zz – Others (pre-2008)

On vacation

I am currently on vacation. I will continue to post updates intermittently during these few weeks.

2008-01-02: I’m back! (was impossible to get a reliable / affordable internet connection whilst overseas) Returned to realise that my second-hand 6600GT on the PC rig had failed. Sought to replace it with a 8800GT but it for some reason just couldn’t work with a 6 month old ASUS M2V. Ol’ well, a 8600GT will make do then.

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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Survey results out! – part 3

Continued from part two..

d) Meek STV voting algorithm ("If you are electing multiple people and simplicity is not important, then we recommend Meek STV. Most people agree that Meek STV is the best variant of STV, but it can only be implemented with a computer program." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV: (precision for this case was increased to three decimal places)

Election: Suggested enhancements to Thunderbird in the form of an extension or otherwise.
Method: Meek STV
Number of Ballots: 688
Threshold Name: Droop Dynamic Fractional
14 candidates running for 9 seats.

Round
Default calendaring support
64-bit support
Groupware server integration
Data synchronization with other devices
Instant messaging
Minimize-to-tray
VOIP
Video conferencing
Offline applications
Search bar improvements
Improved migration of data
Find-as-you-type
Collapse quotes in messages
Others
Exhausted
Surplus
Threshold
1
150
75
78
47
50
32
36
23
42
28
28
29
39
31
0
96.6
68.8
2
69.783
96.905
80.655
56.886
59.8
37.378
41.786
26.9
45.545
30.429
29.806
33.322
43.821
34.984
0
40.943
68.8
3
70.717
69.659
75.272
64.506
65.362
41.008
43.659
29.704
48.248
31.379
31.086
35.437
44.957
37.006
0
9.248
68.8
4
69.17
69.561
69.225
66.327
66.848
41.672
44.2
30.284
48.913
31.498
31.474
35.923
45.218
37.686
0
1.556
68.8
5
68.854
68.906
69.002
66.614
67.062
41.797
44.281
30.387
49.007
31.535
31.522
35.999
45.269
37.763
0
0.363
68.8
6
70.127
71.085
71.759
69.183
67.801
43.03
45.863
      
50.53
33.425
35.812
41.107
46.61
41.668
0
6.953
68.8
7
69.057
69.263
69.481
70.128
68.882
43.597
46.254
      
51.009
33.692
36.142
41.487
46.91
42.099
0
2.811
68.8
8
68.93
69.009
69.06
69.095
69.323
43.906
46.47
      
51.163
33.84
36.295
41.587
47.064
42.26
0
1.416
68.8
9
71.66
72.382
71.312
71.021
71.781
47.959
48.249
      
53.536
      
42.518
43.981
48.855
44.746
0
14.156
68.8
10
69.358
69.838
70.368
70.855
70.575
49.462
49.491
      
54.592
      
43.397
44.783
49.773
45.508
0
6.994
68.8
11
69.124
69.235
69.447
69.652
69.736
50.297
50.178
      
55.141
      
43.87
45.141
50.261
45.918
0
3.194
68.8
12
68.943
69.008
69.095
69.189
69.196
50.684
50.502
      
55.395
      
44.087
45.311
50.488
46.101
0
1.431
68.8
13
68.864
68.892
68.933
68.974
68.981
50.858
50.646
      
55.508
      
44.185
45.387
50.589
46.184
0
0.644
68.8
14
72.404
72.388
73.627
74.026
72.999
57.811
57.667
      
58.18
      
      
47.712
52.572
48.612
0
21.445
68.8
15
69.714
70.455
70.872
71.538
71.803
60.488
59.818
      
59.945
      
      
49.121
54.226
50.018
0
10.383
68.8
16
69.275
69.476
69.762
70.035
70.113
61.916
60.979
      
60.858
      
      
49.816
55.056
50.715
0
4.662
68.8
17
69.009
69.115
69.219
69.344
69.388
62.566
61.503
      
61.268
      
      
50.13
55.429
51.03
0
2.075
68.8
18
68.893
68.939
68.988
69.041
69.059
62.858
61.737
      
61.45
      
      
50.271
55.595
51.17
0
0.92
68.8
19
68.841
68.861
68.883
68.907
68.915
62.988
61.841
      
61.531
      
      
50.333
55.668
51.232
0
0.407
68.8
20
73.12
71.84
72.72
74.861
73.664
65.714
70.717
      
66.629
      
      
      
59.376
59.36
0
24.122
68.8
21
69.824
70.884
71.162
71.534
72
69.456
71.341
      
68.803
      
      
      
61.497
61.5
0
14.603
68.8
22
69.513
69.886
70.155
70.495
70.578
71.119
70.243
      
70.274
      
      
      
62.813
62.923
0
11.863
68.8
23
69.429
69.764
69.849
70.248
70.265
70.344
70.132
      
69.93
      
      
      
64.001
64.038
0
9.561
68.8
24
69.304
69.575
69.662
69.944
69.964
70.092
69.836
      
69.7
      
      
      
64.959
64.963
0
7.677
68.8
25
69.206
69.421
69.487
69.714
69.73
69.825
69.641
      
69.528
      
      
      
65.739
65.709
0
6.152
68.8
26
69.126
69.297
69.35
69.527
69.54
69.621
69.473
      
69.384
      
      
      
66.37
66.313
0
4.918
68.8
27
69.061
69.197
69.238
69.379
69.388
69.454
69.339
      
69.268
      
      
      
66.878
66.798
0
3.924
68.8
28
69.008
69.117
69.149
69.26
69.268
69.321
69.231
      
69.174
      
      
      
