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Geek stuff from a french geek and photographer
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Posts tagged "email"

We’ve just released another beta of Thunderbird. We are now in the middle of the release cycle until the next major version is released to our millions of daily users. (we’ve fixed 200+ bugs since the last major release (version 24)). We currently have less than 1% of our users - using the beta and that’s not enough to catch regressions - because Thunderbird offers mail, newsgroups and rss feeds we can’t cover the usage of our user base. Also many companies out there sell extensions for spam filtering, for virus protection and so forth. The QA community just doesn’t have the time to try all these and run these with Thunderbird betas to find issues.

And that’s where you dear reader can help. How you might ask well here is a list of examples of how you can help :

  • Use the beta yourself it’s downloadable at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/all-beta.html
  • spread the word by sharing this with your friends
  • you are a reps ? make this post available in your language ….
  • You help on a support forum - link to the beta download page explaining why it’s important to have more users on beta
  • You work for a vendor that sell a product that integrates in Thunderbird ? Qualify your product with the beta so when we ship final we both won’t get surprises.
  • Your company uses Thunderbird ? Setup a small group of beta users and gather the bugs, issues and let us know.

If you find issues let us know either thru bugzilla or thru the support forums, so we can try to address them.

ps the current download page says English only because of a bug in our build infrastructure for windows. Linux and Mac builds are available localized.

A recent twitter thread annoyed me about innovation in email :

That got me annoyed, because I always here we need to innovate with email and gmail is always taken as a reference in terms of email innovation.

But if you look at it gmail brought the following things to the world :

  1. unlimited “brokenish imap”
  2. Dkim/spf to fight spammers
  3. Good/very good spam filters (using the sender trust level)
  4. new nice UI to webmail

And that’s it. I’ve been involved with a MUA long enough now that I think email can’t be fixed by ‘just’ UI work or client work. Some things need to happen at the spec level and be implemented on both client and servers.

Unfortunately email has been around for 30ish years now and working for all that time - so fixing and simplifying can’t happen over night.

Let’s make a list of what needs to be fixed client side first :

  • The way headers are parsed and handled - way too complicated. Whilst this might have been a necessity 30 years ago I think , that with the email usage we have today it can be simplified. http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5322 Needs to be simplified for headers.
  • The way mime is handled - the RFC is 18 years old and needs revisiting, we can probably simplify it too, I don’t believe we need so many ways to send attachments in an email. One should be enough.
  • Threading - discard reference-to headers if the subject doesn’t keep any words from the initial subject for instance.
  • Make it very easy to unsubscribe from a mailing list.

On the server side there are way more things that need to be fixed

  1. smtp needs to be replaced with something that would reduce spam and try to keep the identify of the sender (things done today with things like dkim/spf/openpgp).
  2. mailing list need to be rethought in the way you interact with them - eg digest mode / subscribe / unsubscribe / vacation / cross-posting
  3. Rich Format email

Of course the last thing to fix is users, why ho why on earth do I get a Microsoft word has an attachment - while I could have directly got the content in the email itself.

In a a few weeks it will be Fosdem week-end. Something I’ve been attending since 2004.

This year I’d like to tell people that care about email privacy that fosdem has the biggest pgp key signing party in Europe. If you use pgp, or gnupg you might want to join the party.

To do so you’ll need to register before the 30th of January and follow the detailed instructions at https://fosdem.org/2014/keysigning/ .

update: People are sending plenty of keys it’s going to be a great event.

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Someone is spamming the internet using my email address as the sender. So this fails for two reasons :

  1. I don’t use Oulook - haven’t since 1998. I’ve used Lotus (urg), bemail, mutt and these days I use Thunderbird.
  2. Those emails aren’t signed - I digitally sign all my emails (but with mobile phones it’s hard)

Hum today I replied to a mailing list post, and as usual I signed the email (well I sign less but still try to sign emails everytime I send one). I got the following auto-reply :

The IT department has automatically stopped an email sent by you to xxxx@yyyyy.ch because it contained an encrypted or password-protected document. The use of encryption contravenes the company’s email Acceptable Usage Policy.

If you require further information, please contact the IT helpdesk.

This is the first time I see this, an it feels weird. I would understand if my email would have been encrypted but it was just signed !!!

Ludo

Thunderbird 24 beta is out. This is the first beta of the next Major release of Thunderbird - with many, many core improvements and many small bug fixes (we are missing locales on windows). Good news is Lightning was build at the same time , so calendar users we’ll be able to download their favorite extension.

