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Thunderbird and its Hiccups

I am a long time advocate of open source software. I especially enjoy the powerful applications that come from the Mozilla team. However, I have been a little annoyed with a couple Thunderbird drawbacks that have gotten under my skin.

The first deals with XML. The purpose of feeds (Atom, RSS, etc.) is to syndicate the content without loading the page. In other words, to save bandwidth. Thunderbird gives you this option, but only at the expense of syndicating the summary rather than the full post. This isn't the case will all feeds, mind you, just the feeds that put the summary in the <description> tags and the full content in the <content:encoded> tags (RSS2). Thunderbird does not have the capability to handle tags, and as such, only the first 256 characters or so are syndicated. Sure, I could load the page, but that defeats the purpose of syndicating the feed. Because of this issue, I no longer am using Thunderbird as my feed reader, but just my email client. For Windows users, check out SharpReader, for Mac users, check out AmphetaDesk and for Linux, check out Straw (Gnome).

The next issue I have is how Thunderbird handles plain ASCII text files as attachments. By default, when attaching a delimited text file, whether comma separated, space or tab delimited, or any other plain ASCII text file, it loads it into the body of the message rather than treat it as an attachment. Other Thunderbird users who pickup the email will be able to download the attachment you sent, but Outlook users will not. Instead they will see your text attachment as text in the body of the email and no attachment will be visible. However, there is a fix. It is rather unfortunate, however, that the average user will not be aware of this hack. Why should I have to hack Thunderbird to treat attachments as real attachments?  Shouldn't this be the case by default?

Other than that, Thunderbird is a solid email application, and because of extensions, themes and a number of other useful features, it will still be my email application of choice.

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