back to article Thunderbird email client is Go for new plumage in July

The Thunderbird email client – once Mozilla's most prominent project other than the Firefox browser – is being completely overhauled ahead of its major July release 115 dubbed "Supernova." Product design manager Alessandro Castellani last week blogged about plans for the release. He also explained the complex history of the …

  1. Dan 55 Silver badge

    See me after class

    Email marketing platform Litmus rates Apple as the world's dominant email client vendor, with almost 59 percent market share, ahead of Gmail clients at 28 percent. Microsoft's Outlook accounts for four-and-a-half percent, ahead of fourth-placed Yahoo! Mail's three percent.

    They're going to have to show their working out there, it's simply impossible for Apple to have 60% worldwide market share for email clients or email addresses.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: See me after class

      Are they talking about just mobile clients? I can't see how Outlook is that low either. That Yahoo! figure looks suspicious too - only used in the US these days.

      More stats here: https://kinsta.com/email-market-share/

      Is this just to do with marketing emails and users not being able to block the tracking?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: See me after class

        Even for mobile clients the number cannot possibly be true. World wide Android outsells iPhone 4 to 1 so claiming that less than 25% of potential users manage to rank as 59% of email clients doesn't make any sense.

        Are you sure they've not got those numbers the wrong way around with Apple ranking 28%, that would be more believable for the mobile clients.

        1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Not everyone uses Email on their phones

          I've never done that.

          statistics, statistics and damm lies.

        2. Snake Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: See me after class

          I see the problem as "monolithic" - almost all Apple users stick solely with Apple products, making a very large, monolithic user base.

          OTOH, Android, Linux & Windows users are all over the place in terms of what email client they will use, based on personal preference and massive availability of product alternatives. Some users will be happy with webmail, other users will be happy with the client that came with the OS / device, whilst a final consortium of users will go out and search for a product that best suits their personal tastes. This creates a fractured user base without a single dominant email client preference.

          TL;DR

          So yeah: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: See me after class

            > I see the problem as "monolithic" - almost all Apple users stick solely with Apple products, making a very large, monolithic user base.

            While that could make them the biggest it couldn't help make them the majority player.

            Given that in the mobile world Apple have <25% of the market the chances of them having >30% of the use of email is tiny. So many things you do on the Internet ask for an email address so most people must have one (or too many to remember them all). I pretty sure that when I setup my Android phone it asked for an email address.

            > So yeah: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics.

            Maybe the question they were asking was which email clients and addresses are used my people with iPhones.

            1. Snake Silver badge

              Re: See me after class

              But when all Apple users use Apple email clients, mobile and desktop, that adds up to a lot of users.

              Mobile? Are you talking Samsung, LG, Oppo, Motorola, Blackberry, Fairphone, Google, Huawei, HTC, Microsoft, Nokia, Asus, OnePlus, Sony, Vodaphone, Meizu, or ZTE? And that's just an incomplete list of all the phone either being made or are still out there. And every one can use a different email client, which shows up as an independent listing in the stats.

              Death by a thousand cuts: you slice up the market so much, nobody is large enough to take the claim. Apple's user base is pretty monolithic in their usage patterns - from email to FaceTime - and, even if the products do not represent a majority of devices out there, the fact that all those devices are so similar in usage pattern makes a demographic.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: See me after class

                Sorry Snake but that is not how it works. If Apple have <25% market share for mobile and you claim that iPhone users are a bit more likely to be using mobile email (who knows, I doubt there's much in it but it is largely irrelevant to the argument) you might make an argument that ~30% of mobile email is coming from iPhones. This then is the upper limit on Apple email apps.

                The fact that there are lots of Android makers doesn't have an effect on the percentage of how many iPhone users there are.

                To make the maths easier let's say the Android market is split evenly across 75 manufactures, that would mean that Apple could be far and away the most popular but that each of the Android makers would only rank 1% each. The 1% is tiny compared with Apples share, but there are lots of them, so the combined effect is that there are 25% to 30% of mobile email users using Apple and 70% to 75% not using Apple.

                Sure Apple in this argument Apple is much the most popular but they are still a minority player because there is no majority one.

                BTW, the only Apple user in my household uses Gmail, not that it is relevant either.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: See me after class

        Maybe not representative, but I was recruiting at work recently, and of the 5 CVs we received, 2 came from Yahoo! email address.

        1. cosymart
          Meh

          Re: See me after class

          So those with the !Yahoo addresses didn't make the cut :-)

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: See me after class

            One of them got the job, saying as she was the only one who actually had the qualifications and experience we were looking for.

    2. firu toddo

      Re: See me after class

      That'll be all those iPhones. Can't see why anyone would use Apples mail client otherwise.

      I'm guessing 'cos I can't be arsed checking. ;-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: See me after class

      > it's simply impossible for Apple to have 60% worldwide market share for email clients or email addresses.

