Subscriber Keith C wrote from Australia to comment on my Thunderbird 8.0 article recently:
This latest Thunderbird (8.0) is a truly solid release. I used to notice some issues with earlier versions similar to what your article mentions Terry eg errors when sorting mail. Nothing like that since, rock solid Mozilla stability.
Thunderbird is a GO for me, thanks Mozilla
Cary wrote to give an alternate view:
I switched from Eudora to Gmail when Eudora first announced it was no longer supported. Gmail does everything and more than Eudora used to do for me.
Subscriber Wayne wrote to say that he was an active Thunderbird user, but wasn’t happy about Mozilla’s fast-release process:
Normally I don’t write to forums or news groups, but I felt compelled to comment on your Newsletter regarding Thunderbird. First, let me say that I have been using Thunderbird since v0.7 many years back and it has served me well. There have been a few bumps in the road, but most of them have been addressed by Mozilla in a responsible manner. I am now using v3.16 as I write this letter and for good reason as I’ll explain below.
This year Mozilla decided to roll out a new version of Thunderbird every few weeks. Mozilla went thru v5, v6, v7, and now v8 in a matter of months without a concern that many of the ‘add-ons’ that made their product so great will no longer work with these new versions. The developers for these wonderful add-ons could not keep pace and some have simply dropped their support. You can find quite a few comments with a quick Google to the forums and add-on sites. This is such a shame as the ability to customize Thunderbird is the main reason Mozilla gained its worldwide recognition (and one of the reasons I use it).
So if Thunderbird and the add-on’s that you’ve selected continue to work as Mozilla’s versions increment, that’s great. Just beware that at some point in the future you may lose the functionality of that favorite add-on if you upgrade to the next version. It might be good to make some of your readers aware of this also.
Thanks for your Newsletter, it is always a pleasure to read.
I wrote back to Wayne to thank him for his comments. I understand his frustration, but I’m not sure I’d stay with an old version for that reason. You can pick a version and stay with it — the configuration options allow you to choose whether Thunderbird checks for updates and what it does when it finds one.
I’ve heard almost the exact same complaints regarding Mozilla Firefox’s fast release cycle. Fortunately, in the case of Thunderbird, I don’t use many add-ons. I’m more interested in the bug fixes that have come from the fast release cycle.
Wayne wrote back to say:
Hi again Terry,
Thank you for your comments, it’s wonderful to see that you reply to your reader’s e-mail, that’s quite refreshing! I subscribe to your newsletter because not only does it seem like we think alike, but we use nearly all the same software and have the same opinions (well most of the time anyway).
In general, I agree that keeping software up-to-date is definitely a good thing for security purposes, however in some cases I think there has to be a balance with functionality as well.
In the case of upgrading from Thunderbird v3 to v8, I’ve encountered the following annoyances:
1) No longer can I simply click on a V-Card in an e-mail to add the sender’s contact information to my address book, I have to copy and paste it manually.
2) Clicking on a starred address in the e-mail header now adds the senders address to the personal address book rather than the ‘collected addresses’ as in v3, so I now have to search for it and dig it out. There does not appear to be a way to change this behavior as I could with v3.
3) The Eset NOD32 AV Plug-in is not compatible with Thunderbird v6 thru v8 at present, and until just recently not with v5. Nod32 does scan the E-mail, but I miss that it no longer creates an ‘infected items’ folder and moves the infected E-mail there.
4) There is no color in the Menu buttons when using windows 7, all is monochrome, and the separation bars are very thin. There might be an add-on to put back this function but it would probably quit working when Thunderbird 9 is released. The monochrome thing doesn’t happen when using Windows XP, but of course we don’t want to stay with an old operating system.
So for my particular use, I just don’t want to upgrade Thunderbird, at least for now. Taking away functions that used to work just doesn’t thrill me. Okay, I feel better, now I can get off my soap-box.
Please keep up the good work Terry, I’m always looking forward to your next newsletter. And I do wish you the best with Thunderbird and their fast release cycles. Thunderbird is still an order of magnitude better and safer than ‘Lookout Express’!
Wayne’s second complaint (about storing the addresses) is really an option that can be changed. You get the option every time you save an address from the email header.
When you click on the star, you’ll get a popup box. The box will give you the option of which address book to use. If it defaults to Personal address book, just change it to collected addresses and click the Done button.
I had to do that a couple times (different people) to change the default. It originally defaulted to Collected Addresses, but when I switched it to Personal Address Book for only one time, that changed the default to the PAB. Strangely, it took more than one saving to the Collected Addresses to get the default to change back to Collected Addresses.