67.286
67.188
0
3.127
68.8
29
68.966
69.052
69.078
69.165
69.171
69.214
69.143
      
69.098
      
      
      
67.612
67.5
0
2.488
68.8
30
68.932
69.001
69.021
69.09
69.095
69.129
69.073
      
69.037
      
      
      
67.873
67.749
0
1.978
68.8
31
68.905
68.959
68.975
69.03
69.034
69.062
69.017
      
68.989
      
      
      
68.081
67.947
0
1.572
68.8
32
68.884
68.927
68.939
68.983
68.986
69.008
68.973
      
68.95
      
      
      
68.247
68.105
0
1.248
68.8
33
68.866
68.9
68.91
68.945
68.947
68.965
68.937
      
68.919
      
      
      
68.379
68.231
0
0.99
68.8
34
68.853
68.88
68.888
68.915
68.917
68.931
68.909
      
68.895
      
      
      
68.484
68.331
0
0.786
68.8
35
68.842
68.863
68.869
68.891
68.892
68.904
68.886
      
68.875
      
      
      
68.567
68.41
0
0.623
68.8
36
68.833
68.85
68.855
68.872
68.873
68.882
68.869
      
68.86
      
      
      
68.633
68.473
0
0.494
68.8
37
68.826
68.84
68.844
68.857
68.858
68.865
68.854
      
68.847
      
      
      
68.686
68.523
0
0.391
68.8
38
68.821
68.831
68.835
68.845
68.846
68.852
68.843
      
68.837
      
      
      
68.727
68.562
0
0.31
68.8
39
68.817
68.825
68.827
68.836
68.836
68.841
68.834
      
68.83
      
      
      
68.76
68.594
0
0.246
68.8
40
68.813
68.82
68.822
68.828
68.829
68.832
68.827
      
68.824
      
      
      
68.786
68.619
0
0.195
68.8
41
68.81
68.816
68.817
68.823
68.823
68.826
68.821
      
68.819
      
      
      
68.807
68.639
0
0.161
68.8

Round 1: Count of first place rankings.
Candidate Default calendaring support is elected.
Candidate 64-bit support is elected.
Candidate Groupware server integration is elected.
Rounds 2 to 6: Transferring surplus votes. (shortened multiple lines of output)
Eliminating candidate Video conferencing.
Candidate Data synchronization with other devices is elected.
Round 7: Transferring surplus votes.
Candidate Instant messaging is elected.
Round 8: Transferring surplus votes.
Round 9: Transferring surplus votes.
Eliminating candidate Search bar improvements.
Rounds 10 to 14: Transferring surplus votes. (shortened multiple lines of output)
Eliminating candidate Improved migration of data.
Rounds 15 to 20: Transferring surplus votes. (shortened multiple lines of output)
Eliminating candidate Find-as-you-type.
Candidate VOIP is elected.
Round 21: Transferring surplus votes.
Candidate Minimize-to-tray is elected.
Candidate Offline applications is elected.
Rounds 22 to 41: Transferring surplus votes. (shortened multiple lines of output)
Candidate Collapse quotes in messages is elected.

Winners are Default calendaring support, 64-bit support, Groupware server integration, Data synchronization with other devices, Instant messaging, Minimize-to-tray, VOIP, Offline applications, Collapse quotes in messages.

 

Basing on average scores in the raw reports, here are some ideas for new Thunderbird enhancements, be they extensions or incorporated into the application. Top is default calendaring support, which is already in the form of the extension Lightning, but as yet does not come default with official Thunderbird builds. Aside from that, data synchronization with other devices is also much wanted, followed by search bar improvements (similar to GmailUI). Find-as-you-type (Nostalgy) and collapsing of quotes (Quote Collapse) currently exist as extensions. A notable 44 (6%) respondents regarded "Others" as their top choice; there are other enhancements that they feel are more important but which are not listed here as well.

Edit: Did up using the voting algorithms to list the top 5, instead of using average scores. (For Meek STV, which is known for its accuracy, the top 9 were obtained instead.) This time, the order is different – see the order listed for Meek STV, but nonetheless default calendaring support (Lightning extension) is still the top requested enhancement, no matter which algorithm was used. For some reason, 64-bit support came in second, while groupware integration and data synchronization with other devices came in after that.

Question 7: Do you use the Mac version?

Q7
Question 7 results (click for larger image)
 
Number
Percentage
No
560
81%
Yes
129
19%
Total
689
100%

Note: Here, there are 689 responses as tracked by SurveyGizmo; someone must have started the survey at this point.

About a fifth of respondents have used the Mac version before. (This question was not phrased very well. On hindsight, it should have asked for the usage of all the operating systems that Thunderbird supports, instead of being Mac-specific.)

Question 8: If yes, rank suggested Mac-specific functionalities. (Note: Mac OS X Address Book integration and support for tabbed messages have already made it to Thunderbird trunk.)

Q8
Question 8 results (click for larger image)
  Less important Important More important
Total
Ability to search Tbird mail in Spotlight
18% (27)
28% (41)
54% (81)
149
Keychain support to store passwords
22% (33)
27% (40)
51% (76)
149
Mail alerts
27% (40)
45% (66)
28% (42)
148
Others
68% (73)
20% (21)
12% (13)
107

The ability to search Thunderbird mail in Spotlight as well as Keychain support are regarded as being more important than mail alerts. Again, there is this hint of more functionalities being requested instead of other factors.

