Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Postbox and Thunderbird


Over the past few days I’ve been trying out Postbox as my mail client. Regular readers will know I’m a long-time user of Mozilla Thunderbird, having used it since version 0.3 or something like that, so considering switching is potentially a big thing.

Postbox is actually a close relative of Thunderbird; they’re based on largely the same code from Mozilla and some of the developers are former Thunderbird developers. However, unlike Thunderbird, it’s not free – it’s currently on offer for $20, down from the usual $30. That’s the bad – the good news is that it takes the Thunderbird interface and offers various improvements, such as two-line mail listing (like in Outlook, so it’s better for wider screens) and better viewing of threaded messages, plus a much nicer user interface with better icons.

But the big question is – are those improvements worth an additional $20? I’m not so sure.

Although you can install extensions into Postbox, there are only a few available compared to Thunderbird. This does include the big ones such as Lightning and Zindus (support for Enigmail isn’t ready yet) but if you’re reliant on some more obscure ones then this may be a dealbreaker. Its display of message conversations can be matched in Thunderbird with the very good Thunderbird Conversations extension, which I would thoroughly recommend. And it’s only available on Windows or Mac OS X – no Linux versions.

For now, I’ll stick with Thunderbird. Postbox is nice, and a quality product, but I don’t think it’s worth paying for.

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