Keeping Thunderbird from Breaking

Tech Analysis: You can keep Thunderbird from breaking and repair it when it does break-you just need to be ready to put some work into it.

My love/hate relationship with Thunderbird, the Mozilla Foundations e-mail client, continues.

On the one hand, Thunderbirds a very good open-source e-mail/Usenet/RSS client. Its easy to filter, search and sort messages with Thunderbird—even with multiple mail accounts. And, unlike Evolution, my favorite e-mail program, its also available on the Windows and Mac operating systems, besides Linux.

So, whats the problem?

Well, actually, there are a lot of them. Ive already gone over its lack of business-ready features, like individual and group calendaring. More recently, though, both I and some of my friends have been seeing far too many examples of Thunderbird breaking.

Fortunately, there are some ways around these problems. Here are a few solutions for some of the more common Thunderbird trouble spots that Ive tested out myself.

First, you should always use the most recent version of Thunderbird you can get your hands on.

As I write this, thats Thunderbird 1.502, which includes many security fixes.

This newest version is available for all three supported operating systems. Well, there is one exception—theres no native support for Mac OS X on Intel. Still, you can run it on Mactels if you use Rosetta. In light of the many security fixes, Id run it on Rosetta rather than use an older version. Thunderbirds programmers do promise that there will be a native Mactel version for 1.503, however.

Just as important, for my use, is that the new version includes numerous bug fixes. These range from program crashes to RSS feed lock-ups to some copy-and-paste problems.

Put them all together and you have a release thats a "must upgrade" for any Thunderbird user.

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