Goodbye Thunderbird (again)

POSTED: August 20, 2021

Once I retired from Arcada, or at least from teaching and attending losts of meetings, and stepped into an emeritus position, I decided that having all my communications tied to Arcada’s Exchange server no longer made sense. I looked around for some other method.

For the last ten months I have been using Mailbird, and finding it very nice. It handles all my email accounts gracefully and I have my Arcada calendar synced to its calendar pane. It also uses iFrames or some modern equivalent to house my Todoist account, thus acting like a more pleasant version of Outlook.

However, for some reason I felt duty bound to explore how Thunderbird has progressed since I last used it. Open source and all that. So I downloaded it and made a valiant attempt to use it for all my mail and calendaring needs.

Today I decided to stop. I have uninstalled Thunderbird and have no intention to look at it again until I hear from reliable sources that it bears no resemblance to its current incarnation.

To sync with Exchange you need to purchase a plugin. To sync with Google calendars you need two plugins. Some of these have stopped working in the latest version (Thunderbird 91) which, acording to the Thunderbird blog, “is our biggest release in years with a ton of new features, bug fixes and polish across the app”. I feel sure the team have worked hard in difficult circumstances and make a lot of headway.

My problem lies with the fact that what they seem to want to fix and polish doesn’t align at all with what I seem to need. My second problem lies with the delusional nature of the forums where people seem to take for granted that only fools want easy and that everything should involve multiple steps, complex debugging, and an acknowledgement that people who use stuff that works out of the box will live to regret it.

After much playing around with CALDAV calendars on different servers, I have gone for the simplest, least technically problematic solution, and reinstated my Google calendars for all my personal and family stuff. Google uses CALDAV anyway so I feel confident that I can move my calendars onto Greengeek, Owncloud, or wherever, at some future point, if I want to.

As long as it doesn’t involve Thunderbird.