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Dmp6 reviewed on 28 Jul 2012
As a longtime Thunderbird user, I have been trying Postbox in the wake of Mozilla's announcement about Thunderbird's (absence of a) future.

From the ads and reviews, I was expecting a Thunderbird-like modern e-mail program. I was shocked to find that Postbox is basically a 4-year old version of Thunderbird with bugs that recent versions eliminated, important features removed - and, yes, a superb Conversation View bolted on.

The bug that's driving me the most crazy is the propensity of the program to spontaneously delete the index files (.msf files) for stored folders, with the result that messages from those folders are missing from Advanced Search results and new mail filtered into them does not show up as new in the folder pane. Thunderbird used to do this a lot about 3-4 years ago to users with large numbers of folders, but the problem has largely been fixed there. Here it is back again in Postbox. Probably a big enough problem to send me back to Thunderbird.

(Frankly, the .msf index files of Thunderbird were one thing I was sure a modern update would have eliminated!)

The necessary feature that is most peculiarly missing is the ability to change folder views so that you can see which folders have new mail, without scrolling and scrolling (for users like me with lots of folders). The Folder View menu item from Thunderbird is entirely absent! The rather sparse User Guide suggests creating a Smart Search that will retrieve unread messages instead. That would be ok, and maybe an acceptable substitute -- but opening my newly created Smart Search triggers the index-file deletion bug, rendering it useless! (I've sat watching my messages folder in the OS X finder, as every .msf disappears and is painfully rebuilt, one-by-one, just because I opened the Smart Search folder.)

Transfer of my mail from Thunderbird was predictably no problem, since this basically *is* Thunderbird circa 2008, but I kept getting error messages about illegal characters in my filters (I think this is another property of ancient versions of Thunderbird, fixed in recent versions), which I had to correct on my own, since there's no online information.

Then the weird absence of any method for reporting bugs, no way to get assistance - even from other users in a Forum - all this has left me very discouraged, even angry, about this program. This is *not* updated Thunderbird, and this is *not* a great new e-mail program.

It is *old* Thunderbird, messed up a bit, with one great new feature, conversations.

Honestly, it will be painful to give up that feature, since it's well-done, but the rest of the problems will probably send me back to modern up-to-date Thunderbird, for now anyway. And that would be my recommendation to others looking for an alternative to Apple Mail.
[Version 3.0.4]

2 Replies


Dmp6 replied on 01 Aug 2012
"We're also not receiving reports from other users on the issue."

You've truly got to be kidding. You're not going to receive any reports from users until you provide a way for them to send them!

And as for this:

"Since both products share some of the same DNA, we would expect that:
* some issues in Thunderbird can also be found in Postbox
* some issues fixed in Thunderbird have not been fixed in Postbox"

That seems more than a bit irresponsible to me, especially since Thunderbird is open-source, so all its fixes are available to you. Add to that the fact that Thunderbird is free and your product is not ... Need I go on?

And finally:

"we threw out Thunderbird features we felt were old and no longer useful, such as Folder Views"

Right, so there is now no way to see your new mail at a glance if you use filters and have more folders than fit on a screen. That's not a useful feature? -- in fact, a feature so undesirable that you went out of your way to remove it?


Dmp6 replied on 01 Aug 2012
"Finally, some people love Postbox, some don't. If you don't like Postbox, don't use it."

Well the terrible thing is that I more or less *like* Thunderbird, amd I like the extra things you've added in Postbox, as I tried to make clear. But I wish it didn't also come with 4-year old Thunderbird bugs that the Mozilla version has fixed, I wish you had not taken out some useful features -- and, like LOTS of people here, I wish you offered at least minimum of support. That's my review. Others may disagree.
dmp6 had trouble on 30 Aug 2009
ASM does load and work under 10.6 on the oldest Intel machines that have 32-bit processors -- but not on more recent machines with 64-bit processors. So the problem has something to do with how preference panes work on 64-bit machines.

On my old machine, I also don't get the annoying "System Preferences must quit and reopen" message, nor the words "32-bit" in the menu title.
[Version 2.2.12]

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