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Front Page » February 22, 2005 » Tech Tips » Mozilla Thunderbird
Published 3,341 days ago

Mozilla Thunderbird


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By JASON BAILEY
Sun Advocate/Progress Webmaster


Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 was released in early December 2004 as the perfect companion to Mozilla Firefox. Although Firefox gets the majority of the media's attention, Mozilla Thunderbird is no less astounding.

Mozilla Thunderbird is a modern email application that will run on a variety of systems, specifically Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It has been used by businesses and residential users alike, and has an excellent track record for security and stability.

Like Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird (hereafter referred to as simply 'Thunderbird') is an offshoot of the Mozilla suite. Thunderbird's construction is very similar to Mozilla Firefox and, as such, is designed to be intuitive, fast, reliable and visually appealing.

Thunderbird, like Firefox, is highly customizable. The overall interface can be changed by downloading and installing new themes (icons, colors, text styles, etc). Toolbar menu icons can be added or removed as desired and various layouts (arrangement of the program's panes) can be selected. Thunderbird can also be equipped with additional capabilities by downloading and installing extensions (add-on packages).

Thunderbird can easily handle more than one email account, or address. Mail can be downloaded to individual email boxes or to a single, global inbox.

One of Thunderbird's most revered features is its spam and junk mail management. By training Thunderbird what is junk mail or spam, it can intelligently and intuitively filter or delete undesired email. In other words, once Thunderbird is taught what is and isn't junk mail, it can automatically handle any further junk mail so you don't have to. Junk mail can be quickly deleted or simply moved to a "junk" folder that can be purged, if necessary, after so many days.

Thunderbird can also make viewing questionable email safer by blocking images and javascript within the email. HTML within the email can also be limited to simple forms or be eliminated all together - a good way to suppress annoying or unwanted text effects or graphics.

Another one of Thunderbird's advantageous features is its search folders and filter bar. Search folders are a sort of pre-defined or saved search that act like actual folders. When clicked on, for example, a search folder (located in the folders pane) may show only email from a particular friend or family member. The search bar allows the list of emails in the current folder (the inbox for example) to be quickly filtered based on subject or sender - and updates the results of the filter with every key press.

Thunderbird can connect to many different types of email systems (i.e. mail protocols), like POP and POP3 (the most common) and even IMAP (common on corporate networks). Thunderbird is also a very capable reader for newsgroups (online discussion groups) RSS feeds (syndicated content, like news headlines), and can manage email for many email accounts from one place.

Making the change to Thunderbird for Windows users is easy. The first time the program is launched (after installation), Thunderbird will import all of your existing Outlook or Outlook Express email messages and account settings. If you should decide that Thunderbird is not for you, your Outlook or Outlook Express (and all your email) will be just as you left it.

Thunderbird for Windows, Linux or OS-X can be downloaded, free of charge, from http://www.mozilla.org/.

Have comments or suggestions for a weekly Tech Tips article? Send an email to webmaster@ecprogress.com.


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