I hate thunderbird (and its HTML-only emails)

Apparently, since Thunderbird 2.0, the user now has an easy way to choose to send messages as HTML-only emails, instead of the sane defaults of doing “text only” or “text + HTML”. As a result, lots of Thunderbird users now send HTML-only emails, which are a PITA to read with mutt.

Does someone know if there’s an open bug about reverting that change?

Does someone know of a good strategy to convert HTML-only emails to text emails, preferably pluggable into procmail, so it happens at delivery time? It’s how course possible to read HTML emails using an external HTML viewer, but I can’t find a way to reply to a “stripped” version of the messages.

20 thoughts on “I hate thunderbird (and its HTML-only emails)

  1. You can get mutt to throw HTML mail through w3m:

    auto_view text/html
    # You may want to change this order:
    alternative_order text/html text/plain

    In .mailcap:

    text/html; /usr/bin/w3m -T text/html ‘%s’; needsterminal; description=HTML Text; nametemplate=%s.html
    text/html; /usr/bin/w3m -dump -T text/html ‘%s’; copiousoutput; description=HTML Text; nametemplate=%s.html

  2. I never knew it was posting html-only emails to mailing lists I sit on. I was assumed to be quite rude. (I didn’t even notice it was doing it)

    If there isn’t a bug report on this I suggest making one or at least changing the default behavior in Thunderbird 3.0 when it comes out. Keep us updated.

  3. It sure is a pity that Thunderbird now sends HTML-only messages by default. It should, IMHO, always send a text equivalent with the message.

    Although you can probably make Thunderbird revert that stupid change, you’ll still have the problem with other MUAs that are even dumber (like Outlook, which doesn’t even set the In-Reply-To header…).

    That’s why Kristof’s solution, which is also what I use (I’m a mutt user), is probably the best way to go to read HTML only emails.

    – Sam

  4. @guptaxpn: mutt is faster, takes less memory, more configurable, and more useful over low-bandwidth connections than any GUI mail client. That’s why.

  5. I use Mutt’s auto_view and rarely even notice when people are sending html-only emails.

    Ubuntu’s /etc/mailcap has the necessary rules for text/html already, all you need to do is apt-get install one of the converters (elinks, links, w3m, html2text, lynx) and add auto_view text/html into your .muttrc

  6. I would rather receive emails with only HTML than the current plague of messages with HTML content and useless text/plain parts.

    My alternative_order in .muttrc used to list text/plain before text/html. Lately, though, I’ve been receiving a fair amount of mail from certain sources (hello, facebook!) where the text/plain portion is just a message politely telling me that my MUA sucks and I should look at the text/html portion. Shouldn’t the text/plain alternative be a viable replacement (i.e. alternative) for the HTML portion? If the useless text/plain version didn’t exist, mutt would have shown the HTML version.

  7. these 3 lines in ~/.muttrc are your friends

    set implicit_autoview
    auto_view text/html
    alternative_order text/plain text/html

    it has mostly been already suggested, with the exception of the first
    one. I haven’t (re-)checked, but IIRC is the extra bit missing so that
    when you reply mutt will use auto_view also to prepare the quoted

  8. Easier if you just stopped whining and started using a REAL email client. If there’s nothing worthy on a Ubuntu cheapskate box, get a Mac and use Mail.app

  9. Just so you know, Lucas, alpine happily renders HTML-only mails as text. I don’t even know that I’m reading HTML mails unless I check; it’s all properly handled so that when I hit (R)eply, I get to reply in plain text.

    It’s really quite a nice, featureful mail reader, and it’s Free Software. Maybe you would give it a try! (-:

  10. Would all the morons suggesting other email clients please FOAD.

    Thank you for your cooperation, you clueless wonders.


  11. @required: Well, having Asheesh commenting about alpine isn’t really the same as someone I’ve never met recommending to use Mail.app ;)

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