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Why I switched from Thunderbird 3 to Seamonkey 2

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Thunderbird
Noel8
 
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Post Posted May 9th, 2010, 12:23 pm

3.0.4 version

SirArthur

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Post Posted May 10th, 2010, 3:36 pm

tanstaafl wrote:Mozilla Messaging has a KB article on changing IMAP to POP that I think was written for 3.0.3, it doesn't mention the Edit button that is available in 3.0.4. I'll create a KB article on the account wizard for our wiki after 3.1 is released. See https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:UX/Priorities/3.1 for the changes they are planning.


Isn't quite necessary to point out how to stop the "magical account creator" and enter the messy window (buttons are each one by its side - but it's on the road map to clean up that window) of protocol changing by the "clumbsy guessing wizard", I'd figure it out when I added my accounts.
But here's the point, the whole idea of a "Magical guesser" is bad, well... maybe useful for GMail users or some free hosts. But is that the point of TB now? Turn itself into a GMail, Hotmail and other discardable free accounts client for pink users? Though the idea was to have a good alternative to Outlook as FF is to IE. :wink:

P.S: Most of the providers, free or not, understand <user>@<domain>.<tld> as username, however just a bunch of them understands just <username>. Means I could login to GMail as john_doe@gmail.com or just john_doe - works both ways - same goes for Yahoo mail. However the full email address is the most normal on custom domains, specially on shared hosts (the majority), where john_doe@mydomain.com is a valid username whereas john_doe is not.
Yet those who uses only a "username" mostly, for security reasons, make it different from the mail user. Means john_doe@myanotherdomain.com may login as user1234.
This turns into an issue because the "Magical Guesser" defaults for mail user as the username. If you want a better guess... default it to user@domain.tld :wink:

tanstaafl
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Post Posted May 10th, 2010, 10:35 pm

The already approved entries in the database used by the new account wizard are mainly for email providers that offer a free account, but if you look at the entire list its mainly university and ISP configurations. See http://ispdb.mozillamessaging.com/list

SirArthur

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Post Posted May 11th, 2010, 5:17 am

Well, there're lots of Universities on that database, which I doubt they give free email to anyone outside the campus.
Still we've ISP's providing free email to their customers, there're a few thousands of ISP's on the planet, what leaves you with three options here:

1) Make account wizard work only for monopolies as GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo and others big enough to be accounted.

2) Create a central database accessed on demand with settings for those thousands of free email providers. Taken include those settings within TB install package would result in a very huge package indeed.

3) Give up with such idea.

EDIT: Yet a better idea, have the settings imported by XML, this XML could be provided by the ISP/Free host/whatever. Eg:

Code: Select all
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<server>
      <name>MyISP.com</name>
      <loginPattern>user@domain</loginPattern>
      <protocols>
             <protocol>
                     <name>POP3</name>
                     <port>110</port>
                     <tls/>
                      <ssl/>
                     <default/>
                     <address>pop.myisp.com</address>
            </protocol>
           <protocol>
                     <name>IMAP</name>
                    <port>143</port>
                    <tls>yes</tls>
                     <ssl/>
                    <default>yes</default>
                     <address>imap.myisp.com</address>
            </protocol>
           <protocol>
                   <name>SSL-POP</name>
                   <port>995</port>
                   <tls/>
                   <ssl>yes</ssl>
                   <default/>
                     <address>pops.myisp.com</address>
     </protocols>
     <outgoing>
             <server>
                   <name>MyISP SMTP</name>
                   <protocol>SMTP</protocol>
                   <port>25</port>
                   <default/>
                   <tls/>
                   <ssl/>
                  <requireLogin>yes</requireLogin>
                   <loginPattern>user@domain</loginPattern>
                   <shareLogin>yes</shareLogin>
                   <address>smtp.myisp.com</address>
            </server>
             <server>
                   <name>MyISP SSMTP</name>
                   <protocol>SSMTP</protocol>
                   <port>465</port>
                   <default>yes</default>
                   <tls/>
                   <ssl>yes</ssl>
                  <requireLogin>yes</requireLogin>
                   <loginPattern>user@domain</loginPattern>
                   <shareLogin>yes</shareLogin>
                   <address>smtps.myisp.com</address>
            </server>
    </outgoing>
</server>

tanstaafl
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Post Posted May 11th, 2010, 2:32 pm

"what leaves you"

We're not run by or formally associated with Mozilla/Mozilla Messaging despite the similarity in names. We're an independent user community.

