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Thunderbird 'demo' port released

Published: 31st Jan 2007, 15:10:34 | Permalink | Printable

Iyonix, A9home and Omega-only

An early, alpha quality RISC OS port of popular email client Thunderbird was released this week by Peter Naulls. The open source client, which is a stablemate of the Firefox web browser, is now available as a free download from Peter's riscos.info website.

The port looks like Thunderbird running on X Windows yet trapped inside a RISC OS desktop window, although it does have RISC OS-style menus. It also uses other bits and pieces from the Firefox port, such as its iconbar icon, menu and 'about this program' box. The software is suitable for Iyonix, A9home and Omega computers only.

Peter described his work as a "demonstration" of Thunderbird on RISC OS. He said: "This version is not fully functional, and is intended only for show," and added that "bug reports against it will have to be discarded."

THunderbird port screenshots: click for bigger images

Punters unable to run Thunderbird should copy the contents of their working Firefox 2 Choices directory into the Thunderbird Choices directory. If the application complains of a 'missing template file', you should run Firefox 2, quit FF, and then run Thunderbird.


Download Thunderbird from RISC OS here

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Interesting news, again. However, unlike FireFox, which does provide some features that are not yet implemented in existing RISC OS browsers, I'm afraid that I'm missing the point in this build. I use Thunderbird since quite a while now on my Windows machine, but I never discovered any functionality that wasn't covered at least as good as in Pluto, to call but one (and to say the least). And Pluto is free as well. Of course, from a porting point of view, this is all very exciting, but personally, I would never ever leave my dear little planet, in favour of this red giant.

Kind regards, Paul Sprangers

 is a RISC OS Userdelink on 31/1/07 3:38PM
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"And Pluto is free as well."

No so. [link]

This Thunderbird port is good news. Thanks Peter.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 31/1/07 4:03PM
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This strikes me as a slightly curious development since email clients is one of the (very) few areas where RISC OS is just about keeping up with the mainstream. It would be interesting to hear Peter's thoughts on the issue.

delink:Pluto costs £30.


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 31/1/07 4:05PM
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delink: "I use Thunderbird since quite a while now on my Windows machine, but I never discovered any functionality that wasn't covered at least as good as in Pluto" So the IMAP and SSL functionality in Thunderbird is just as good as Pluto's? ;-) Oh, I forget, Pluto doesn't so IMAP and SSL where as Thunderbird does. But so does MessengerPro.

 is a RISC OS Userphilipnet on 31/1/07 4:18PM
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It is certainly a good thing that we finally have a free IMAP-capable solution available (I say that without actually checking if the current port really does IMAP...).

And I think that, for serious usage, the ChoX11 lib is still a long way off before being a real alternative for "native" RISC OS software - Thunderbird is a lot more "UI" reliant than Firefox, so its "non-nativeness" will always be more obvious to the average user.

Of course I don't know precisely what state ChoX11 is in, and I don't know how much "RISC OS nativeness" can be added at the layer it operates.

 is a RISC OS Userhubersn on 31/1/07 4:32PM
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Thunderbird has better support for encryption, like S/MIME and X.509.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 31/1/07 4:36PM
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delink: "And Pluto is free as well"

No. Pluto is not free, even if the demo is free.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 31/1/07 4:45PM
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When I look at this page in a non-logged in state I get the message "1 comment(s) are below you moderation threshold. Login to view them" Yet, when I log in I see no additional messages.

 is a RISC OS UserIvanDobski on 31/1/07 4:52PM
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An unexpected development. It's nice to see further work from Peter although I'm rather more interested in Firefox (to which I contributed). Messenger Pro 4 is excellent and I've heard good things about Pluto so it doesn't appear to be an area where we're lacking.

