written by: Hollan•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 9/25/2009
Thunderbird is an e-mail client, much like Mac's own Mail. It allows users to import mail from various mail servers without having to log in to the mail account in question. Is Mozilla's mail client better than Mac's Mail? Read on to find out.
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Thunderbird is an e-mail client, much like Mac's own Mail. It allows users to import mail from various mail servers without having to log in to the mail account in question. Should you give up on Mail and go for Thunderbird? Um, not quite yet, I'm afraid.
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Download and Installation
Mac owners can download Thunderbird at Mozilla's site for free. After you have downloaded the file, it will mount on your desktop as a disk image. Open that and you will be prompted to install Thunderbird per normal Mac installation guidelines (agreeing to terms of service and what not). Once that is over with, you can give Thunderbird a spin.
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Upon opening Thunderbird for the first time you are asked to import an e-mail inbox. It is similar to filling out the account information in Mail. You'll need the e-mail address and the incoming and outgoing servers for the account to be set up properly. Once set up, it should import all of the mail from the server.
Thunderbird has every option that Mail has. You can Get Mail, Write Mail, Reply, Forward, Save messages, set up a Junk Mail folder and so on. About the only thing Thunderbird does that Mail doesn't do is have Add-ons, but those are only for reporting system crashes so it's not that big of a deal as your Mac will also report crashes to Apple if you so wish.
Thunderbird's interface is easy to use and understand, if you are familiar with Mail. The biggest problem, however, is that you can't import a GMail account. Thunderbird doesn't allow you to choose a SSL port for incoming or outgoing server, which is required to import mail from GMail. This is a big downside, in my book, as my primary e-mail address is a Gmail account
Thunderbird does have a lot of safety precautions like protection from phishing, but none of that really matters if I can't use the software to get my mail.
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If you are already familiar with Mail, Thunderbird doesn't do anything more or anything better. It even has less e-mail client support than Mail. If you don't use Mail to began with, Thunderbird isn't any more user friendly so you probably won't be switching over.
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Thunderbird isn't bad, but I do expect more from the company who brought us Firefox. Thunderbird is a typical mail client, nothing more and nothing less. If you use Mail on your Mac already, I see no reason to change.