Thunderbird for Linux… gave up.

Thunderbird used to be my favourite email client many years ago when I used windowze as an OS. I wanted to try to get it running under Linux (Fedora, installed from repositories).

I just had to give up. It has an account setup wizard that kept getting in the way, it wants to setup a new account and test the connections… but for a non-standard setup the test fails… and there is no way to skip the test, so you cannot setup a non-standard account. I believe if an account was setup it could then be customised, but it’s not possible to get an account to be created in the first place if it uses non-standard settings because of that test step.

Spent three days reading the thunderbird docs on their website (out of date) and doing google searches and just trying, and trying… then gave up; why should I waste my time because a compulsary ‘wizard’ makes things impossibly harder that a simple manual setup page would be.

(off on a tangent, many, many, many years ago I was asked to write an application to provide a help desk with known outage notifications and expected resolution times; the management that requested and designed that application and wanted (and got) seperate really pretty screens for adding/viewing/updating/clearing these notices which were a nightmare to navigate through but made management happy. To make testing easier I coded a seperate page that showed all notifications on the single page that allowed simple overtyping of multiple notifications (expected uptimes, message text) and multiple clearing of notifications from that single page, make 30 changes and hit update, instead of the management requirement to go through 30 seperate update pages. I left that testing page in and the feedback from the helpdesk staff was that they only ever used that one single page, never did they use the messy drill down design management thought they would like so 99% of the application screens required in the specs was code unused from the day it went live, but got management signoff only because of the unused code. … actually the real tangent is … creating pretty screens that makes it difficult to access the intended operation/function of an application is stupid, and the configuration wizard in thunderbird is I think one of those stupid overkills, users don’t want it and it’s impossible to use, why is it there. It made a backer happy I guess).

On with the real story. Thunderbird was not usable.

Decided to try setting up Evolution instead.

Within five minutes of playing with Evolution I had both slingshot and gmail accounts and working flawlessly. So a ‘rpm -e thunderbird’ was done. :-)

Yahoo is proving more difficult to setup. Hints are here ; no IMAP access for NZ so have to use POP… the evolution doc says settings are globalish so maybe pop accounts just cannot co-exist with imap ones. Although the post also says using imap and pop acounts together also breaks thunderbird so may be an expected non-workable for most linux clients.
This post is not about the issues I have had with yahoo email so I won’t cover my total lack of supprise it doesn’t work. Yahoo is the only one that doesn’t work.

So, my recomendation is to use Evolution instead of thunderbird is you use Linux.

About mark

At work, been working on Tandems for around 30yrs (programming + sysadmin), plus AIX and Solaris sysadmin also thrown in during the last 20yrs; also about 5yrs on MVS (mainly operations and automation but also smp/e work). At home I have been using linux for decades. Programming background is commercially in TAL/COBOL/SCOBOL/C(Tandem); 370 assembler(MVS); C, perl and shell scripting in *nix; and Microsoft Macro Assembler(windows).
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