I’ve been trialing the use of Mozilla Thunderbird mail client on some of my less frequently used mail accounts.
I have been using PMMail2000 since I migrated to using Windows from my OS/2 days way back when. It has served me well, and has a heap of features I really like, but there is simply no more active development happening, and there are some major limitations in PMMail such as a lack of good support for reading HTML emails – which (unfortunately) people insist on sending me all the time.
Thunderbird is a long long way from coming even close to the functionality of PMMail, but at least it does a good job of displaying the types of email I am likely to receive and has an active development and support community.
I guess the final straw for PMMail has been a recent battle I’ve had with my property managers in Adelaide where they made some funky new Outlook template to make their emails look really snazzy, and I simply could not read them ! I spent ages trying to convince them that plain text emails are the only thing they should be sending, and I think I got the message through, but they occasionally still send me unreadable emails.
Anyway, in my tests I’ve mostly worked out how to make do with the peculiarities of Thunderbird to the point where I think I’m happy to make the move to using it for my main mail account to.
The biggest challenge is that I have a very sophisticated folder and filter structure set up in PMMail – and I will need to replicate that in Thunderbird.
Actually, this is really an opportunity to start from scratch and create a new structure for my mail and clean out all the old folders which don’t actually get used much anymore !
The only thing I’m a little concerned about is that I really liked PMMail’s nearly bulletproof mail storing facility – essentially just stored each email as a separate text file on the file system, which made them very easy to work with – especially if things went wrong. You could easily re-index the mail folders if things got confused, so it was almost impossible to lose mail.
Thunderbird uses the mbox format which stores the messages in one file (appended one after the other in a special format) and an index in a second file. Although I’m a little worried about using such a format which may become corrupted and thus destroy everything in that mailbox, but I guess one advantage is that the mbox format is quite widely used in other mail programs and there should be plenty of utilities out there to manage it.
I’ll see how it goes. I’ll have backups to help me if things go pear-shaped anyway.