Full Article Attached Mozilla Minotaur Project Formally Launched

Monday March 24th, 2003

In a newsgroup posting, Scott MacGregor has formally announced the launch of Minotaur, a project to create a stand-alone mail client based on the Mozilla suite's Mail & Newsgroups component. While Minotaur will have largely the same feature set as Mail & Newsgroups, it will sport a simpler and more customizable user interface, much like the Phoenix redesign of the Mozilla browser. The revitalised Minotaur project combines the work of both the original Minotaur effort — which aimed to build a stand-alone version of Mail & Newsgroups — with that of Thunderbird, an enterprise intended to create a mail client to accompany Phoenix.

#1 GRE

by davidbalch

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 2:09 AM

Moz is shipping using the GRE now, right?

So is it at the stage where running Phoenix and Minotuar will share the gecko components on disk or in memory (when they're using the same version), or will the come with theier own versions?

Cheers, Dave.

#3 Re: GRE

by mlefevre

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 5:27 AM

it should work in theory, but I don't think it's at that stage just yet, so you'll end up with multiple GREs unfortunately...

look at the last item on the to do list -

#6 Re: Re: GRE

by davidbalch

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 6:50 AM

Right, thanks.

I'll look forward to it, when it's ready ;-)

#2 Simpler?

by ksheka

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 5:12 AM

What about those of us that want *more* options? :-)

#4 Re: Simpler?

by michaelH

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 5:44 AM

user.js ;)

or alternatively... mozilla mail

#5 about:config

by jedbro

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 6:17 AM

I'm sure you will be able to access about:config.

If not, an extension (a la Preferential) will be a peice of cake to write.


#7 Thank you!

by orrin

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 7:04 AM

Thank you. I have been enjoying Phoenix for a while now, but couldn't drop the official Mozilla because of Mail, soon I should be able to. I'm glad they still have the whole Mozilla with everything in it, but I never use Chatzilla since it doesn't support IM, and I never use Composer.

Does anyone know.. will Minotaur include Address book? It seems that an address book is a big feature in a mail client, but Mozilla uses it like a seperate component.

Thanks again! I can't wait to try it out when it becomes available.

#8 Re: ESPN standards compliant?

by cgonyea

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 7:15 AM

Since every single e-mail client includes an address book, I imagine that Minotaur will include one as well. Besides, that is an essential feature of an e-mail client. When someone says that the e-mail client will be simplified and slimmed down it doesn't mean that essential features are going to be stripped.

#14 Re: Thank you!

by mscott

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 11:36 AM

Minotaur does indeed support the address book component of mozilla. All of your usual AB features are in Minotaur.

#9 Tried a build

by sconest

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 7:48 AM

And it just works

#16 Re: Tried a build

by mscott

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 12:13 PM

That's what we like to hear =).

#19 Re: Tried a build

by edmz

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 1:02 PM

where from ? :)

#23 Re: Re: Tried a build

by mscott

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 4:13 PM

I'm guessing he built his own: has a link to build instructions.

We hope to have access to in the next day or so, which will allow us to publish our own builds.

#31 Re: Re: Re: Tried a build

by sconest

Wednesday March 26th, 2003 3:08 AM

Yep, that's what I did. And a slight modification to xpinstall/packager/Makefile to build a tarball.

#24 Re: Re: Tried a build

by AlexBishop

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 4:44 PM

You can get a recent Windows build from:


#10 here I come

by coda

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 8:21 AM

Was just today about to switch from Eudora 5.1 to Mozilla Mail... this is exciting news! Good luck in your efforts guys :)

#11 OS X

by googolplex

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 9:01 AM

Will this be available on OS X? It would good to have another mail client to compete with Apple's Mail.

Or will this be like phoenix and not be built on OS X?

#15 Re: OS X

by mscott

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 11:37 AM

Yes, Mach-o builds of Minotaur will be available.

#18 It builds on OS X

by Kevin

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 12:58 PM

It fails in the packaging stage but I got it to complete with some minor tweaks. This looks very promising! Though if the Minotaur developer(s) are going to support Mac OS X, some Mac-only changes willl have to be made so Minotaur's menus persist when all of its windows are closed. What happens now is when you close all the windows you see the Communicator menubar.

