I hate thunderbird

Monday, October 8, 2007 

So once, long ago, I moved to IMAP on my server. I wanted to move there with my trusty Eudora client that I’ve been using since about 1993. Sure, I flirted with other mail systems, but they screwed me and what I care about most was:

  1. Never Lose Data (early versions of Thunderbird were not so good about this for me)
  2. Search my several gigabyte database of mail fast enough to be useful.

Now outlook is absolutely intolerable about this last point. Search in all Microsoft products, indexed or not, is so painfully slow one might as well go on vacation. It is incomprehensible to me how it can suck so bad. I remember in 1990 using OnLocation and searching my entire computer (all 20MB of it) in a fraction of a second. Sure it was less data, but it was also doing it on a 33Mhz 68030.

Eudora lets me find my mail. Eudora lets me get my job done. Unfortunately Eudora can’t search an IMAP mailbox unless it is connected. WTF?

OK, time for Thunderbird. But Thunderbird is so not ready for prime time. There’s the massive delays to open any of my larger mailboxes, even to show titles (14,000 messages in a mailbox is NOT too many, who uses this? Kids?) Second it gets confused easily communicating with the IMAP server which tends to lock it up indefinitely. Still, it does cache locally and the built-in search, while interminably slow is faster than Microsoft Search (but doesn’t search across accounts! Hello!). I’m hoping Google Desktop Search will help. Initial results are promising. And Penelope could be very cool. Especially if they add indexed search.

One little change I had to make for Thunderbird was given at this fine site:

perl -p -i -e 's/^MAXDAEMONS=40/MAXDAEMONS=80/g' /usr/local/etc/courier-imap/imapd

perl -p -i -e 's/^MAXPERIP=4/MAXPERIP=40/g'  /usr/local/etc/courier-imap/imapd

Update - 9/9/2010

I’m now using Thunderbird (3.1).  It hasn’t lost data yet.  It has a nice fast search.  I still don’t like it as much as Mulberry for basic mail functions, but it shows pictures in line and I can quickly toggle between HTML mail (to insert inline pictures and screen grabs) and text mail.

These are useful basic features and I wish Mulberry had them.

Posted at 15:45:05 UTC

Leave a Reply