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Mozilla Technology

Mozilla Thunderbird 3 Released 272

supersloshy writes Today Mozilla released Thunderbird 3. Many new features are available, including Tabs and enhanced search features, a message archive for emails you don't want to delete but still want to keep, Firefox 3's improved Add-ons Manager, Personas support, and many other improvements. Download here."
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Mozilla Thunderbird 3 Released

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  • Tabs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:48PM (#30371584) Journal

    a message archive for emails you don't want to delete but still want to keep

    Well that was cleverly written :)

    But tabbed email sounds interesting. It makes text editors, web browsers and many other apps so much better and makes so much sense for email application that I'm thinking why didn't Thunderbird have it before.

    One thing I would surely like to see in email clients however - the gmail like threaded conversation view. It's just so much better and nicer to use, but still many email applications tend to have the plain-list-of-messages view.

    • Re:Tabs (Score:5, Informative)

      by Misanthrope ( 49269 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:57PM (#30371682)

      It's had that for ages
      To view emails as conversation threads, go to View, Sort By, and choose Threaded, (Unthreaded to stop showing threads.)

      • Re:Tabs (Score:4, Informative)

        by robmv ( 855035 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:07PM (#30371784)

        yes, the only problem is that your replies do not show that way (unless it is a mailing list where you receive a copy of your own message). If there is some way to merge the Sent Folder with the threaded view using a search or some kind of virtual folder, please help us

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by krobe ( 944780 )
          But you can set where sent items are kept, such as in the inbox, by going to tools > account settings > copies and folders
        • by chgros ( 690878 )

          To solve the problem, I always BCC myself. Since my address goes to several destinations it's especially useful.

        • Re:Tabs (Score:4, Informative)

          by Fez ( 468752 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @09:33PM (#30373076)

          A similar but not quite the same choice is available.

          When viewing a message, click "other actions" then "show in conversation"

          Your replies are threaded in when viewing a message this way, but it opens in a new tab.

        • by Nutria ( 679911 )

          If there is some way to merge the Sent Folder with the threaded view using a search or some kind of virtual folder, please help us

          Simple: when you're finished reading emails, drag them to a new folder. Call it "All_Emails". Then, have all your sent emails stored in All_Emails. Viola! Instant message threads.

          Heck, you can even have built-in message filter drop Inbox messages into All_Emails.

      • by Mountaineer1024 ( 1024367 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:14PM (#30371852) Homepage

        Every single time I see this discussion, someone pipes up to say "but thunderbird DOES do threads!".
        That it does. And that has absolutely no bearing on the discussion at hand.
        Conversation view as provided by gmail gives you a single page for each entire conversation AND it inserts your replies online as appropriate.
        There's several other features that make conversation view work so well, but you'll have to actually try gmail to understand what we are talking about.

        • by mishehu ( 712452 )
          I suppose you could change your default sent mail folder to be the same as your inbox. Then in theory, at least, your replies would appear as part of the threads.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by digitalunity ( 19107 )

            All that does is make your inbox a mess.

            This thread reminds me of the instant-message type SMS text view on Palm Treo phones. No other phone that I have found does it the same way.

            I've been using Thunderbird 3 pre-release for quite a while now and even 3.0 doesn't do it quite right. But, it is what it is. It beats the pants off Thunderbird 2. Now if only enigmail worked on Windows as well as it does in Linux....

        • by mrand ( 147739 )

          Does ANY client do gmail like conversation views? Zimbra didn't have it as of mid 2009. Does Horde have it? Anything?!

    • Perhaps it should have read you don't want to delete but still want to delete

      That would have made more sense.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mirix ( 1649853 )
        Stuff you don't want to have handy, but don't want to get rid of either was my interpretation. Like taking ancient files and putting them in a box in the basement, instead of taking up prime real estate in the filing cabinet. right?
        • In the spirit of slashdot, we present a car analogy.

          This is like taking things out of the glove box and putting them in the trunk because you don't want to throw them away yet.

          • Well now you mention it, I am reminded of a meat supreme pizza, of which sometimes when it's loaded with all the beef and the bacon, chilli, ham, chorizo, pepparoni, chicken, you often WANT to eat it all, but you aren't able to. So rather than throeing it away it is stored for later consumption, to be reheated in the oven at a later date, if you will.

            So Actually it's like storing a pizza in the fridge rather than the bin.

    • One thing I would surely like to see in email clients however - the gmail like threaded conversation view. It's just so much better and nicer to use, but still many email applications tend to have the plain-list-of-messages view.

