Junk filter improvements in Thunderbird weekly build + new Win32 installer

In: Mozilla

14 Mar 2004

Scott MacGregor (lead engineer of Mozilla Thunderbird) has recently announced the availability of the 2004-03-12 weekly build with lots of new cool improvements. These improvements include an improved Junk Mail Algorithm, improved IDLE command for IMAP, new smilies (emoticons), and several UI improvements and sundry bugfixes. Another interesting development is the availability of a Win32 installer for Thunderbird.

Improvements and patches to the Junk Mail algorithm allow it to produce the same message scores as SpamBayes (another Bayesian spam filter – so good it is often used as a benchmark). What does this mumbo-jumbo mean? It means Thunderbird is now better at classifying your email as spam (or not) correctly. Scott highly recommends anyone trying out the new junk mail filter to first clear out the training file and retrain it. For that purpose, a new button for clearing the training data has been added (bug 237151) for convenience (previously, we had to delete the training.dat file manually).

Thunderbird's new Reset Training Data UI


Thunderbird’s new IDLE support for IMAP (bug 141369) also sees many improvements and bugfixes. Simply put, IDLE is a command that allows IMAP email servers to transmit updates to the client in real time. This saves the client from having to continuously poll the server to achieve the effect of new mail appearing immediately. All in all, an exceptionally useful command that saves Thunderbird the work of polling IMAP servers continuously.

New emoticons (bug 237045) are also included in this build, and the artwork comes from Stephen Horlander of the Pinstripe theme fame. Very nice, compared to the old ones which were terribly dated (I had emoticons turned off because I didn’t like them).

Thunderbird's new emoticons


The new Win32 installer is an early attempt at rolling out the Mozilla Thunderbird installer targetted for the 0.6 milestone release (as stated in the Mozilla Thunderbird roadmap). I tried it out and it was fully functional, but there are several nitty gritty issues to be sorted out.

Running the installer presents you with this screen:

Thunderbird installer setup screen


A little messed up, but this is an early test build after all. Scott is mostly leveraging off the work put into Firefox’s Win32 installer. You next get to choose a standard or custom install.

Thunderbird installer screenshot - choose standard or custom install


Selecting custom allows you to add additional extensions – at this moment, Scott has only bundled in the Offline extension. Plans are in store to bundle other extensions as well, including the DOM Inspector.


Unfortunately (at least to me), the installer silently places shortcut icons on the desktop, in the start menu, and in the quick launch bar. The installer should have asked first. (I see someone else has already whined about this) I think with sufficient well-founded feedback, the Thunderbird team will come around to getting that feature into the installer.

Get the Thunderbird 2004-03-12 build or the test Win32 installer build to try out these new improvements and changes.

14 Responses to Junk filter improvements in Thunderbird weekly build + new Win32 installer

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jed

March 14th, 2004 at 2am

Hey, just wanted to say THANKS for your awesome posts about Mozilla (Fx and TB) development.
I’ve been a mozilla user since pre M2 (1998?)
and find your blog the best resource to-date.

The screenshots of what new are awesome, and allow me to evaluate what I want to try out, and what not.

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

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Stephan Segraves

March 14th, 2004 at 4am

So, when the stable release of Thunderbird comes out I’ll have to backup my profile, uninstall my current version, destroy the profiles and start from scratch (restoring the profiles)?

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Cheah Chu Yeow

March 14th, 2004 at 2pm

Stephan: Nope I think you misunderstood that bit I wrote on clearing out the training data. You only have to clear out the training data for the junk mail filter (it’s a Bayesian filter), so that you can take full advantage of the new algorithm. Your profiles, on the other hand, can remain unmolested and you don’t have to backup and restore them.

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Cheah Chu Yeow

March 14th, 2004 at 4pm

Jed: Thanks much for the kind words. I wish I could do more (contribute patches, write an extension), but at the moment I can only try to get my blog readers to get past that first step of trying a Mozilla product.

Soon I shall be free!

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Brian Mars

March 16th, 2004 at 5am

Is there a good forum that captures the in-progress work of the TB dev team? I’ve tried searching mozillazine but was less than impressed with the results.

Specifically, I wanted to suggest a context menu option to turn HTML graphics on/off. This way, the general setting could be off, but turned on on a per message basis once the email had been vetted.

Maybe its just time for me to dig in and learn XUL… :)

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Cheah Chu Yeow

March 16th, 2004 at 8am

Brian: Not any that I know of besides MozillaZine. If you want to make a suggestion, you can post in the MozillaZine Thunderbird Features forum, try to see if there is sufficient support for it, then submit a bug report. Try to get votes for it as well (you have mine if you make a bug report, or find an existing one – I also would like a feature like that).

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Don

April 27th, 2004 at 5am

Hello,
I recently reinstalled WinXP and prior to the installation i backed up my TB messages, contacts, etc with TB EZ backup, trial version. Now i cannot seem to import my backed up mailboxes, i got the address books but the settings and mailboxes did not come over.

Any suggestions

Don

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sinus(@) - Szientometrie definiert Van Raan

March 14th, 2004 at 6am

Neues vom Thunderbird
Nein, der Name bleibt gleich. Es wird keinen Thunderfox geben. Dafür haben sich die Entwickler auf das tatsächliche Entwickeln von Programmcode beschränkt. Und es gibt einige interessante Verbesserungen.

Avatar

sinus(@) - Szientometrie definiert Van Raan

March 14th, 2004 at 6am

Neues vom Thunderbird
Nein, der Name bleibt gleich. Es wird keinen Thunderfox geben. Dafür haben sich die Entwickler auf das tatsächliche Entwickeln von Programmcode beschränkt. Und es gibt einige interessante Verbesserungen.

Avatar

BlogZiNet

March 14th, 2004 at 4pm

Un meilleur filtre bayésien pour Thunderbird
Redemption in a blog présente les récentes améliorations de Mozilla Thunderbird, le client mail autonome de Mozilla. Le prochain millésime de Thunderbird promet d’être très intéressant, au point, peut-&ec…

Avatar

minid.net

March 15th, 2004 at 5pm

Nuevas funcionalidades del Mozilla Thunderbird son reveladas
Se anuncian nuevas funcionalidades. Se pueden probar y todo.

Avatar

Dark Reflexions

March 15th, 2004 at 10pm

Improved Spam filters in Thunderbird (nightly build)
It looks like in their nightly builds they’ve improved the spam filter to a new method that works much better, very impressive. What that means is, you should be looking forward to the next release of Mozilla Thunderbird, because it…

Avatar

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