Enough is enough with Thunderbird

Version 115 was the last straw.

What are these guys in Mozilla really doing? I have been struggling to keep thunderbird on my desktop and the friends I help with Linux. This software especially after v115 is crap. It can not be used anymore because you can not fix the interface.

First problem, the size of the fonts. They can not be fixed period. They have this idea of zoom in the hamburger menu (what a great idea for a desktop…) which works partially. I did everything. Changed the fonts, use this zoom functionality, searched the internet, the compose window fonts remain tiny no matter what.

I am sure it can be fixed but why should I spend time for such a simple thing in 2023? If we were in the 90ies with CDE I would understand it. Even the dtmail had no such stupid difficulties.

Second is their decisions for the organization of the window with the menu bar below the new supernova bar. They have a name for this I do not recall. I have to edit userChrome.css enable it (because they have it disabled) to bring the menu up.
Put the menu right in the middle of the window men, this is a better way to tell us look elsewhere for a mailer.

And many other annoying little things around. Do they look for new users? They will not get any.They will loose their faithful for decades users.

Since I want a graphical mailer (I know mutt and alpine are great text mailers) I switch to Evolution.

Enough is enough.


So unlike the other thread, you do not want suggestions.

I haven’t used Thunderbird in a while, and my email situation is still a little messed up because I used gmail for too long, then decided I don’t want to use it, and then have been using Proton mail for a while. But over time, it seems like Proton is designed to fall into the same pitfalls as gmail. So, I’m certainly not someone who solved these problems.

But it seems a bit weird that we would exist in an ecosystem where you have vent about forced updates on your “free” software. Like, what are we even doing?

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I despise the new Thunderbird look, too. I was able to correct much of it, including the position of the search bar, the min/max/close controls, the Get Messages thing, the buttons, etc.

After I got it fixed on one device, though, I froze the version at 102 on my remaining devices.


On the contrary. Please make suggestions for other software. I just do not want to listen to suggestions on how to fix thunderbird. I’ve spend so much time for this and I am tired.

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@amarok A wise choice. The questionn is for how long you will be able to stay with 102… But for now yes! This is good. I did not think of doing that as I did not expect that 115 would be so different.


Some people have reverted to 102, according to what I’ve read on various sites.


Well, I doubt our workflows are compatible, but I have been using Tuta (previously Tutanota) after I stopped using Thunderbird myself many years ago.

This was also my replacement for Gmail. I have tested multiple webmail providers (about 30-40) before choosing this one, and I still have the comparison list.

What exactly are those pitfalls?

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I could be wrong but I think the idea is to be more space-efficient with the layout, with a view to working better on small screens e.g. mobiles.

It is important to remember that if you are not an existing user of Thunderbird then you see no change. New users do not complain about the change from the way things were.

Like everyone else, as an existing user, the sudden change was a bit jarring. However I have almost entirely gotten used to the way it is now (without making any config changes) - and I use email extensively.

Some people may want to look at View / Density where the choices are “Compact”, “Default” and “Relaxed”. Strangely, the default seems to be “Compact”, not “Default”, but if you set it to “Default” then it may look more similar to the way it did before the recent change. (I’ve left it at Compact but Mrs Wade has reverted to Default.)

?which is?

For each of the items that you mention, could you elaborate on what the change was by Thunderbird (before v after behaviour) and what you did in order to “correct” it (i.e. revert to the “before” behaviour)? (No drama if you don’t have time.)


I actually stopped at version 68.12. Later versions now include built in Enigmail (which is nice), but when I tried it, it didn’t want to use the system GPG keystore (which the extension had no problems doing). Only its own one. I really didn’t feel like setting everything up twice and keeping things manually synchronised, so I just downloaded the previous version (sadly, OpenSuSE didn’t give me the option to go back to the previous version after updating) and I’ve been using that standalone ever since.

Maybe they fixed that in later versions, maybe I missed something, but I simply don’t care enough to check. So it’s a permanent old version for me. Similar for Firefox, incidentally enough. I stopped at 91.6.0 ESR because it works and I have no desire to break anything.

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These issues, better space management, do not justify the lack of respect to dedicated users and the lack of proper and easy font support. Look for example the following screenshot from Evolution preferences:

They default to Gnome layout but respect their users and give them the option to use what they always had.

And you choose the fonts, and the fonts are chosen! In Thunderbird you choose the fonts (especially the size) and it does not care for your selections.

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But this is for a specific service, not a general mailer. Right?