Phoenix on Mac OS X has this problem too FWIW.

#12 I don't get it

by permanentE

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 11:16 AM

Why do people like this Pheonix type thing so much? What is wrong with Mozilla? Why would you want fewer features? Why develop a new mail app when Mozilla already has a great one? Are they worried about disk space that much? I don't ever use composer or chatzilla but it really doesn't bother me that it's there, out of sight out of mind. If the customizable Pheonix toolbar is so great, why don't they just work on adding it to Mozilla? I tried Pheonix for a little while, it was an OK little browser but I immediatley started to miss a bunch of Mozilla features.

I just don't get it, could someone please explain it.

#13 Re: I don't get it

by erik

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 11:24 AM

The reason I prefer Phoenix over Mozilla is because it is more usable. The usability in Mozilla has never been good (and not of very high priority) and although I use Moz Mail I feel that there are a lot of things that needs to be more usable and stream lined.

#17 Re: I don't get it

by jilles

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 12:48 PM

I actually use phoenix because it offers a better set of features than standard mozilla. The UI just feels more balanced. It seems people actually stopped to think what end users would like to see in a browser. It would be nice if the original mozilla would evolve in a similar way but development there seems to focus more on the non browser components (not that strange if you consider that the phoenix people also work on mozilla).

As soon as this mail client gets stable I might just give it a try. The main problem I've always had with mozilla mail was that it couldn't be launched in a separate process. Unlike my browser, my mail client must run permanently and keep checking for new messages. It would be nice if minotaur would share dlls and other reusable stuff with phoenix though. They could even be distributed together. Just as long as they run in separate processes.

#20 Re: I don't get it

by MXN

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 2:21 PM

For me, Phoenix is just faster and simpler.


#21 Re: I don't get it

by asa

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 2:47 PM

"I tried Pheonix for a little while, it was an OK little browser but I immediatley started to miss a bunch of Mozilla features. "

I miss many of Phoenix' browser features when I'm using Mozilla. That list includes inline form completion, customizable toolbars, dynamic theme switching, extension management (the ability to disable but not delete extensions), a convenient search field on the toolbar, open any bookmark folder as a tab group, overflow in the personal toolbar, global history in the Go menu, quicksearch in history, a clear all button for all of my private data, and the support from the makers of more than 50 Phoenix themes. I also miss the 30-50% improvement in startup and new window time, and the nearly 100% improvement in download size. I also miss the more convenient menus and options organizations and the great Phoenix Qute look and feel.

What Mozilla browser features did you miss when you're using Phoenix? --Asa

#22 Re: Re: I don't get it

by grayrest

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 3:08 PM

>What Mozilla browser features did you miss when you're using Phoenix?

I'll take that one. I use Phoenix for my normal browsing, but when doing web development I miss the CSS/HTML sidebars, Venkman, and the DOM Inspector. I also miss the Page Info screen opening up at a useable width so I don't have to resize it.

When developing extensions, I really miss the DOM Inspector and I also miss being able to disable the XUL cache.

I miss having a regular point release for the browser. ;]

#25 XUL Cache...

by djk

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 5:03 PM

Can't you disable XUL cache with a user.js setting or about:config?

I agree with the rest, though. Chrome bug hunting in Px would be much easier if DOM Inspector worked...

#36 Missed features

by CeeJay

Thursday March 27th, 2003 9:47 AM

I miss being able to set languages for web pages. I'm stuck with English only.

I miss the icon for html documents that only Mozilla set (because Mozilla use an installer .. Phoenix does not) - Once you have installed Mozilla once you get an icon though so it's no longer a problem for me but I'm sure it's wasn't meant to be a requirement for Phoenix that you had to install Mozilla afterwards.

A good installer would be nice too - One that clears your old installation and profile but keeps important data like your bookmarks and your customized toolbar arrangement (it's annoying to rearrange all the toolbars into one like I like it - It's maximises the screen estate)

A working fullscreen navigation toolbar. When you rearrange the toolbars into one like I do, you have to rearrange them into the bar with the menuitems and off the navigation bar. Since fullscreen mode only shows the menubar, it will now show a blank bar .. which isn't useful (you can't navigate without at least being able to type a new URL). I'd like it if you could customize the fullscreenbar seperatly , or if you could duplicate items on the toolbars. It would also be nice to have an option to show the statusbar in fullscreen mode, and it would be perfect if the bars in fullscreen mode would be translucent when there was activity, completely hidden after a seconds of idletime and opaque when you hovered the pointer over them or were typing in them.

