Mozilla releases Thunderbird 3.0

Mozilla is a company that is great at making free, yet high quality, software. Though it is most famous for Firefox, the company has many other projects, which also boast a high userbase. A great example of these projects is Thunderbird, which has just hit version 3.0 earlier today.

The release notes, found here, list the changes to date. Some of these include:

  • New Search with Advanced Filtering Tools
    Search results now include advanced filtering tools. You have the option to filter your results by sender, tag, attachments, people, folder, and mailing list. You can also filter your email using the timeline tool.
  • New Global Search Field with Autocomplete
    When typing in the Global Search field, Thunderbird autocompletes against your address book. You have the option of searching everywhere or filtering against different parts of the email such as by subject or by sender.
  • Tabbed Email Messages
    Double-clicking or hitting enter on a mail message will now open that message in a New Tab window. Middle-clicking on messages or folders will open them in a Tab in the background. When quitting Thunderbird, visible tabs will be saved and will be restored when you open Thunderbird the next time. There is also a new Tab menu on the Tab toolbar to help you switch between Tabs.
  • New Add-ons Manager
    The new Add-ons Manager (Tools > Add-ons) can now be used to find, download, and install Thunderbird Add-ons which includes Extensions, Themes, and Plugins. Note that few Add-ons are compatible with this beta at the time of release, as Add-on developers need to upgrade them.
  • IMAP Folder Synchronization
    Thunderbird will download IMAP messages by default in the background to allow for faster message loading and better offline operation. This feature can be enabled on an individual folder basis via Folder properties, or for all folders in an account via Account Settings / 'Synchronize & Storage'.
Of course, this is only a brief selection of some of the changes made to this new version of Thunderbird. Lifehacker has noted some more of the changes, showing off the search filtering, and said that Thunderbird 3.0 identifies people who participated in emails, by using your search terms, and promptly shows them all under a 'People' sidebar at the side, so you know who was involved. If you'd like to install version 3.0 of Thunderbird, please use the download links from this page, which we have included below (in U.S. English).

Download: Thunderbird 3.0 for Windows
Download: Thunderbird 3.0 for Mac OS X
Download: Thunderbird 3.0 for Linux

Thanks to Neowin member Vorenus for the news tip

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

D-Link manufactured Boxee Box revealed to public

Next Story

Dell pulls in $6.5 million in revenue thanks to Twitter

47 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I tried it earlier today, (because I use newgroups, which OL doesnt support), its crap. Just configuring the email (an imap acct) took 30 mins for it to work lol. It kept saying the smtp server was wrong (kept saying it didnt use security (well it wasnt ticked anyway). It went in the bin 2-3 mins later. Doing the same thing in Outlook took seconds. And it was up and running.

With all these "behind the scenes" changes, the program still reminds me of old Netscape 2.0 junk.

The interface is still clunky and the Newsgroup reader is still crap.

I think the program looks better than Windows Live Mail, but WLM just seems to do everything better.

To be fair, at least the newsreader in Thunderbird is better than the one in WLM. Thunderbird's developers still refuse to incorporate some of the submitted patches so that it properly decodes certain yEnc encoded attachments and multi-part posts.

well.. i downloaded thunderbird 3.0 today as well. nice appearance. like the tabs. imported outlook express addresses/old emails etc. however when i go to 'get mail' nothing happens. if i check outlook express there is mail.

this is simply not good enough. i don't have the time to troubleshoot a lemon. if i recall this happened last time i tried thunderbird (about 18 months ago) as well. consider this a FAIL.

time to go back to dependable outlook express.

well you must have configured it incorrectly. Mine worked fine. I get all the email from my ISP and Hotmail email boxes without issues.

i may well have configured it incorrectly. my point is that even though i followed the installation instructions as given and even in light of seeking to remedy the situation including searching the mozilla forum for solutions, the problem still remains and it was not a straight forward process. my experience remains dissatisfied. obviously y.m.m.v

Little too late for me. I stopped using TB a long time ago when I just started using GMail's web interface. Can't really see anything that would be any interest to call it a version 3. Thunderbird sadly got ignored when Firefox got so popular.

