Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Making moves
Status: New idea

As a regular volunteer on SUMO, we regularly see the fallout from well-intentioned decisions that confuse persons who have used Thunderbird for years. My proposal is what Thunderbird needs is a webpage for initial setup. The page should be simple, not filled with overblown graphics and gee-whiz wording on how great Supernova is; what people require are some guidelines on how to set up Thunderbird to avoid future frustration. There are other webpages that delve into the many options, but this page should be simple, mostly just text.

First, ‘HOW TO SHUT OFF THREADING’ - users hate this default and complain/curse regularly on SUMO. Let’s show them how to unset it before they set up accounts. That, alone, will eliminate many posts for help. People who want threading will willingly set it themselves.

Second, ‘HOW TO REVERT TO TABLE VIEW’ - the help forum was immediately hit after this default was changed. Again, many people don’t like it and are confused in how to find how to undo it.

Third, ‘WHERE ARE ALL THE MENUS?’ - with 115, one must know where a multitude of menus exist to be able to set Thunderbird for one’s preferences. Unfortunately, the menus are hidden or difficult to locate. Since version 78, it seems the developers have been moving to hide user-controlled options. Menus that come to mind are these:
- menu bar vs hamburger and the differences between them
- folder pane header
- message list header
- folder pane options
- folder mode options

For the menus, a graphic showing their location would be a big help.

My proposed setup page link should precede presentation of the current page that offers to set up an account. The user needs to be able to address basic setup prior to becoming embroiled in setting up accounts, or be presented immediately on viewing the main screen for the first time. Thunderbird has existed for two decades without this setup page, but for years, Thunderbird was intuitive and made no unpredictable defaults. With 102, and now 115, Thunderbird needs to provide more assistance on setup. This is also an opportunity to briefly mention new features that may be of interest.


Status changed to: New idea
Community Manager
Community Manager

Thanks for submitting an idea to the Mozilla Connect community! Your idea is now open to votes (aka kudos) and comments.

Familiar face

My personal wish is somewhat more complex @davidsk 

Back in the days of Thunderbird migration from Version 2 to Version 3 someone in the development team had the bright idea of offering an update wizard.  I feel we should still be offering exactly that and that it should be an accessible menu item so if you decide to go through the thing again you can.  It should include a troubleshooter as well,  compare user setting to the online database and suggest changes if they are having issues.

Back with V3,  it introduced tabs,  offered addons for things like the excessive message header space on the tabs.  Something essential to those of us using the reading pane in the three pane window and if a recall correctly an option to read messages in a tab or a new window.  All of these things were done as you worked through the wizard not canned text, actually updating settings and downloading and installing addons.  But back at that time Mozilla Messaging had a staff of around a dozen ad managed a quite nice migration wizard.

Now in a time of change, Mzla has managed nothing user focused for the transition at all.  Supernova, the great leap in user experience, should have come with a wizard that actually asked the user what they wanted. Nope instead users are force fed an incomplete and rather buggy user interface and told it is all good.  I can't even get it to stop going "not responding" on an SSD drive no less.

My wife bought me a Microsoft office with outlook subscription.  I looked and really the UI in outlook is almost identical to Supernova, except slicker and it is actually complete.  I am just not sure how much longer I can function in the Mzla vacuum.


Making moves

I suggest going slowly in switching to Outlook because you happened to receive a copy of it. We daily see people jumping ship from Outlook and are willing to struggle through the transition to Thunderbird. I share your perspective that Supernova had little, if any, user feedback, and people have been cursing Thunderbird since 102 was rolled out in 2022. The recent switch from table view to card view shows that the developers continue to ignore us. Still, Thunderbird is more stable than it was a few months ago. I have made peace with it because I do full profile backups weekly, although I am still annoyed by the clumsy attempt to create a deleté/undelete button that causes only confusion. If you are determined to switch, you owe it to yourself to also consider Betterbird, as it is a clone of Thunderbird, but the developers there avoided the missteps of such as threading default, and several other missteps. And you would preserve your investment in Thunderbird. I will remain with Thunderbird because I believe there are developers there who aspire to creating Supernova as we envision it, not as it is today. Thanks for sharing.