      These figures are really real you know, I asked everyone on an iPhone forum and hardly anyone was using Outlook.

      From Wikipedia

      According to the Open Email Survey, as of 2020, Dovecot has an installed base of at least 2.9 million IMAP servers, and has a global market share of 76.9% of all IMAP servers. The results of the same survey in 2019 gave figures of 2.6 million and 76.2%, respectively.

      So now we know that every user in the world uses an iPhone as a client and connects to a Dovecot server at the back end. Anyone you find using an Android phone is merely a figment of your imagination and anyone found using Outlook is clearly a PC user and therefore not worth considering.

    4. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: See me after class

      > it's simply impossible for Apple to have 60% worldwide market share

      It does seem high, but it's not _impossible_.

      I know a lot of people with iPhones or iPads as their sole computer. Most iDevice users I know -- and Mac users too -- use the built-in email client. I am the odd one out because I don't like it much and use Thunderbird.

      *Many* Android and PC users simply use webmail.

      As for addresses, I often encounter @me.com, @icloud.com and other Apple email addresses.

    5. TiredNConfused80
      WTF?

      Re: See me after class

      I find it even harder to believe that Outlook is only 4% with the strangle hold that Office and Exchange has over business email!?

      **EDIT** Ah AMBxx got there first.

    6. Avalanche

      Re: See me after class

      You need to take those numbers from Litmus with a bit of salt, because they rely on information obtained from remote images (tracking pixels) shown in your mail client. And Thunderbird doesn't show remote images by default (I think, or maybe I just configured it that way a long time ago). On the other hand, users of mac and iPhone are not so privacy sensitive, instead usually opting for a graphic rich experience which will include those tracking pixels.

      Second, they are only tracking information from clients who test and publish their emails through Litmus (i.e. so those tracking pixels get added), which somewhat limits demographics (by the customer-base of those Litmus customers, and privacy-sensitive users opting out of the type of emails which are generally tracked by Litmus).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: See me after class

      They may have gotten their number by counting @icloud.com e-mail addresses. Apple's Hide My E-mail feature enables users to generate random aliases for their real e-mail account. As far as I can tell, there's no upper limit to the number a user can create, so every prompt by a site to register an account may get its own randomized address, leading very quickly to an account-to-user ratio in the hundreds-to-one.

  2. LenG

    Upgraded interface

    Please tell me I can keep an old-fashioned title bar/mneu bar/dropdown menu interface and not have to cope with another "modern" horrow show with weird hamburger glyphs and similar crap dotted all over the place. If not, I might as well go over to gmail,

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Upgraded interface

      And while the interface is being upgraded, perhaps they could get the spell checker sorted out so that it actually uses English English when that's selected; it appears to choose US 'English' for everything (along with its parent, Firefox). I've given up trying to persuade it to do the right thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Upgraded interface

        I think it is called UK English so perhaps you're looking for the wrong language looking for British English

        1. katrinab Silver badge
          Megaphone

          Re: Upgraded interface

          The Language spoken in England is called English[*], no qualifier required.

          [*] Or Cornish if you consider Cornwall to be part of England

          OK, I suppose there’s also Scouse, Geordie and so on, and most people agree that Liverpool and Newcastle are part of England.

          1. Fifth Horseman

            Re: Upgraded interface

            Cornish (Kernowek) is a completely different language, and if you suggest otherwise the Kernow National Liberation Army will turn up and burn down your fish and chip shop... It is a Celtic dialect that is a kind of crossbreed of Breton and Welsh. Technically dead as a primary language, it is having a bit a resurgence at the moment thanks to historians/nationalists/nutters etc. The annoying Kelly's ice cream advert is in Cornish, rather than the first glance gibberish.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Upgraded interface

        In UK English it would be a spelling checker (unless you're studying at Hogwarts).

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Upgraded interface

      Don't hold your breath. This is the same bunch of folks who are adopting the screwed up K-9 Mail as Thunderbird for Android. They will undoubtedly force everyone to use a unified mailbox because they can't conceive of how unusabe that is if you have multiple email accounts, and they will make the commonly used one-mouse-click functions require 3 mouse clicks.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Upgraded interface

        I use K9 on my phone as it's the best of a frankly horrible bunch. The unified inbox is trivial to disable, which is fortunate as I have several mail accounts that I definitely don't want confused.

        1. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Upgraded interface

          The unified inbox crashes each time I try to reply to a message. Fortunately backing out and choosing a single account fixes it.

          -A.

        2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Upgraded interface

          I still use K-9 mail, only v5.600, the last good version.

    3. John 110

      Re: Upgraded interface

      I've been watching Epyrus http://www.epyrus.org/index.html which is fork of Thunderbird based on Pale Moon instead of Firefox. Despite it's lack of developers, it promises to keep all that stuff that "modern" users hate but oldies (like me) are used to.