Though I still like Thunderbird, I really wish something could be done to improve compatibility of Add Ons between versions. Add On developers are very slow to update their projects and when Mozilla changes things architectually, you can't even force them to run by updating the MaxVersion... It's a shame...

Wow! About time! Took them long enough. I consider it the best e-mail client available, still lost on why development is so slow.

Lucas said,
Wow! About time! Took them long enough. I consider it the best e-mail client available, still lost on why development is so slow.

Yeah, it did take forever for what really amounted to a rather small improvement IMO...

2,5 years just to do that... and released completely unfinished nearly in everything. very disappointing...

This is a great email client. I have been using it for years. It is so easy to config and to back up (simply copy one folder (inside the AppData folder) across and your done).

ozgeek said,
This is a great email client. I have been using it for years. It is so easy to config and to back up (simply copy one folder (inside the AppData folder) across and your done).

Yeah, I love Thunderbird too. For backing up though I always preferred MozBackup... It can backup everything from Thunderbird and also works for Firefox, Seamonkey, etc.

M_Lyons10 said,
Yeah, I love Thunderbird too. For backing up though I always preferred MozBackup... It can backup everything from Thunderbird and also works for Firefox, Seamonkey, etc.

Have you actually tried restoring with MozBackup and Thunderbird? I've never gotten it to properly restore my e-mails, although it acts like it is doing it. That's why I learned to simply copy over the Thunderbird data folder. Quicker and eaiser anyway than going through MozBackup's wizard.

Excellent, though wasn't Lightning capabilities supposed to built into Thunderbird 3? That's the biggest disappointment with TB3, but otherwise I like it a lot.

sabrex said,
Excellent, though wasn't Lightning capabilities supposed to built into Thunderbird 3? That's the biggest disappointment with TB3, but otherwise I like it a lot.

I thought so too. Lightning wasn't even updated for Thunderbird 3 yet...

Upgraded from 2.0. All was well but no syncing of my mail accounts, which was odd. Had to re-create them, all is perfect now :)

Radish™

Radish� said,
Upgraded from 2.0. All was well but no syncing of my mail accounts, which was odd. Had to re-create them, all is perfect now :)

Radish�

Oh really? Mine were all carried over properly. I wonder what was different.

the comments of some people... geeezzz.. who really needs TB says one guy? dude... try it and then comment about it... using the portable version plus adding Lighting and the Minimize to tray addon makes this one here the perfect email client... even though it still has room for progress... the search system is a big step anyway...
regarding the time it took for the final release and the up coming version... I've been following this program even from it's alpha state and it never even felt as a beta... still following the nightly builds which btw are updating almost daily and which has reached the version 3.0.1pre and which also updates my portable version every time successfully which I think is a great feature for a portable application.

BigBoobLover said,
What makes you think that "low demand" is the reason for it taking a long time to be released?

Mozilla will focus most of their resources on the most popular product which is Firefox. Less resources usually means longer (time wise) development process.

BigBoobLover said,
DarkNovaGamer, I really doubt that many of the same people are working on both products, as the technology behind them is so different.

You could be right, I know nothing of coding and developing software. I'm more of a graphics person.

DarkNovaGamer said,
You could be right, I know nothing of coding and developing software. I'm more of a graphics person. ;)

Entirely different team and group working on Thunderbird. www.mozillamessaging.com

BigBoobLover said,
What makes you think that "low demand" is the reason for it taking a long time to be released?

Because the low demand part also applies to developers, not just users. In turn because developers are also users.

Let me illustrate --
I work as a developer, and used to use Thunderbird once upon a time. I have since dropped it, and moved on to especially combinations of non-email communication, and web-based mail for the few times I still use the ancient spam-ridden email solution, mostly for e.g. online shopping, payment receipts, etc. Thunderbird is, unlike in 2004, not at all something I make a "must" in the same way as a web browser. It nearly was years ago however. Now, does this make me more inclined to support development efforts for Firefox or Thunderbird, as a software developer? Take your guess.