Question 9: The following lists some ways that Thunderbird could make use of to increase the number of users. Please tick those that apply.

Q9
Question 9 results (click for larger image)
 
Number
Percentage
More features
371
54%
Better enterprise / consumer level support
327
47%
Improved marketing
289
42%
Involve the community (keep people updated on progress, regular bug days etc.)
289
42%
Improve developer / end-user level documentation
222
32%
Thunderbird for mobile devices
212
31%
Hire many developers
209
30%
Others
84
12%

More than half of the respondents feel that Thunderbird needs more features to attract more users. Next comes improved support for enterprises / end-users, and the marketing and community involvement could also help to increase the number of users. Improvements to documentation, a mobile Thunderbird and the hiring of many developers are statistically tied at the rear of the pack.

Question 10: Please add other relevant comments / options here, if any. (Optional)

An exhaustive list of ideas in no particular order, which include: (some that duplicate the options in some of the previous questions have been removed to avoid replication)

  • Many suggestions regarding Calendaring, e.g. free / busy scheduling, task lists, invitations etc.
  • Slideshow (like Mail.app in Mac OS X)
  • Group mails by relevance
  • Improved tagging
  • Improved user interface / unclutter the current UI / overhaul of the many menus Thunderbird currently has
  • Add progress dialog
  • Increased webmail integration
  • Encryption of mail storage
  • Easy creation of one-click installation of Thunderbird and extensions for deployment in enterprises
  • Improved address book features / search in address book
  • Replicate the functionality of Outlook & Exchange
  • Easier installation of extensions
  • Compare with Mail.app; it’s always about keeping ahead of the competition
  • Roaming profile support
  • Mail re-direction feature
  • Cut down on memory and CPU use
  • Date recognition in Thunderbird -> insert in Lightning straight away
  • Co-operate with web programs e.g. social networking sites, webmail, google calendar, instant messengers etc.
  • Improved integration with Linux, e.g. KDE, Gnome / Tango icons
  • Use tags to group address book entries
  • Improve IMAP functionality, i.e. do not download headers for all folders
  • "Trainable" spam filter with whitelists
  • Improved newsgroup support
  • OpenOffice integration
  • Improved profile backup and management
  • Better nested email view
  • Better threaded views
  • Simplify font settings
  • Dynamic front page
  • Change display of headers / customize date format
  • Improved filtering system
  • Improve followup and business features
  • More predictability
  • Improved MSI installer support
  • Full vCard support in address book
  • Create automated test frameworks
  • Switch to mozStorage (aka SQLite) for emails and address book entries; mork is obsolete!
  • Message templates
  • Archive emails & secure them
  • Integrate filters with saved searches
  • Make it easier to create Thunderbird extensions (similar to FUEL for Firefox?)
  • … and many many more (I’ve only looked through 4 out of 27 pages, that’s 15%, feel free to look through the rest) …

Anything you feel that could have been done better in this survey?

Ideally, the sample size should be greater than 689, but that was the best I could garner via The Rumbling Edge in three weeks.

Question 3, about the places the respondents go to for support, should have other options such as no support needed and search engines. I should have restructured question 7 (do you use the Mac version?) to reflect on the different operating systems that people make use of, instead of being Mac-only. Oh well, I haven’t used Thunderbird long enough on the others to come up with suitable options for them.

There should also be localizations, and a better theme etc., but all these are beyond my personal ability, and the entire survey questions were my brainchild, so this had to make do while I juggled between Thunderbird-related activities, my studies and ice skating =) .

I want to praise / discuss / criticise this. Where should I comment such that you will read my opinions?

Please feel free to comment below. If it is closed, please head to the respective forum threads at Mozilla Labs or MozillaZine.

Will you do up another survey again?

The Mozilla Community Surveys Project was started not too long ago. They have mentioned that Thunderbird-themed surveys will most likely come your way, with better tracking, details, analysis etc. Thus, this may be the first and probably the only one done up in private capacity.

I want to make use of the results in this survey. May I do so?

Sure, please notify and attribute to me, Gary Kwong, if in print, or a live link to The Rumbling Edge or this post will do. (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, see sidebar)

Who are you?

I am currently a university freshman who should be studying for his examinations at the time of writing, and who loves to travel around the world and meet all kinds of people. Long-time Thunderbird contributor too, though working on Thunderbird doesn’t fulfill any of my module requirements. (What’s the use of studying bubble sort when it’s so comparatively inefficient in practice?)

I don’t want to read everything above! Can you please summarize?

(Please do not take the results as a gauge of the sentiment of the entire Thunderbird community)

MozillaZine is a popular location for users to head to for Thunderbird information, as well as Planet Mozilla for development news.

Thunderbird 2 is already a great product lauded for its stability and adherence to open standards, but with lots of room for improvement and / or innovation. It could do with more features and functionality, especially improved global search across all accounts and default calendaring support (Lightning). Finally, more could be done about the level of official support, marketing and community involvement of Thunderbird in order to increase its userbase.

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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Survey results out! – part 2

Continued from part one..

Question 6: Suggested enhancements to Thunderbird, in the form of an extension or otherwise. (Some may already have been implemented as extensions) (Note: Mac OS X Address Book integration and support for tabbed messages have already made it to Thunderbird trunk.)

