Comparative Mail Client Review Includes Mozilla 1.6 and Mozilla Thunderbird 0.5

Friday March 5th, 2004

Fuzzy sent us a link to a comparative review of several mail clients, including Mozilla 1.6 and Mozilla Thunderbird 0.5. The review focuses on applications for Unix platforms, with Microsoft Outlook 2002 included as a reference point. Mozilla and Thunderbird win praise for their excellent IMAP support, though the total lack of a virtual/search folders feature is noted. The way that users are forced to have separate folder hierarchies for each account is also listed as a drawback.

#1 folder hierarchies are a problem

by jilles

Saturday March 6th, 2004 5:27 AM

"The way that users are forced to have separate folder hierarchies for each account is also listed as a drawback"

IMHO that is indeed a drawback and it is related to the lack of virtual folders. The way identities are coupled to accounts and the way accounts are presented to the users is based on wrong assumptions (namely that this is what most people want). In most cases it is just annoying to have to deal with multiple inboxes, spamfolders, etc. A simple mail rule can sort the mail into various folders based the account it came from so why hardwire this into the client?

Essentially the way it is solved in mozilla/thunderbird works around the lack of virtual folders. The problem could be solved by creating virtual folders (e.g. have an inbox with all mail, an inbox with all mail send to account X, etc.). Virtual folders done right is at the top of my list for most wanted features in thunderbird (which already is my mail client). I realize it is too far fetched for thunderbird 1.0 but it should be the first thing to do after that.

#3 Re: folder hierarchies are a problem

by ratman

Saturday March 6th, 2004 9:49 AM

maybe i'm confused or something, but i don't see the big deal. i have several different mail accounts, but i prefer to use only one mailbox folder hierarchy, so i just set the options of thunderbird to send all of my inbound mail and outbound copies to the default account. all of my secondary accounts are neatly collapsed just below the bottom of the screen, operating nearly transparently. on top of that, i kinda *like* being able to have a second set of mailbox folders in case i would rather keep the mail from one of my accounts separate from the rest of my mail for whatever reason.

my big complaint is the fact that you can't set up different "personalities" for the same account - i.e., different sets of names/signatures/etc. for one account. admittedly, it's fairly easy to get around that problem as well (i just use dummy values for the account addresses), but it's a silly way to have to operate. otherwise, i struggle to find a major flaw in thunderbird compared to my previous commercial e-mail program (eudora 6).

#4 Separate folder hierarchies

by wvh

Saturday March 6th, 2004 4:45 PM

Actually, I think I read in the Mozilla 1.7alpha announcement that such functionality was checked in a few days ago and will be in Mozilla 1.7 - email aliases or 'identities', I mean.

And I know that I can filter multiple accounts into one hierarchy, but it's like what you say about 'dummy values for account addresses', a silly way to have to operate. It's not that big a big deal though.

#2 Separate folder hierarchies

by wvh

Saturday March 6th, 2004 9:04 AM

I think it would be more natural to have the possibility of configuring mozilla in such a way that all mail arrives to the same tree-branch. Practically all of my mail arrives in one account. Although for the outside world, I might have different 'identities' (email adresses), I don't really see myself as needing that distinction in my email program, for myself. It requires good thinking on part of the developers though, because perhaps it would not always be so easy to distinguish those 'identities' with only one folder hierarchy (like replying to an email with the right 'From' address).

#5 Multiple folder hierarchies

by voracity

Saturday March 6th, 2004 6:08 PM

Actually, I would like somebody (who knows, obviously) to say whether the mail devs will fix the problem where folders/incoming accounts/outgoing accounts/identities are all mixed together. That way I can decide whether I should stick it out with thunderbird until it gets fixed (I can be patient), or switch to another email client.

#6 Don't forget the attachment

by neilparks1

Monday March 8th, 2004 2:08 PM

The review of Kmail says:


One notable feature is that if the message mentions any of the words "attachment" or "attached" and you did not actually attach something you will be asked if you intended to do this; a small, but very useful feature.

(end quote)

The same notable and useful feature is found in Pegasus for Windows. It would make a nice addition to Tbird.