UI mock-up - Account Setup

Mark Rousell mark.rousell at signal100.com
Thu May 2 04:58:49 UTC 2019

On 02/05/2019 03:58, Matt Harris wrote:
> As for indexed email archive,  I think if we to be looking at such an
> animal as a use case then a different "group" of data stores would
> necessarily be required.

First of all it is a use case right now, here in the real world. Why?
Because Thunderbird's thick client nature naturally lends itself to this
functionality and always has done. It's here and now and real.

As such, there is no fundamental need for a different group of data
stores. Such additional functionality could certainly be very useful but
it's hardly required.

The issue at present in this context is that Thunderbird forces users to
set up a mail account on a new profile and it is not necessarily needed.
Of course, setting up a mail account is functionality that most users
want but the ability to step out of the process for those who don't need
a mail account would certainly be an improvement to functionality.

> However use as such is not really what the program is developed for
> and should not constrain the main app to that sort of archival storage
> only.

(a) Thunderbird is a thick client mail program. As such, if it's not
designed for archiving mail then it's not very useful. But of course it
is, in practice, designed to archive mail. Storing mail locally is
exactly that. Thunderbird, as it stands, has inherent local
storage/archiving ability and functionality.

(b) I agree that archiving, one of Thunderbird current real world use
cases, should not constrain other aspects of the program but then, of
course, I have suggested no such thing. I have simply suggested making
Thunderbird's initial configuration a little LESS constrained so as to
facilitate non-account archiving.

You are against constraints. So am I. I am suggesting removing an
unnecessary and counter-productive constraint for those who don't need
it. It need not and should not impact the majority of users who do need
to set up a working email account.

> I personally support an "archive" mail account type that can have
> "any" permanently connected location defined for it.  So the mail
> archive can be stored on a NAS etc.  Perhaps even with restricted
> update options and restrict users from modifying the archive.  You
> add,  not remove from an archive for example.  Having an "archive
> account type would allow for accounts to be "decommissioned" without
> fuss.  they are just disabled from all normal get and sync because
> they are archives.  Changing the account type might also "move" the
> store location to the registered archive location (not in the profile)

These could be very good ideas but of course they don't make
Thunderbird's existing local storage (and thus archiving) functionality
any less real or valid right now.

> If your into chat, pidgin makes more sense as a stand alone client
> than thunderbird.  So I would say it is not even an edge case as a
> stand alone usage.

It seems to me that you are in effect saying here that because
Thunderbird is not currently good enough to be a stand alone instant
messaging client that setting up an email account on a new profile
should be enforced.

I have to say that that does not make sense to me. Even though
Thunderbird's IM capability is not up to the standard of dedicated IM
clients, that's still not a rational reason to force users to set up an
email account if they are not going to need one. You are against
constraints so let's not constrain users unnecessarily.

Remember, that use cases that you do not personally use or see the need
for can be and often are still valid use cases.

> They read a blog post about using Thunderbird as an archive for their
> gmail.  Then they spend days in a forum somewhere trying to force feed
> a gmail mbox zip of 15Gb into Thunderbird.  Or download it via IMAP
> and "move" it to a local folder.  Or try and use it as a stand alone
> calendar and try to puzzle out why they can not send invites.

It sounds to me like you have identified clear pain points for real
world users who have real world use cases that should be fixed. You
dismiss them for no clear reason, perhaps because they just don't matter
to *you*.

Using Thunderbird as a local archive for one's Gmail account is most
certainly what I recognise as a wholly valid use case for Thunderbird.
It is surely one of its key selling points. Users certainly *should* be
able to local 15GB of mail into Thunderbird folders, as well as copy
mail easily and in an error-free manner between IMAP and local folders
and vice versa. Even if those things don't matter to you, they are
absolutely central use cases for a thick client email program like
Thunderbird and should not be dismissed.

> The very first prerequisite for even thinking we should support
> calendar only

Note that I did not advocate supporting "calendar only", or any other
feature "only". To recap: I am advocating nothing more scary than
allowing users who do not need an email account in their Thunderbird
profile to not have one configured. It's really that simple.

As I noted above, you are against adding constraints. Good. So am I.
That's why I am advocating here *removing* an unnecessary constraint for
many people who have entirely legitimate and real use cases for
Thunderbird that do not always involve an email account.

Mark Rousell

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