Options:

  • Default calendaring support
  • Data synchronization with PDAs / mobile phones / other stuff
  • Search bar improvements (e.g. Search suggestions, advanced operators etc.)
  • Find-as-you-type
  • Collapse quotes in email / newsgroup messages
  • Improved migration of data (e.g. export all emails / selected newsgroup messages based on search criteria using 7z compression etc.)
  • Minimize-to-tray
  • Groupware server integration (e.g. Kolab)
  • Instant messaging
  • 64-bit support
  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP)
  • Offline applications (e.g. integration with Facebook)
  • Others
  • Video conferencing

The OpenSTV .blt file I used is available here. The various options were used with their default settings.

 

a) Instant runoff voting algorithm ("If you are electing one person and simplicity is important, then we recommend instant runoff voting. Instant runoff voting is easy to explain and gives good results." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV:

Election: Suggested enhancements to Thunderbird in the form of an extension or otherwise.
Method: IRV
Number of Ballots: 688
14 candidates running for 1 seats.

Round
Default calendaring support
64-bit support
Groupware server integration
Data synchronization with other devices
Instant messaging
Minimize-to-tray
VOIP
Video conferencing
Offline applications
Search bar improvements
Improved migration of data
Find-as-you-type
Collapse quotes in messages
Others
Exhausted
1
150
75
78
47
50
32
36
23
42
28
28
29
39
31
0
2
153
78
81
48
50
33
37
 
43
28
31
33
39
34
0
3
158
82
84
50
51
36
38
 
44
 
35
34
40
36
0
4
166
84
86
53
52
37
43
 
47
 
39
 
41
40
0
5
171
90
88
55
57
 
48
 
52
 
40
 
45
42
0
6
180
92
94
58
62
 
56
 
55
     
46
45
0
7
192
99
96
66
71
 
57
 
58
     
49
 
0
8
207
103
103
70
77
 
63
 
65
         
0
9
224
115
115
80
83
     
71
         
0
10
245
128
128
97
90
                 
0
11
277
148
146
117
                   
0
12
320
182
186
                     
0
13
411
 
277
                     
0

Round 1: Count of first place rankings.
Round 2: Eliminating candidate Video conferencing.
Round 3: Eliminating candidate Search bar improvements.
Round 4: Eliminating candidate Find-as-you-type.
Round 5: Eliminating candidate Minimize-to-tray.
Round 6: Eliminating candidate Improved migration of data.
Round 7: Eliminating candidate Others.
Round 8: Eliminating candidate Collapse quotes in messages.
Round 9: Eliminating candidate VOIP.
Round 10: Eliminating candidate Offline applications.
Round 11: Eliminating candidate Instant messaging.
Round 12: Eliminating candidate Data synchronization with other devices.
Round 13: Eliminating candidate 64-bit support.
Candidate Default calendaring support is elected.

Winner is Default calendaring support.

b) Condorcet voting algorithm ("If you are electing one person and simplicity is not important, then we recommend Condorcet voting. Most people agree that Condorcet is the best method for electing one person, but it is more difficult to explain." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV:

Election: Suggested enhancements to Thunderbird in the form of an extension or otherwise.
Method: Condorcet
Completion Method: Schwartz Sequential Dropping
Number of Ballots: 688
14 candidates running for 1 seat.

Pairwise Comparison Matrix:

 
Default calendaring support
64-bit support
Groupware server integration
Data synchronization with other devices
Instant messaging
Minimize-to-tray
VOIP
Video conferencing
Offline applications
Search bar improvements
Improved migration of data
Find-as-you-type
Collapse quotes in messages
Others
Default calendaring support
0
418
411
435
434
464
474
476
463
506
490
500
508
495
64-bit support
270
0
391
411
420
458
453
472
456
500
493
480
487
488
Groupware server integration
277
297
0
426
444
471
472
478
476
505
486
500
505
500
Data synchronization with other devices
253
277
262
0
398
443
459
474
451
498
483
483
482
484
Instant messaging
254
268
244
290
0
454
469
477
470
502
487
479
487
495
Minimize-to-tray
224
230
217
245
234
0
427
453
443
474
476
472
471
468
VOIP
214
235
216
229
219
261
0
439
437
476
469
475
476
478
Video conferencing
212
216
210
214
211
235
249
0
434
475
475
462
474
464
Offline applications
225
232
212
237
218
245
251
254
0
474
450
461
449
460
Search bar improvements
182
188
183
190
186
214
212
213
214
0
433
430
443
438
Improved migration of data
198
195
202
205
201
212
219
213
238
255
0
443
450
461
Find-as-you-type
188
208
188
205
209
216
213
226
227
258
245
0
435
440
Collapse quotes in messages
180
201
183
206
201
217
212
214
239
245
238
253
0
421
Others
193
200
188
204
193
220
210
224
228
250
227
248
267
0

Smith Set: Default calendaring support
No completion necessary since the Smith set has just one candidate.
Winner is Default calendaring support.

c) Scottish STV voting algorithm ("If you are electing multiple people and simplicity is important, then we recommend Scottish STV, as it is the simplest of all the STV methods." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV:

Election: Suggested enhancements to Thunderbird in the form of an extension or otherwise.
Method: Scottish STV
Number of Ballots: 688
Threshold Name: Droop Static Whole
Threshold Value: 115.0
Delayed Transfer of Surplus: Not Enabled.
Batch Elimination: None
14 candidates running for 5 seats.

