Apr 27 2009
For this week’s Freeloader special feature we’ll toss Mozilla Thunderbird up against arguably the best Mac PIM.
This isn’t entirely fair to Thunderbird, which is only at version 0.8 and lacks the polish if its older brother Firefox. But, all the same, the feature match up is impressive.
Both contenders support POP, IMAP and SMTP servers with advanced settings. Thunderbird tosses in easy-to-use return receipt configuration and simplifies swapping SMTP servers. Both feature spam filtering, though Thunderbird’s is trainable. and Entourage’s is not.
You’re right, Thunderbird isn’t a PIM, or is it? With the Mozilla Calendar extension, Thunderbird sports a calendar which uses the iCal standard. Unlike Entourage’s proprietary format, Mozilla Calendar can be synced to remote servers and shared with iCal.
Entourage brags a project manager, but Thunderbird takes information integration a step further with a built-in RSS reader. RSS updates make sense in an email client.
Convinced? Making the move isn’t as bad as you think. Entourage addresses exported to a text file are easily imported (though matching the fields is a bit of a pain). Moving mail isn’t too bad either. Dragging Entourage folders to the desktop gives you MBOX files you can drop right into the Mail folder of your Thunderbird profile.
For the rest of you not quite ready for beta quality software, don’t write Thunderbird off. With the support of the Mozilla Foundation and enormous potential in its support for third party extensions, you will be hearing about Thunderbird again.
Join me next week for another look at the web’s best freeware!