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Mozilla’s Lightning and Sunbird

Friday, July 13th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Uncategorized
 
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Q:
Can you tell me anything about Mozilla’s Lightning and Sunbird applications? I heard a new version was just released, but I can’t find much information on it. If you know anything at all, please share!

A:
Excellent question! If you’ve been an avid Lightning and Sunbird user from the very beginning, I’m sure you’ve been wondering what’s been going on with it. The first version (0.3) was released quite a long time ago, but Mozilla always talked about a new one coming out. And after getting a lot of our hopes up, it seemed like the project would never get finished.

That is, until now! I’m happy to tell you all that Lightning and Sunbird, version 0.5, has officially been released! And let me tell you now, you won’t be disappointed. Mozilla has made a lot of changes to these two applications and I really think you’re going to love them. Now, before I get into a discussion on those changes, I want to make sure we’re all on the same page. If you’re not sure what either Lightning or Sunbird is, here’s a brief description of them.

They both kind of go along with the Thunderbird e-mail program, but they have their own features as well. Lightning allows you to manage your schedule right within Thunderbird and Sunbird gives you great calendar features outside of Thunderbird. So, if you like to send and receive meeting invitations in your e-mail, you may want to check out what the new Lightning version has to offer. On the other hand, if you’d like to have a calendar of your own outside of your e-mail, Sunbird may be the one for you. Or if you like to do all of those things, check them both out! Now, let’s move on to all the new features.

First of all, Mozilla has done a lot of work with the interface for both applications, but especially with Sunbird. It’s much more polished now and it just looks a lot better. Even more, they have improved the way the event invitations are sent and received in Lightning. There is now an automatic migration of data in Sunbird and the working hours feature is back again.

Also, if you ever need to print something in either program, it’s going to be a lot easier from now on and the integration method of Lightning into Thunderbird has improved a great deal as well. As for Sunbird, there is now some Google Calendar support. It won’t support every Google Calendar feature, but it will do almost everything. The biggest thing it can’t do is sync recurring events, but if you don’t use that feature anyway, you’ll be all set!

Now, with every new feature comes some drawbacks, but trust me, they’re minor. The biggest thing is that Sunbird can use up quite a lot of your memory. Most calendar programs do, but Sunbird can use anywhere between 60 and 140 MB of your memory at any given time. That may be a little excessive for a calendar feature, but you have to do what you have to do! Other than that, there aren’t too many problems with the new version of either application.

Once you download them, you can experiment with the settings and configure everything so it’s just right for you. If you’re interested in getting Lightning 0.5, you can download it here. If you want Sunbird 0.5, just click here to get it as well. They’re both just a quick download away and then you can start in on the fun. That’s all you have to do. I hope you enjoy it!

~ Erin

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