Round
Default calendaring support
64-bit support
Groupware server integration
Data synchronization with other devices
Instant messaging
Minimize-to-tray
VOIP
Video conferencing
Offline applications
Search bar improvements
Improved migration of data
Find-as-you-type
Collapse quotes in messages
Others
Exhausted
Surplus
1
150
75
78
47
50
32
36
23
42
28
28
29
39
31
0
35
2
115
87.8
82.7
49.8
53
33.6
38.1
24.2
42.9
28.9
28.5
30.4
40.9
32.2
0
0
3
115
91.1
85.7
51
53
34.6
40.1
 
43.9
29.2
31.7
35.4
41.1
36.2
0
0
4
115
97.3
88.7
53
55.3
38.6
41.1
 
45.9
 
36.2
36.6
42.1
38.2
0
0
5
115
104.3
93.7
56.5
58.3
43.9
47.3
 
47.9
   
37.6
43.3
40.2
0
0
6
115
109.5
97.9
63
60.3
44.9
54.6
 
51.2
     
44.6
47.2
0
0
7
115
116.5
105.1
66.4
66.7
48.9
60.6
 
58.4
       
50.4
0
1.5
8
115
115
105.8
66.7
66.9
49
60.7
 
58.5
       
50.5
0
0
9
115
115
119.5
74
75.7
 
70.9
 
64.5
       
53.5
0
4.5
10
115
115
115
75.5
77
 
71.3
 
65.2
       
54.1
0
0
11
115
115
115
96.5
95.6
 
77.5
 
73.4
         
0
0
12
115
115
115
137.5
113.5
 
91.9
             
0
22.5
13
115
115
115
115
130.4
 
97.6
             
0
15.4

Round 1: Count of first place rankings.
Candidate Default calendaring support is elected.
Round 2: Transferring surplus votes from candidate Default calendaring support.
Round 3: Eliminating candidate Video conferencing.
Round 4: Eliminating candidate Search bar improvements.
Round 5: Eliminating candidate Improved migration of data.
Round 6: Eliminating candidate Find-as-you-type.
Round 7: Eliminating candidate Collapse quotes in messages.
Candidate 64-bit support is elected.
Round 8: Transferring surplus votes from candidate 64-bit support.
Round 9: Eliminating candidate Minimize-to-tray.
Candidate Groupware server integration is elected.
Round 10: Transferring surplus votes from candidate Groupware server integration.
Round 11: Eliminating candidate Others.
Round 12: Eliminating candidate Offline applications.
Candidate Data synchronization with other devices is elected.
Round 13: Transferring surplus votes from candidate Data synchronization with other devices.
Candidate Instant messaging is elected.

Winners are Default calendaring support, 64-bit support, Groupware server integration, Data synchronization with other devices, Instant messaging.

Continued in part three..

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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Survey results out! – part 1

Written on 18 Nov 07, and last updated on 23 Nov 07. (3,000+ words and counting)

Edits till 21 Nov 07: Completed main text.

Edit on 22 Nov 07 till 24 Nov 07: Added Condorcet / other voting algorithms using OpenSTV to determine most preferred choices as suggested by an anonymous commenter. (Two tries; original calculations were borked)

Edit on 10 Aug 08: Migrate images over to DreamHost, update links.

What is this?

The Rumbling Edge Thunderbird 2 survey (version 1) ran for three weeks, from 29 October 2007 till 18 November 2007, and there were just under seven hundred complete responses, a thousand if partial ones are to be included. A similar number (1,022 to be exact) were abandoned. I made use of SurveyGizmo to gather the results from the questions which numbered ten in total though some were optional.

Where do the respondents come from?

Demographics
Demographics of respondents (click for a full size version)

The above screenshot capture was taken from SurveyGizmo, just after I closed the survey. As you can see from the image, most respondents (and hence people who know about, are using or have used Thunderbird) are from North America and Europe, though there are others from South America, India, East Asia and Oceania. You can even see responses from Iceland.

The raw reports compiled within SurveyGizmo have been saved into PDF format, both around 50 pages with rounded percentages. (Without partial responses / With partial responses)

Which report are you referring to?

I am referring to the report without partial responses, as I feel that the information is more likely to be more accurate than if they were included. Anyone is free to come up with their own analysis on the questions on any report though; I’d be glad to link to them from here. I activated randomization of options within the questions so as to reduce the effect of "first option preference" as well. There was no limit on the number of times people could take the survey, though the number who did so is considered to be negligible.

What is the purpose of the survey?

I have been running The Rumbling Edge for more than three years, and with the pending formation of MailCo, I thought it would be a good idea to gather ideas for improvement from the community, especially regarding the future development of Thunderbird 3. No, I am not doing this under the Mozilla Community Surveys Project, it is just something that I do in my free time, so please take the analysis (and maybe the results as well) with an overdose of sodium chloride =) .

Enough of all this. I want to read the analysis now!

Question 1: Please choose the level of expertise you are at for Thunderbird.

Q1
Question 1 results (click for larger image)
 
Number
Percentage
Power user
413
60%
Average
216
31%
Developer / tester
53
8%
Beginner
6
1%
Total
688
100%

The sample size of 688 were mostly taken from readers of The Rumbling Edge, which may not necessarily be a true reflection of the views of millions of Thunderbird users in the world. This question merely shows the breakdown of the survey respondents, who are mostly power users and average users. Whether the percentages apply to the whole Thunderbird population is anyone’s guess at this point in time.

