After many years as a dedicated user of Thunderbird as a mail and news client, along with the Lightning add-on for calendar and tasks, my list of gripes suddenly reached breaking point this week. I won’t go through them all, but here’s a small selection:
- Resource hoggery – this seems to be woven into the fabric of all things Mozilla, and was responsible for me ditching Firefox for Chromium earlier this year. I know the response to this because I’ve heard it a million times – computers are getting faster, RAM is cheap. Well maybe, but I want to use my resources, they’re not yours to waste.
- Thunderbird is a second class citizen. That’s my perception anyway. Mozilla is about web browsers and Thunderbird is dragged along and supported grudgingly. “But why would anyone want to use native clients for anything when they could access everything via a browser?” is what I keep hearing. I think that’s ridiculous and will always be wrong, but there you go.
- Lightning is a third class citizen. It’s just another Thunderbird add-on, who cares? Again, just my perception, and no offence meant to the tiny and under-appreciated team who do excellent work on it.
- I receive a meeting invitation, I accept it into a calendar, the response is sent via a different email address to the one that was invited.
- The address book doesn’t sync with anything, e.g. CardDAV, WebDAV. That’s just insane, it’s nearly 2012. Oh, there are various third party add-ons, which I have used in the past, but due to version inflation or something, they are only occasionally compatible.
Anyway, that list could go on forever. I didn’t set out to disparage Thunderbird or Mozilla. Thunderbird is good, just not for me any more. So let’s move on to the replacement.
Evolution is what’s taken the place of Thunderbird for me. I had a number of reservations about this, but so far it’s turned out to be excellent. All the problems I had with Thunderbird have gone away, right down to it using A FIFTH of the memory to do the same job faster than its bloated predecessor.
The migration wasn’t entirely trouble-free though. One of the biggest problems was that I tried to set it up to use real Trash and Junk folders for IMAP accounts. This is wrong, and not how IMAP is supposed to work, but everyone does it anyway. However, that functionality in Evolution just doesn’t work properly and you end up with messages you delete or move reappearing, and all kinds of other strange goings on. The answer is simply to just not do that, and let Evolution work with its own ‘virtual’ versions of these folders, while using IMAP properly in the background.
Only time will tell if this was really a good move, but so far I’m very happy with it.