      Take a look, but don't swamp the poor guy...

      1. David 140

        Re: Upgraded interface

        Thanks for the Epyrus heads-up. I was very happily using FossaMail for a few years but it won't do OAuth2 for GMail SMTP, so I'm now using eM Client.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Epryus

        I wanted to give it a go but as there is no Mac support then sorry.

        I use Thunderbird on MacOS and have done for the last 13 years. I've never even opened the Apple Email client.

    4. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Upgraded interface

      Please tell me I can keep an old-fashioned title bar/mneu bar/dropdown menu interface

      The original blog post says us old timers can keep our usual interface while the youngsters play in their friendly primary coloured ball pit.

      1. drankinatty

        Re: Upgraded interface

        I may as well start my "Missing/Broken Features" list to keep track of all the functionality this new group of "Kids with crayons" breaks when the new UI debuts. Imagine, calendaring forgotten, lightning just too much trouble to support. Or, we decided news groups were outside of the core mission (or one in a million pre-canned cop-outs on why a longstanding feature is missing or broken in this new "supernova"). Unfortunately seen it too many times in the past two decades. 99% of these revamped UIs go to hell in a handbasket and it takes 2+ years to get back to par with features the "old" UI had no problem providing

        (It was 8 years for KDE4 and they finally threw in the towel for Plasma and FW5 -- which has now nearly been 8 years and there are still a mix of Qt4 dialogs required...)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Upgraded interface

      Indeed. My pessimistic side foresees a cartoonish interface with giant buttons -- with rounded corners to make it "modern" -- that makes it harder and/or more annoying to use for current users.

      I'll be saving the last "traditional" Thunderbird tar archive so I can re-install it should this new interface wind up being the trendy PoS I suspect it'll be. Screw around with users' workflow and muscle memory at your peril.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " technical and interface debt accumulated over the past ten years"

    That seems to be an ungracious way to refer to the efforts of unpaid volunteers who worked to keep Thunderbird alive after Mozilla dumped it.

    1. steviesteveo

      Re: " technical and interface debt accumulated over the past ten years"

      And what incredible volunteers. There can't have been any motivation beyond sheer principle. You have people who will keep a desktop email client working for ten years. Send these people a cake and tell them about your other projects

      1. roomey

        Re: " technical and interface debt accumulated over the past ten years"

        And it isn't an easy codebase to contribute too. I looked into it years back because honestly I use that email client all day every day in work.

        I would have gone mad years ago if I had to use outlook.

        (I remember asking myself, why is there no "edit as new" button !?!!?!)

        Don't get me wrong, I'm not a great coder or anything, but I spend so much of my work day in thunderbird, Firefox and a terminal I wanted to try fix a few bugs. I nope'd out of there pretty quick tho. Massive respect for people volunteering their time for this

  4. Filippo Silver badge

    I'm a bit worried.

    First of all, I am used to the Thunderbird GUI and I do not feel the need for an overhaul. It exhibits a couple well-known minor glitches, and that's about it. Right now I can't think of any improvements I would make.

    I am open to the possibility that this could be a failure of my imagination, and that other people may envisage improvements that I am not thinking of.

    However, let's be real. In the field of office tools, GUI overhauls rarely bring improvements and frequently make things worse. This has been especially true since some fiend in Hell came up with the thrice-damned idea of "modern design", where buttons have the same background as their surroundings so that you can't tell where you have to click; everything has comically huge margins so that you have to scroll or switch tab if there are more than five controls; everything but the three most-used functions is buried behind extra layers so that number-of-clicks-to-action increases exponentially; and keyboard shortcuts are a second-thought at best.

    Secondly, but not less worrying, my aging mum uses Thunderbird. She does not deal well with UI changes. Oh, and she has poor eyesight, I bet she can't wait for those nice light-gray-on-dark-gray schemes that UX designers just seem to love these days.

    Thirdly, I have just managed to set up my plugins to deal with spam. Are they going to break plugin support? I bet they are.

    And the most annoying thing is that even if they fuck it up beyond all recognition, it's still going to be miles better than Outlook or (*shudder*) Gmail, so I'm probably going to keep using it anyway. Sigh.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      @Filippo

      If it does what you need just don't upgrade it to the newer version until you are happy with new version.

      ... e.g. try the new one in a VM first just to see if it has problems.

      Main things I care about is that they keep the download headers only option in their changes: That's my preferred way to download to reduce malware mail risks.

      ..And that they retain text only mode, as that's how I view those where I do download the content to allow inspection of any other potential nasties.

    2. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      > Right now I can't think of any improvements I would make.

      Main ones I have seen people asking for are:

      • multi-line message previews in the message list;

      • compose new mail in a new tab, not a separate window.

      For both, the devs said the current codebase can't do it, nor can an extension.

