I joined the ranks of firebird and thunderbird users today. So far, firebird hasn’t had any problems rendering the sites I’ve visited, and setting up thunderbird to access my imap mail account was very easy (since both are based on mozilla the dialog boxes, etc. are very familiar).
What’s interesting is how and why I finally ended up trying these alternative web and mail clients; I’ve been thinking about trying them for some time now, but was never sufficiently motivated before today. Though both are somewhat immature (neither has reached version 1.0 yet) they already have a reputation for being faster and smaller than mozilla.
It started with my new external hard-drive, built using a Maxtor 250Gb drive and a Macally firewire/usb combo enclosure. The drive was to serve at least two purposes, providing portable, external backup storage for my image and music files and also to serve as the primary drive for my powerbook when I’m not traveling (’cause it’s faster than the internal drive).
Technical sidebar: to facilitate sharing between the Mac and PC worlds I originally intended to format one of the partitions on the disk using FAT32. Research indicated that one can’t have both Mac and PC compatible partitions on the same drive, so I faced a tough decision. Since I am using the Mac as my primary computer these days, and don’t see that changing, I decided to go with the full Mac solution. I configured a Mac boot partition, Mac data partition and in the end I threw in a 20Gb test partition. Also, there exists an apparent solution for reading Mac-centric drives on a PC, should that become necessary.
I used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy everything over from the internal drive to the firewire connected external drive. After booting from the external drive all seemed to work well except mozilla wouldn’t start. After some troubleshooting I realized it was the profile I was using, and even after ensuring the bits had been copied cleanly I found I simply couldn’t use that profile when booted from the external drive. It did work fine when booted from the internal drive. A rather confusing problem, with no obvious resolution …
Well, I figured, it’s a mozilla bug, and not easily resolved, so I’ll salvage the bookmarks and create a new, clean profile. And I probably will create that new mozilla profile, but only when something drives me away from using the firebird/thunderbird combo. Once I realized I had to reconfigure my mail and web clients, it was a simple decision to do so using the latest clients, firebird and thunderbird, and they work well enough that it may be some time before I need to configure mozilla again!