I decided to test out Thunderbird today, and I have to say I am very impressed so far. I set it up with my Google Apps/Gmail account via IMAP, and it is lightning fast compared to Outlook 2007. And Thunderbird’s interface is very clean and easy to navigate. Will these impressions be enough to make me leave Outlook? Probably not.
I still have too much of my personal productivity tied up in Outlook (a scary thought). I’m not sure if Thunderbird’s address book will give me the same functionality I’ve come to expect from Outlook’s contact capability. Plus I also use tasks and reminders extensively. I do use Outlook’s calendar heavily, but I’m in a position to leave it behind because I’m getting fairly comfortable with Google Calendar (and I’ve got a good sync system setup between the two and my BlackBerry). I’ve heard about “Lightning,” a calendaring extension for Thunderbird and may take a look at it, if for nothing more than to get a taste.
So I’m still making progress on my experiment to design a replacement for Outlook, but still have a ways to go. I’ve already reaped one large benefit from the experiment — and that was moving my business e-mail to Google Apps.
Ultimately, I’m not convinced I’ll be able to leave Outlook for good. I think if my personal productivity wasn’t so dependent on it, there would be a chance… but I don’t want to end up with a multi-program hodge-podge type solution just for the sake of ditching Outlook.