Thunderbird Is Go

For several years I have used Microsoft Office for my email and other needs. Something happened today which was the final straw and I pulled the trigger: I switched to Thunderbird and Libre Office

Mozilla Thunderbird splash screen

Thunderbird is an Open Source email solution with many features to recommend it. Not least of all, it’s less intrusive, takes fewer system resources, and it does everything an email program should. And more. That’s not to say Outlook doesn’t. It’s just that Outlook also comes with a lot of features and bells and whistles that I have never (and will never) need. Thunderbird, on the other hand, doesn’t.

Many add-ons and extras can be bolted on if you are one of those that needs them. But they are optional. Thunderbird users are not forced to have them. Unlike Office, no bloatware eats up valuable clock cycles and disk space and memory, slowing the whole computer down just by sitting there in case you need it.

Libre Office

While I was in the mood, I thought, why not go all the way? I’ve been putting this off for years. So I finally uninstalled Office entirely and installed Libre Office, the Open Source alternative. Libre comes out of the box with alternatives to every one of the MS equivalents, and they are 99% compatible. Documents made in Libre will almost universally work in Office. And vice versa. Libre saves to and opens all the MS file formats, plus some others.

Libre Office install screen

The deed is done. I am not cutting the cord completely. I need MS for some of my day work but my aim, going forward, is to become primarily a non-microsoft house. There is nothing the venerable Office has to offer that I need. Cometh a day when that changes, I might switch back. But I doubt it. I am fortunate enough to have an Office 365 subscription for those few occasions when I may need them. Office 365 lets me work on MS files in the browser when I need them, though. No need to install the actual programs. Which can be really useful when out and about. That is one major plus. Login, and go. Nice.

No pain, some gain

Thunderbird is go. Installation complete. The migration was faster than expected. I have moved 20 years of email archives, mail accounts, folders, rules, calendars and address books into Thunderbird. No data loss. No missing items. It is working as I speak. Thunderbird and Libre Office are now my default programs for their relevant specialties. I’ve been using them and have zero issues so far.

Open Source is my favourite software model. Everything is free, until you need customization or support. But that’s fair. I have zero problem with that, and occasionally throw a donation toward the developers for the outstanding products they make and maintain. It’s not for everyone, there is no safety net. But for those unafraid to try something new and explore, the world of Open Source awaits.

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