Thunderbird 3.0 Release Candidate: Just in Time for Thanksgiving

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 25, 2009

If you just can't get away from email over the holidays, you can at least help test the release candidate for Thunderbird 3.0. The Mozilla folks released Thunderbird 3.0 RC 1 on Tuesday with more than 100 changes in the release. It's been a long time in coming, the first release in the 2.0 series was back in 2007. But Thunderbird 3.0 looks like it might be worth the wait when the final is released.

What's new and interesting? The user interface changes are probably the first thing you'll notice, especially the new tabbed interface. Instead of opening messages in a new window, they'll now open in a tab. Tabs are saved between sessions by default, so you can pick up right where you left off. The toolbar has been redesigned as well, and the most commonly used buttons are right on each mail message in 3.0.

3.0 will also include "smart folders," for better managing special mailboxes. 3.0 also includes better search tools and filtering, so you can easily manage your mail nearly any way you like.

Thunderbird 3.0 also makes it much easier to set up your email against popular email providers. For instance, if you have a Gmail account, all you need to do is to enter your name, email address, and password. It's a major improvement over needing to know ports and whether a provider uses encrypted or unencrypted communication. Another welcome change in 3.0 is improvements to IMAP performance.

The release candidate is available for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. Be sure to read the release notes before installing Thunderbird 3.0, especially if you're using one of the Thunderbird 2.0 releases now.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a longtime FOSS advocate, and currently works for Novell as the community manager for openSUSE. Prior to joining Novell, Brockmeier worked as a technology journalist covering the open source beat for a number of publications, including Linux Magazine, Linux Weekly News,,, IBM developerWorks, and many others.