… and back to Thunderbird

It has been a while since I’ve last posted about email – still a topic very close to my heart, be it on the server side or on the client side (though the server side generally works very well here, which is why I don’t post about it).

Waybackwhen, I’ve written about Becky! which is also where I’ve declared the points I deemed important in a mail client. A bit later, I’ve talked about The Bat!, but in the end, I’ve settled with Thunderbird, just to switch to Mac Mail when I’ve switched to the Mac.

After that came my excursion to Gmail, but now I’m back to Thunderbird again.

Why? After all, my Gmail review sounded very nice, didn’t it?


  • Gmail is blazingly fast once it’s loaded, but starting the browser and then gmail (it loads so slow that “starting (the) gmail (application)” is a valid term to use) is always slower than just keeping a mail client open on the desktop.
  • Google Calendar Sync sucks and we’re using Exchange/Outlook here (and are actually quite happy with it – for calendaring and address books – it sucks for mail, but it provides decent IMAP support), so there was no way for the other folks here to have a look at my calendar.
  • Gmail always posts a “Sender:”-Header when using a custom sender domain which technically is the right thing to do, but Outlook on the receiving end screws up by showing the mail as being “From xxx@gmail.com on behalf of xxx@domain.com” which isn’t really what I’d want.
  • Google’s contact management offering is sub par compared even to Exchange.
  • iPhone works better with Exchange than it does with Google (yes. iPhone, but that’s another story).
  • The cool Gmail MIDP client doesn’t work/isn’t needed on the iPhone, but originally was one of the main reasons for me to switch to Gmail.

The one thing I really loved about Gmail though was the option of having a clean inbox by providing means for archiving messages with just a single keyboard shortcut. Using a desktop mail client without that funcationality wouldn’t have been possible for me any more.

This is why I’ve installed Nostalgy, a Thunderbird extension allowing me to assign a “Move to Folder xxx” action to a single keystroke (y in my case – just like gmail).

Using Thunderbird over Mac Mail has its reasons in the performance and in the crazy idea of Mac Mail to always download all the messages. Thunderbird is no race horse, but Mail.app isn’t even a slug.

Lately, more and more interesting posts regarding the development of Thunderbird have appeared on Planet Mozilla, so I’m looking forward to see Thunderbird 3 taking shape in its revitalized form.

I’m all but conservative in my choice of applications and gadgets, but Mail  – also because of its importance for me – must work exactly as I want it. None of the solutions out there are doing that to the full extent, but TB certainly comes closest. Even after years of testing and trying out different solutions, TB is the thing that solves most of my requirements without adding new issues.

Gmail is splendid too, but it presents some shortcomings TB doesn’t come with.

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