      The one that I recall with interest was the attempt to reproduce the Eudora UI on top of T'bird:

      https://wiki.allizom.org/Eudora_OSE

      That foundered as well.

      I am quite happy with T'bird myself, but I know some people really want these things.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why on earth would you want to swap tabs to create new mail, I often have to take data from several other mails so it has to stay windowed for me

        1. rnturn

          Agreed. My DE's panel gives me a nice little tab to get back to the Compose window after I've switched to other windows to select text to paste into the new email. Different strokes, I guess.

      2. captain veg Silver badge

        Eudora

        I had Eudora on my Treo, way back. It was great.

        Mostly because it was genuinely lightweight, it worked and it quoted properly.

        For a desktop email client I would just add that a search function at least as good as M1 in classic Opera would be great. It would be nice if it could do more than vanilla POP3 and IMAP4. Personally I have no requirement for it to talk Google. It's a big ask, but if it could send and receive Exchange, that would save me having to suffer Outlook. (In fact Evolution has a fair stab; it's just a shame that it's not on Android.)

        Email is supposed to be simple. How did we manage to make it so complicated?

        -A.

    3. ragnar

      Don't be:

      "as well as the implementation of more customizable options with a flexible and adaptable interface to allow veteran users to maintain that familiarity they love."

    4. Dante Alighieri

      Sink

      It would be ~really~ nice if I could sync multiple accounts across devices. I mean profiles, preferences, plugins (ddone, extension whatever) etc, I don't mind getting my IMAP in real time. My Dovecot is sitting happily. But having added a number of new machines to my home, a sync like FireFox does would be 'neat' [all hail our USAsian overlords!]

    5. TheMeerkat

      Thunderbird is just awful, at least when used for work.

      I am really missing Microsoft Outlook since I started using Linux instead of Mac at work.

      1. Craig 2

        "Thunderbird is just awful, I am really missing Microsoft Outlook"

        I couldn't adapt to something different in 5 minutes so I criticized it...

  5. Fonant
    Thumb Up

    Good to see competition in email clients back!

    I'm currently enjoying the "M3" email client in Vivaldi. A worthy successor to the excellent M2 client in Opera. Still needs work, but Vivaldi are working on it. Competition from Thunderbird can only be a Good Thing.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    "Supernova will deliver A UI that looks and feels modern …"

    Hopefully that won't mean hamburger menus and flat icons, which seem to be what 'modern UI' is these days.

  7. Mockup1974 Bronze badge

    >Email marketing platform Litmus rates Apple as the world's dominant email client vendor, with almost 59 percent market share, ahead of Gmail clients at 28 percent. Microsoft's Outlook accounts for four-and-a-half percent, ahead of fourth-placed Yahoo! Mail's three percent.

    Sounds like some numbers an "AI" made up.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Alert

    K9

    If it ain't broke, let's break it!

    Revealed: Our Plans For Thunderbird On Android

    https://blog.thunderbird.net/2022/06/revealed-thunderbird-on-android-plans-k9/

    I use Thunderbird and K9, with the latter compiled from source. Choppy waters ahead

    1. I Am Spartacus
      Flame

      f it ain't broke, let's break it!

      Wise words, but if the children get in to the dev lab's it will be forgotten.

  9. ChoHag Silver badge

    When the adult supervision goes home...

    > things suddenly break in Thunderbird because a C++ interface was renamed, or an API was deprecated, or a building library was upgraded

    Maybe the problem of depending on this shitshow should be fixed, rather than fucking about with the lawn art?

  10. Duncan Macdonald

    Keep the old interface and do NOT get rid of its special features

    The current interface is simple to understand (and explain to others).

    The main advantages of Thunderbird are :-

    1) Local database which allows offline use and no message expiry

    2) No automatic opening of remote sites (unlike most email clients) which blocks a lot of crap

    3) The ability to view the source of any email (including all its headers) if you are suspicious of the email

    4) The interface had remained stable for many years - unlike all too many bits of software whose UI changes almost daily

    (I dislike unnecessary UI changes so much the I am sticking to an old version (68) which has a UI that I like.)

  11. AlanSh

    60% for apple?

    Every iPhone and iPad user has to have aniCloud email, even if they never use it. Maybe that's where the figures come from.

    Me, I've been using Outlook since it first came out back in the early 1700's (yes, that's a joke). It does what I want. I looked at Thunderbird but it didn;'t seem to do anything I needed but didn;t have. Iwill try the new one.

    Alan

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thunderbird email client is Go

    I wish they sorted out the interface at last (this double search window is REALLY annoying).

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Personally I still use SeaMonkey - same underpinnings but 1. the underlying browser is available as a browser and 2. my reaction to the T'bird interface isn't that it's old, it's that it's too ugly modern*. But would I be prepared to change to an updated T'bird?

