Thunderbird 102 appears to be like to reinvent the open-source electronic mail shopper

Though the upcoming main launch of Thunderbird is not about drastic adjustments, what it does have to supply makes the workflow way more environment friendly than earlier iterations. Jack Wallen has the main points.

Picture: DenEmmanuel, Getty Pictures/iStockPhotos

Excluding Gmail, I desire a standard desktop electronic mail shopper over web-based variations. There are lots of causes for this, however the main is that I work with quite a few electronic mail accounts all through the day and I don’t wish to must cope with a Firefox tab for every. Ergo … I choose to go the desktop electronic mail shopper route to higher handle these accounts.

For many years, I’ve used Thunderbird as my desktop electronic mail shopper of selection. A part of the rationale for that’s it’s merely the most suitable choice for the Linux desktop. One more reason is that, though a bit lengthy within the tooth, the UI is kind of environment friendly to make use of. That’s proper, Thunderbird isn’t precisely essentially the most modern-looking instrument on my desktop. Fairly the other. The Thunderbird I used as we speak isn’t a lot totally different than the one I used a decade in the past. That’s nice as a result of it really works effectively sufficient for me to shrug off the outdated interface.

SEE: 40+ open supply and Linux phrases it’s good to know (TechRepublic Premium)

If the builders of Thunderbird have their manner, model 102 of the applying would possibly lastly modernize that UI. Earlier than you get too excited, what’s coming down the pike isn’t a tectonic shift for the software program. As a substitute, the builders went for a number of refined tweaks within the design and added a useful sidebar to make it simpler to modify between options.

The final main launch of Thunderbird was model 91, again in August 2021, which principally supplied safety updates and bug fixes. With the upcoming model 102, customers will take pleasure in a number of new options that come collectively to assist carry the open-source electronic mail shopper into the fashionable age.


A few of these new options have already crept their manner into the Thunderbird Nightly construct. I’ve been working with the nightly model (now at launch 101.0a1). Sadly, not all the options have made their manner into the Nightly construct. With that mentioned, let’s check out the options that at the moment are prepared to check.

The Areas Toolbar in Thunderbird 102

In my view, that is the most important addition to Thunderbird. The brand new Areas Toolbar (Determine A) is a sidebar that offers you fast entry to among the Thunderbird options (E mail, Contacts, Calendar, Duties and Chat).

Determine A

The new Thunderbird Spaces toolbar gives quick access to the primary Thunderbird tools.
The brand new Thunderbird Areas toolbar provides fast entry to the first Thunderbird instruments.

This new Areas Toolbar aligns the applying with full-blown groupware instruments like Enlightenment (on Linux) and Outlook (on Home windows). By making it simpler for customers to entry these instruments, the Thunderbird workflow is way improved. Not solely do you get entry to these instruments, however on the backside of the Areas Toolbar, you’ll discover a gear icon that opens the Thunderbird Settings window. No extra having to entry settings from the hamburger menu.

Whenever you click on on an icon within the Areas Toolbar, Thunderbird will open a brand new tab for that service, which is how the e-mail shopper has all the time labored. So, in truth, the most important distinction is that you’ve quicker entry to opening the options than you probably did earlier than. Previous to the Areas Toolbar, you’d must search out the varied launchers for every instrument (as they weren’t centrally positioned).

The New Addressbook in Thunderbird 102

Thunderbird 102 will arrive with a very retooled tackle ebook (Determine B). As of this writing, the brand new tackle ebook has but to indicate itself within the Nightly Construct, however the builders have made it clear their aim is to make it significantly simpler to navigate and work together with the contacts you’ve saved. The brand new tackle ebook breaks every contact into playing cards, one every for:

  • E mail addresses
  • Cellphone numbers
  • Addresses
  • Chat info
  • Relations

Determine B

This representation of the new Address Book comes from the official Thunderbird Twitter account.
This illustration of the brand new Deal with E book comes from the official Thunderbird Twitter account.

Additionally, you will discover what appears to be like like an motion bar for every contact that offers you fast entry to composing an electronic mail to a contact, creating an occasion with a contact, trying to find communication with a contact, and sharing a contact’s particulars.

The smaller enhancements in Thunderbird 102

Fact be informed, that’s it for the foremost adjustments coming to Thunderbird. Outdoors of that, you’ll be able to search for these new enhancements/options:

  • Hyperlink preview playing cards will create small preview playing cards for hyperlinks you add to an electronic mail.
  • Account Setup Hub makes it simply as straightforward so as to add secondary electronic mail accounts as it’s so as to add the preliminary account.
  • Matrix assist is now added by default and doesn’t must be enabled through the Settings window (because it nowrequires).
  • Import/export is now built-in into the core of Thunderbird, so there’s no want to put in third-party add ons.
  • Message headers have been redesigned to make it simpler to discern the data you want from the header of an electronic mail.

All-in-all, the upcoming Thunderbird appears to be like to supply simply sufficient new options and UX redesign to reinvent an growing older electronic mail shopper. No, this isn’t a profound deal-making or deal-breaking replace, however given how effectively Thunderbird works, there’s no motive to repair what’s not damaged. Though I used to be a bit dissatisfied that the general UI hasn’t been dramatically improved to carry it extra according to trendy aesthetics, I’m simply pleased Thunderbird continues to be going sturdy. Hopefully, Thunderbird will stick round for years to return.

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