Well, after a long time in development, the Mozilla project’s Thunderbird 1.5 has been released.
It’s incredibly hard to find a good e-mail client. I read something at one time (perhaps from the mutt authors) that “all e-mail clients suck, ours just sucks less.” That’s very true IMO and it’s even harder to find one that’s decent and free (I do like mutt for text mail BTW 😉 ). Thunderbird aims to solve both issues.
I’ve been using the 1.5 beta for some time now and found it pretty good. It’s not significantly changed from earlier versions, at least from my admittedly basic use, but it does appear to be stable and fully usable. The release version appears identically usable (so far).
For those who don’t already know, TB is a non-nonsense, basic mail reader, which is what many people prefer. Mail readers that try to do everything, and end-up doing it poorly like Outlook (jeez, the Options settings alone in Outlook 2003 are hideously organized!) are a dime-a-dozen. TB just does mail and usenet, and does them well — although with the built-in extension support, I’m sure you can force it to do other things if so desired.
Improvements in 1.5 include:
- Binary patching, like FireFox 1.5 does. Means smaller downloads and faster updates than before.
- Interactive spell checking, similar to the red underlining that MS Word does.
- Various security updates, both for the program itself and also helping to expose phishing scams.
- Other goodies listed here.
I have no reason not to suggest that you try it out if you use Outlook Express currently. It will import your Outlook Express settings, contacts and mail effortlessly while providing you with a significantly improved security framework that does not encourage spyware, suckware, and malware to enter your machine.
If you’re an existing Thunderbird user, I also recommend upgrading to 1.5 based upon the experiences I’ve had. You will likely find it very comfortable to use if you liked earlier versions.