Another ugly blaaahg

May 28, 2007

Why Thunderbird is somewhat sucky on Ubuntu

Filed under: Computers, Linux — Tags: , — Ketil @ 13:47

I made a post on Ubuntuforums in this thread, listing my views on what could be improved Thunderbird-wise. I was going to make a short point, but the list grew. So I thought I might as well post it here too:

If Thunderbird doesn’t do RSS or usenet good enough [1], then why use RSS and usenet with Thunderbird? Albeit, RSS and usenet are both somewhat similar to e-mail (you get “messages”), it is not e-mail, and isn’t necessarily something that even should be handled with your e-mail client to begin with.

Anyway, I use Thunderbird, and my annoyances are these:
1. It doesn’t look very good. There are Human & Tango themes for Firefox in the Ubunto repo. They’re easy enough to make, so why not make some for Thunderbird? [2]
2. It doesn’t have a calendar. Lightning is crawling in terms of development, and it doesn’t even come close to Evolution calendar anyway. Why not make a Thunderbird-[Evolution-calendar] plugin, making the two communicate on the following aspects: unified adressbook, unified calendar, unified theming/skinning/whatever? Splitting Evolution into several modules would ease this.
3. It doesn’t have a lot of extensions either. There are 350-something listed on addons, but many of these are old, or for Windows and/or Mac only. In Firefox there are an insane amount of extensions. I don’t really know what I can’t live without in Thunderbird, but there are areas that could be covered. (I’m serious here: When I look at the list of Firefox extensions I think: a. How do people come up with this stuff?, and b. How did I live without it? I need this experience with Thunderbird. Like split browser and showcase in Firefox.)
4. It doesn’t integrate well with Gnome/Nautilus/whatever (This is a crucial point)
5. It’s slow in development compared to Firefox. Really slow.

Now, the last point covers many applications besides Thunderbird:

6. Apps in general are starting to look old. Compared to the current development in eye candy, where are the eye-candied icons (like all things tango-ed), the rounded edges (inside windows, the window decorator takes care of the oustides)? If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, take a look at the apps mentioned in this post:…mes-for-linux/
There is a solution to this: A lot of apps are skinnable/themable in some way. Why not make a deb called eyecandy-all that sets up all applications to look better? Some extensions for Firefox and Thunderbird, the change widgets for Firefox stuff, making Wine look better with a better theme, making KDE look Gnome-ish, etc. All these mentioned here, at the top of my hat, are featured on Ubuntuforums already, but they take a lot of time, and could easily be handled in one easy deb.

To me, there is no alternative to Thunderbird. Evolution lacks so much, and there isn’t even an easy way to import all my Thunderbird stuff into Evolution. But Thunderbird has a long way to go…

– Ketil

[1] What excactly are the grievances with NNTP and RSS on Thunderbird anyway? What are the tools you’re lacking? I’ve been using news with Thunderbird since 0.5 (or thereabouts) and RSS since it was implemented, and think it works fine. I actually prefer the RSS setup with Thunderbird over Liferea. (Using Liferea on my multimedia-box, where I don’t need e-mail, in order to get some basic handling on music-relevant RSS-feeds. (Like Dime)
[2] I would try myself, but I suck at drawing…


May 19, 2007

Exciting times for Linux…

Filed under: Computers, Linux — Ketil @ 1:36

I’ve been meaning to post something about this for a couple of weeks now, and finally, today, I get around to it.

Linux-based operating systems and the open source community are heading in very interesting ways these days. No, I’m not talking about the sabre rattling from Microsoft

I’m talking about eye candy and user friendly applications and solutions. Ubuntu and their key sponsor Canonical, released Feisty Fawn in April (that’s what version number 7.04 means: 2007-04). In this version they featured some key elements like easy codec installation and restricted manager, making it super easy to use proprietary stuff like ATI and Nvidia drivers.

Furthermore, today saw the first pre-release of Wine Doors, an application to configure and install Windows applications through Wine. I’ve been following this project for some months now, and it’s looking extremely promising. In addition to simplify administration, it also rich on eye candy, judging by the screenshots. This is not surprising, considering the guy in charge seems to be the same guy as the one in charge of Gnome Dock. This is still in early development, and falls in line with one of the most exciting developments in Linux for some years: Eye candy. OK, I know there are more important things, and I know some people like to take a stance against all eye candy. Well, I’ve got news for you: Most of us like stuff that looks good. And this is where Linux now comes to play. Linux has been stable and secure (more than the “competition” anyway) for quite some time. Now, it’s time to take it to the next level.

So there is Gnome Dock. Other OSX-inspired dock projects are Kooldock for KDE, Kiba-Dock and Avant Window Manager (my personal choice).

The companions for these docks are of course the already legendary Compiz, and Beryl. Beryl forked of Compiz, just to merge back less than a year later. These are insanely cool projects. Microsoft had plans for Vista. Then they put Vista on hold. Then, finally it surfaced, and guess what? Barely anyone was impressed. Aero, their new 3d system, was only for the high end versions, and wasn’t all that to begin with. OSX looks of course still way slick, but let’s face it: Beryl/ Compiz runs circles around it.

I’ve been wondering whatever happened to Gaim, and suddenly they come out. With news, a new web page, and a brand new release. And to top it all, they have a new name for it. It’s Pidgin, baby! Who’d’ve thunk it?

And, in the world of Ubuntu, there is GetDeb, for those packages you just have to have in between Ubuntu releases. And there’s Deluge, a bittorrent client which is in development, but definately usable. Then there is Democracy which I can’t live without, and finally, Joost will be available for Linux.

So, the future is bright. Very bright.

May 14, 2007

Tiny update for e10update

Filed under: Computers, E10update, Portable Media Players — Ketil @ 12:00

I made some small changes to e10update. See the project page for download and changelog.

May 6, 2007

E10update mentioned on

I’m a little proud 🙂 Here it is.

May 5, 2007

Another update for e10update today

Filed under: Computers, E10update, Music, Portable Media Players — Ketil @ 22:26

Maintaining one page instead of multiple posts. That just gets less confusing for me. Here’s the page

Only maintaining an English version now. When there are real significant changes I’ll put a new one up in Norwegian.

Anyway, the changes:

  • Mountpoint is now a variable. If your setup mounts the player somewhere other than /media/E10, you can now change the dir only once (Thanks to Eugenia for the suggestion)
  • On the first dialog, version number is displayed. This is done to avoid confusion (mainly to myself). If anyone has a simple and good idea to keep things like this structured, I’d love to hear it!

Here’s the script

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