Back in the old days, when I was using a humble PC running that nasty Windows XP, my e-mail client of choice was Thunderbird. No susprise there – it was far better than Outlook Express. However, when I finally managed to pull myself clear of the painful Microsoft experience and bought myself a Mac, I found myself using Mail, the built-in mail client Apple have made. Its clean interface made the daily chore of checking e-mails a pleasure, and its seamless integration with everything else was bliss. I even found I could extend the standard functionality with a few plugins, which improved the spam-handling significantly. All was well. Apple have done a fantastic job.
At least, until just recently. For no apparent reason, Mail has started quitting on launch. I open it, it starts contacting the mail servers for new mail, and then quits. A small frustration, admittedly, and relaunching it seemed to convince it that it could work. But today I had to restart Mail at least three times. I’ve taken out all the plugins and anything that might have been upsetting it, but it still crashes.
So I’ve downloaded Thunderbird 2 instead. I’ve not abandoned Mail completely, but I’ve set up Thunderbird to my liking, and if it continues to impress over the next couple of weeks I expect I’ll stick with TB for the time being. It’s not quite as visually pleasing as Mail, even with the header sorted out by UNO, and I’ve not found a nice third-party theme yet that gives the same polished effect as Mail does by default. I especially don’t like the Compose window, which looks ugly, particularly where you have to enter each e-mail address on a separate line instead of next to each other as in Mail. It’s just not as tidy.
Still, TB2 seems to work, and seems to be fairly responsive too, which is good. I’m using IMAP on all my e-mail accounts (all four of them), I’ve imported my native Mac Address Book courtesy of a handy AppleScript that converts everything into a .CSV file, I’ve set up a few filters, even set up some saved searches that work more or less like the Smart Folders in Mail (though not as intuitively).
Whether it’ll still be satisfactory in a couple of weeks is yet to be determined, but because I’m using IMAP I can easily switch back again without losing anything in the process, which is encouraging. I’ll maybe give another update in a few weeks time and let you know how I get on.