Also I agree with grayrest that the DOM inspector needs to be in Phoenix too. I can see the reason for taking it out .. the DOM inspector is a developer tool and the Phoenix browser is a browser aimed at users, but then again it aids developers working on Phoenix and more development on Phoenix helps users , so the DOM Inspector helps users too in a round-about way.

-- CeeJay

#26 Re: I don't get it

by xander

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 5:52 PM

I think Phoenix has a lot of promise, but I still prefer Mozilla over it. Mostly because it just seems "unfinished", which it is. I suspect that things will improve as Phoenix nears 1.0, but for now I'm sticking with Mozilla.

The two things I like most about Phoenix are the customizable toolbar and the google search. I wish Mozilla would adopt those two features. :)

Phoenix is also faster... it loads faster and browses faster.

As for Minotaur, that's one thing I really don't get. Of course I don't even use the Mozilla mail & news client. I use Outlook for all my email. I used to love the old Netscape messenger, but I'm not too crazy about Mozilla mail and news.

However, I guess there's a demand for it. A lot of people seem interested in the project.

but you know what? It doesn't matter if we get it or not. There's always room for new projects. and in the end they help improve eachother... Like with Phoenix, I'm sure some of the UI elements will eventually make it into Mozilla. and of course Phoenix is built on the latest Mozilla code base. And I suspect that Minotaur will help improve Mozilla mail & news by adding new features and improvements. So it's all good. :)


#27 No substitute for focus

by pbreit

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 5:58 PM

Because there's no chance that Mozilla can produce competitive products as long as it pursues a suite. By focusing 100% on the browser and mail client respectively, Phoenix and Minotaur actually have a good chance at producing best-in-class software.

#28 Re: No substitute for focus

by Tar

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 7:22 PM


People who work on nonbrowser components wouldn't work on the rendering engine and browser part, they'd be doing their own thing in their own lil world.

#30 if

by pbreit

Wednesday March 26th, 2003 12:22 AM

If you believe that, you haven't been following Moz development at all and know very little about software development projects.

#32 Re: I don't get it


Wednesday March 26th, 2003 9:06 AM

Imagine you compose a mail, while the browser loads a page in the background an crashes. If Mozilla Navigator crashes, Mozilla Mail crashes too. If Phoenix crashes, Minotaur will not crash (and the other way around it's of course the same).

#33 Re: Re: I don't get it

by MXN

Wednesday March 26th, 2003 10:56 AM

Isn't there a way to have Mozilla Navigator and Mail run in different processes? I thought I read it somewhere.


#29 Viewing message for briefly shouldn't mark it read

by Tar

Tuesday March 25th, 2003 8:20 PM

Please if possible implement a pref or workaround for the bug 75866 "Viewing message for very short time shouldn't mark it as read" It's higly annoying for most people who have been converted to MailNews from Outlook Express and maybe other mail clients too.

Also some bugs that should be on more active radar IMHO: "multiple smtp/pop3 accs per set of folders" - also must-have for many OE converts. "Crossposts (same Message-ID) not marked as read in other groups"

#34 Re: I just had to vote for Phoenix

by Lemerly

Wednesday March 26th, 2003 12:20 PM

>>Also some bugs that should be on more active radar IMHO: (LINK) "multiple smtp/pop3 accs per set of folders" - also must-have for many OE converts.<<

you can do this with the filters mozilla provides. its not very obvious right away but once you know there is nothing stopping you.

all you need to do is set up a filter in your secondary mail

subject doesnt contain [lots of randomly pressed keys]

move to [the folder you want this accounts mail to show up in]


works for me :)

#35 Re: I just had to vote for Phoenix

by Tar

Wednesday March 26th, 2003 7:51 PM

Yes I use that but if I have many POP3 accounts then the folders tree on the right is cluttered and confusing.