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Mozilla Technology

Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 5 154

Posted by samzenpus
from the fly-little-bird dept.
supersloshy writes "Mozilla has released the latest version of Thunderbird, their popular email client, now in sync with their new rapid-release versioning system. Among the new features are the new add-ons manager from Firefox 4, revised account creation, faster response times, the ability to load plugins in RSS feeds and over 390 platform fixes. For more information, read the release notes"
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Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 5

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  • Next week - Thunderbird 6! ...okay maybe not

  • So Thunderbird and Firefox are now both "5's". Version? Stars? Out of 10?
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "5" minutes until the next major version.

  • by Warlord88 (1065794) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @02:39PM (#36614568)
    Can someone give me a good reason to use Thunderbird or any other mail client. I haven't felt the need for it ever since gmail arrived. I can access it from any machine, mobile or tablet. Attachments are becoming easier, yadda yadda. I genuinely trying to figure out when I would want to use a mail client. Maybe in an office environment where I would not like to forward emails to gmail?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I want my email local, fast and accesible. Thunderbird gives me easy rules and a chance for easy archiving. I also can handle my website email accounts (webmaster, sales, info, etc) much easier. Google is slow and cumbersome (for me).

      Not everything is better online.

    • by BZ (40346) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @02:48PM (#36614684)

      gmail's offline capabilities are still pretty poor, for one thing. Support for S/MIME isn't quite there yet (though there are browser extensions that try to do it). Latencies are way higher than a local mail client, at least for me. The "conversation" model it uses is not something everyone likes.

      Gmail doesn't have NNTP support. Gmail doesn't try to remind you when you forget an to attach an attachment that you mention in the mail. Gmail sticks you with a crappy editing widget for your mail (granted, Thunderbird's is not much better).

      Most importantly, not using gmail means Google doesn't have access to your mail. This is something some people actually care about, even if you don't. And not just for "office" mails.

      • Gmail doesn't try to remind you when you forget an to attach an attachment that you mention in the mail.

        Sorry to be picky, but Gmail does do that now and has for a while I believe (although may have only been an optional Labs feature until recently).

        • by BZ (40346)

          Ah, interesting. Indeed, it does. Good to see people stealing feature ideas from each other. ;)

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        I was quite sensitive to my mail client before I made the switch to gMail. What really spurred it was when I was away from home with just my laptop so was forced to use it rather than Thunderbird. Oh, and I use it via my Android phone too now. In theory you can set Thunderbird up with IMAP access and it will sync everything nicely, but I found it never really worked that well and was very slow.

        There are lots of things I don't like about gmail. Lack of a preview window, the edit box, even the black on white

    • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @02:50PM (#36614712)

      Backups and Liability. I don't think I'm the only person who has lost random messages in Gmail. Also, call me old, but there is some stuff you just don't want sitting on a Gmail account or I should say, there is some stuff that your clients would think about suing you if they knew your employees were just forwarding it off to their Gmail accounts.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        Precisely why I use a mail client. I like the web interface, but having a copy on my disk makes it that much less likely that I'll lose any emails due to some sort of hardware failure on either end.

      • by numbski (515011)

        I will likely run my own mail server until the day I die or the technology becomes obsolete. It's my mail, hands off.

        • It's my mail, hands off.

          Agreed. At least we know only we've had access to our e-mails until a jackbooted thug beats our encryption keys out of us.

    • by Sylak (1611137)
      Only reason i think to ever use an e-mail client is on a corporate or university network where you have an exchange or other local mail/calendar server.
    • by jbeaupre (752124) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @02:58PM (#36614790)

      There's probably not a great reason. But there are a few differences that make it worthwhile to some people. The big thing to remember is Gmail and Thunderbird are not mutually exclusive. I use Gmail through Thunderbird and through a web interface.