These days, we have intense web browser wars, where development support would seem much more motivated. The desktop mail client market has been chilling since a number of years ago.

Mozilla even said it themselves when giving Thunderbird the boot, and having it form a separate organization:
http://www.informationweek.com/story/showA...cleID=201201609

While Baker outlines potential difficulties with each of these approaches, she makes no mention of the fact that Web browsers like Firefox, in conjunction with the continued adoption of free Internet-based e-mail services, are obviating the need for a standalone e-mail client for many users.

...

"I honestly must say that I do not have much use for an offline client anymore," he said. "For the last few years I have switched to entirely online options. Gmail, Hotmail, etc. solve all of my e-mail problems. Google Groups solves my Usenet problems. No more backups, importing, and synchronization. It really is an ideal system for me."

Online e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Microsoft's Hotmail also offer very good spam protection, unlike out-of-the-box Bayesian filters in desktop e-mail clients.

Mail for OS X and Live Mail Desktop for Win 7

Who really needs TB? even Linux / Gnome users have a better email client ( Evolution )

Live Mail doesn't automatically configure gMail accounts, so that's one feature that is a big bonus for Windows users (OS X Mail does do this though). Also, I really don't feel like moving my e-mail over to a different mail program since I've been using Thunderbird for ages now. Thunderbird is also very easy to back up when re-installing the OS or moving mail to a different computer (simply copying the Thunderbird folder under UsersusernameAppDataRoaming gets all of your mail AND settings!). And unless I've missed how to do it, Live Mail also can't be configured for multiple profiles (Outlook Express used to be able to do this, but they removed the feature with Windows Mail in Vista).

BigBoobLover said,
Live Mail doesn't automatically configure gMail accounts, so that's one feature that is a big bonus for Windows users (OS X Mail does do this though).

Yes it does.

marius.fanu said,
Mail for OS X and Live Mail Desktop for Win 7

Who really needs TB? even Linux / Gnome users have a better email client ( Evolution )

WLM has horrible IMAP support. It lacks IMAP IDLE support. It doesn't reliably notify you when you have new mail unless you happen to have the inbox open. I have 5 email accounts so you never know which box will have focus at the time. WLM has a nice GUI but the lack of notification kills it.

Shadrack said,
Yes it does.


I just tried it and WLM asked for server information for my gMail account. So please tell me how you did it? Or do you not understand what I meant by "automatic"?

BigBoobLover said,
I just tried it and WLM asked for server information for my gMail account. So please tell me how you did it? Or do you not understand what I meant by "automatic"?



Works for me to.

WLM has huge issues when it comes to using multiple smtp servers, i could never get emails to send cause it never used the correct smtp server.

xiphi said,
Works for me, too. You just need to enable IMAP on your Gmail account.


OK, that explains it then. I only have POP enabled on my accounts, not IMAP. Thunderbird automatically figures that out though and configures itself correctly, WLM doesn't.

edit: actually, I just checked and I have both enabled. Maybe having POP and IMAP enabled confuses WLM or something, I don't know, but either way it doesn't work correctly, so is of no value for me.

BigBoobLover said,
OK, that explains it then. I only have POP enabled on my accounts, not IMAP. Thunderbird automatically figures that out though and configures itself correctly, WLM doesn't.

edit: actually, I just checked and I have both enabled. Maybe having POP and IMAP enabled confuses WLM or something, I don't know, but either way it doesn't work correctly, so is of no value for me.


POP was already enabled when I configured IMAP.

What didn't you like about it? Functionality seems the same to me, the icons are changed, that's about it at a first glance.

(I'm on OS X)

Well I managed to hide the tab bar by editing the userChrome.css, but I didn't like the initial layout and I didn't like the fact that in the sidebar it said RSS Feed on each feed, looked very untidy :

richardsim7 said,
(I'm on OS X)

Well I managed to hide the tab bar by editing the userChrome.css, but I didn't like the initial layout and I didn't like the fact that in the sidebar it said RSS Feed on each feed, looked very untidy :

How long did you actually use it for?