Jul 27 2009

Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)

image_thumb13 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review) I download’d the latest beta from Mozilla for Thunderbird. I’m a big fan of Thunderbird and have been for many years. With each release it just keeps getting better. Even with the release of Google Wave, I’m still of the mindset that Thunderbird is the number one freeware email client.

I download’d the latest version to take it for a test drive and here’s some things I noticed right off the bat, plus a few extra comments.

Here’s what I saw… and what I thought.

Main Page

Inbox tree Icons have been changed up a bit and beautified; never hurts to update the icons. It just makes the inbox not so un friendly.

image_thumb14 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)

When emails are clicked on, they get their own TAB. This will be great keeping everything contained in one program and not windows all over the place. In actuality, if you’re not using TABs in your programs nowadays, your just missing the bus.

image_thumb15 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)

When reading the emails, I like the new interface options as well. It’s a easier on the eye GUI and the interface is just friendlier.

image_thumb16 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)


New Emails

I still don’t like some of the things in the composition window.

Thunderbird should offer a different layout for adding contacts.image_thumb17 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)

While I don’t prefer Outlook, I do like the why the contacts are added in the composition process. I like having or being able to see all the contacts I’ve added without having to scroll a huge list. It may not be an issue for some, but it bothers me.

I like being able to see the TO:, CC: and BCC: in a more compact form.

To: Gene; Sue; Jack 
CC: Belinda; Claire; Angel
BCC: Peter; Jack

It just seems more convenient way to do it. There should be at least an option to switch between the two input methods.


I’ve never quite understood why Thunderbird doesn’t offer the font size as a number during composition.

image_thumb18 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)

They offer the fonts they would be listed in pure HTML, but not in a number. You have to muddle with the up and down arrows. Most other common programs just use a 10pt or 14pt designation for the font size. I don’t understand the decision here.


Thunderbird Contacts

I’m not impressed with the contacts section. Thunderbird is still clunking around with their contacts section. It’s just not happening over in here.

While Thunderbird as started adding TAB to keep everything together the contacts are still in a separate window. And still, if you close Thunderbird the contacts window stays open; I dunno why you would do that.


I think the development crew just isn’t understanding the need to be able to access manage and use contact information in a innovative way. This is where people need the most flexibility.

With all seriousness, I should be able to select a range of contacts and choose ‘export’ or ‘copy email address’, but these type things just aren’t there.


I can’t go anywhere in the contacts screen and right-click to simply copy the email address of a friend. I’ve to go all the way in to each contact’s properties to get their email address.

 image_thumb19 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)


Instant Messaging is still kind of off keel, the Thunderbird properties, there’s no way to get to these settings; it asks you one time about with Instant Messaging client you want to use and then you can never get back to it; nor do really have access to see how it’s supposed to work.

At the time of this post, I couldn’t find anything on the Instant Messaging options in Thunderbird or how to set it up or get back to it.


Keeping in touch; It’s important to keep in contact with your contacts. One of the things a contact manager/address book should always have is a reminder. A reminder that you haven’t talked to x person in 30-60-90 days. I think Thunderbird should have this via a plug-in or by native function, but I’ve yet to find it.



I’m so happy that Thunderbird as finally added support for signatures. This is a huge improvement from the barbaric methods before.

image_thumb20 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review) 

The Thunderbird crew has really kind of listened on this one to add support for the signatures. There’s a few more options on the properties pages about composition and signatures. When and where to use signatures.

image_thumb21 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review) 


Thunderbird Extensions

image_thumb24 Mozilla Thunderbird v3 b3 – A glance at some new stuff (review)One of the irritating things with Thunderbird [and Firefox] is that when there’s an update requirement for the extensions and while the Thunderbird betas have been out in the wild for some time now the developers have been slow to provide updates.
Thunderbird is a free program/application and it’s nice, but as a slight complaint, it’s a sucky day when you get a new version of a program and all the things that make it more– don’t work initially and you have to wait on the developers to catch up [if they do].
While Thunderbird is a great program I think at some point they need to follow the leader like their big brother Firefox and just integrate the features and functions that people want most directly in to the program [like Firefox did with Ubiquity].



Thunderbird is a great program; you can’t go wrong with it.

The application is rich in features and function and you can’t beat the price. The updates coming out of the Thunderbird crew aren’t as fast as we would like, but there are updates to it and for a free application- that’s all you can really ask for.

I know the Thunderbird crew has been busy and everyone appreciates it and while I didn’t cover some things; these are the things that stand out immediately [I’m already using the signature options]. For the complete list of what’s new, go here.

With the upcoming release of Google wave, I wonder about the future of Thunderbird, but even so, Thunderbird has many years of service left in it.


Thanks for reading!



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