The new Thunderbird...


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Jul 23, 2020
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I guess that 'General Computing' is the most appropriate place to stick this, as it's not really off topic.

I deal with a whole lot of email. Well, the phrase 'deal with' is a bit of a misnomer. I get a whole lot of email. I suck at dealing with it. I have thousands and thousands of unread messages at any one time. Eventually, I'll bulk delete them. I do skim and get most of the important emails covered.

Anyhow, my life would be unmanageable without a solid email client. That's how I ended up using Thunderbird.

The new version, version 115, is known as Supernova. The current version is 115.3.3, but version 115.3.1 just trickled down recently. I didn't realize this and was pretty surprised when I closed Thunderbird and opened it again to free up some RAM.

The first thing you'll notice is a UI change. Gone are the window title bars and stuff like that.

Anyhow, as I use hotmail/outlook email addresses, Thunderbird wasn't letting the OAuth (the authentication used instead of plain passwords) work.

If you use any of the MSFT email addresses, you'll get a pop up window to authenticate. You'll need to enter your password(s). This won't work. At least it didn't work here on my system.

I deal with so much email that this elevated my heart rate a little.

Close Thunderbird and start again. This time, copy the URL in the popup window and open it in a new tab in your browser. You may want to use a different browser for each email address.

Authenticate at that new screen.

Close Thunderbird again. Reopen Thunderbird.

You may need to authenticate again at this point but I only had to do so with one of the two accounts. This time around, the popup screen should ask you if you want to add Thunderbird as an authorized application. Agree to that and it should work for you.

I hope you don't have as much trouble as I had.

The new version looks pretty good. They didn't move too many things around, so it will be familiar enough. I like the new look, I suppose.

But, again, hopefully, you have an easier time of it than I had. If you do, then the above is what it took for me to get it working.

I hope you don't have as much trouble as I had.
It wasn't me, but a good friend who I help with Linux support. He uses Thunderbird with Hotmail, and the popup window from Microsoft freaked him out. He only has one email account, so I went to his house and quickly figured out that the popup was legitimate. After giving his email password (which he was afraid to do) and following the prompts, I had him going again in just a few minutes. :)
the popup was legitimate

Yeah, it's a part of the OAuth used by a number of services, such as using your Google account to login to a site without going through the regular registration and all that. I guess it's a part of that 'single sign-on' thing we've been after for a couple of decades, but there's many providers that will let you do similar.

In my case, it wouldn't load the 2nd part of the authentication without restarting Thunderbird. I even had to load the pages in a browser.

And, yeah, they should have had to do this when they first configured Thunderbird. It has been a necessary step for at least a few years. It's not a new thing - it's just (potentially) broken and a bit of a pain. I don't recall exactly when this was implemented, but it has been a while now.

And, good on the friend for calling you to ensure that it's legit. That was a good step on their part.

If you don't know, find someone you trust who does know.

What I'll do now is migrate that ~/.thunderbird directory to the rest of the computers around the house. That way I don't have to do this multiple times.

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