Question 2: How satisfied are you with the current state of Thunderbird? (If unsure, just select "Neutral")

Q2
Question 2 results (click for larger image)
 
Extremely dissatisfied
Quite dissatisfied Neutral Quite satisfied Extremely satisfied
Total
Adherence to open standards
0% (2)
1% (8)
14% (94)
51% (353)
34% (231)
688
Stability
1% (4)
5% (33)
11% (73)
51% (352)
33% (226)
User interface
2% (11)
10% (71)
19% (133)
59% (403)
10% (70)
Level of functionality
1% (5)
10% (70)
24% (163)
57% (395)
8% (55)
General state of Thunderbird
1% (6)
11% (78)
23% (155)
57% (395)
8% (54)
Total
28
260
618
1,898
636
 

Sorting according the satisfaction amongst the respondents, it can quite clearly be seen that Thunderbird is popular due to its adherence to open standards and stability (~85% satisfaction for both). People were not as sure about the user interface (~70% satisfaction), while a larger proportion of users were dissatisfied with the level of functionality and the general state of Thunderbird. Though not a large percentage (just over 10% dissatisfied in each), these areas could be where Thunderbird are in need of improvement to gain more users, or even to retain the current ones.

Question 3: Currently, where do you go to obtain Thunderbird support? Please tick those that apply.

Q3
Question 3 results (click for larger image)
 
Number
Percentage
MozillaZine forums
383
56%
MozillaZine knowledgebase
328
48%
Google *
138
20%
Mozilla newsgroups
128
19%
Others (open-ended)
51
7%
No support needed *
45
7%
IRC via irc.mozilla.org
41
6%
Mozilla feedback form (Hendrix)
14
2%
Bugzilla *
10
1%

Note: * denotes notable answers that were entered in the "others" field.

Most headed to MozillaZine for Thunderbird issues, though a sizable proportion headed to search engines, such as Google, and Mozilla newsgroups. IRC and other places, such as thunderbird-mail.de and geckozone forums made up ~7% each, as did respondents who did not require support. The Hendrix feedback form is virtually unused, while Bugzilla may only appeal to developers, so they bring up the rear.

An underlying indication could be the lack of proper Thunderbird documentation along the lines of an official knowledgebase similar to that for Firefox that is currently in beta form. Negligible numbers made use of the current help documentation found at Thunderbird Help, which can be accessed via the help function within Thunderbird.

Question 4: How do you usually keep track of the development of Thunderbird? (Optional) Please tick those that apply.

Q4
Question 4 results (click for larger image)
 
Number
Percentage
Planet Mozilla blogs
402
58%
MozillaZine forums
257
37%
Bugzilla
140
20%
The Rumbling Edge *
90
13%
Others (open-ended)
78
11%
Slashdot *
32
5%
IRC via irc.mozilla.org
23
3%
heise.de *
9
1%
Digg *
7
1%
Bonsai *
4
1%

Note: * denotes notable answers that were entered in the "others" field.

A vast majority proceed to Planet Mozilla for their dose of Thunderbird development news, of which The Rumbling Edge is a part of (~70% if combined). MozillaZine forums come in runners-up, followed by Bugzilla. IRC accounts for only 3%, while news sites, such as Slashdot and heise.de, and other sites make up the last ~20%.

Question 5: Rank the following suggested improvements to functionalities that already exist in Thunderbird.

Options to be ranked: (removed raw average scores since they may not tell the whole tale)

  • Do not preview spam
  • Icon refresh throughout the default UI
  • Improved global search (across all types of accounts)
  • Improved spam filtering
  • More localizations
  • More useful homepage
  • Other default webmail settings, besides Gmail
  • Others

The OpenSTV .blt file I used is available here. The various options were used with their default settings.

 

a) Instant runoff voting algorithm ("If you are electing one person and simplicity is important, then we recommend instant runoff voting. Instant runoff voting is easy to explain and gives good results." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV:

Election: Rank the following suggested improvements to functionalities that already exist in Thunderbird.
Method: IRV
Number of Ballots: 689
8 candidates running for 1 seats.

Round
Improved global search
Do not preview spam
Improved spam filtering
Icon refresh throughout default UI
Others
More useful homepage
More localizations
Other default webmail settings
Exhausted
1
163
114
80
71
79
62
65
55
0
2
171
124
90
75
88
67
74
 
0
3
191
139
95
82
95
 
87
 
0
4
219
154
105
 
112
 
99
 
0
5
251
181
128
 
129
     
0
6
295
227
   
167
     
0
7
375
314
           
0

Round 1: Count of first place rankings.
Round 2: Eliminating candidate Other default webmail settings, besides Gmail.
Round 3: Eliminating candidate More useful homepage.
Round 4: Eliminating candidate Icon refresh throughout the default UI.
Round 5: Eliminating candidate More localizations.
Round 6: Eliminating candidate Improved spam filtering.
Round 7: Eliminating candidate Others (Please suggest at last question of the survey).
Candidate Improved global search (across all types of accounts) is elected.

Winner is Improved global search (across all types of accounts).

b) Condorcet voting algorithm ("If you are electing one person and simplicity is not important, then we recommend Condorcet voting. Most people agree that Condorcet is the best method for electing one person, but it is more difficult to explain." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV:

Election: Rank the following suggested improvements to functionalities that already exist in Thunderbird.
Method: Condorcet
Completion Method: Schwartz Sequential Dropping
Number of Ballots: 689
8 candidates running for 1 seat.

Pairwise Comparison Matrix:

 
Improved global search
Do not preview spam
Improved spam filtering
Icon refresh throughout default UI
Others
More useful homepage
More localizations
Other default webmail settings
Improved global search
0
375
423
440
433
439
444
466
Do not preview spam
314
0
411
437
419
438
454
459
Improved spam filtering
266
278
0
408
414
427
422
448
Icon refresh throughout default UI
249
252
281
0
398
419
427
448
Others
256
270
275
291
0
413
432
455
More useful homepage
250
251
262
270
276
0
410
446
More localizations
245
235
267
262
257
279
0
443
Other default webmail settings
223
230
241
241
234
243
246
0

Smith Set: Improved global search (across all types of accounts)
No completion necessary since the Smith set has just one candidate.