I appreciate though there is a PR factor to being able to say 'we have Firefox and Thunderbird' ...

 is a RISC OS UserJohnB on 31/1/07 5:37PM
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After Firefox I think Thunderbird is a logical choice for a next port. Sure it does not add a great deal of value as a RiscOS application which is new, but from a porting point of view it makes sense. As a port it would be close enough to Firefox so as not to be difficult and it may have thrown up errors in ChoX11 that would be good to fix. I guess the ultimate aim must be to be able to port things like OpenOffice but I suspect that is still a long way off. I guess he could have gone for GIMP,Inkscape or Scribus but the same cry's of we already have similar stuff under RiscOS would have gone up and they would not have be as similar as Thunderbird to Firefox

 is a RISC OS UserJwoody on 31/1/07 8:34PM
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I hope that this was a neccessary excercise that aids in the completion of Firefox for RISC OS. Otherwise this is a bit of a distraction. Firefox 2 for RISC OS is barely functional, vital things like the hotlist and downloading do not work on my copy, there is no point in having RISC OS style menus if none of the important options work.

 is a RISC OS UserJWCR on 31/1/07 10:25PM
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In reply to JWCR: I agree though I don't have those problems. Firefox 2 rel 2 doesn't even start - all I get is a loop of messages stating that it tries to run, so that I wait until that one is fixed.

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 1/2/07 7:38AM
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Just my opinion ...

I'm genuinely surprised with the negative reactions to this annoncement, and I hope Paul isn't reading these comments and then taking it out on the cat. I'm actually very interested in using Thunderbird under RISC OS. I used Messenger for a year or two, but have recently gone back to Thunderbird on a Mac - I just can't get on with the Messenger and Pluto ways of working.

Congrats to Paul for getting this working without bothering with any pre-announcements or asking for money in advance. I remember reading some time ago that a Thunderbird port might be feasible from some of the groundwork done on Firefox, and it's good to see this happen.

 is a RISC OS Userkrisa on 1/2/07 8:15AM
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Doesn't this set those alarm bells ringing again. Riscos development currently consists of retro fitting software. Whether it be RO5 to RiscPC, RO6 to Iyonix, Firefox, Thunderbird and a myriad of mini apps and utilities. BUT, huge big BUT, we don't actually have anything that is fully functional! Not even the OS can be said to be fully functional since you have two variants each of which are being retro fitted to the hardware of choice of the other variant.....DUH. We have browsers such as Firefox that are nearly but not quite. Even on a PC, Firefox "unzipped" as is is unuseable without the plugins for quite a few web sites.

Could you offer RiscOS as a viable alternative to Windows and Mac OS X? Not a hope in hell. Fifteen years ago yes, and RiscOS has hardly moved on since........

Developers should work on plugging the holes in the functionality that preclude RiscOS from being considered a viable alternative. Get what we already have as fully functional as the equivelent Windows and Mac OS X versions.

There are people who have better functionality on their mobile than we do on our desktop. How sad and embarrasing is that.

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 1/2/07 8:33AM
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"the OS... two variants each of which are being retro fitted to the hardware of choice of the other variant"

Not at the present time they're not, no.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 1/2/07 8:57AM
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Peter Nauls is a machine. He keeps on delivering 1st class work time and time again.

He just keeps on giving until it hurts - and then gives a little bit more.

Peter - well done and thank you


 is a RISC OS Usernx on 1/2/07 9:36AM
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What a negative and pointless post. Having Firefox and Thunderbird is an amazing achievement, even if there are some bugs to be ironed-out and features to be added. Behind both is an enormous amount of work on the C tools and libraries needed for other ports and original software. Yes, things are pretty bleak right now, but there are developers working hard to remedy RISC OS's deficiencies. When someone actually /does/ produce a significant edition such as Thunderbird, it must be galling to read you moaning about it.

 is a RISC OS Userlym on 1/2/07 10:26AM
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mripley: So you think RISC OS shouldn't try to catch up where it's been left behind? FF is a very important piece of work, and Thunderbird, whilst not offering as much over what we can already do, does greatly increase what you can do on RISC OS without spending more money, which is pretty important when it comes to platform appeal.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 1/2/07 10:39AM
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I think its fair to say that Peter Naulls is not the worlds greatest "Completer Finnisher" In team player parlance. He does seem to flit to the next project before all the i's are dotted and t's crossed. One can see that with his various UNIX Port projects, so I can understand some people's frustration that "will Firefox ever be complete ?"

 is a RISC OS UserJwoody on 1/2/07 11:36AM
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mripley: "Doesn't this set those alarm bells ringing again. Riscos development currently consists of retro fitting software."

