Rediscovering thunderbird

No, not the cheap wine. The free (as in beer) e-mail client.

My history with e-mail clients has not been one of bucking the crowd. At work we’ve been using Outlook for over a decade. Before that there was a brief flirtation with Outlook Express, and before that… Z-Mail from NetManage.

At home I mostly used the mail client that came with Netscape Navigator, and its Mozilla browser successor. I went completely web-based in 2005 during GMail’s initial beta period. For a short time I used the Gnome project’s Evolution in order to integrate with an old Palm device. Various iterations of Thunderbird were tested during the same period.

When I started looking into a potential migration from GMail back to my own mail server it was clear I needed a good mail client to help with the exporting of messages from Google’s web based message store. Thunderbird was the obvious candidate because of its stability.

I can’t say I was surprised to find that Thunderbird scores high in usability as well. With roots back in the well designed Netscape mail client of yesteryear, that’s something to be taken for granted.

One of the themes around the “marketing” of Thunderbird is the tag line “Reclaim your inbox”. For those of us who have been working with a succession of (improving) web based interfaces for over a decade, that has some resonance.

Obligatory Mozilla propaganda follows:

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