    Yes, provided it really did involve a ground-up change.

    Let's start be recognising that for the user the principle object of communication is the thread**, not the individual messages that comprise it; a singleton message is just a member of a thread which has, currently, no additional members.

    In the SM/TB interface the thread is a run-time construct of any linked messages in the mbox file whose contents are currently being listed. By default a sent email goes into a separate, sent mbox. Unless the user discovers how to change this default the thread as shown doesn't even include their own contributions.

    So the first step would be to add any incoming or sent message to an existing thread to which it belongs or create a new thread if none exists. The next would be to preview the thread contents better; show the first two or three non-quoted lines with the option to extent and reply. Something like el Reg's comment presentation, in fact.

    Next, let's remember the numerous comments on here from support folk who discover users with thousands of read messages in their inbox or deleted folders. A good UI would confine inbox use to unread message Opening a message would remove it from the inbox. There should be another folder for current mail threads. After a period of inactivity; no further messages on the thread during the period would result in its being archived although there might be some sort of staging folder for recent but non-current threads. And the deleted folder is nothing more than a guard against those oops! moments, it will be cleared according to some sort of schedule.

    That would be a start but there's scope - and, I think, need - for a much more radical approach. It's a typical email client and AFAICS no email client has got beyond being a thin wrapper around a basic utility to exchange messages with a server.

    * i.e. UI components without clear boundaries and scratchy monochrome icons that look like a cuneiform writer's first attempt at heiroglyphs

    ** Thread, conversation, discussion or whatever you prefer.

    1. Barry Rueger

      Let's start be recognising that for the user the principle object of communication is the thread**, not the individual messages that comprise it; a singleton message is just a member of a thread which has, currently, no additional members.

      No, lets start by acknowledging that some users absolutely despise the threadifcation of the universe, and find them annoying and counter-productive. I will happily argue that the principal object of an email system are the single discrete messages. I dread trying to dig a specific message out of the mess of some overly long thread.

      Hell, I've even been known to change subject lines just to break an overly long thread.

      Much of this nonsense seems to have come from the young people who have only known the universe of Gmail. The fact that different email applications handle and display threads differently just makes it worse.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        On the subject of digging out emails here's an old email dug out at random from my archive:

        "Like Peter, I have been through your e-mails back to 2015, but ca’t find anything on Marsden brothers. Any idea what you may have put as the title for the e-mail? David"

        (Serendipity rules - the random choice was about digging through emails!)

        Without the thread to give context it's not particularly useful; what was being asked about the Marsden brothers?

    2. Barry Rueger

      A good UI would confine inbox use to unread message Opening a message would remove it from the inbox. There should be another folder for current mail threads. After a period of inactivity; no further messages on the thread during the period would result in its being archived although there might be some sort of staging folder for recent but non-current threads. And the deleted folder is nothing more than a guard against those oops! moments, it will be cleared according to some sort of schedule.

      Again, while this may look really cool and sensible to you, for a large portion of the email using community it would be a complete and utter disaster. Email messages should NEVER just disappear from someone's Inbox. Some users literally cannot handle such tings - they're the ones that find Gmail so useless and frustrating.

      I make heavy use of folders, subfolders, and filters in TB, but they're under my control, not someone else's brilliant idea of what would be perfect for me.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Cool is neither here nor there as far as I'm concerned but keeping opened mail in the inbox is only marginally less sensible than keeping it all in the deleted bin. The reason people expect all their mail to be in the inbox (or in deleted) is because they're not provided with a system that makes any better provision.

        Imagine physical mail trys on your desk. Somebody brings mail and puts it in there. You read it and put it back. Next day somebody brings more and puts it on top. You read that and put it back. In a few days you only get to read the items of new mail that you dug out from amongst the growing pile but you're unsure whether or not you missed any. In a few years or sooner the intray contents are piled up to the ceiling. There's another growing pile, the copies of the mail you sent out, and you can't match the replies to the originals when you need to.

        It would be a stupid way of handling physical mail so why do we do the equivalent with email? Especially why do we do that with email when it should be possible to use the system to help handle it? The answer is that although better is possible it doesn't seem to be implemented. What is implemented is a thin wrapper around functionality to exchange messages with a server.

        You and I make use of folders but my experience is that the implementation is clunky which is why few people do so.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          @Doctor Syntax --

          Actually, a real-world example would be a close relative of mine, who is:

          1) Tech adverse, and so only deals with e-mail because she has to, and

          2) Has severe tremors in both her hands, and has massive difficulty with both mice and trackpads (and, because of 1) above, has no interest in trying something like trackballs). Dragging and dropping (heck, even selecting) e-mails is a non-starter.

          Because of these two conditions the concept of moving stuff out of the inbox to a folder just isn't gonna happen with her. I occasionally have to come and tidy up her inbox for her, which becomes really annoying for her, and eventually, me.

