Mozilla Thunderbird sucks
Really, Thunderbird is a terrible mail client. I'd been using Outlook for about 5 years when I first tried it, so I thought maybe the reason I didn't like it was simply because it was different, in which case I should continue to use it to get used to it. One year on I still hate it and recently it just ate half my mail. So I'm going back to Outlook.
While downloading a large message using POP over a slow connection recently, the download bar (slowly progressing from 0% to about 50% at the time of the crash) simply went away (without error). Clicking "Get mail" button again did nothing (without error). Restarting the program showed the "Inbox" to be blank for a very long time, but it seemed to be doing something, and after about 1-2 minutes the list of messages appeared. But only the mails received between the time I started using Thunderbird and about mid 2006-10 were there. Mails from mid 2006-10 to now (mid 2007-04) are just gone. So that'll be the mailbox corrupted then. Imagine you relied on Thunderbird as the only storage place for all your mail. Well, thankfully I don't. And thankfully I won't even be using Thunderbird for one of the storage places for my mail in the future.
Here are the reasons I didn't like Thunderbird from the beginning.
- When you click "reply", the cursor inviting you to type a response to the quoted mail is at the bottom of the mail, not the top. It turns out there is a preferences option where you can change that, but it took me about 6 months to find it.
- The HTML mail composer sucks. You have the cursor blinking away somewhere, press a key expecting the character to be inserted where the cursor is, but no. The cursor suddenly moves somewhere different (e.g. a line down) and inserts the character there.
- If you send a rich text message, it asks you "do you want to send this mail as plain text (recommended), html, or both?". Text is rarely so long that the bandwidth required for a multipart/alternative would be a problem. And multipart/alternative is there so you, as the sender, don't have to know what formats the recipient can read. So this dialog box is just broken. Also: why is plain text recommended, do we want to be stuck in the 70s forever? Let's all go to the disco and send (recommended) plain text emails using Firefox.
- In Outlook, if you click "send" and you are offline, the message is stored locally temporarily. As soon as a connection is available, it is sent. With Thunderbird, however, the situation is more complex. At the time of sending, you have to select "send" (which yields an error if you are offline), or "send later" (which is available when you are online, even though you'd never want it). When you go online you have to select "send emails now", as opposed to that happening automatically. However, I thought I could make this all go away when I found the option "if you go online, Thunderbird can send offline emails immediately". I clicked that but it didn't work. It turned out "go online" referred to the Thunderbird menu options "go online". If, every time I connected to the internet, I had to go through each application and use its menu option "go online", well, that would be a bad situation. Probably why other applications don't work like that.
- Search results are unsorted. Search happens in the background (good) and adds mails to the search results window as it continues and finds them. If you click on a column heading in the results, e.g. "date", to sort the (initially unsorted) search results, then during search (as more emails are found) they are simply added to the bottom of the search results. So you have to click the column heading again, to do a sort including the newly found emails.
- The UI to do search is terrible. If you open the drop-down with the keyboard, allowing you to select "sender", "recipient" (i.e. which field must match in the search), use the cursor keys to select the field you want, then press tab to move to the text field (to type the value of the field which much match, which works in other applications), the drop-down list of fields closes, but the field you had selected is forgotten.
- Full-text search takes ages. No indexing. Why?
- If you are composing an email, and want to send it to someone whose address you've forgotten, you can go to another window, find a mail from them, right click their address and say "add to address book". Go back to your compose window and try and use the address book: it doesn't contain the new entry. You have to close the compose window, open a new open, copy/paste the entire body and all other recipients over, then the new window knows about the current address book.
- Emails you send using the HTML editor are in Times (not Helvetica/Arial as in Outlook), which makes ones emails look terrible, and also marks one out as a person using "strange" non-Outlook technology, to all ones recipients.
SMTP is not new. POP is not new.Win32 is not new. Surely in the time between the creation of those technologies and now, one must have been able to do better than this.