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October 17, 2006

Linux, Thunderbird, and Open Source are the way to go

by @ 7:02 am. Filed under General Linux

M$ Outlook has to be one of the biggest scams in history.

At work, we’re sending out a mass email to all our clients. As I’m testing the system, I notice several things. First off, Thunderbird renders everything I throw at it completely correctly. I send it stuff from other email clients in an array of formats, and it renders everything exactly as it should. The HTML looks just like it is supposed to. When I view the plain-text version of the message, it actually displays to me the veritable text/plain part of the email message. No problems there. Standards are wonderful when people comply to them.

Everything all set up correctly, I shoot some emails from my script over to a user running Outlook. I could scarcely believe my eyes. When we told Outlook to render the HTML version of the email, it looked fine. When we told it to render out the plain-text version, IT RENDERED THE HTML VERSION AS TEXT and completely disregarded the text/plain part of the email that was included. Boy, let’s invent our own set of standards and then force the entire world to use them. And let’s make them just different enough from the *REAL* standards that, in order to use the technology, everyone has to conform to the way *WE* do things. Rock on. Having a monopoly must really rock.

Also, in Thunderbird, to view an email message as plain-text, from the main Thunderbird window, you select VIEW, then MESSAGE BODY AS, then PLAIN TEXT. And then Thunderbird actually shows the text/plain part of the message. Slick and easy, and, of course standards-compliant.

In Outlook, you have to double-click the message to open it in a new window. Then, you have to click on the EDIT menu, and select EDIT MESSAGE. Then, you have to go over to the FORMAT menu, and select HTML. Then Outlook pops up a window saying, “If you do this, the Universe will implode and all your formatting will completely evaporate.” To which, you confusingly have to select YES. Only then will it show your message as text, and not even the real plain-text version of the email. It’s the HTML in the email rendered as plain-text.

Not to mention that you cannot save out an email from Outlook in the plain-text .eml format that the entire rest of the Universe uses. You save it out as a *BINARY* .msg format which, of course, is totally useless anywhere except in Outlook, thus completely nullifying the point of even saving out messages.

Oh, yeah, and there’s the fact that you cannot even export the address book in any format that is compatible with its Outlook Express little brother (which I’ve actually had decent experience with, once the security is tightened down; of course, that was before I started using Linux). You have to go through 23 third-party applications, converting it between CSV, LDAP, AVI, JPG, and ICO formats before you can even get it into Outlook Express. Then, you have to spend half a millenium fixing all of the fields that were imported wrong.

It surely must be nice to take a dump on a blank CD-ROM and call it usable software.

4 Responses to “Linux, Thunderbird, and Open Source are the way to go”

  1. Steve Says:

    lmao, that’s one of the best posts evah. 🙂

    Outlook is one of the most useless client applications out there, and sadly enough it’s setting the standard for how people think things should work.

  2. Scott's Secret Lover Says:


    It surely must be nice to take a dump on a blank CD-ROM and call it usable software.

    should be changed to:

    It surely must be nice to take a dump on a blank CD-ROM, call it useable software, and have more than half of the known world’s population pay money for it and use it on a daily basis – without even knowing they’re using nothing more than crap-on-a-disk.

    All I can say is: I’ve never used outlook OR outlook express…. and I’ve never missed it. at all. ever. Thunderbird is THE MAN.

  3. Roy Schestowitz Says:

    I warmheartedly agree and I hope you don’t mind me pointing to a similar opinion of mine…

  4. Christer Edwards Says:

    Great post. I notice though, for “Suse Linux Rants” most of your posts seem to be based on Windows.. but that is what we keep coming back for.

    My company, in all its wisdom, decided to setup Windows Server ’03 for our mail system. Since day once I have REFUSED to use Outlook and used the webmail interface. Finally I figured out how to get it working with Evolution and now all is well. I hear Thunderbird is working on Exchange support. I sure hope so. Evolution is great but its missing some features that I’d like (whoever decided to remove RSS is a knob).

    Also, all of my incoming & outgoing messages are force-formatted to UTF-8. Don’t give me any of that .html formatting nonsense!

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