Winner is Improved global search (across all types of accounts).

c) Scottish STV voting algorithm ("If you are electing multiple people and simplicity is important, then we recommend Scottish STV, as it is the simplest of all the STV methods." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV:

Election: Rank the following suggested improvements to functionalities that already exist in Thunderbird.
Method: Scottish STV
Number of Ballots: 689
Threshold Name: Droop Static Whole
Threshold Value: 173.0
Delayed Transfer of Surplus: Not Enabled.
Batch Elimination: None
8 candidates running for 3 seats.

Round
Improved global search
Do not preview spam
Improved spam filtering
Icon refresh throughout default UI
Others
More useful homepage
More localizations
Other default webmail settings
Exhausted
Surplus
1
163
114
80
71
79
62
65
55
0
0
2
171
124
90
75
88
67
74
 
0
0
3
191
139
95
82
95
 
87
 
0
18
4
173
145.6
98.8
85.2
97.2
 
89.3
 
0
0
5
173
171.7
117.6
 
121.2
 
105.5
 
0
0
6
173
216.7
152.6
 
146.8
     
0
43.7
7
173
173
182.8
 
160.2
     
0
9.8

Round 1: Count of first place rankings.
Round 2: Eliminating candidate Other default webmail settings, besides Gmail.
Round 3: Eliminating candidate More useful homepage.
Candidate Improved global search (across all types of accounts) is elected.
Round 4: Transferring surplus votes from candidate Improved global search (across all types of accounts).
Round 5: Eliminating candidate Icon refresh throughout the default UI.
Round 6: Eliminating candidate More localizations.
Candidate Do not preview spam is elected.
Round 7: Transferring surplus votes from candidate Do not preview spam.
Candidate Improved spam filtering is elected.

Winners are Improved global search (across all types of accounts), Do not preview spam, Improved spam filtering.

d) Meek STV voting algorithm ("If you are electing multiple people and simplicity is not important, then we recommend Meek STV. Most people agree that Meek STV is the best variant of STV, but it can only be implemented with a computer program." – from OpenSTV FAQ)

Output from OpenSTV:

Election: Rank the following suggested improvements to functionalities that already exist in Thunderbird.
Method: Meek STV
Number of Ballots: 689
Threshold Name: Droop Dynamic Fractional
8 candidates running for 3 seats.

Round
Improved global search
Do not preview spam
Improved spam filtering
Icon refresh throughout default UI
Others
More useful homepage
More localizations
Other default webmail settings
Exhausted
Surplus
Threshold
1
163
114
80
71
79
62
65
55
0
0
172.3
2
171
124
90
75
88
67
74
 
0
0
172.3
3
191
139
95
82
95
 
87
 
0
18.7
172.3
4
172.3
145.9
98.9
85.3
97.3
 
89.4
 
0
0
172.3
5
197.5
163
110.6
 
115.9
 
101.9
 
0
25.3
172.3
6
172.3
173.6
117.2
 
120.5
 
105.4
 
0
1.4
172.3
7
197.9
204.8
145.4
 
140.9
     
0
58.2
172.3
8
180.8
182.4
171.4
 
154.5
     
0
18.6
172.3
9
174.6
175.3
180.1
 
159
     
0
13.3
172.3

Round 1: Count of first place rankings.
Round 2: Eliminating candidate Other default webmail settings, besides Gmail.
Round 3: Eliminating candidate More useful homepage.
Candidate Improved global search (across all types of accounts) is elected.
Round 4: Transferring surplus votes.
Round 5: Eliminating candidate Icon refresh throughout the default UI.
Round 6: Transferring surplus votes.
Candidate Do not preview spam is elected.
Round 7: Transferring surplus votes.
Eliminating candidate More localizations.
Round 8: Transferring surplus votes.
Round 9: Transferring surplus votes.
Candidate Improved spam filtering is elected.

Winners are Improved global search (across all types of accounts), Do not preview spam, Improved spam filtering.

 

Top 3 among all voting methods: 1 – Improved global search, 2 – Do not preview spam, 3 – Improved spam filtering.

Here, we see that improved global search and improved spam functionalities are the most requested improvements. Having more default webmail settings, icon refreshes and a more useful homepage are statistically tied as "next-in-line". If the raw report data is to be scrutinized, there are 123 (18%) respondents voting for "Others" as the top priority; there are other improvements that they feel are more important but which are not listed here. Finally, including more localizations seems to be the least priority, but then again, those who make frequent use of localized builds seldom come around The Rumbling Edge anyway, since it is in English.

Continued in part two..

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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Surveys galore – be they official or not

Surveys galore! There are now official Mozilla surveys available for all to do. The first one talks about your views on Mozilla and the community.

Psst… If you don’t mind doing a Thunderbird-specific one that I myself wrote up at the end-Oct 07, you can still do so by the way. But while mine’s not official, (and probably not done up as well since it’s a one-man operation) there will still be results coming up, along with an analysis done up by me. –not so soon though; my next week at university is packed!

Btw, the number of complete responses has rose past 625. And oh, the survey I did up, was just for fun; it does not help me in any of my homework now at all, be they projects or papers, none whatsoever. :-(

Edit: The survey has been closed as of ~1pm UTC on 18 Nov 07. It has ~689 complete responses, and exactly 1,000 if partial ones are included.

