For years I have been using Thunderbird and really enjoyed it and recommend it to friends, family, and colleagues, and to be honest that is not something I do lightly. Thunderbird have been easy to setup and use across all my machines (Linux and MacOS) and I have not really had any complaints with it, until now.
So why have I started to have complaints? Well the latest update I have installed is v60.8.0 and for some weird reason the user interface is no longer the same on Linux and MacOS and I have not been able to tell why. One of the things that are different is that on Linux the search bar for searching in mails is gone and I have not been able to get it back. Even after a LONG! time of searching and talking to people also people who actively develops Thunderbird. This is bad for a guy who receives over a thousand relevant emails every month. I even went as far as trying to uninstall Thunderbird and reinstalling it on Linux. Next, after update to major version v60 I have had nothing but problems with my Google Mail account, yes I still have one of those, it locks up, is signed out and is in general behaving weird. This is kind of a problem to me, as I really do not like gMails web interface and prefer to not use it at all. Then, I started having problems with a mail which I have Unoeuro hosting for me. Basically every third time, or so, I tried to send an e-mail it would say that I had to type in the login information for the SMTP server, which I had already done. Finally, the last straw, Exchange support. This is not a problem with v60 but rather Thunderbird in general. At a lot of companies and Universities, Aarhus University include, Microsoft Exchange is used as the mail server, which I am actually not against. This means that my mail client must provide some form of Exchange support Thunderbird does not offer this out of the box, but there is a plug-in ExQuilla which enables this. I love ExQuilla it made my life a lot easier when using Exchange on Linux. However, again after updating to v60.8.0 problems started with ExQuilla, my credentials kept dropping for the Universities Exchange server and I had to reset my Exchange account often. Another thing that has been confusing to me, is that Apple Mail provides built-in Exchange support for free and so did Nylas N1 when it existed so it was weird to me that Thunderbird does not. Other minor things have started to break to, but they are nothing to write home about.
So I started looking at alternatives I could use on both macOS and Linux, and well I could not find a good one. BUT! BEHOLD! I found out that Evolution, standard mail client in Gnome, comes out of the box with built-in Exchange support. So I started playing around with Evolution and realised that it fulfilled all my e-mails need and the built-in calendar in Gnome also support Exchange calendar so well Gnome native apps here I came and so far it has been a month and I am in love with these Apps. The calendar has a few bugs when creating events, but it is like start an event a day before but that can be solved with a drag on the event after creation. Now these Apps are not available on macOS for well obvious reasons, so I had to look for things there as well and I was considering to use Airmail by Bloop S.R.L and I did test it, but I simply could get use to how it requires two windows to write mails, one for the mail list and composing window. So I looked and looked, and every time I ended back at Apple Mail and the Calendar, and it is a bliss to use, so I am back in closed source Apple land when it comes to mail and calendar on Mac.
NOW! Does this mean a permanent farewell to Thunderbird for me. I honestly hope not, I love client and has been using it as my main email client since 2005. So what needs to change? Well I would like a nicer user interface and I have wet dreams of Emacs as an editor for mails. I would also like to see built-in support for Exchange and a proper built in Calendar, just start Sunbird again, it is really nice to have two separate apps for this. Another thing is that the Thunderbird team release this blog post: Thunderbird in 2019 and it contains a lot of promises, promises I have yet to see being fulfilled but they make me hopeful for my return one day. Maybe if I can find the time I can help a bit, but that remains to be seen.
Notice: I would like to extend a special thanks to R Kent James for ExQuilla and I am sad to here about his health problems. I hope he will get better soon and best wishes to him and his family.