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As I recall - and just off the top of my head - to bring it closer to my v102 setup, and after a lot of trial and error and online research, I:

  • enabled Menu Bar [EDIT: and the Title Bar (This causes the min/max/close controls to move to the title bar)]
  • disabled Spaces Toolbar
  • disabled Unified Folders (or confirmed disabled… I can’t recall)
  • set Layout to “Classic View”
  • set Density to “Relaxed” (it’s a 10-inch touchscreen)
  • turned off Today Pane
  • dragged the “Get Messages” (text) off the taskbar, then dragged it back on (it then becomes a button)
  • created the following userChromeCSS:



.tabbrowser-tab:not([selected="true"]) > .tab-stack > .tab-background {
  border: 1px solid rgba(130, 130, 130, 0.5) !important;

.tabbrowser-tab[selected="true"] .tab-background {
  border-left: 1px solid rgba(130, 130, 130, 0.5) !important;
  border-right: 1px solid rgba(130, 130, 130, 0.5) !important;
.tabbrowser-tab[selected="true"] .tab-background {
  border-top: 3px solid #3daee9 !important;
  • enabled user stylesheets in Config Editor (or RE-enabled, I don’t remember which - but I think the devs unilaterally had decided to turn it off) [Restart required]
  • dragged off the Search Bar, then dragged it back on to new position in the taskbar instead (I think)
  • added/removed/rearranged buttons on taskbar to approximate my 102 setup
  • added flexible space on taskbar to push search bar to the right
  • added Quick Filter button to taskbar (adding the button also creates a search box above the mail list)
  • set up mail list preferred column/item display
  • reverted any general settings/preferences that had changed (“Open message in new window,” etc.)
  • turned off Thread View (Inexplicably, it seems you have to do this for EVERY individual folder of EVERY email account you have added, and for EVERY local folder - Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Junk, Deleted Messages, Archives, Saved Messages, etc.; there doesn’t seem to be a working global method to do all folders at once.) [EDIT: View > Sort by > Unthreaded is how to turn it off, FYI. And they may have fixed this issue by now; either that or they now respect the pre-update user setting.]

I think that covers everything I had to do.

EDIT: I also had to turn off “View attachments inline” in the Settings. I’m sure I didn’t have that enabled before, so it must have been enabled during the update.

Addition: Also, I turned off Folder Pane Header (the area directly above my first displayed email address).




Is that all? :rofl:

For me, F5 does the trick. (Or Shift+F5 for all accounts?) But maybe that’s not so nice on a touchscreen i.e. F5 is only good if you have a real keyboard.

I don’t speak for the Thunderbird team and was in any case not attempting to justify it, just to explain some of the ideas in play. I did write above: the sudden change was a bit jarring

I totally get what you are saying. It is one of the things that made me happy to leave the Microsoft world behind, where every major release of Windows had inexplicable and significant changes to the user interface.

You should note in the link posted by @amarok that more customisation and adaptation features are coming - but these are to be achieved over a few years - so probably one step back in order to take several steps forward.


Correct. Tuta was where I decided to be for now, but I have considered my own email server multiple times throughout the last few years. The client is gratis and libre open-source software.


Otherwise, I know a little bit about Dovecot and Mail-in-a-Box, and if I search around for a few minutes more, I can probably find other relevant email software.

I had used Mailspring for a while, and thought it was really good. Sadly, last week it kept crashing, and I had to try some other things out. I tried Thunderbird, it looks crap. Gone back to Evolution. I hope to try Mailspring again though at some point. Oh, I also tried Geary, but my emails all clogged up in the Outbox and wouldn’t send, so that was no good either.

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Why does thunderibird look so old…

Why does modern looks so flat, uninteresting, you can not distinguish what is a button to click and what is just text. Why check boxes are unclear if they are check boxes or not. Why colors are not used to help functionality. Why you struggle to see which window is active and which is not. Why desktop functionality is so limited like it is created for people with IQ trouble.

Compare todays desktop with a simple window manager of the past such as fvwm.
Even the menu on the top left of the windows is so much more rich. Why modernity is poorness. Just to follow Apple and Microsoft? For me Gnome is guilty for this.

Recently, because of the Thunderbird story, I checked NsCDE. OK I know it is ugly for todays eyes. But it so much more rich in functionality and an ode to simplicity.

So when I read “why does Thunderbird looks so old” the only think I understand is “why you do not obey Apple and Microsoft”. Is resistance futile?


In fact, that’s one reason why Microsoft Word was one of the first applications that I began to hate - long time before I knew about digital ethics etc (was too young). I think a lot of designers think they have to make life-style products. But in real those are tools that have to work in first place, but also can look well in second place - not the other turn around.