Mozilla Thunderbird migration (from Outlook + SharpReader) – well… almost…

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I was looking to migrate both Outlook and SharpReader (link) to Thunderbird 2.0, but having played around with it for the afternoon in VMware, it looks like the migration will have to wait…
 
Why wait until later?  Let’s start by looking at my migration reasons:
 
Outlook:
• It’s bloated – it uses about 100 MB with 1000+ handles
• It hangs after failing to connect to IMAP servers because of authentication problems / just because the server can’t be reached, and I have to kill the app…
• I can’t find text within a message easily – i.e. no in-line searching, hell, any searching for a string within a message, as a matter of fact…
 
SharpReader – as much as I love the app…. (link):
• It’s bloated – RAM it’s tolerable (just about…) but it uses waaay to many handles (again about 1000)…
 
So basically I’m looking for something that addresses those issues – Thunderbird looks to be a good candidate, as it does email and also RSS.
 
 
However, having played with it for the afternoon, despite it fitting my resource requirements (it uses about 40 MB / 250 handles), there are 2 main features that I need but isn’t yet implemented / working as I’d like it to:
 
—- Update (2010-03-03 @ 01:16:14) —-
1 – Compatibility with MS Outlook’s MSG files – Unfortunately, Thunderbird doesn’t open MSG files at all, and since most corporate email system uses MS Exchange with Outlook (including for me at work), all those exported email are almost always stored as MSG files…  (From what I’ve gathered, the MSG format is MS’s own proprietary binary format (don’t you just love the word "proprietary"  …), and so I don’t expect to see Thunderbird supporting that anytime soon…).

This is now achievable by using the MSG to EML conversion script!

(Actually, whilst we’re on the subject of MS Exchange, I don’t think Thunderbird supports Exchange server either – you’d have to use IMAP / SMTP – though I’m not too bothered about that at the moment.)
 
—- Update (2010-03-03 @ 01:16:14) —-
2 – Opening RSS item in external browser via hotkey – I almost got that to work with keyconfig (link) and functions for keyconfig (link) but whether it works or not depends on where you have focus on – for example, pressing my customized key [Ctrl]+[Enter] whilst focused on the message list will open the RSS item in both a message viewer window and also the external browser.  Yes I know I can probably get it to work properly if I do some more tweaking and JS hacking but it’s just too much effort – SharpReader just works with minimal fuss (mostly…).

Frankly, there are better RSS readers out there – Liferea being one of them (and is my reader of choice). Yes, I’m now on Linux!

—- Update (2010-03-03 @ 01:16:14) —-
And for those to-be Outlook converts – you’ll need the keyconfig extension add-on (link) – the default key bindings isn’t obvious until you looked at this page (link) – and even after that I find it awkward to use (for instance the "F" and "B" for next / previous message – I’d much prefer something logical like [Ctrl]+[Up] / [Ctrl]+[Down].)

No you won’t – really, it’s not that big a deal – Up and Down arrow key works fine ;-)!

However there are things I like in TB that aren’t in Outlook – for example, in-line search, edit a message’s HTML source (though you sort of can in Outlook – but it involves export and import as HTML…) and the whole add-ons business.  But I guess those 2 issues are just too big to ignore / workaround for now…
 
Watch this space for my review of the next version.
 

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