      I've been using Thunderbird 3 beta for a while, so I'm not sure if this feature is new to Thunderbird 3 or not (I suspect that it was in 2, not sure though), but you can read your email in a threaded view. In Thunderbird 3, on the column headers, there is a Thread View column to the

    • Re:Tabs (Score:5, Funny)

      by Blakey Rat ( 99501 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:20PM (#30371926)

      a message archive for emails you don't want to delete but still want to keep

      What about for messages I don't want to keep but still want to delete? Does it handle those?

      • I suppose so... but beware: it also adds every folder you have to the search index. Not a bad idea, except that it also adds the junk folder, in which I've been keeping an archive in order to train/retrain SpamAssassin... any idea how long it takes for the frigging index to scan through 50,000+ spam messages over IMAP?

      • I'm more worried about the messages I want to keep but that it decides to blindly delete anyway when a folder goes over 2GB in size. Did they fix that bug yet? IMO any product that knows it has that serious a bug - for years - and does nothing is not trustworthy enough to use.

    • Oddly enough, just as with tabbed web browsing, this is something Opera did before Mozilla...
      • by MikeFM ( 12491 )

        To bad they still can't render pages correctly. I guess they do way better than IE though. I keep waiting for their long promised new rendering engine.

    • Re:Tabs (Score:4, Interesting)

      by kizza42 ( 978129 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @09:33PM (#30373080) Homepage
      Funny, the only thing thats keeping me from dropping Thunderbird and moving entirely to Gmail is the "plain-list-of-messages view" that Google is too stubborn to add for people like me that feel threading is a slower way of organizing things
    • From another poster in this discussion [], it sounds like Gmail's conversation view is not threaded. One can mail a response with a different subject header and that email is still in the same thread (because threads are tracked by ordered lists of message-IDs, not the subject header). From what it sounds like, Gmail, sorts emails into "conversations" by subjects and date/timestamps.

      So asking for Gmail-style conversations means giving up something quite valuable Thunderbird has provided for a long time (pos

  • by neonprimetime ( 528653 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:52PM (#30371636)
    ... slashdot story summaries i don't want to delete but still want to keep
    • ... slashdot story summaries i don't want to delete but still want to keep

      Haha, yeah, I noticed that too. I'm pretty sure thunderbird has *always* had a solution for keeping things you don't want to delete!

    • Haha, I had an idiocracy monent there

  • I know it had a feature to integrate itself with search in Windows 7, but it was pretty broken in the beta. I hope it's fixed now.

  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @06:59PM (#30371702) Homepage

    because hell just froze over. First we get Chrome for Linux, then Thunderbird 3. What next, Duke Nukem Forever?

  • by rmcd ( 53236 ) * on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:03PM (#30371746)

    I've been using Thunderbird 3 in beta for the last few months on an ubuntu system. TB 3 doesn't look dramatically different than TB 2, but the performance difference is *enormous*. TB 2 would crash frequently, it would periodically use all resources while it did heaven knows what, and Gmail IMAP was a disaster.

    TB 3 is responsive, hardly ever crashes (perhaps twice in 3 months), search is *way* improved, and it finally feels like first-rate software. My hat is off to the Thunderbird team.

    • Too little too late. I switched to on my mac last week because i was sick of thunderbird having no meaningful updates in years. I checked the new features list for TB3 and none of it was compelling enough to make me stay.
    • TB2 never crashed on me. not once. I've got 10 account, gigs of mail, calender extension being populated from web services and lots of rules.

      What were you doing to make it crash all the time!

      • by rmcd ( 53236 ) *

        You running on Ubuntu? It was fine for me under XP, but the linux version was terrible. That's why I emphasized Linux in my subject.

        If you are running Linux, I'm impressed :-)

        • I've been running TB 2 for linux for years with no crashing, resource hog problems, etc. as you say you had... there must have been something strange with your setup. In fact, I'm at 108 days of uptime on this computer - a Thinkpad running opensuse - and Thunderbird has been open, sitting on desktop 2, for that entire time (that is, until I just upgraded to TB 3) with no problem, and like the other guy, I've got 6 accounts running with huge amounts of mail in each.

          • by rmcd ( 53236 ) *

            Glad to hear it, as my problems were pretty extreme with a pretty vanilla setup. At the same time, it was definitely the TB3 upgrade that fixed the problem. Must have been some weird combination of software.

        • yes, ubuntu 8.04 but only using POP not imap and not with exchange. Maybe that is the difference.

