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Why has Thunderbird turned into a turkey?

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I think I might. The best Windows email client, called The Bat!, won't run under Windows 7 for me - in either 32bit or 64bit. (If anyone from RitLabs would like to get in touch - please do.)

Since that article, I've discovered Claws - a fork of the cross-platform Sylpheed project, which has been around for ever. (The earliest Sylpheed email I received is dated November 2000.)

Claws is available on Windows, Solaris and BSD, too - but on Linux I've found it's a much more efficient alternative to Thunderbird. Using Claws, like Pegasus, reminds you that dealing with IMAP isn't so difficult after all. Like Pegasus, it's one man effort - or two, I believe after the fork.

Back on Windows, LiveMail seems to be more reliable, but not so reliable that I trust it. It doesn't refuse mail so much as refuse to work promptly, as ordered.

Opera is my second choice mail client on all systems - I need to flag IMAP messages (with a flag - not a colour or a pretty haiku), and I need to access multiple signatures files. If you don't need to do either, and haven't tried it, you may be pleasantly surprised. It certainly sets the benchmark for text retrieval that all the others need to reach.

So competition remains pretty thin. This means restoring Thunderbird's reputation is important - we need a functional client. Maybe it's time to slow down the release schedule again, and do the major refactoring needed to repair the software for a long-term future. ®

Andrew welcomes your comments. Use webmail, if you must.

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