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Betterbird. Simply better.

Betterbird is a fine-tuned version of Mozilla Thunderbird, Thunderbird on steroids, if you will.

Betterbird is better than Thunderbird in three ways: It contains new features exclusive to Betterbird, it contains bug fixes exclusive to Betterbird and it contains fixes that Thunderbird may ship at a later stage. Please refer to this feature table for examples. This should give you an impression of where the project is headed. More information on why we're doing the project can be found at the FAQ. Or just see our ilustrator's impression:


Which party would you join?

Betterbird 102.0 "preview" released on 24th June 2022

Today we are shipping the first release "bb8" of Betterbird version 102. In a successful beta period of Betterbird, we shipped the first beta release "bb1" on 6th June 2022, the last beta release "bb7" on 22nd June 2022.

Betterbird 102.3.1 released on 29th September 2022

Today we are shipping Betterbird version 102.3.1-bb18. Please refer to the release notes for details. German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Chinese localisations available, other languages on request. A portable version for Windows is also available. There's also a Mac build in English only which can be localised using Betterbird language packs.

Betterbird 91 series

As of 20th September, the 91 series of Betterbird has reached "end of life" status and will no longer receive updates. Please switch to Betterbird 102.

Software Quality

Based on the current situation in version 102, a look at quality assurance, or lack thereof, is appropriate. Thunderbird has never had an organised quality assurance team, they let the product ripen at the customer site, at worst causing data loss like for version 102. The 102 release with mbox and MSF corruption causing data loss and deleted MSF files was nothing short of disastrous.

More and more developers are hired who contribute more and more changes causing an ever growing number of regressions (Wikipedia: A software regression is a type of software bug where a feature that has worked before stops working). The team tracks bugs found in early deployment of a release, and the trend is astounding: Version 68: 43, Version 78: 185, Version 91: 270, Version 102: 384 (22 August 2022) and counting.
Thunderbird error trend

Thunderbird management has discussed establishing a QA team since 2020, but in the end, funds were spent on hiring more developers. In this context, this article seems to mark the beginning of a new era. But will Thunderbird finally catch up with quality and usability issues? Our project leader wrote an answer.

Other news

Want to see Betterbird running on a mobile ARM64 device (Samsung Galaxy Tab S7), click here. Note: That's the work of a volunteer, not strictly related to the Betterbird project.

For the much requested multi-line view, see here for details.

Colours

The red-orange colour scheme is part of the registered trademark. Red-orange together with a Phoenix-like bird on one hand signify a more aggressive policy and on the other hand a resurrection from the ashes unleashing the potential of the product while not being bogged down by annoying bugs.

We've had many requests to change the icons to make them better distinguishable from Firefox to avoid mis-clicks. As the colour scheme is part of the trademark, this is unlikely to happen.

Due to the current situation in Europe, we were featuring the Betterbird logo at this website in Ukrainian colours from March to July 2022. This has now be replaced by a ribbon of solidarity.

If you want to make your own custom icons, download the green logo or the one in Ukrainian colours:

Betterbird elsewhere on the web

Our GitHub repository github.com/Betterbird/
Discussion about all things Betterbird (in German) Forum @ www.thunderbird-mail.de
Interview with the project leader (in German) linuxnews.de
Arch Linux packages
(English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese (91 only))
aur.archlinux.org
Softpedia www.softpedia.com/.../Betterbird.shtml
YouTube Video (in Spanish and a little outdated) www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BCR8PUmst4
Search on Google, more stuff apearing all the time: www.google.com/search?q=betterbird
Reddit article showing up in the Google search: Handle with care, some posters there can't read or click a link

Examples of Betterbird being better in version 102.3.1-bb18

FeatureBetterbirdThunderbird
Features exclusive to Betterbird
Multi-line view like in Outlook, Lotus Notes and Postbox Yes!No, requested since 2003
Complex search terms Yes!No, requested since 2005
Quick Filter untagged messages Yes!No, development stalled since 2016
Global search in encrypted messagesYes!Not working ☹️
Quick Filter search in encrypted messagesYes!Not working
Windows systray icon New messages count and folder listNew messages count
Other improvements for news readersOpen message by ID,
no "phantom" unread messages.
Nope
Configurable display of addresses in message listYes!Can add more columns with add-on
Option to send plain text or HTMLYes!Can only send plain text and HTML
Printed attachment listShowing correct detailsNo details ☹️
Startup FolderCan select folder for startupRestores last opened folder
File Attachments Can attach recent filesNo recent files
Activity ManagerOpens in tabOpens in stand-alone window
Bug fixes so far exclusive to Betterbird(*)
Opening an attachmentWorking fineSometimes missing from the list of Saved Files
Correct handling of non-breaking spaces (Ctrl+Shift+Space)
(for French typography)
Yes!No, requested since 2006
Inserting links with spacesWorking fineRandom incorrect results
View > Repair Text EncodingFixing subject and remembering repaired stateNot fixing the subject, need to re-apply
Various other bugs (see release notes)Fixed!Waiting, hoping, ... 🥱

Of course the Thunderbird team is busily adding a whole bunch of much welcomed new stuff and improvements, but making sure that everything remains in working order falls by the wayside. Thunderbird is shipped with unnecessary regressions, so things that used to work stopped working.
Best example: 91.3.2 shipped with broken Calendar printing 😩
(*) We supply our changes to Thunderbird, but it is unclear if/when "upstream" will accept them.