        2. Graham Cobb Silver badge

          I'm glad that approach works for you, good Doctor.

          It doesn't work for me. I deliberately keep all received email in my Inbox, except for things that I want to move somewhere else to get them out of the way. I see that I currently have over 60,000 emails in my Inbox, organised as threads, which go back to about 2010. And I like it that way, thank you.

          I have a computer, so I can easily and rapidly search to find things. I don't have to work out which folder I might have filed it in ("did I put that in the Aunty Joan folder or in the Photos folder?").

          At the start of each year, I do archive all my sent emails into a folder for the year. And the same with all my deleted messages. But I can find sent or deleted emails back to 2010 if I need to.

          I know other people do not work that way: my wife can't sleep at night if she has left a single item in her Inbox - read or unread. Everything has to filed. That's fine as well. I have learnt not to tell her how to run her email and she doesn't tell me how to run mine.

    3. rnturn

      > A good UI would confine inbox use to unread message Opening a message would remove it from the inbox.

      Hmm... All of my email stays in the Inbox until I've decided what to do with it. Just because I've read it doesn't mean I've finished dealing with it. Hiding emails from me just because I've touched it doesn't qualify as a good interface to me.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Let's start be recognising that for the user the principle object of communication is the thread**, not the individual messages that comprise it; a singleton message is just a member of a thread which has, currently, no additional members."

      Nope, that's the Microsoft ideology and it's all wrong. Outlook tries literally that and it works *only* in demo mode, maximum three emails in *any* thread. In the real life "threads" continue for months and years and have literally hundreds of emails and that idea is absolutely dead in practise.

      No-one wants an reply to 2 years old email hidden somewhere at the end of the thread, below 150 other emails, it just don't make any sense at all and the last thing you want.

      The actual way to do it is to cut the crap out of an email and reply *in the middle* of the text. There's no "thread" to begin with.

  14. Kurgan Silver badge

    Enshittification is coming

    I'm quite sure that REAL issues, like the fact that sometimes when you send an email the process that writes the message to the "sent" folder of the imap server hangs forever, or the fact that sometimes with imap the attachments are downloaded as zero-sized files, will be completely ignored, while the UI will be destroyed.

    Like everyone said, it will be all grey on grey, with 5 big buttons. If you need something that's not part of that 5 big buttons, you are screwed. Like in Office 365.

    Oh, and maybe they could make the account configuration idiotic as it is in current Outlook. There is SO MUCH room for deprovement (what's the opposite of "improvement"?)

    1. BenDwire Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Enshittification is coming

      what's the opposite of "improvement"?

      Erm, Windows 11 ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Enshittification is coming

        I was gonna say systemD, but sure, take your upvote.

        1. BenDwire Silver badge

          Re: Enshittification is coming

          Agreed, an equally valid alternative!

  15. Barry Rueger

    Fear and Trepidation

    I'm the first to admit that Thunderbird really is lacking in many ways - it just feels very old, and not in a good way.

    Still, I fear what new fresh hell will be delivered to us with the big update. You can count me among those who like Linux (at least Mint Linux) specifically because of the ways that it doesn't change from month to month or year to year. That's also why I stick with LibreOffice and happily avoid MS Word.

    I will applaud any code warrior whose credo begins with the immortal words "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

  16. cosymart
    Thumb Up

    I Like Outlook

    Let me clarify not the 365 version but the standalone version that you can have multiple non-microsoft accounts with. Accompanied with lots of folders and rules that posts the incoming emails to. It works and works very well!

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: I Like Outlook

      But does Outlook still have that hard 2TB limit older versions had? I made the switch to TB as a direct result of it, and have put up with its foibles ever since.

      I used to really like the old Outlook UI (c 2000) and I for one don't think that 'old' is always a bad thing. Face it, keep 'old' long enough and it becomes a valuable antique; and that's how I view TB now.

    2. AJ MacLeod

      Re: I Like Outlook

      No, it doesn't work very well. Perhaps it works sufficiently well for your purposes, but it's the single worst application I can think of - horrific illogical UI, ridiculously stupid (and getting worse) configuration screens, horrible, horrible, horrible flaky core that frequently falls over when asked to do anything with significant volumes of messages and far more problems than I can bear to think about right now.

      Just one little nugget of typical Outlook beauty as an example. Imagine you've backed up your IMAP email to a PST file (let's just brush over the several million ways those screw themselves up.) Imagine the process seemed to go as planned, the file ended up on your storage device at a sensible size etc. You open that PST file in Outlook, perhaps even having deleted the original messages. It opens, but hold on... where are the emails? The PST is over 2GB, they must be in it - why are all the folders empty? Much sweat, stress, heart failure later, you discover that by default OUTLOOK HIDES YOUR MESSAGES! Why you would even possibly want the ability to do such a thing I have never been able to fathom, but to make it the default... that takes a special kind of stupidity. Thunderbird is far from my favourite email client but it's nowhere near as awful as Outlook (yet).

