Category Archives: thunderbird

Using Gmail and Thunderbird: Unsubscribing from the automatic “All Mail” folder

If, like me, you can’t get to grips with the Gmail web interface (however good your colleagues tell you that it is) then you’re going to end up with a desktop IMAP client. And despite it’s many and varied flaws if you’re on Linux it’s been Thunderbird for a long time now.

Because Gmail operates on the concept of a single, searchable, tagged, bucket of mail under the hood there is an “All Mail” folder, in which all of your mail sits. This is exposed via the Gmail IMAP server, and your email client is automatically subscribed to it. If, like me, you have tens of thousands of pieces of mail this will mean that Thunderbird tries to download every piece of mail from the server into the “All Mail” folder, as well as syncronising the same pieces of mail in whatever folder structure you’ve created for yourself. Even if you operate on Gmail’s model of leaving everything in your Inbox you’ll download everything twice – once into the Inbox and once into “All Mail”.

Thunderbird allows you to unsubscribe from folders, but the current interface is a bit weird.

Right click over the “All Mail” folder, and choose the Subscribe… option. Then untick every folder except “All Mail”, and hit the Unsubscribe button on the right. Then hit OK, and then restart Thunderbird.

Now all your Gmail folders have disappeared! Don’t panic. Right click over the empty “Gmail” folder, select Subscribe… again. Then check “Bin”, “Drafts”, and “Sent Mail” and hit the Subscribe button, followed by OK. Restart Thunderbird again.

Finally, you are in the right place.

Good luck.

More on the Heron

OK – next niggle with my new Hardy Heron installation. Clicking links in emails in Thunderbird doesn’t do anything. Nothing. For the last week I’ve been pasting links from emails into Firefox. This is no fun. Some googling around didn’t really help (the suggestions here, for example, didn’t work for me). What did work for me was the following (ymmv, obviously)…

In Thunderbird go to Edit -> Preferences. Open the Advanced tab and then the General tab. Then click the Config editor button. Find the line called network.protocol-handler.expose-all and change it to True. Voilà (at least for me).

Update: OK.  I lied.  This didn’t work for me at all.  In fact what it did for me was cause Firefox to open with a downloaded version of the file.  I’m stumped.  And annoyed.

Thunderbird, PDFs, evince and kubuntu

Part of the problem (that’s perhaps a little unfair, but hey, bear with me) of an automatically updated Kubuntu desktop is that sometimes the defaults change, and you end up with a change that you aren’t happy with. Recently, and for no reason I could divine, the default viewer for PDFs in Thunderbird (mail client) changed to evince. This should, of course, be fine, but for yet more reasons I can’t divine evince can’t print. Or rather, can only occasionally print, which is frankly worse.

After about a month of muttering to myself I finally broke and tried to find out what the hell was going on… It’s not defined in the Attachments menu (in Thunderbird Edit -> Preferences -> Attachments -> View & edit actions). It’s not defined in the system Default Applications (from the ‘start’ button System Settings -> Default Applications). It’s not even defined using update-alternatives. Instead (and thanks to Tim Fredrick’s site for pointing me in the right direction) it’s defined in /usr/share/applications/defaults.list. In that file look for the line starting application/pdf and change the value to be the .desktop file of your choice, relative to the /usr/share/applications directory. In my case my app of choice is KPDF, and so I have changed my line to read as follows: