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Comparison between Opera and Thunderbird mail clients

 5:42 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

My daughter has been using Thunderbird and is finding it to be a memory hog. With it running she's got 96 meg of memory free, if she closes it she's got 117 meg free. Plus, the system slows down a lot with it open. I'm also thinking of trying something new out rather than using web based or Outlook.

Couple of questions, though - Is Opera's mail client as secure as Thunderbird? And is it any leaner on memory usage? Is there a big difference in the features between the two of them?




 5:59 pm on Oct 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

One thing I'll say about M2 (Opera's mail client) is that it can require a little getting used to. Its fundamental difference from almost all other clients is that everything is in one database. All of your mailboxes and folders are actually just different filtered views of the main database. Because of that, one email can be seen in several views, without having to copy it to other folders.

Certain views are created automatically. There will be a separate view created automatically for everyone in your contacts list, for example.

I like it much better than Eudora, which is what I used previously. Initially, I set Opera to leave the messages on the server, so that I could get get acquainted with M2 but still had the safety net of my original client. The one feature it lacks is "scripted filtering". For example, in Eudora I had certain types of messages play a unique sound. Not a deal breaker for me, but high on my wishlist.

And the spam filtering appears to use a Bayes-type algorithm; it learns very quickly.


 4:03 am on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been thinking about giving M2 a try, but I'm really hooked on my SpamBayes filtering. It has performed flawlessly for me for over a year now. How is the Bayesian filtering on M2 (& Thunderbird)? I assume I could use SpamBayes with Thunderbird as it behaves more like Outlook. What about M2 and 3rd party filtering?


 4:35 am on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>one email can be seen in several views, without having to copy it to other folders.

That sounds like it would take a little getting used to, but very handy.

My daughter was wondering how the security issues are, which being an Outlook user I'm not too savvy about. Any good?


 1:03 pm on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

M2 is, like Opera, very secure. HTML emails can choose to show no linked images (so the sender can't tell when you've read them) or not. I was assured by someone who works for Opera that even with images on, anything that could cause a security risk was blocked. (That is, unless you deliberately clicked on a link or opened an attachment of course.)

The unique approach of M2, without any set folders, is something that even adults have problems getting used to! Many simply rush back to Outlook in disgust.

It took me 3 days to learn. I was getting so frustrated, until I realised that you need the side panel open to make proper use of M2. Then everything made sense!

But don't let me put you off. It really is an incredible program, able to handle millions of emails. Sometimes it throws a wobbly, but is usually OK the next time you run Opera.

One thing I have found is that if you set your filtered views (mail boxes) to display only mails from a short period, such as monthly or weekly (so earlier mails aren't shown) it can flag up that there are new messages, but you can't see them! This happened with a bunch of spam, until I chose to view all the mails ever received.

The spam filter is amazing. It'll let the odd 'real' mail through, especially if you get two at once from the sender, but I love the way it learns as it goes on. Plus you can add filtering rules, so only certain addresses are marked as spam.

Once you get used to M2, it's easy to use, but some of the settings can confuse you. And did I mention the built-in RSS feed reader?

The only major drawback is the lack of HTML email composing. It's text only. Hopefully this will change in the future, as many users are constantly requesting it.


 1:48 pm on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

The full-text search is very good as well. I've been using Opera mail and M2 for a long time now and it's perfect for me.

One other thing to consider is that you'll need to start using Opera as your normal browser or at least keep Opera open in the background if you want to be notified of incoming emails. You set it to check the messages every so-often(5 mins for me) and when email is recieved a small slide-up box appears near the start button(on windows). If Opera is closed email isn't checked so you won't know you got email 'till you open Opera. For me this is no prob because Opera is my favorite browser.


 2:33 pm on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

I just switched to thunderbird, but I wouldn't advise most people to do that yet, it's still got some beta problems, it's only at 0.8, which was fine for firefox type bugs, but not for email type bugs. As they say clearly: tbird 0.8 is a technology preview, not a 1.0 product yet.

There are currently some relatively serious bugs, even on the nightlies, but it's getting much closer. Unless you like the beta / debugging process I wouldn't recommend it yet, though it's working great except for the bugs.

TBird uses about 24mB ram from what I can see.

If you like Opera you'll probably like Opera mail though I haven't ever used it, if you like firefox you'll probably like tbird, easy choice in some ways.


 3:02 pm on Oct 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hester is right about the initial frustration, but she's also right that it's well worth it, especially if you like your email to be organized. Attachements are automatically sorted into views for Documents, Images, Music, etc. It will even automatically create a view for any mailing lists it detects!

Check out what "30 Days to Becoming an Opera7 Lover" has to say [tntluoma.com] about M2. And check out the rest of that site for more Opera goodies.

From the link above:
When M2 came to me and said, “The problem is not you. The problem is your folders. Stop using folders.” Of course I was confused, and scoffed at the idea. I thought to myself, “Sure, right. I’ve tried that too, the method of keeping everything in one huge folder. That didn’t work either.”
But M2 persisted. “No folders. Not even one,” it said. I felt like Luke trying to pull his X-Wing out of the Degobah swamp. It was an impossible assignment. Couldn’t be done. But M2 showed me, like Yoda showed Luke. And I stood with the same dumb expression on my face that Luke had.


 2:37 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is M2 anything like GMail in this respect? I've played with the GMail setup and they don't have folders there either...just filters and views.

I'm still concerned about the Spam filters in M2. With SpamBayes I get absolutely 0 false positives (Good e-mail message that has been blocked by a spam filter.) and that is my main concern when looking at any e-mail client now. I can't be digging through all the spam looking for misclassified messages.


 3:08 am on Oct 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've only played with Gmail a little bit, but I've had no luck getting a filter to work properly. But I've only fiddled with it for about five minutes.... :)

The spam filter in Opera is excellent. In the four or five months I've been using it I've only had two or three false positives. And a click on the "Not spam" button fixed that.


 3:27 am on Oct 16, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>played with the GMail setup and they don't have folders there either...

I haven't gotten used to no folders, which is why I rarely use Gmail. Otherwise I'd use it all the time.


 9:22 am on Oct 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Filters appear exactly like folders. On my screen, in Opera it has a set of folder icons down the side. These appear just like Outlook Express or any other mail program. So really there's no difference.

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