12.04 is the worst yet

Marcelo Magno T. Sales mmtsales at gmail.com
Wed May 16 11:15:21 UTC 2012

2012/5/16 Basil Chupin <blchupin at iinet.net.au>:
> On 16/05/12 11:45, Marcelo Magno T. Sales wrote:
>> Em ter�a-feira 15 maio 2012, Ryan Gauger escreveu:
>>> Could you please explain why Thunderbird hurts? I (or somebody else
>>> on this ml) may be able to help you out. For me, it works better
>>> than Kmail because Thunderbird automatically sets up your email
>>> account, but I don't think Kmail does. Thanks!
>> The main issue that prevents me from migrating to Thunderbird is that
>> its local storage is mbox and this format is very prone to corruption
>> and other problems when you have too many e-mails stored or when you
>> receive and delete many e-mails very often.
> WHOA there! Why are you propagating misinformation?

What? I'm just listing some well known facts that I've learn by my own
experience and that are easily verifiable in articles about this
subject all over the net. Here's a short text explaining some of the
differences between mbox and maildir:
Of course, if you look for it, you can find much more detailed
information about mbox problems.

And you, what is your excuse for accusing me of deliberately doing such a thing?

> I have e-mails going back 7 years; I delete messages every day (they go into
> Trash) and I have never, ever, ever, had a corruption of the mail folders.

Lucky you. That has not been my experience. And you have been using
Thunderbird for all these 7 years or you have migrated to it recently?

> After deleting the messages I Compact the folders. And every month I go to
> the Trash folder and ARCHIVE the previous month's deleted messages (the
> archiving is done by Thunderbird itself which is a new feature in the latest
> versions of TB).
> And with all of this being done, there have never been any corruptions.

I see, now I understand. But I surely don't want to compact each one
of the folders I use to store messages from each list that I subscribe
to every day. If you are willing to do this work on a daily basis,
then you indeed can use mbox with a relatively low risk of corruption.
Even then, give Thunderbird enough time and, if you really receive and
delete many e-mails daily, you are likely to get some level of
corruption eventually because mbox files also get corrupted if the
e-mail client misbehaves, freezes or crashes while writing to them.
Compacting mailboxes is something required only by mbox and other
similar formats that store each mail folder in one single file.
One-file-per-message storages like maildir do not require this kind of
user intervention to prevent you from wasting disk space or corrupting
your mail folders.
By itself, the fact that mbox requires the user to do this kind of
maintenance in order to keep his e-mails safe tells you something
about the reliability of the storage, doesn't it? Maybe that's why we
have requests like these in TBs bugzilla:

Note that these reliability problems are not bugs in Thunderbird, they
are inherent to the mbox format. Thunderbird developers have made
progresses on this matter by implementing pluggable storages, but this
is in early alpha stage and it's not accessible to the common user for
now. There's no way for the user to choose a storage other than mbox
using TB's GUI as of yet.

>>  I do both and I don't like
>> the idea of having all my e-mail history in the hands of some cloud
>> provider.
> WHAT "cloud provider"?!

Google, Hotmail, Yahoo or whatever you choose to use to store your
messages and access them using IMAP.

> The messages are on your HDD, on your own computer.
> Are you confusing Thunderbird with some other mail client?

No, maybe you misunderstood something I wrote. I was clearly referring
to remote storaging and IMAP access when I mentioned cloud providers.

>>  I want a local copy of my e-mail archive.
> See above - I archive my mail once a month and this is done by Thunderbird.

Didn't say you can't store local copies of your mail using
Thunderbird. What I said is that if you choose to store them locally
and if you are a heavy e-mail user, then you are bound to face at
least some of the many problems associated with the mbox storage,
given enough time. Unless you are willing to compact and archive very
often like it seems to be your case. I'm not, however. I'm lazy and
have more interesting things to spend my time with.


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