Well, the masters of RISC OS should have thought about decent development environments and an operating system that doesn't eagerly stiff itself, starting about fifteen years ago, but at least hearing the alarm bells about ten years ago. Then you'd have the vibrant development community in place to produce stuff like Firefox and Thunderbird, rather than having to port it from platforms where the developer experience isn't about handing over cash for every last part of the toolchain and documentation or pretending that you have to be some kind of official developer to get access to "insider knowledge".

And it's somewhat telling, but hardly surprising, that some of the more innovative "native" stuff like Netsurf seems to be driven by developments in cross-compilation technology. It makes you wonder whether the effort is really worth it to generate code on one machine to run on another machine costing probably twice as much and running about ten times slower, available through limited channels, running a proprietary operating system from one of two companies, neither of which know (or seem ready to let on) precisely what the legal boundaries are to their software portfolio and associated contractual limitations, whose technology would be stuck in a pothole on any sensible operating system roadmap.

Those alarm bells must be deafening by now.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 1/2/07 11:37AM
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Like others, I would like to see Firefox improved, although I find it better than some of the people on this thread: I can actually order from Amazon and eBay on my Iyonix now! But I am still delighted by this news. I have been using Thunderbird on my iMac for some time and think it is a very good product and I am delighted to have it available for the Iyonix.

Two questions:

1. Can I copy my old Messenger emails to Thunderbird?

2. Donations? With FF and thunderbird on my Iyonix I really feel the (overdue!) need to put my hand in my pocket!

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 1/2/07 12:43PM
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cables: According to the webpage, you can donate by visiting this link: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userhutchies on 1/2/07 3:54PM
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cables, yes, but you'll need Messenger Pro 4 which allows export in unix standard mbox format, by drag and drop. However, you may find that once you take Mpro 4 for a test drive, you rather like it. Personally, I feel that this development is beneficial in terms of keeping us on our toes - no time to get complacent! I don't particularly like the idea of the clumsy Windows-style email applications coming to RISC OS, but if people want that, it may be something to consider.

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 1/2/07 6:36PM
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In reply to arawnsley

Well MPro4 seems to to be keeping up to date and I for one am glad of the developments along with your other apps.

As to Thunderbird then I think it does fill a gap and is one that is important in that it helps the market say in can run standard applications. Now if Thunderbird just did the basics and was a little slow then that doesn't matter to some but it might just keep a few people in the market where cost is a factor.

 is a RISC OS Userbluenose on 1/2/07 8:16PM
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Cheers again for another fantastic front, I knew that this was the next logical step from Firefox.

now all I need is money for an A9 / Iyonix :@P

arawnsley :

Is There a demo copy of MP4 I could tinker with? Isnt there also a wintel version?

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 1/2/07 10:06PM
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Great news - I think Thunderbird is a really good email client. Out of interest from a technical point of view (and im not suggesting he should have) but what was the reason for excluding it running on Risc PCs? Is it that the other architectures allowed for certain optimistion operations which the Risc PC doesnt, or did Peter just think it would run too slow on a RPC to be usable?

 is a RISC OS Userpolas on 2/2/07 9:57AM
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The only demo version is the one on the RISCworld discs which was based on Mpro1 I think (we're on v4 now). The reasoning behind this is twofold - firstly, with an email client, the "first ten minutes" setup is pretty important. If you set up your email client correctly, chances are you'll have a great experience. If we did a demo, most users would essentially be unsupported while doing that. In the "real" product, you get a printed manual, with screenshots and info, as well as phone/email support. Couple this with v4's simplified setup, and it should make for a pleasant trip. As such, I'd rather be able to help people, rather than see users try to "DIY" and end up missing out on things.

The second reason is more why I am "anti-demo" generally... I believe that my first duty is to existing, paid-for customers. If development time is to be allocated, it should be done so for their benefit first and foremost. I think it is a bit unfair to be chasing after new sales creating a demo, instead of developing to mean paying customers needs. The art of creating a demo is not trivial, by any stretch of the imagination - history is full of programs which gave away too much, or too little, and resulted in negative impact to sales. Sure, a great demo can really bolster sales, but it isn't easy.