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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Some general news on Thunderbird and Calendar

1. Thunderbird 2 survey: Progress

The survey (v1) on Thunderbird 2 is still online, with more than 370 respondents so far. If you haven’t filled it up, please take around 10 minutes to do so. It comprises 10 questions, some optional. An analysis of the results will follow later. Discussions can be found on Mozilla Labs forum or MozillaZine forums.

2. Calendar: A call to action (cross-posted)

The Calendar team has written a blog post requesting for user contributions on end-user documentation, such as installation of Sunbird / Lightning and switching between different calendar views. They add that different types of help could be provided, "either by writing a tutorial, contributing screenshots or thinking of other things that could be documented".

3. David Ascher: MailCo Jobs (cross-posted)

David Ascher has a list of job descriptions for those looking to join the newly-formed subsidiary focusing on Thunderbird development. Experience in Mozilla technologies / process of development is preferred. As he goes, "We are going to be a small team (probably fewer than 10 people in the first year), with, from day 1, an awesome responsibility towards hundreds of contributors, tens of thousands of beta testers, and millions of users.".

Edit 1: Some details added, spelling & grammar fixes.

Edit 2: Updated the borked links to installation of Sunbird or Lightning.

Final edit: The number of respondents has exceeded an amazing 550 (complete responses; >800 if partial ones are included) in the space of merely a week since it began on ~29 Oct 07. It will close by before the end of November or when the limit of ~1,000 complete responses is reached. Once again, I would like to thank the community for hitting this number in such a short period of time!

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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Free IMAP activated by Gmail

I am having a really busy time at school now, being in the midst of starting to consolidate / analyze the results of the survey for my college project (212 complete responses within a week; 38 more before we hit the limit!) and stalling on creating a Thunderbird-themed one due to lack of time (will appreciate help).

I noticed that Gmail just activated their IMAP support, and here are their instructions for getting it to work on Thunderbird 2 (saw it on Slashdot). As it is currently being rolled out to all accounts, I guess some of us will have to wait till it has been completed.

Edit: The survey for my college project has been closed. Thank you all who have responded!

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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Survey progress

Some 48 hours ago, I started a survey on intellectual property, P2P and piracy (forgot to add: there’s some focus on Singapore!), for my university project. Though some questions admittedly could have been better phrased / organized / improved options, about 150 of you have responded.

Here are some preliminary results based on 150 complete responses (all percentages are approximated):

Questions 1 – 7:

  • 56% of respondents were 19-25 years old, with 27% aged 26-35.
  • 51% were students, while 25% were IT professionals.
  • The respondents mostly downloaded free (as in any type of "free", be it legal or otherwise) software (82% of all respondents), music (70%), movies (49%) and literary works (45%).
  • 48% thought that patents encouraged innovations, most understood plagiarism (79%), and 81% regarded plagiarism as serious, so most (94%) would quote a paragraph and give credits, or rewrite in their own words.

Currently, the survey is still on, so please head on to the survey page (3 pages with 26 questions in total) hosted at SurveyGizmo if you haven’t done so. There is still enough quota for about a hundred more responses for a free account. Personally, I find SurveyGizmo a pretty good deal considering its feature set as compared to other online survey sites.

Thanks to all in advance.

Edit: The survey has been closed. Thank you all who have responded!

Excerpt of results:

  1. What is your age?
    • 19 – 25 years -> 53%
    • 26 – 35 years -> 30%
    • 36 – 45 years -> 6%
    • 13 – 18 years -> 5%
    • More than 45 years old -> 5%
  2. What is your occupation?
    • Student -> 49%
    • IT Professional -> 28%
    • Others -> 14%
    • Engineer -> 5%
    • Unemployed -> 4%
  3. What do you download off the internet for free? Check all that applies.
    • Software -> 84%
    • Music -> 70%
    • Movies -> 49%
    • Literary Works (e-books, journals, etc) -> 44%
    • Anime -> 19%
    • Others -> 13%
  4. A patent is a monopoly right given by the Government to the owner of an invention to enable him to prevent others from using, copying or making his invention without his consent. Do you think patents encourage innovations? 1 being extremely disagree and 5 being extremely agree.
    • 4 -> 39%
    • 3 -> 24%
    • 2 -> 20%
    • 1 -> 12%
    • 5 -> 6%
  5. How much do you understand about plagiarism? 1 being none at all and 5 being fully understand.
    • 5 -> 42%
    • 4 -> 41%
    • 3 -> 14%
    • 2 -> 2%
    • 1 -> 1%
  6. Plagiarism is the using of others’ work passing off as your own without acknowledging. How serious does plagiarism mean to you? 1 being not serious at all and 5 being extremely serious about it.
    • 4 -> 51%
    • 5 -> 32%
    • 3 -> 12%
    • 2 -> 4%
    • 1 -> 1%
  7. How do you make use of online sources for your field of work?
    • Quote a paragraph and give credits to it -> 53%
    • Understand the essence of the paragraph and write it in your own words -> 42%
    • Modify a quote marginally and claim it as yours -> 5%
    • Copy and paste an entire paragraph into your assignment without referencing -> 1%
  8. What do you think are the factors that make people want to plagiarise? Check all that applies.
    • Lazy to write in your own words -> 78%
    • Last minute work -> 63%
    • Want a higher score -> 46%
    • Poor command of language -> 44%
    • Lack of confidence in writing -> 43%
    • Others -> 19%

zz - Others (pre-2008)

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