      Reasons Thunderbird might be useful to some people vs web based Gmail:
      Interface preference. Neither is superior, but some folks prefer Thunderbird.
      Multiple accounts. Thunderbird lets you manage multiple accounts with multiple providers easily.
      Plugins. I can only think of one: openPGP. And most people can live without it.
      Search. Believe it or not, Thunderbird gives you better control of search than Gmail
      Offline. Thunderbird lets you mess with your email while you are offline.

      So my advice is to give Thunderbird a try, don't expect to be blown away, but who knows, you might like it.

      • by swillden (191260)

        Multiple accounts. Thunderbird lets you manage multiple accounts with multiple providers easily.

        I think GMail actually does a better job of this. Set your other accounts up to forward, set gmail up to allow you to send as though sending from the other accounts and then you have a single inbox that integrates all of your accounts seamlessly. It does the right thing for replies, too. If you want to more easily see which account a given message is from, make a filter that automatically adds a label. If you decide that you don't want one of the accounts to go to the inbox, have the filter archive it (

        • by jbeaupre (752124)

          Yeah, I was walking a fine line with those two. Figured I could still say them with a straight face. Gmail lets you combine several accounts and does it well, but Thunderbird lets you manage those accounts in one spot. At least a little bit better.

          Same bit of hair splitting with search. Google does search better, but Thunderbird has some fine grain control that is handy sometimes.

          potato ... potato

          • by swillden (191260)

            Google does search better, but Thunderbird has some fine grain control that is handy sometimes.

            For example? It's been a couple of years since I stopped using Thunderbird, but I don't recall anything I can't do with GMail.

    • by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @03:01PM (#36614834)

      Can someone give me a good reason to use Thunderbird or any other mail client. I haven't felt the need for it ever since gmail arrived.

      Because we don't want to give all our email to Google?

      • I do not WANT to give my email to Google. I really don't. But I need a multi-PC/mobile solution (i.e. an IMAP server), and I ran my own (hosted) server for my own domain for years, until the spam completely overwhelmed me. I used Tuffmail for awhile, although their spam controls are not-user friendly and I find their documentation very hard to apply. Tuffmail is reasonably priced, although not long ago I went on a cost-cutting spree and Tuffmail got hit.

        To-date I use gmail, because they are managing my spam

        • My guess is that it's easier for Google to do content spam filtering because Google is intentionally scanning/storing/aggregating the mail of *everyone* who uses it so they have that much more to compare to. I don't think Tuffmail does that with their customer's mail; I know I don't.

        • I run my own mailserver and my email address [mailto] is splattered all over the place. I got a spam yesterday. Gmail does an excellent job of spam filtering, but you can do a pretty great job with your own server [honeypot.net].

      • Offline mode. You can read your mail offline, write your mail offline, and queue it all up for sending all at once. This is particularly useful for those of us who still have no broadband in our area and have to rely on dialup or satellite instead of an always-on connection.
      • Speaking of offline mode: you also edit your emails in a decent editor which doesn't suck like all Web 2.0 usually does. It also auto-saves your progress, so if you lose network connectivity, you don't lose your message.
      • Push email. Thund
      • by Culture20 (968837)
        I love enigmail, but my friends hate me for it ("What's this digital signature crap at the end of all your emails?").
    • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @03:44PM (#36615514)

      Thunderbird is free.
      Gmail is "free".

      Thunderbird also handles receiving mail from multiple accounts better in my opinion. Yes gmail has all kinds of features to do this, but i like COMPLETELY separate inboxes for some stuff; and stuff like multiple-imap account support is better in thunderbird.

      Thunderbird is an application. Gmail is a web application.Its a good web app, but its still feels like a webapp. Its window handling in particular is REALLY annoying compared to a native app.

      • by swillden (191260)

        Yes gmail has all kinds of features to do this, but i like COMPLETELY separate inboxes for some stuff

        You can do that with gmail.

        stuff like multiple-imap account support is better in thunderbird

        How so?