I suggest you read Thunderbird:Autoconfiguration and Autoconfiguration in Thunderbird. Thunderbird supposedly supports the ISP database, an ISP providing their own configuration server , an admin placing a configuration file in the Thunderbird installation folder, and guessing. It claims that they plan to also support other solutions such as a small company putting the XML configuration file on their web server.

Both of those wiki's have talk/discussion pages where you can leave comments/make suggestions. There is also a ISP configuration database discussion group.

SirArthur

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Post Posted May 12th, 2010, 9:53 am

Sorry. I meant "leaves you" in the figurative speech of "what can you do from there" not saying exactly that "you're there".

Hope it didn't got as messy as TB new wizard :mrgreen:

rsx11m
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Post Posted May 12th, 2010, 10:34 am

The new Account Wizard's "guessing" of configurations works by probing for ports and protocols, thus you don't necessarily have to rely on the database. If only the provider for the domain "example.com" would name their e-mail servers for "@example.com" following the pattern "mail.example.com" or explicit "pop.example.com", "imap.example.com", and "smtp.example.com", Thunderbird would correctly guess the settings (including encryption settings and user-name variants). Unfortunately, you may have to set something like "server657.midnorthwest.example.com" which is of course impossible to guess... (and yes, providers using different servers for different regions they provide service to make it rather challenging to maintain that database).

Btw.: The old account wizard, still in SeaMonkey 2.0, is less than perfect too. It won't allow you to set up encryption settings or - for a local server - sending messages without username and password. Thus, I think that the new setup is the right direction overall, there will always be cases where you have to add the missing parameters manually.

SirArthur

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Post Posted May 12th, 2010, 11:22 am

rsx11m wrote:The new Account Wizard's "guessing" of configurations works by probing for ports and protocols, thus you don't necessarily have to rely on the database. If only the provider for the domain "example.com" would name their e-mail servers for "@example.com" following the pattern "mail.example.com" or explicit "pop.example.com", "imap.example.com", and "smtp.example.com", Thunderbird would correctly guess the settings (including encryption settings and user-name variants). Unfortunately, you may have to set something like "server657.midnorthwest.example.com" which is of course impossible to guess... (and yes, providers using different servers for different regions they provide service to make it rather challenging to maintain that database).

Btw.: The old account wizard, still in SeaMonkey 2.0, is less than perfect too. It won't allow you to set up encryption settings or - for a local server - sending messages without username and password. Thus, I think that the new setup is the right direction overall, there will always be cases where you have to add the missing parameters manually.


TB 2 would need such settings, including one to select the SMTP when you've more than one account. You can set that by the options afterwards, but could well be present at the wizard itself. So the issue of the old one was to be very simplistic, the issue on the new one is to try to do what shall never be done: put computers in top of decision chains - specially bad because computers are NOT smart or inteligent, they're nothing but a few millions of calculator machines put toghether, programmers can be smart and/or inteligent but the smartest move so far is to have a human giving the final say. :wink:

Now about the autoconfig process, it's not just probing, it goes by:

1 - try to connect to autoconfig.example.com
no luck?
2 - try to connect to www.example.com/autoconfig
still no luck?
3 - try to look in Mozilla's ispdb.
not there?
4 - This is a huge issue. Unlike what you say of "probing" what TB does indeed is a portscan on the server. This may be considered a hacking attempt and make the server's FW block connections from your IP Address for a while.
no answer?
5 - Insert some very odd and uncommon default settings as IMAP TLS or IMAP SSL / SSMTP

Now add connection times, timeouts, requests, scans... I'd waited for quite a lot to try insert one of my accounts and in the end it gave totally wrong settings, for a POP3/SMTP it came up with that IMAPS/SSMTP.

