So, a few weeks ago I moved my MUA (Mail User Agent) from claws-mail over to evolution. Last week I decided to move on and give thunderbird a try.

Mostly evolution worked, but it had some bugs I hit that were quite annoying: From time to time it would duplicate emails on my work imap server. Suddenly I would get 50 copies of some list post. I could of course select them and ‘delete duplicates’ but this was pretty anoying. I tried all sorts of tuning to get it to not do that, but nothing seemed to work. Additionally I found the keyboard shortcuts difficult to get used.

So, thunderbird. For this I needed to make a change I had been meaning to for a long time, but kept never getting around to: I needed to switch to using my home server’s imap server instead of delivering email to my laptop (thunderbird only does imap for incoming emails). Fortunately, it was easy to just change my .procmailrc to deliver to the server and serve it via imap. However then I ran into some real confusion: I had setup my server (dovecot) a number of years back to provide 2 ‘namespaces’ in imap: The first would be a Mailbox that it would deliver email to, and the second would be a Maildir that it used for folders (this was due to having some friends using my mail server who insisted on using mail clients via shell that didn’t understand Maildir). I had to do a bit of tweaking to get it working for me, but not breaking it for others. The mbox namespace also meant there was a mail directory with mailbox folders and if you were not careful how you set things up you would get those (mailbox is a good deal less permofrmant than Maildir, so I wanted to avoid them). Finally, I got it all working there.

So, after now using thunderbird for a week or so, the good:

  • thunderbird has no problems talking to various imap servers. No duplicate emails, no errors, everything works nicely and pretty quickly.
  • lightning plugin is now built in/included in thunderbird and it has had no problems talking to all my vaious calendars.
  • enigmail seems to do a fine job with encrypted emails and signing my outgoing emails.
  • The keyboard commands seem a lot easier to get used to, and with the Nostalgy extension it’s pretty easy to file emails and go to places.
  • The search features seem very fast and work well. I ‘star’ mails I want to deal with later, and have a search folder that shows all starred emails. I can from there easily open a tab with the entire conversation if I want to read the thread the email was in again.
  • There’s a handy sort by ‘Grouped’ thats nice for some things. It will show you for example todays emails and let you expand previous days if you like.

The bad:

  • I cannot quite seem to get the message view to look the way I want. It seems to change what fonts it uses sometimes based on “I am not sure what”. Possibly if the email is html only? Will keep looking into it.
  • I had to enter all my stupid filtering rules _again_. I just redid them for evolution, but now again for thunderbird. I really need to look into sieve and just doing it on the server. There outta be a standard!

and the things that are just related, but not directly thunderbird:

  • My mail is now in imap on my main server and I can read it via thunderbird, or roundcubemail.
  • I’ve unsubscribed or otherwise removed myself from a bunch of lists or things that were sending me email that I never read anymore or cared about. There’s still some more of these to go, but its good every once in a while to drop all your filters and rebuild them to see what should just never come in at all.

Will I stick with thunderbird? Time will tell. So far this week indications are good, but we will see.