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Mozilla Messaging Devs Don't Want To Duplicate Outlook 355

Posted by timothy
from the thanks-be-to-the-gods-for-that dept.
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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Mozilla Messaging Devs Don't Want To Duplicate Outlook

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  • by gnutoo (1154137) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:02PM (#23727721) Journal

    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.

    • 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 granulari

      • by Qzukk (229616) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:29PM (#23728375) Journal
        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Hal_Porter (817932)
          You know, the more I read Jamie Zawinski, the more I wonder what the fuck I'm doing as an engineer in a large company. Consider.

          http://www.jwz.org/doc/groupware.html [jwz.org]
          Now the problem here is that the product's direction changed utterly. Our focus in the client group had always been to build products and features that people wanted to use. That we wanted to use. That our moms wanted to use.

          "Groupware" is all about things like "workflow", which means, "the chairman of the committee has emailed me this checklist
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonbryce (703250)
        I'm not sure what the target market would be here. The people who use Outlook tend to be business users, and merging the PIM with social networking is the last thing they would want to do. They will be looking for an Outlook/Exchange replacement. There are a few almost replacements out there, but none of them quite make it.

        For personal mail, most people use webmail services, and in many cases they already use Firefox to visit the webmail site, so I'm not sure what more the Mozilla Foundation could offer
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mhall119 (1035984)
          LinkedIn is a social network with a focus on business users.
      • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:24PM (#23731137) Homepage Journal

        It's time the free software world merged PIM with social networking.
        Then you probably want to be looking at Citadel [citadel.org], which is a full-featured email and PIM system that was built from BBS roots. The user interface and data model are centered around the idea of connecting people with each other, rather than the lame-brained attempt to clone Exchange that everyone else is doing.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by oldspewey (1303305)
      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.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      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 ove
  • Vowels (Score:5, Funny)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:06PM (#23727833)
    Petr Krcmar

    Son, you ain't got quite enough vowels in your name.
    • Re:Vowels (Score:4, Informative)

      by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:54PM (#23729027) Journal

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

      </nitpick>

    • Re:Vowels (Score:4, Funny)

      by ozbird (127571) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:20PM (#23737175)
      It's a little known fact that the Czechs invented SMS txt msgs.
  • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:06PM (#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.
  • Hmmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    by aeskdar (1136689)

    Mozilla Messaging Devs Don't Want To Duplicate Outlook
    Neither does Microsoft's EULA
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:12PM (#23727977) Homepage
    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.
    • 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).
      • by D Ninja (825055)

        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.)
        • by Imsdal (930595) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:05PM (#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.
          • by _xeno_ (155264) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:44PM (#23730251) Homepage Journal

            Because Outlook's text editor sucks to the point that top-posting is basically the only way to make it work.

            Outlook has two default text styles: "compose" and "reply." Assuming nobody bothers changing them, after the second reply everyone will be typing in the same font and color.

            This means that you have to manually alter you text to make it stand out if you're replying to a reply.

            Plus, as an added bonus, Outlook's quote is just an indent and a set of email headers. There's no nice ">" at the start of each quoted line or nice blue line like there is in Thunderbird.

            And, because as already mentioned, Outlook's email editor sucks, Outlook really doesn't handle inserting new lines of text into quoted sections that well. Assuming nobody's done anything fancy with formatting it will simply unindent the line of text. However, you'll still be typing in the blue "reply" format unless you've changed that style, so the only queue that it's a reply is that it's not indented. Unless you're the first reply after an email is sent, then by default you'll be typing blue and their text will remain black. But after one round, this is lost.

            But there's still that "assuming nobody's done anything fancy with formatting" thing I just mentioned. Throw in bullets or numbered lists (and keep in mind, Outlook like Word loves auto-formatting things) and things can get a little screwy. Those generally will prevent your text from being indented.

            I actually did do an "inline reply" to an email that used a numbered list in Outlook, and that had the effect of resetting the numbered list numbers - instead of keeping the number from the original email, it started counting over again from 1. Not a problem if you're replying to all the original items, but...

            In short, it's because Outlook's email editor basically sucks. It wants to be an embedded Word instead of an email editor.

            For those who've never used Outlook, I've essentially formatted my post in a general "Outlook reply" format. Keep in mind that the quoted section would just be indented, without the little quote lines that Slashdot has added.

            From: Imsdal (930595)
            Sent: Tuesday, June 10 2008 01:05 PM
            To: slashdot.org
            Subject: Re:As well they shoouldn't

            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: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Allador (537449)
              While Outlook's text editor isnt anything to write home about, you've got a couple things wrong here.

