Mozilla's flagship e-mail client, Thunderbird, is now available under version 2.0. I've been running the Thunderbird 2.0 nightly development versions for almost six months without any problems. I expect Thunderbird users will have little problem with upgrading from version 1.5 to version 2.0. Straight from the release notes I've listed at the bottom of this post are the new features users will find in Thunderbird 2. None of the new features are earth shattering for e-mail clients but I do find comfort that Mozilla can always teach its software new tricks.
One of the new features that is listed for Thunderbird 2 is the use of Nullsoft Scriptable Install System as the new Windows installer. The message reads that the new installer "resolves many long-standing issues". For anyone that might know, I'd be curious as to exactly what the long-standing issues were? Were the issues merely technical or were there some political open source issues involved with the decision? Just curious as I haven't had the time to dig through some of the developer blogs/notes for the advantages of using the Nullsoft installer.
On a final note, Thunderbird 2.0 may be the last version of the e-mail software that my work place will be using. My organization has a long history with the Netscape/Mozilla e-mail clients released over the years as well as the use of Netscape's software for the server. As I have written in the past, we had issues with using Thunderbird in an enterprise environment. My workplace continues to see ever increasing reporting requirements from IT and we just simply need better control over the software on the desktop. We also needed better integration with a calendar and instant messaging system that our current applications don't provide.
Ultimately, those in IT decision making at the top of our organization have chosen the Microsoft Exchange Server/Outlook solution for our enterprise messaging system. I suspect sometime in 2008 we'll be migrating from Thunderbird to Outlook. A part of me will be sad to see an old friend leave my desktop at work but at least I know he'll be there for me when I return home.
New Features you can expect in Thunderbird 2.0:
- Message Tags: Create your own tags for organizing email. Messages can be assigned any number of tags. Tags can be combined with saved searches and mail views to make it easier to organize email.
- Visual Theme: Thunderbird 2's theme and user interface have been updated to improve usability and maximize screen real estate.
- Session History Navigation: Back and Forward buttons allow navigation through message history.
- Advanced Folder Views: Customize the folder pane to show favorite, unread or recent folders.
- Easy Access to Popular Web Mail Services: Gmail and .Mac users can access their accounts in Thunderbird by simply providing their user names and passwords.
- Improved Support For Extensions: Extensions can now add custom columns to the message list pane in addition to storing custom message data in the mail database.
- Improved New Mail Notification Alerts: New mail alerts include information such as the subject, sender and message preview text.
- Folder Summary Popups: Mouse over a folder with new messages to see a summary of the new messages in that folder.
- Saved Search Folder Performance: Search results for saved search folders are now cached, improving folder loading performance.
- Find As You Type: Finds and highlights message text as you type.
- Improved Filing Tools: Recent folder menu items for moving and copying messages to recently used folders. Move / Copy again functionality.
- Updates to the Extension System: The extension system has been updated to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions.
- New Windows installer: Based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System, the new Windows installer resolves many long-standing issues.
- Windows Vista Support: Many enhancements and fixes for Windows Vista.