For the last couple of months I’ve been living with Thunderbird as my primary email client. The good folks at Mozilla have released Thunderbird version 0.9.
So far I’ve tried it on my Macs and it seems much faster and more responsive overall than previous versions.
There are new features that enhance usability, and it seems to me that both of these features will exacerbate the trend towards very large inboxes, which has implications for those who have to manage large mail servers – generally speaking, the larger an IMAP folder is, the more processing time it takes to open, read, or perform other operations on it.
The big new feature is “saved-search folders”, which creates what looks like a folder in your folder list, but is really just a view into your inbox based on a filter. So I can have, for example, a “folder” of all messages from Joe Blow, based on the string “Joe Blow” occurring in the
line of the email. This means that I don’t have to find and drag all those messages into that folder, and new messages are automatically added to the folder as they come in, but without being removed from the inbox. This is similar to how views work in Google mail.
The other new feature is “message grouping”, which lets you organize collapsing groups within your folders, based on criteria like when it arrived. Here’s the example screenshot, of an inbox with groups based on arrival date.
0.9 does not fix the problem I’m having on the Mac platform of the software crashing when I try to compact folders (which, as far as I know is the only way to expunge deleted IMAP messages in Thunderbird). This seems to be something peculiar to my account, as it doesn’t happen on my other test accounts, nor can I find anyone else who’s seen this problem. It is very odd, though, that it doesn’t happen if I use the Windows version of Thunderbird. I’ll continue trying to track down the details on this one…