        • by swillden (191260)

          stuff like multiple-imap account support is better in thunderbird

          How so?

          NM, dumb question.

        • by vux984 (928602)

          You can do that with gmail.

          You can do a poor and quite limited approximation of that with gmail.

          Depending on which account you have selected in in thunderbird, it chooses the correct reply to address by default, attaches the correct signature, maintains the sent items, drafts, etc, separately, etc. And there's no arbitrary limit to how many you can have.

          There's other things too... like no limit on the amount of mail you receive. I know a few people who are toting around mailboxes (lots of attachments) that

          • by swillden (191260)

            You can do that with gmail.

            You can do a poor and quite limited approximation of that with gmail.

            Depending on which account you have selected in in thunderbird, it chooses the correct reply to address by default,

            So does gmail. In fact, it does this even if you don't bother to separate your incoming mail into different labels or priority inboxes.

            attaches the correct signature

            So does gmail. In fact, it does this even if you don't bother to separate your incoming mail into different labels or priority inboxes.

            maintains the sent items, drafts, etc, separately, etc.

            Okay, that gmail doesn't do. I've never missed it, but I suppose you might. I don't have that many drafts at any given time and when I'm looking for sent items I just use the search.

            One comment on drafts: I really like the way gmail ha

    • Sorry you got modded down because it's a legitimate question. For me, though, the converse is true: I don't want to use any webmail sites when I have a perfectly good local app. I've used Gmail and it's a nice attempt at emulating a local client, but it doesn't offer me any advantages over Thunderbird on my netbook, or my iPhone's inbox, or Mail.app on my Mac. I use IMAP everywhere so all of my email is accessible and synchronized from all of those devices, and attachments download in the background while I

    • GSA (General Services Administration) is switching to Gmail as part of their migration to the "cloud" you wonder who got the bribe to make this stupidity happen. After many relatively trouble free years with Lotus Notes, the airheads hear the new marketing-speak buzzwords "Cloud Computing" and to impress their equally airheaded managers and to look smart they decided to move from a proven enterprise class application to somthing oriented towards small business and end user applications.

      If the lack of any s

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      Since I host my own mail accounts, and don't want to have to maintain my own web interface to them, having a mail client comes in rather handy.

      Also, assuming adequately skilled programmers, a purpose-built locally-running app is almost always going to work better than something kludged together in a web browser.

      • by tftp (111690)

        Since I host my own mail accounts, and don't want to have to maintain my own web interface to them, having a mail client comes in rather handy.

        It takes maybe 15 minutes to install Open-Xchange [oxpedia.org] and it works just fine.

        • I flipped around the site for 5 minutes and came up with no clear idea what Open-Xchange is for.

          However, the name strongly suggests that it has something to do with Outlook or Exchange, which are the head and ass end of the worst mail combo I'm aware of.

          I leave it as an exercise for the reader to determine which end is which. I suppose it depends on which one they've had to administer.

          • by tftp (111690)

            I flipped around the site for 5 minutes and came up with no clear idea what Open-Xchange is for.

            I'm not responsible for the choice of that name, fortunately. Also, if you use open source software you should be already conditioned to expect no sensible description of what the software does :-)

            However the software itself is exactly what you need if you require a Web interface to your mail. It's written in Java, works very well and looks good. If you run Ubuntu LTS, for example, the installation is trivia

    • 1. Expended threaded message flow view
      2. Viewing messages more than 100 message per page (some folders i have more than 2k)
      3. Native execution clients allow better viewing customization (folder/label structure, panel layout, structured view, etc)
      4. Automatic viewing message by selection within single viewable screen along with structured message layout view
      5. Scheduled message sending (ie. 9AM morning release message prep'd a day before)
      6. Client API hook to various other native applications (desktop notifi

    • You can use drag&drop.

    • I use it on two computers, for IMAP access to my own mail server, which also has a webmail interface, oh and I can get to my email from my Android phone client too. Or at least I used to until about three weeks ago when my server died and I decided to bin it. Now my email lives inside my laptop and it feels like the 18th century or something. Must by a new fanless system for server 2.0!