Starting now we are running a Test week , in order to catch any major regression that didn’t get caught. There’s tow ways to achieve this  and both are difficult.

1) We need a few more tens of thousands of users (so Thunderbird get’s tested with AVs, Anti-spam solutions etc …) so raise our low rate of 0.43% of beta users compared to mainstream users. People tend to be afraid of running betas for email while not for things like a web browser. I had the same thinking before testing Thunderbird became my main Activity. Since February 2009 - I’ve been using various betas/alphas and nightlights of Thunderbird, and didn’t loose a single email on either imap nor pop. Your mileage may vary but It’s been pretty stable for me.

2) We need people with more desktops setting to helps us during our first test week - which is starting today. That’s easier than 1 as you can just use a test account with no “important” emails in it. Then you’ll need to run the beta on that account and spend sometime testing ( that means reading a test - trying to do it in Thunderbird and report if it worked or not). This is less stressful about the mails you care. All you need is some time, the capacity to read English , and try things in Thunderbird. The tests are at https://moztrap.mozilla.org/runtests/environment/1974/ , and the quality team is available on irc.mozilla.org on #tb-qa  (just click that link to talk to us). Bugs found need to be reported in bugzilla and marked blocking of https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=870347 (if that’s chinese to you just add :usul on the cc list).


3) if you don’t have time this coming week - consider joigning our other efforts outlined at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Testing

4) the beta is at http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/all-beta.html

Ludovic for the quality team.

A very nice video explaining why email is hard to deal with when writing software. He only covers Headers, body and smtp. When writing and email client you need to add : storage, search, pop, imap.

Just by reading imap RFC I’m pretty sure we could do  video with the same length as this one.

Last summer I had a dns failure for a few days - results some emails bounced. I fixed it and everything’s been fine since. I have used meetup.com in the past, but I currently don’t use it.

Today I got the following email in my inbox :

We have been notified by your email provider that your email address (xxxx@xxx) is bouncing.  We have also noticed you have not visited Meetup for quite a while.

In order to keep your account on Meetup current, we would love it if you could log in and update the email address you used to join Meetup.

You can update your email address here: http://www.meetup.com/account/email/

So If my email bounces why are they even trying to use it to contact me ? So being a bit suspicious I still followed the link and made sure I was on the right website before logging in. On the website I was greeted with the following :

We've been unable to get through to your email address or you have recently marked one of our emails as spam. This means you won't be able to receive notices and reminders about your Meetups. Our last attempted email was to:

ludovic@hirlimann.net on August 5, 2012 1:42:52 PM CEST.

To use Meetup we need to be able to email you. Please click one of the links below to resolve the problem: change email or issue was temporary.

Nice that 6 months later they try. I don’t understand how they think things will get fixed, but hey I’m not a project manager working for meetup.

I’m reading the reactions on what mozilla just announced about the future of Thunderbird, on twitter. Most people are reading what we are saying as Thunderbird just died and was axed. I’ve replied to a few but I thought that a longer reply would explain more by a lengthy post than a bunch of 140 char tweets.

Like Mike, I work on the Thunderbird Team, I do Quality Control. And like mike I don’t read the announcement the end of Thunderbird. The plan is to release 14, 15, 16 before we release 17 and with 17 we plan on starting our new way of supporting Thunderbird. After 17 is release the plan is to allocate less work time on Thunderbird - ie I spend 100% of my work time on the product - on a weekly basis, and a bit more around release time. I’m not the only one who is going to end up like that. Effectively it means that we won’t have the time to work on specking, developing and testing new features.

New features will have to be discussed, developed and tested by our community with our help for organizing things. How exactly things will work ? I don’t know, and we are starting a discussion on the tb-planning mailing list to figure things out. Now is the time to jump in that conversation and help us shape how Thunderbird will go on.

We’ll also need a lot more help in the following areas : Quality, support, development and docs. If you ever thought about contributing but never found good reasons, now is the time to rethink about it :-)

Joshua who’s been contributing for a few years is also giving his thoughts.

Jb my current boss is giving his thoughts too.

Je viens de recevoir le spam suivant :

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D’abord pourquoi ne pas envoyer juste du texte et je ne comprend pas pourquoi il n’y a ni lien, ni rien dans ce mail serais-ce juste un test ?