I have to admit, I’m quite a strong Microsoft supporter. I’ve been using their technologies for a long time, .NET and Office are just some of their applications I use regurlarly. However, over the past year, I’ve moved away from several of their applications to third party alternatives, and today, there has been another.
I’ve been a die-hard Outlook user for years (since Outlook 2000), learning to accept its quirks, and eventually live by them. However using a heavyweight mail client that supports Exchange and has a sophisticated calender system just to read e-mails is a bit over the top. This is where Mozilla Thunderbird makes an entry, a light-weight but still fully featured e-mail client. With this, I thought I would also make the initial steps of changing my e-mail address from email@example.com, which I’ve had for two years, to firstname.lastname@example.org, something more professional sounding.
I’m actually using beta 2 of Thunderbird 1.5 instead of the current 1.0.7. I’ve been using beta 2 of Firefox 1.5 for a while now and I’ve not had too many problems, so I thought I’d give this one a try and it works pretty well. It’s incredibly fast, noticably faster than Outlook, has a decent interface (although Outlooks reading pane and e-mail style is better, as it encourages you to keep your inbox clean of clutter). Also instead of using POP based e-mail, I’m now using IMAP and RoundCube Webmail, which although being in the alpha stages, is an incredibly good webmail client. Thunderbird also supports e-mail signing with certificates so I can prove that I sent the e-mail.
Infact, the only thing missing from Outlook is the excellent Inboxer anti-spam plug-in I use, which has caught in excess of 99% of spam messages I receive (which a short time ago, used to be around two thousand a month). Only time will tell how good the built-in anti-spam filter is in Thunderbird, but I’ve heard good reports that its fairly reliable.
So far, Thunderbird has been a great e-mail client, and one that I will stick to. Although, I’ll still use Outlook as my mail client until I pluck up the courage to set all messages sent to email@example.com to be forward to firstname.lastname@example.org, which could be a while…