    • by ncc74656 (45571) *

      Can someone give me a good reason to use Thunderbird or any other mail client.

      You need something to access your mail server, and Thunderbird blows the doors off of Outlook. I've set up SquirrelMail on my personal mail server for those times when I only have access to a browser (which isn't often, considering that the mail app on my iPhone speaks IMAPS), but a proper email client (whether desktop or mobile) is just easier to use IMHO. At work, I have Thunderbird talking to our Exchange server with Lightnin

  • Does this mean plugins will work on both x86 and x86-64 versions?
  • Namely, plug-in compatibility still sucks. Plugins that do really really useful things, such as email redirect, have quit working.

    A system of happy volunteers sounds like a great idea until you find out that the volunteers stop maintaining things for whatever reason.

  • I have 3.1.10 and thought I was quite up to date :s. Did I miss a whole version?

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Nope! Thunderbird pulled a Winamp and skipped version 4 altogether.

      • Hmmm, interesting. Would that indicate that skipping version numbers is somehow connected to producing non-standard, totally crappy user interfaces? :p

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Because it uses the same Gecko version as Firefox, they opted to skip a version in the numbering system. It wouldn't have been as obnoxious had they not also skipped Firefox 4.1 in favor of Firefox 5.0.

    • I feel skipping version numbers is only one step removed from the absolute worst versioning system of using random, not necessarily increasing numbers for each new update. Were these guys drunk or so?

  • Um, no. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bad idea?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I'm not sure why an email client should have an RSS reader incorporated into it. Seems more appropriate for a web browser, but that's just me.

      • by Haedrian (1676506)

        To be honest I used to think that, but when you have a very old RSS field with 1000+ entries stored as bookmarks, its rather irritating.

        Now with thunderbird its rather like receiving an email. In fact, RSS basically replaces the "sending newsletter by email", so its also more natural.

  • OK, and what is new? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mseeger (40923) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @02:59PM (#36614816)

    After having read the release notes, the improvement to the ordinary user still remains unclear. Sounds more like a patch than a new version...

    The greatest change seems to be the gecko engine. But anyone who sends me HTML mail gets a reprimand anyway. Does anyone really uses HTML in emails? I mean seriously? I get and read about 100 mails per day and write 30-50. Percentage of HTML mail is, once you throw out the marketing spam, well below 1%.

    What i really miss from Thunderbird is a better search interface. I want search terms like "from contains dummy.com and body contains upgrade and to is not me". For more complex searches, i currently create virtual folders (based on one search result) and then search within that folder. But even this method has its limits.

    I have most of my emails (now 18 years) archived. Saved my ass on at least half a dozen occasions. But this means 12.000 mails archived per year (much less in 1993, but always growing). So searching becomes the main problem now.

    CU, Martin

    • by vlm (69642)

      Does anyone really uses HTML in emails?

      Embedded pictures. Which of course is why spammers exclusively use HTML email.

    • and now it's got partial transparency. Those are the biggest things I notice.

    • by McLoud (92118)

      Working with people on organizations over here, everyone uses a simple html template with their sig (simple html plus embedded company logo)

    • I use HTML in email from time to time. I have scripts that generate small business reports (sales, basically) and use HTML to tabulate them, and then send that report in HTML form. The audience is business people, so they don't want a "table" made with monospace-fonts, and it would be overkill to attach a CSV or something like that. Ideally I would have a general purpose webserver where I could have my report hosted (or generated on demand), and just tell people "Look here when you're interested", rather
      • by mseeger (40923)

        Valid example, but rarely used. I expected to see it more often when Netscape first announced HTML mail. They even showed off examples like the ones you mentioned...