              Outlook has two default text styles: "compose" and "reply." Assuming nobody bothers changing them, after the second reply everyone will be typing in the same font and color.

              Only if you're using HTML mail and default options.

              Plus, as an added bonus, Outlook's quote is just an indent and a set of email headers. There's no nice ">" at the start of each quoted line or nice blue line like there is in Thunderbird.

              Only if thats how you want it. It's almost infinitely configurable.

              Your choices are:

              - do not include original text
              - attach original message
              - include original text with no formatting changes
              - include and indent original text
              - prefix each line with ? (pick what you want to prefix it with)

              You can also choose whether to reply above or below.

              Thats pretty damn

          • by lubricated (49106) <michalp AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:35PM (#23731411)
            > Whatever happened to quoting and proper mail etiquette, anyway?

            Broadband cheap large hard drives. Top posting is very convenient, first you read the new stuff, and probably the only stuff you care about, the rest is just included for reference and context if you need it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)
        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!

      • by Imsdal (930595) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:55PM (#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.
      • by Nicolay77 (258497)
        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.
      • by shird (566377)
        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.
      • by pembo13 (770295)
        How did I sound like a troll?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb (229885)
      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.

  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:13PM (#23728003) Homepage Journal
    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.

    • 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.

      • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller&daimi,au,dk> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:30PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

          by brunascle (994197)
          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: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jez9999 (618189)
          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?
        • 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.

        • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:09PM (#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!
          • ... quite frequently. Working Software sold a popular spellchecker for the Mac called Spellswell. It would do a lot more than built-in spellcheckers.

            One of its features, which could be disabled, was to verify that there were two spaces after each period. The author of the Mac is Not a Typewriter would call me now and then to complain about it. He wanted me to change it to verify that there is just one space.

            I always meant to allow it as an option, but just never got around to it.

            Now, he has a poin

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Blakey Rat (99501)
              For variable-width fonts, regardless of the medium (computer or print), you're only supposed to use a single space. As far as I'm aware, this pre-dates computers altogether. It's only when using a monospace font that two spaces are necessary.

              In any case, a lot of software written now is based on that assumption. The HTML spec, for example, will strip all but one space if more than one space is typed in a row.
        • by paulthomas (685756) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:37PM (#23730073) Journal
          I wrote an email parser about five years ago, and I can tell you that there is a good compromise to the problem you describe in the email standards implemented by virtually all mail clients (MUAs).

          The header "format=flowed" lets you send text/plain messages that look great whether you are reading it with telnet or pine or with Thunderbird or any other modern MUA. The main rfc for email, RFC 2822 [faqs.org], explains that the sending MUA should, but is not required to, break up paragraphs into lines of less than 78 characters terminated by a carriage return/line feed. If you specify the "format=flowed" header described in RFC 2646 [faqs.org], you allow the receiving client to rewrap the email according to the receiving user's preference. Typically modern MUAs will rewrap format-flowed plaintext email to the window size.

          The specification states that lines ending with a space and then a CLRF are to be treated as part of a single paragraph that can be rewrapped. Hard breaks are then done by terminating the line with a simple CLRF with no preceding space.

          Most modern MUAs that I have dealt with can (and typically by default) send format-flowed email that has the standard line breaks every 78 characters for the benefit of clients that cannot rewrap, and contain contextual clues for newer mail clients to seamlessly reformat the message body. For example, Apple's Mail.app by default sends multi-part MIME messages, one part containing the rich text email and the other part containing format=flowed text/plain. No matter what email client the recipient is using, at least one of those options will look acceptable.

          You can find a pretty good write-up of this at Dan's Mail Format Site [dan.info].

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jc42 (318812)
        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 u
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:23PM (#23728211)
      Who do I have to blow to get plain text mail made the default?

