Stephen M. Webb stephen.webb at
Wed Mar 15 16:04:38 UTC 2017

On 2017-03-15 11:36 AM, Raymond House wrote:
> Hello all, I have been using ubuntu for many years now and I still don't know what is the use of thunderbird.It
> duplicates my gmail account,is slow,and seems complicated.I have been trying once more to use it and it just seems to be
> a duplication of gmail (or any other mail service).I'm probably missing something here but after many bouts with it I
> still don't get it.I am wondering why it is always on all the new distros? I suppose some people like it, I don't.This
> is one of the rare things that bug me about ubuntu, because I would never use any other OS.Thanks.

I use a local mail user agent (MUA), in my case Thunderbird these days but I've used a few over the years, because
webmail in a browser window does not come close to serving my needs.

(1) I have several email accounts, I want to be able to track all my email on one screen. A gmail web page will only
allow me to read email sent to my gmail account, unless I use several different web browser tabs, one for each account,
and redirect all my mail through the Google data-mining servers and the CIA, NSA, and who knows what or else use the
different default webmail clients for each email account.

(2) I travel not infrequently, and often need to get at my email offline.  I can not do that since webmail clients do
not work offline, but a local MUA lets me do that.

(3) I get many dozens, sometimes hundreds of emails every day and I need to automatically sort them into various folders
based on header tags. Gmail does not support any of that, just the ability to tag messages based on sender or subject
regex matches.  A local MUA lets me do that.

(4) I click on an email message and read it instantly.  Using a browser, it grinds and spins and makes dozens of round
trips to pull CSS and Javascript and multiple tracker pixels for each message and takes forever to render a new page. It
would take me hours to grind through the 30 or 40 important messages that greet me first thing every morning if I had to
use webmail. Ain't nobody got time for that.

(5) Using a browser-based text editor is a wretched experience on a sketchy internet connection.  This is the 21st
century, text editors should be able to keep up with two-finger hunt-and-peck typing.

Having a local MUA by default on a desktop is like having a local text editor, local spreadsheets, local drawing
programs, local photo editing, local games, local anything you can get as an online service with a web interface.  You
get more control of your data, better response times, and offline mode.

Honestly, I don't see why anyone would use webmail in a browser instead of a local MUA.

Stephen M. Webb  <stephen.webb at>

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