    • Most of the user interface for Thunderbird and Firefox is implemented in XUL [wikipedia.org] which is rendered using Gecko. Any improvements to the engine, and in particular with JavaScript, will boost the performance of the application as a whole.

      • by mseeger (40923)

        I never noticed a performance problem with the GUI, but you may be right there for people with less powerfull machines....

        • by pavon (30274)

          Yeah, I haven't used it since version 1, when I was evaluating a replacement for Eudora on my parent's computer. Back then it was dirt slow on a P4, and I ended up recommending Pegasus for that reason, even though I thought Thunderbird was more user friendly. It's probably gotten a lot better since then.

          I was just pointing out why a Gecko upgrade is more significant than just improved HTML emails.

    • by ljw1004 (764174)

      As a developer and program-manager, I use HTML for most of my email...

      * When I'm sending code snippets, it's nice to have them colorized
      * When I'm sending a list of feature options along with their pros/cons, it's nice to tabulate this
      * When I'm sending normal prose, it's nice to use italic/bold
      * When I'm sending a list of bugs, it's nice to make that a table
      * When I'm sending action items, it's nice to highlight the "Must Act Now" recipient's name in yellow
      * When I'm reporting bugs, it's nice to have scree

    • But anyone who sends me HTML mail gets a reprimand anyway. Does anyone really uses HTML in emails? I mean seriously?

      I used to be like you (reprimanding people for not living in my black-and-white monospaced world) until I realized that colors, hyperlinks, inline images, and weighted fonts of varying sizes are helpful in communicating clearly and getting one's message across.

      At one time these features were new (not readable by all recipients) and dangerous (not sandboxed appropriately), but that was year

      • by mseeger (40923)

        I realized that colors, hyperlinks, inline images, and weighted fonts of varying sizes are helpful in communicating clearly and getting one's message across.

        True, but those are usually longer texts which are attachments but not mails. But i have to confess that i can use underline and boldface without using HTML is something i use....

        it's time to leave the people using mutt and Outlook Express 5.5 behind.

        What's with the users of pine and elm? I know some of them ;-).

    • by david.given (6740)
      I've been noticing that a lot of business related email from, e.g. energy suppliers, airlines etc use multipart/alternative with an empty plain text section, so resulting in them looking as if they're completely blank if I tell Thunderbird to prefer the plain text version. In fact, I've just had to switch to preferring simplified HTML just so I can read the damned things.
    • Does anyone really uses HTML in emails? I mean seriously?

      Yes, definitely, though the amount depends on the envrironment. At work, probably over 80% of my emails have meaningful HTML formatting in them - most often it's syntax-highlighted code (copy/pasted from Visual Studio) and screenshots. Occasionally it's also tables and nested lists.

  • ...and hoping Asa doesn't go spouting off about how Thunderbird is horrible for managed email systems.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @03:08PM (#36614940)

    I think at this point, it's more of a "projectile vomited" rather then "released". Or at least it describes both the desirability of the stuff being excreted and the speed.

    When it comes to email, reliability and functionality is FAR more important then any new features. Losing important/mission critical plug-ins to version crap can impact your real life in a vastly negative way.

    Oh well, there's always outlook. Can't believe I'd actually consider moving back to MS software on email. But if Mozilla is hell-bent to ensure that I don't want to use plug-ins because they will be killed every month for several days if I'm lucky, and never released on time if not (finnish dictionary add-on, I'm looking at you), then I might as well go back to outlook.

    At least it has proper spell checking in languages I need for my daily functioning.

    • by starwed (735423)
      I'm not saying you don't have reasons for considering switching back, but your post is incoherent to the point that I haven't the slightest idea what they are.
    • While the new MS Outlook is miles ahead of the clunky virus vectors of the past it still has a few nasty quirks that make it a pain for the user and waste everybodies time. The worst IMHO is very unreliable secure authentication with mail servers which makes it unsuitable for staff that travel. Even the iPhone gets it right but under the same circumstances MS Outlook randomly fails when it's trying to send email. I had to get external MS Outlook users to connect via a VPN and get their machine to pretend
    • I tried Outlook in 2003 or so and found it to be so bad I can't imagine anyone could work on the product and not kill themselves from shame. I imported my e-mail archives into it only to find it craps out at about 1.5GB in a mailbox file and randomly starts losing stuff. When I mentioned the problem to a few folks their responses were, essentially, "Of course, that's a well-known bug." It would take 30-60 seconds to open a large folder. I could go on...