      Me, for a start!
    • by mweather (1089505)

      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?
      • because email is not a website?
      • 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

    • by LO0G (606364) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:26PM (#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.
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:29PM (#23728395) Homepage
        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.
        • by LO0G (606364)
          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.
          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            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.
      • by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:33PM (#23728489) Journal
        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.
        • by LO0G (606364)
          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.yo [evil.com]
    • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:31PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kigrwik (462930)
        From the Hacker's Jargon

        evil adj. As used by hackers, implies that some system, program, person, or institution is sufficiently maldesigned as to be not worth the bother of dealing with. Unlike the adjectives in the cretinous/losing/brain-damaged series, `evil' does not imply incompetence or bad design, but rather a set of goals or design criteria fatally incompatible with the speaker's. This usage is more an esthetic and engineering judgment than a moral one in the mainstream sense. "We thought about addin
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bmajik (96670)
      You could use Outlook, which lets you set the default composition type. Additionally, it lets you change it easily from the Ribbon bar :)
    • by fm6 (162816)
      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!
    • by jc42 (318812)
      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 Window
    • by Bent Mind (853241)

      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,

  • Sync (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Odin_Tiger (585113) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:14PM (#23728021) Journal
    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.
    • 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 :)
    • by fm6 (162816)
      Right you are. If T/S had a builtin SyncML server, it could be used with pretty much every smartphone out there.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ACMENEWSLLC (940904)
      >>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]
      • by Firehed (942385)
        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
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jrumney (197329)
      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.
  • Hmm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MythMoth (73648) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:17PM (#23728067) Homepage
    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.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      What exactly do you mean by "convesation-style view"? How is that different from simple threading?
      • Re:Hmm. (Score:4, Informative)

        by MythMoth (73648) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:09PM (#23729441) Homepage
        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.
    • You mean like this [cornetdesign.com]?

      I use it all the time. I think it does a /better/ job than Outlook at that aspect.
      • by MythMoth (73648)
        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.
    • by DJGreg (28663)

      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.

  • Pfff... (Score:5, Funny)

    by mark72005 (1233572) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:18PM (#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... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Wiseazz (267052) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:28PM (#23728361)
      Especially when Lotus Notes already does all those things... and does them better!
    • by Tomy (34647)

      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... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:39PM (#23728633) Homepage
      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: (Score:3, Informative)

        Outlook - Stores your mail either in a modified Access MDB database (offline PST) or a full SQL database (Online - Exchange server) so why are both slower at searching than Thunderbird which stores mail in textfiles!

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by jabuzz (182671)
          Of if only it did. Online it stores your email in a *huge* modified Access MDB database (Exchange). Microsoft have been promising SQL storage for Exchange for nearly as long as WinFS.
    • Re:Pfff... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by shird (566377) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:51PM (#23728943) Homepage Journal
      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.
    • by fm6 (162816)
      Quite right. Plus those little yellow notepad windows with no scrollbars. Who needs scrollbars, anyway? Scrollbars are for wimps!
  • by TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:21PM (#23728161) Homepage
    Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot [macrumors.com] on some forum. Here is a Thunderbird 3 Alpha 1 Screenshot direct link [imageshack.us].
  • by ClayJar (126217) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @12:30PM (#23728411) Homepage

    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.
  • by cool-RR (1215560) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#23729799)
    Nuclear Reactor Designers Don't Want To Duplicate Chernobyl.
  • by edmicman (830206) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @02:58PM (#23732041) Homepage Journal
    At work I've been using Thunderbird/Lightning with IMAP for the past couple years. Before that I used Outlook at a previous job, and now we've just been merged and moved *back* Exchange and Outlook 2007. There are aspects I love about both, and aspects I hate about both.

    For email, I find Thunderbird wins with no contest. I hate everything about Outlook's email handling. The billion different places that options and settings are stored, stationery, the fonts, the crappy way links are handled if you change to plain text only....gah! But the shared contacts, calendaring, and syncing are excellent. Lightning was OK, but I could never get it to work well as a task-oriented work process as I could with Outlook. However, Lightning's handling of multiple calendars (Google calendar connector specifically) I feel is much better.

    Depending on how things pan out, how does it fare for Tbird if the Exchange APIs are actually released and work? Outlook's muscle comes from the tight integration to Exchange. If I could use Thunderbird/Lightning but get all of the groupware benefits of Exchange, hopefully with improved Task handling...then I think they'd really be on to something!
  • by billtom (126004) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:39PM (#23733201)
    When business people talk about what they like in outlook, it is almost always a feature that uses both outlook and the Microsoft Exchange product as well. The tight integration of features between client and server software across the group really provides some cool functionality.

    Now, if you take the time, you can configure a half dozen different open source server programs (mail, calendaring, centralized address book, etc.) and configure Thunderbird to talk to them (with several addons, of course). But it is a real hassle.

    So what I'm getting at is that if businesses are a real target for Mozilla Messaging (and I'm not sure if they are or not, does anyone know? are they only interested in home users?) then they need to address the server side as well as the client side.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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