Feeds

Mozilla's next Thunderbird gives Gmailers hope

Sync-challenged. But faster and more searchable

High performance access to file storage

Review Thunderbird 3.0 was a less than stellar piece of software. Mozilla's email client was marred by some pretty serious bugs, such as the failure to import mail from past editions, which meant the suite had a habit of becoming unresponsive while indexing large mail stores.

And while Thunderbird 3.0 had a number of nice new features such as the tabbed interface and improvements to search and the overall user interface these were largely useless thanks to endless hangs and spinning cursors.Particularly notorious for those connecting to Gmail was the "All Mail" folder that generally caused Thunderbird to hang, sometimes for hours.

Thunderbird 3.1 does not suffer from the same problems. In fact, based on the second - and presumably final - release candidate that just became available, it's what 3.0 should have been.

Thunderbird 3.1 is remarkably faster than its predecessor - particularly when indexing messages in large mailboxes.

To test the new importing feature, I dug an old Thunderbird 2 POP mail store off a backup disk and imported it into the latest version without losing any mail.

Thunderbird 3.1 RC search

Thunderbird's search finally rivals that of Gmail

With Thunderbird 3.1, I was able to grab all the headers for some 17,000 messages in just over ten minutes. Even better, the rest of the program was perfectly responsive and usable even as the messages were downloaded and indexed.

Thunderbird's search is also considerably faster. The search tool, which first arrived in 3.0, rivals Gmail's search capabilities and offers additional filters that make it easy to narrow your search by sender, date and more.

Thanks to the improved indexing speed, the search tool is also much quicker in this release.

But Thunderbird 3.1 isn't just about correcting Thunderbird 3.0's bugs and speed issues. There are several new features as well.

The new Quick Filter makes it easy to filter messages by Unread, Starred, Contact, Tags, or Attachments. There's also a handy button to make filters persistent even when you're changing folders. The only thing missing in the new Quick Filter tool is a way to customize filters.

While you can't add your own filters to the new Quick Filter bar, there is an extension that adds a few more features, like the ability to filter based on sender and date.

Also new is a "saved files" manager for dealing with attachments. Similar in appearance and function to Firefox's Download Manager, the Saved Files Manager displays all the files you've downloaded from your e-mail to your computer, making it easy to find them later.

Thunderbird 3.1 has a new Account Setup Wizard. While it looks the same on the surface, hundreds of ISP settings have been added, which means Thunderbird is much better at guessing your settings. Just enter your name, e-mail address and password and Thunderbird will configure the rest of your setup for you.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.