      I have to use Outlook at work and I'm randomly gett

  • So they have caught up with Firefox having the fonts messed up. One has to manually set gfx.direct2d to false in config editor to have readable fonts (at least on Windows).

    The whole Mozilla suite seems to go downhill.

    • All developers considering using Direct2D (or rather DirectWrite) should first read this doc page [microsoft.com], and tattoo DWRITE_RENDERING_MODE_CLEARTYPE_GDI_CLASSIC on their forehead.

      Remember, every time you render a glyph in DWRITE_RENDERING_MODE_DEFAULT, I kill a kitten. And eat it. With no mustard.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ..once again
    following Skype [slashdot.org] and Firefox 4 [mozilla.com], now Mozilla officially drops PPC to go Intel only. Same with Opera.

    Sad. Now I have no choice but to use unpatched software.

  • Seriously. This update schedule is even more innane for email clients then it is for the web browser (where at least there might be something new in one of these releases). Now they're just releasing stuff for the sake of sticking to some retarded schedule, no matter how little sense it makes.

    There's only one thing I ask for above all else in an email client: stability. I want it to work, and I want it to hassle me as little as possible. Mozilla seems like their new goal is to annoy people into submission.

    • by Shark (78448)

      Mozilla seems like their new goal is to annoy people into submission.

      In the open software world, that's annoying people into finding better alternatives. When the numbers start dwindling, they'll pay attention to the problem. Let's hope for them it won't be too late.

  • Is Tbird 3.x end of life like FF4? I can still see some 3.1.11 versions for some languages, but English is 5.0 only, and it doesn't seem that anything has 3.1.12 or 3.2. I let my distro update me; can anyone confirm if 3.1.11 auto updates to 5.0 (that will royally confuse my mom who computes by number).
  • by Kargan (250092) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @04:21PM (#36616012) Homepage

    It won't let you create an account (even for testing purposes) using servers and settings that it can't "probe".

    Working at a tech support firm as I do, the new account wizard that was implemented with TB3 is an absolute nightmare for users. I like TB better than MS mail clients in general, but they make us and our users' lives far more difficult than need be.

    Do away with the "autoconfiguration" crap and just let people specify what they want, or at least make it optional to have TB "autodetect" everything, for cripes' sake. What's wrong with letting the end-user configure an account using any settings they want?

  • by grolschie (610666) on Wednesday June 29, 2011 @06:02PM (#36617080)
    I never liked Thunderbird 3.x. Thunderbird 2.x is just what I want.
    • Same here. WTF is the point of using tabs for email? If I want multiple messages open, it's BECAUSE I WANT TO SEE THEM AT THE SAME TIME. The whole thing felt like using webmail, the avoidance of which is exactly why I was using a desktop email client in the first place.

      Still on 2.0.0.24 and apparently I'll still be on it for a long time â" especially since a commenter above said that the "redirect" plugin no longer works in 5.0. Why on earth they are so rabidly resistant to adding that basic feature

  • I know that eye candy isn't really the measure of a quality product, but, by the same token, I can't comfortably use an application that is visually offensive to me. Thunderbird 3.1 on Windows XP had some aspects of its UI that didn't seem quite right. When I moved to Windows 7, everything looked pretty good.

    Then Thunderbird 5 comes out with their "theme fixes" and the menu bar and Mail Toolbar look unbelievable awful. I use Thunderbird to access my two Gmail accounts, because I prefer a more traditional, f

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