  17. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Used to like it but tech has moved on

    Stupid things about thunderbird, that I can only believe they haven't fixed because the die-hards think it's "pure" or something:

    1. Two search boxes - a filter which seems quite quick, and a search, which is slow and unreadable as far as search results go. Why?

    2. Can't do a proper formatted signature without mucking around with creating it in a new mail, saving it as HTML and making sure it stays where you put it, along with all its HTML elements. This is 2023, not 1993!

    3. Lack of built-in Exchange access. Other clients manage, there's no valid excuse for this.

    4. Spell checkers need to be added on. You can't just turn it on. in UK English.

    5. Default reverse order of email (latest at the top) - why go against convention? Yes, it's easy to change, but it's crass.

    Other things have already been mentioned, but surely someone would have seen that most of the above, especially my second point are fundamental to a modern email client on a computer? It seem to me to embody all the worst things about open-source development.

    1. rnturn

      Re: Used to like it but tech has moved on

      > 2. Can't do a proper formatted signature without mucking around with creating it in a new mail, saving it as HTML and making sure it stays where you put it, along with all its HTML elements. This is 2023, not 1993!

      Holy moley! What elaborate HTML needs to go into a .sig that can't be done in a couple of minutes in vi?

    2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Used to like it but tech has moved on

      Default reverse order of email (latest at the top) - why go against convention? Yes, it's easy to change, but it's crass.

      So one click on the header panel is crass? Sigh. Shakes head in bewilderment.

      I am dreading the changes. It works for me and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

      As long as I can return it to the current UI AND that the devs commit to never ever taking it away then fine.

      Oh, and I connect to my email systems with POP3 and keep my emails on my machine. That way, I can work offline which I know is not on trend but being able to work without needing to find a WiFi or phone Hotspot is fine by me.

      1. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

        Re: Used to like it but tech has moved on

        Yes well I'm afraid I can't do that because I live in 2023. POP3 is bugger-all use if you have multiple devices to keep in sync. Yes, it used to be a very worthwhile way of getting mail but like I said before, the world has moved on.

        And yes, one click in the header panel IS crass, because it's confusing for new users. Doesn't bother me, but has bothered almost every single user I've ever set up on thunderbird.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Used to like it but tech has moved on

      "2. Can't do a proper formatted signature"

      Signatures by default are *not* formatted. html does not belong into email either and you are the moron here.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would like to see the bounce function added in

    Decades ago now kmail had an option to bounce email (like your account didn't exist) I would love to have this for mailing lists that wont die and spam. I had reduced my spam to a trickle with this feature and then it was removed. Why? It would be a nice option to have in future thunderbird.

    1. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: I would like to see the bounce function added in

      Just guessing here, but I'm assuming a lot of mail server admins didn't like this particular feature since it was just a different kind of spam in their eyes. Also not really sure how well it worked because a lot of times spam is just blasted out and the reply-to address is just redirected to /dev/null or equivalent. I'm also sure, if someone wanted to go digging through the headers enough, they could figure out that message was a fake. So they could then create a rule for incoming messages that detected these fake bounce messages and blast them with even more spam.

  19. Someone Else Silver badge

    Thunderbird email client is "Go" ... ?

    There is an unstated implication in the headline here...and I want to see it confirmed or denied. Is the "new and improved" Thunderbird going to be written (partially or completely) in Go? If so, is going to be the version of Go that includes (stealthy) telemetry?

    If so, then no matter how much better it might prove to be, it isn't going to find its way on any of my computers.

  20. Proton_badger

    I've used it for a number of decades and although I'm used to it the interface is definitely a clunky mess. The videos are very promising, especially with how they intend to make sure the interface is still customizable to some degree and he seems to address some of the concerns people might have.

    Will it be a good improvement? We'll see, I'm not going to take out my pitchfork and torch already, I'm hoping for something good and I'll decide what I think when I try it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "he seems to address some of the concerns people might have."

      ...address the usual Mozilla way: "We know what we are doing and you're irrelevant."

      Also "might have" is a belittling comment: Comments tell that there're a lot of concerns and Mozilla hasn't commented almost any of them.

  21. aerogems Silver badge

    Meh

    For the most part, considering Thunderbird is basically feature complete at this point, it doesn't really bother me that they go long periods of time between major updates. Better that then adding a bunch of useless bloat that doesn't actually contribute anything useful for the majority of people. As long as they keep up to date on security exploit fixes, I'm good. It's still easier than trying to manage around 10 different email accounts, across multiple providers, via a browser.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh

      "It's still easier than trying to manage around 10 different email accounts, across multiple providers, via a browser."