rsx11m
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Post Posted May 12th, 2010, 11:38 am

I said "less than perfect, too" above. 8-) There are various bugs pending to improve the Account Wizard, to make things run more in parallel to avoid the appearance of getting stuck in the process, and to avoid wrong guessing results (search for [autoconfig] in the bug summary). It's a one-time setup, so who cares if it takes a minute or two, just have a coffee while waiting. Did you ever count the number of threads here asking for connection parameters and how to set up an account? Sure, to do it right would best be served by all providers and server admins to support a standardized autoconfiguration mechanism and have their parameters consistent and up to date, but it doesn't look as if we were quite there yet. On the other hand, a more obvious "I know everything, just give me the mask to enter it" option upfront would be nice for the pros.

Re port scanning: There is a bug pending on "spammy" behavior, but that relates more to some protocol violations of the probing mechanism. In general, I'd expect a hacker to probe more ports than just those related to e-mail (e.g., ssh or other known services which may grant a hacker access to a machine), thus more should be needed to flag a connection as suspicious.

SirArthur

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Post Posted May 12th, 2010, 1:13 pm

And we get another issue, if there were sort of standard as W3C is for web, and which companies respect (not the case of Microsoft for W3C as it seems), the autoconfig would be quite a nice idea. But what if tomorrow Outlook comes with a similar feature? They will not use Mozilla settings or standards. Then incredimail, then some other mail client... so the server admins would need to be rushing after a non-standard massive set of XML, INI, whatever settings files to support software.

Another "bug" is not to ask the prefered kind, taken most servers these days supports both, IMAP and POP. I do prefer POP for an instance, even if IMAP is there. So if autoconfig finds both why not just... ask? Can even have that "recommended" on IMAP or IMAPS.

About portscanning, it depends on the server admin's paranoia. Some would set the FW to not respond at all, others would set it to trigger quite easily... And yes, also may trigger some spam events on the server, again depends on the admin's paranoia too.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted May 12th, 2010, 2:26 pm

Even if a lot of email client specific approaches were introduced in a short period of time nothing says the ISP has to support all of them. Given how few non-Microsoft email clients are officially supported by many ISPs I suspect if they supported this type of configuration feature, it would only be for the obvious market leaders. Perhaps just for Outlook.

illegiblecaptcha
 
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Post Posted March 8th, 2011, 7:56 pm

Lemon Juice, if you didn't figure it out, it is all about the money.

Google is Mozilla's biggest funder, but Google don't stand to make any money from Thunderbird users. So to increase the market size of web mail users Google may have decided to attack the competition: desktop email and usenet clients. Google also run a web based usenet service.

That is how capitalism is practised these days. Rather than compete fairly, oppressing the rivals is standard practice.

Or perhaps there isn't some elaborate conspiracy, and it is just the philosophy that ruined Firefox is now ruining Thunderbird?

Mozilla seems to be chasing the mass-market, and all the browsers seem to be competing on who can hide the most features and hold the user's hand the most. The top 3 browsers are largely funded by advertising companies (IE, FF, Chrome) and so there is massive pressure to make these browsers push users onto the web for absolutely anything and everything. Combine that with industry recognising the scope for lock in that web applications have (the application and maybe user data is not on the user's computer, that is recipe for exploitation), which leads to the massive hype over web2.0 or "web applications" (née website with a /cgi-bin/), and many many people are totally in favour of the way things are moving.

MOZILLA, or someone who is familiar with the FF project, please fork FF and take it back to its UNIX philosophy roots. Please make the most of the extension system and move as many features as possible to be extensions (like the awful bar - see, I can do spin too. "Awesome", my arse). I appreciate you will not want to manage 2 very similar browsers, so how about strip FF right back and provide different package for different users? Power users can download a slim FF and their own choice of extensions, but by default a package of FF and supported hand-holding and shiny-shiny extensions is offered.

If people really want to use web applications for everything, then ******* let them. But at some point significant numbers of people will reject them and may look for a browser more optimised for them, rather than industry. With a power-user's browser already in the stable, you might be able to beat the competition to market. If Google don't threaten to stop "donating", that is.

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