Thunderbird 3 suffers from bug plague

The latest version of the Open Sauce mail client Thunderbird is plagued with bugs which make it slower than the version it aims to replace.

An outfit, which admittedly is flogging software which it says can fix the problems,  PerfProtector said that the problems within Thunderbird 3 are “like having a virus in the system that occupies ALL the resources – CPU, memory, disk and network”.

It looks as if someone replaced Thunderbird with another application that has a completely different behaviour. The machines are hogged for hours, the CPU utilisation is very high, the memory consumption increases continuously, the hard disk constantly performs many read/write operations and gigs of data are transferred from the network side.

To make matters worse Thunderbird can’t read e-mails, can’t send e-mails and can’t reclaim the inbox.

If you look here you can see some nice graphs which compare the behaviour of Thunderbird 2 to Thunderbird 3. The results seem to indicate that Thunderbird 3 uses between 5 – 80 percent with an average of 30 – 100 times more than Thunderbird 2.

While Thunderbird 2 performs minor read operations from the hard disk, Thunderbird 3 performs thousands of read operations during long periods of time.

The source of the problem is the Global Search and Indexer which was new in Thunderbird 3. While it enables fast search of e-mails in the mailbox it is really slow. Apparently it can take Thunderbird 3 days to index our mailbox.

Even after the indexing was completed, we still noticed that Thunderbird 3 continue to index and re-index from time to time thus consuming more resources from the machine.

What the researchers found was odd – the new feature did sod all and searching with or without indexing was about the same.

The other thing that slows the program down is the Message Synchronization of IMAP accounts. Thunderbird synchronizes the IMAP folders and saves the messages locally on the hard disk of the machine. This feature was already in Thunderbird 2 but its default was turned off. In Thunderbird 3, its default was changed to be on.

It can take Thunderbird 3 days to synchronise our mailbox and during this time it hogged our internet connection by downloading our entire mailbox while making thousands of write operations to the hard disk.

While the outfit is trying to flog its PerfProtector software it does offer the following advice:

1. Open the options window. On Windows, click Tools-> Options. On Linux, click Edit-> Preferences.

2. Click on Advanced -> General -> Advanced Configuration.

3. Uncheck the Enable Global Search and Indexer checkbox.

To disable the Message Synchronization functionality:

1. Open the accounts settings window. On Windows, click Tools-> Account Settings. On Linux, click Edit-> Account Settings.

2. For each IMAP account that is configured in your Thunderbird, choose Synchronization & Storage and under Message Synchronization uncheck the Keep Messages For This Account On This Computer checkbox.