I'd much rather explain stuff to people in advance (eg. "how do I transfer mail from Pluto", or "can I do xyz?") as at least then potential users can find out if it'll do what they want :)

 is a RISC OS Userarawnsley on 2/2/07 11:01AM
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Fair enough :@P just have to wait till I have money from my first customer / the insurance pay-up, from my written off car :@(

Is there support for exchange's Calendar system?

The last company I worked at used this heavily, and so would have been great benefit to me there! (my main computer was my Adjust SA, my second, their Dell Lattitude)


I would imagine both! I use TB on XP, and it's a dream, but lacks stuff like calendar support (as such is in Outlook [shudders])

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 2/2/07 11:12AM
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em2ac: "I use TB on XP, and it's a dream, but lacks stuff like calendar support"

Isn't that what Sunbird is for? I'm sure Mr Naulls will get to that eventually if he's working his way around the Mozilla codebase, but perhaps a donation is the only way to set his course promptly in that direction.

 is a RISC OS Userguestx on 2/2/07 12:37PM
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Reply to arawnsley, With respect, I think you should 'get with the times grandad!' :-) about having a demo. On Windows/Mac and other modern platforms, only the most obscure apps don't have demos available. If you feel that a 10-minutes trial is not suitable, then do something else, make it nag, or attach a message on every email sent saying it's a demo, maybe make the maximum size of an attachment too small, there are hundreds of things you can do. I'd say it *is* trivial to make a demo version of a piece of software, but on niche platform like ours, developers are either stuck in the past, i.e. won't provide demos, supply software only on CD (or god help us, floppy disk), often do not have online ordering etc. It's either that or they have a paralysing fear of piracy. Personally, I can't prove it, but I think piracy is really only a problem on platforms where users don't care about the platform, i.e. Windows, and in the past, the Amiga. On RISC OS though, I think most of the users we are left with feel a certain affection for the platform and would not pirate on a matter of principal.

On RISC OS there has been so many apps which I've considered buying but not done so due to the lack of a demo, particularly the expensive ones. MPro 4 at £40 for the IMAP version, I could probably buy on the chance I'll like it, but personally I'd like to be able to download a demo of Pluto and of MPro4, compare them and but the one I like. I really don't think it's asking too much.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 2/2/07 1:40PM
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In reply to hutchies:

Thanks for the link. I have finally got round to giving Peter some money for his work. Not as much as I intended, because Thunderbird doesn't work on my Iyonix, but it is a demo version that came with a warning. There's more money to follow when either Firefox is improved or Thunderbird works.

In reply to arawnsley:

You may well be right, Andrew. I've been using Messenger Pro 2 for far too long! Mess Pro 3 never quite made it to the top of my priority list and, before I knew it, Mess Pro 4 was out! I don't actually think of Thunderbird as a Windross product - I've only ever used it on an iMac and I like it. Pretty soon now, Mess Pro 4 will reach the top of my priority list and then I can make an informed decision as to whether or not I want to use the same email software on both computers.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 03/02/07 5:48PM
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I agree with Andrew regarding demo versions. I don't remember for certain which software it was (I have a feeling it was Impression) but I once managed to get a demo version of software to work like the fully fledged version - and it wasn't too difficult! As a matter of conscience I bought the full version.

 is a RISC OS Usercables on 03/02/07 8:44PM
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Bill Gates died and went to heaven but God knowing that Bill was such an influential person decided to let him choose where to stay. The first place had angels playing harps and singing all day long, Bill wasn't too impressed. The second place had everybody reading scripture off by heart day after day, Bill wasn't too impressed. The third place had a beach, sunshine, lots of girls in bikinis and drinks all day long, this is the place for me said Bill to God. A week passes by and God gets an urgent message that Bill wants to see him. Bill turns up and complains to God that the place he chose is hellish full of devils burning and whipping him all day long, what happened to the girls, sun , beach he saw. God replies : "That was the demo".

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 10/02/07 00:23AM
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