      • I'll second that TB2 has some problems, actually. I've used it for about three years now with an Exchange and gmail account, both IMAP, and Lightning for calendaring. By and large it does just fine, but every once in a while it just chokes and becomes unresponsive. It doesn't always recover very gracefully from connection problems, either. I really do like Thunderbird, and I haven't given much thought to using anything else, but even I wouldn't say it's problem-free. If the new release cleans up some o

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Not only for linux. I am using Windows XP, and definitely agreed about the Gmail IMAP side, it's so much better now. It finally gives a real reason not to use the url ever again on my PC. I have yet to check the other things though, and it still doesn't do too good on newsgroups refreshing (in terms of speed) as far as I've seen.
    • GMail IMAP still has problems though. I've been tracking it since the betas, and they haven't fixed the issues with checking folders for new mail. So, if you subscribe to the "All Mail" folder, you get a notification in your inbox and "All Mail." It basically ignores the checkbox right now for "check this folder for new mail" in the properties.

      You could always unsubscribe to "all mail" but that kind of defeats the purpose of the new search and archive features.

      I still like it overall, but the multiple no

    • It is definitely much better than TB2 on Windows and OSX too. Strangely, I still kind of prefer Postbox [] to Thunderbird even though it doesn't really add any features that I use, and I don't find it to be worth the purchase price. I guess it's a look and feel thing.

    • by iris-n ( 1276146 )

      That's good. But have they fixed the bug where TB would mysteriously swallow your address book? Last time I checked, the bug was already 3 years old, and no sign of the developers.

      I mean. Is there a feature more important than not losing data?

  • Does this version get rid of or offer a way to disable the message that says: "The current command did not succeed. The mail server responded: The requested message could not be converted to RFC-822 compatible formate.." Thunderbird 2.0 seems like a bad choice for accessing Exchange (via IMAP) - is 3.0 any better?

  • Hopefully improved. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jwriney ( 16598 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:24PM (#30371956) Homepage

    One of the early releases I downloaded had the amusing "feature" of downloading every message in the background - not just headers, full messages, with attachments. According to the bug report, this was intentional, so that your folders would be accessible without being connected to the network, but it never seemed to know where to stop. It was *constantly* and repeatedly downloading messages, and ate 40 some-odd gigs before I noticed it and went back to 2.


    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Yeah, that is lame. The first time I fired it up gmail disconnected me saying I had used my bandwidth quota for the day or some foolishness like that.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      (Note for those backwards people who still use POP: IMAP users normally download their message bodies on the fly.)

      Sigh. Been using the beta for a couple of weeks, so I'm familiar with this download-everything behavior. This is not actually a new feature. What's changed is that it's enabled by default. Which is, I agree, pretty dumb.

      Here's why they did this. This version has vastly improved searching (far and away, my favorite new feature) which doesn't work unless you have a local copy of the mailbox for in

    • Account Settings/Offline & Disk Space controls this feature now. "Available for offline use" defaults to off, you have to toggle it on for all folders you want that behavior for.

  • Anyone check if it supports address cards yet?

  • Message Archive. (Score:2, Informative)

    a message archive for emails you don’t want to delete but still want to keep

    To be more specific, the message archive is for emails that you want to get rid of, but don't exactly want to delete. Like if you're in a mailing list and want to clean out your inbox, but you don't want to delete all of (or at least some of) your messages in that mailing list. It's basically just another way of organizing things. Sorry if I didn't make any sense before :\.

  • Tabs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RalphSleigh ( 899929 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:34PM (#30372056) Homepage

    Ok, does anyone know how to turn off the tabs bar, or at least hide it when there is only one tab, like firefox does?

    99% of the time I read my mail in the reading pane instead of popping open a new window, so the tabs bar is just sitting there with only one tab showing.

    Plus pressing the write button opens a new window instead of a tab anyway...

    • Re:Tabs (Score:5, Informative)

      by Demetris ( 852051 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @08:23PM (#30372558) Homepage

      Go to Options > Advanced, and click the Config Editor button.

      Type hide in the Filter box to find the mail.tabs.autoHide preference.

      Double-click on mail.tabs.autoHide to toggle the preference.


    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by threexk ( 1296707 )

      Ok, does anyone know how to turn off the tabs bar, or at least hide it when there is only one tab, like firefox does?

      In about:config, change mail.tabs.autoHide to true.

      (Tools->Options...->Advanced->Config Editor...)

      I personally wish you could disable tabs completely.

