (530433)
    I uses Leetkey [mozilla.org] with Thunderbird for news reading in forums that use ROT13 frequently.
  • Why Thunderbird still doesn't have a Purge/Expunge/Compact button by default (at least available, if not already on the toolbar) is a mystery to me. Do they just not care about IMAP users? It's rather annoying to have to hunt down an extension to get that one toolbar button every time i upgrade or install Thunderbird on a new computer.
  • Is there a thunderbird extension for rotating .sigs? It's one of the few things I miss from my old school email days...

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