      That will change with the new version: Everything goes to 'inbox' so you'll never will know which address of yours actually received the email. I'll bet they hide the sender email too, because it's "too confusing" á la Outlook.

      "You do not need to know which account sent the email, you need only to know the name sender announces"

      Brilliant stupidity.

  22. captain veg Silver badge

    Spiel

    I don't much care about "A UI that looks and feels modern", whatever that means. I want it to be obvious and discoverable. If it manages intuitive too, that would be nice. It could do that using old fashioned toolbars and menus, or it could find some new way. I care not.

    "Make the code base leaner and more reliable, rewrite ancient code, remove technical debt;"

    Yes, if you like. The reference to "technical debt" seems to be tautological and faddish, but so be it.

    "Rebuild the interface from scratch to create a consistent design system, as well as developing and maintaining an adaptable and extremely customizable user interface;"

    Yes, if you like, but really all I want is that it be obvious and discoverable, as previously mentioned. The rest looks like verbiage.

    "Switch to a monthly release schedule."

    Yes, if you like. And if you have something useful and worthwhile to release. If not, don't bother.

    -A.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One Email Client to Rule Them ALL

    With Being a Veteran of Eudora thanks to Working at Amoco a very long time ago. I'm keen to tidy up over 10 years worth of disassociated Emails across 7+ platforms and 20 odd live accounts.

    2GB+ of old Eudora archive and probably another few gig to load on top is going to be fun. All i want i all my emails consolidated on x1 BIG fat USB storage device, hot pluggable into multiple devices.

    Since its last couple of upgrades i had to give it up as it wasn't working on later versions of windows well and i gave up on fighting it to import everything.

    (why couldn't it be simple plug n play in as much as just drop the older folders and files into a file structure like it used to be and it just sorted itself out.)

    Seriously looking forward to getting everything under control again.

  24. AJ MacLeod

    I'd personally like to see the ability for TB to export email (including folder structure) to a file, in a similar way to what the horrible Outlook does (but ideally less badly.) The ability to handle a purely local email archive would be nice too - i.e. an account where you can just import previous messages to read in a comfortable format, without having to set up an actual IMAP/POP account and then import messages to that.

    I know there are add-ons to help with this but you can guarantee these will be broken by the new "improved" version and they're not particularly straightforward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thunderbird lets you create a local email account, it's part of the standard config.

      1. AJ MacLeod

        It certainly doesn't seem to do what I want although I perhaps didn't explain it very well. What I occasionally want is to be able to install TB not to send email, but just to be able to read historical emails imported from (say) PST / maildir / mbox. As far as I can see TB forces you to have an IMAP or POP account set up before you can import any messages (in particular using the importExportTools NG add-on)?

  25. GW7
    Mushroom

    Supernova = Clusterfuck?

    I just hope Moz don't make the supernova UI a brain injury clusterfuck like Skype and Teams have become. Random functions scattered/hidden here there and everywhere, contrary to logic, and requiring switching windows to access basic functions. "Where TF is it today?". I'm sure young rats love a new maze to solve to gain a small reward but I'm weary of finding where everything got put to make it look "nice" and "modern".

    The current TB UI is the best so far in my opinion and it has everything I need. I don't want to compose in a new tab instead of a window, though I don't mind if there's a setting to allow choice in that. I also don't mind if search is improved again, as long as there's no telemetry. Definitely retain offline storage on my device and don't force me to go Cloud. And please don't break my calendars. I use those to organise my life, so I don't need cluster munitions exploding in that department. Thank you Mozzers for all your good work so far.

  26. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Failed because... It's secret!

    More than half the email clients I try will fail to work while giving not even the slightest hint why. Not even something cryptic in a log that I can search for. Thunderbird has always been one of those.

    Evolution is a bit glitchy but it gets the job done. It has error messages too.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Exodus

    I stopped using Firefox when Mozilla released Daylight on Android. I considered any organisation that could ship something that broken to be so dysfunctional that whatever they touched would turn to, well, not gold.

    Now it really looks like the same is going to happen to Thunderbird, the same organisation making the same mess of things, but not recognising (or accepting) that that is what they're actually doing.

    My only hope is that a better alternative emerges, hopefully there will be enough dissatisfaction with the new Thunderbird that it won't be too hard to jump ship, but in all honestly, when I first heard the news that this was Mozilla's plan, I started looking for alternatives.

  28. Peter X

    Maildir

    Maildir would be a nice thing if I could be sure it worked, but apparently it is still buggy. :(

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Supernova will deliver A UI that looks and feels modern …""

    Which literally means it will be piece of shit with 60% of the features thrown overboard because "not needed" anymore. All white with 90% of the screen pure white and 10% with plain grey text with zero buttons or anything like that to "confuse" users. Zero menus either, everything (what is left) works by magic gestures not documented anywhere.

    And *that's* "modern UI" to anyone who do not understand what it is.

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