  • Great (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ark42 ( 522144 ) <slashdot@mo[ ]eu ... t ['rph' in gap]> on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:38PM (#30372108) Homepage
    Now I can't get to my calendar anymore. Thanks for synchronizing an update with the Lightning extension
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by t0y ( 700664 )

      I had the same problem when installing the RC version. This add-on [] turns out to be very helpful while they don't manage to update lightning.

      The problem I have now is with the update feature. Having installed RC2, do I need to download de full version? It doesn't seem to be able to update itself.

    • Re:Great (Score:5, Informative)

      by rmcd ( 53236 ) * on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:55PM (#30372256)

      You should try one of these: []

      I've found Lightning betas to be solid and have been using them for several months (I use GCalDaemon to sync with Google Calendar). I'd back up first just to be safe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Temujin_12 ( 832986 )

        You should try one of these: []

        I've found Lightning betas to be solid and have been using them for several months (I use GCalDaemon to sync with Google Calendar). I'd back up first just to be safe.

        Mod parent up. The Lightning calendar plugin team has been craking out bug fixes and is well on its way to releasing.

        How Thunderbird has gotten this far without integrated calendaring (not just via plugin) I have no idea.

        • The nightly for Lightning seems to work pretty good, though I've run into a couple of bugs. (ate one my calendars - fortunately I backup often!)

          I've been using the beta for 3.0 for a while now, and one feature of 2.x that I liked that does not seem to be present is the ability to display a single message as HTML. I generally do email as plain text, but occasionally I will want to see the html version of a message. Having a single button to allow for that (and the associated pulling of remote images and su

      • by Wizarth ( 785742 )

        Thank you!

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:40PM (#30372122)

    I have been a Thunderbird user for as long as it's been around (and before it was "Thunderbird"), and I thought I would be one forever. Even once I started using Gmail for my personal email, I thought I'd need Thunderbird for my work stuff. But, you know, the university started offering hosted Gmail, and I decided to try it... and, months later, I don't miss T-bird at all.

    Thing is, I was one of the hold-outs. While quite a few staff and faculty here are still on desktop email, almost all of our students have preferred web mail for quite a few years now - even when the only web-based option was that gosh-awful "Webpine" (Hey! Here's a great idea! Let's use our awful, counter-intuitive, ugly Pine command line program as a design template for a new web-based email client!). So I wonder for how much longer any desktop email programs will even be considered relevant.

    • by ZosX ( 517789 )

      Well, to be fair, pine was the best thing around for a long time. I used to like eudora on my mac back in the day, but pine was pretty great too. I pretty much used pine and mutt for years until I started using gmail. Web mail used to suck in a lot of ways until gmail came out. I think a yahoo account only had a 5 megabyte limit or so at the time. 1gig was incredibly large and the interface is still better than anything else. Even the classic html only version is decent and certainly lightweight. Gmail is e

    • by cuby ( 832037 )
      Try to see old mails using gmail on a plain, or in a fast train, or away in an area with bad GSM/UMTS/whatever signal. Only the cloud computing people think the cloud is always there. Simpler... Try to get your old email if google doesn't want to give it to you. I know, it's SCI-FI, for now...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      I personally prefer to know that I have a copy of my own emails stored on a computer that I control. Sure google is good at what they do and all and they are not evil, but server foul ups happen. It is also nice for when my laptop is not connected to the internet.

      Web apps also have some usability issues: no right click, usually less good keyboard shortcuts and/or clashes with browser. They loose screen real estate that the browser takes up. A tab within can't be easily alt tabbed to. There are not as

    • by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @12:28AM (#30374104) Homepage

      Funny, I switched *away* from in the web-based GMail client, opting for Evolution (mainly because of it's calendar integration). Why? Well, I wanted to access my personal and work email through the same client. But, of course, I'm not gonna forward my work email to GMail. So the only solution available was to use an IMAP client, through which I now access both my work and gmail accounts.

      So, no, desktop clients are alive and well, and probably always will be, thanks to corporations and individuals who choose to run their own email services (Microsoft Exchange in particular).

  • Lightning.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shic ( 309152 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2009 @07:40PM (#30372126)

    That seems quite an important extension - any idea when (or if) it will be supported by TB3?

    To me, it seems like an error of judgement to mainstream release a new version when key addons have not been satisfactorily updated. For the likes of Lightening, it isn't just eye-candy... and, for many, I suspect, breaking existing (addon) functionality will be unacceptable.

    That said, I'm looking forward to 'conversation' view - and I've craved an improved address book for years... though what I saw when I last took a peek at the Beta wasn't much better than in TB2.

  • The first thing I want from a new version of Thunderbird is fixing the data loss bugs, because right now I'm on the point of moving to another e-mail client.

    (For the uninitiated, Thunderbird can literally nuke your e-mails without trace under some circumstances, such as if you move it from one folder to another. This is not just the old problems with the silly approach to indexing and "compacting", this is an actual, irretrievable, without-warning, 100% data loss. That's just not acceptable in this kind of

    • Thunderbird can literally nuke your e-mails

      Great, so Thunderbird has WMDs. Okay... so when are we invading Mozilla headquarters?

      • Sorry, I realised the "literally" abuse just about two seconds after I posted the comment. Mea culpa.

        Obviously the "literally" was intended to apply to the "without trace", not to the use of strategic weapons of any kind.

        And what's with the weird interface changes going on today? Is it really too hard to test obviously broken things not on the live server? :-(

  • Have they done something about the 4GB mailbox limit? Are they still living in the FAT32 world or whats the deal with that anyways?

    What about automatically moving attachments out of the bloated mbox file and into their own directory? I know they have extensions to do this manually, but tedious tasks such as these are what computers are good at, it should be automatic, especially if they limit the size of a mailbox to something archaic like 4gb.

    As much as I would like to use Thunderbird, these two things are

  • Why are none of the mozilla programs ever packaged for download?

  • Just installed it. The account creator tool is a real pain in the ass. There's no simple option to just create a regular IMAP account. The menus kept resetting on me. They needa work out the bugs and let people skip those auto-wizards more easily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CritterNYC ( 190163 )

      You can just click Manual as you go through it. I found the automatic mode worked well in the different servers I set it up with. And it checks IMAP before POP for them (as most folks should be using IMAP these days anyway).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The account creator tool is a real pain in the ass. There's no simple option to just create a regular IMAP account. The menus kept resetting on me.

      Yeah, it looks like a race-condition. There's some sort of background task that tries to verify that the settings will work, but it doesn't grey out the UI boxes while it does that.

      It works well enough if:

      - You prefer IMAP
      - Your account domain matches up with the mail server domain

      But I could regularly get it confused.

      They're already working on 3.0.
  • I just tried it out under OS X and my verdict is mixed.

    Good: Thunderbird 3 allows you to scroll widgets even when it doesn't have focus. This was something that always annoyed me with TB2. Also, TB3 says it has Spotlight integration although it seems that Spotlight hasn't yet deemed my mail boxes index-worthy. Maybe it only works for new mails.

    Bad: Thunderbird 3 covers the entire screen when it starts up. There doesn't seem to be a way to get it to stop doing that.

    Worth noting: If you use the "TB Chan
  • []

    is a beauty. Then clicking Linux or - cough-cough - Windows, results in

    Hmmm, we're having trouble finding that one.

    No cigar. More of a brown bag.

  • So, are they ever going to add combine-and-decode support? Maybe even support for other encoding formats?

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Wednesday December 09, 2009 @05:43AM (#30375348)
    Thunderbird 2 had a fairly useful quick search bar. Type a word, hit enter, and your email list was filtered for just the search term. The list could be multi-selected, moved around and general managed in a normal fashion. The feature was handy for bulk operations since it was fast.

    Thunderbird 3 still has the search bar but results appear in a new tab. This tab does not show results as a list but in a fancy HTML based summary view. That's great if you were searching for a particular message but utterly useless for bulk operations. What if I want to drag and drop a few files around, or delete them or flag them as junk? Even as a summary view it is stupid since it only shows 10 results at a time with a More button at the bottom. FFS, stop mimicking an AJAX web application - the results are RIGHT THERE on the disk and you can certainly show more than 10 results at a time.

    The workaround is to create a saved search but that's even more hassle for something that could be achieved in seconds in v2.0. So much for progress. I suggest if Thunderbird 3.1 turns up, they put an option or two in to control this behaviour and remember what the user has chosen. There is even a "save search as virtual folder" option in the quick search menu suggesting someone was thinking of doing something like this, it just appears to be inexplicably greyed out.

    Thunderbird 3 has potential but it really feels like a regression in several important respects. It also inexplicably lacks things I would have expected to be improved. For example, you still can't select an email, and right mouse and create a filter from it. This is something that Outlook has had for donkey's years.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cenc ( 1310167 )

      Yea, who ever came up with that search "feature" seriously needs to be kicked in the head.

      On the left hand side, when I see for example an email address similar to my search parameter my inclination is to click on that and expect on the right a complete list of of all similar email. Instead I get some limited half ass list, that might (might) be related to my search.


"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama