Mozilla has finally done it! The one feature that I wanted the most in Thunderbird 2 has finally made its way into the nightly builds of Thunderbird 3: Tabs! It was a sad realization when I knew there was no chance of tabs making it into Thunderbird 2, and I almost thought that they scrapped the idea all together.

So what are they like? Thunderbird 3 is still very early in the development stages and won’t be in final form until the first quarter of 2008. As of right now it’s not even usable on a computer that you use frequently because I had several crashes in the 30-minutes that I used it. With that being said the tabs are indeed present, and you can open a message in a new tab by right-clicking on it and choosing the "Open Message in New Tab" option. Here’s what the tabs look like:

Thunderbird Tabs

There are quite a few bugs in the way the tabs currently work though:

  • Close tab buttons do absolutely nothing so you’ll have to right-click on the tab to close it.
  • If you switch back to your "Local Folders" tab and navigate to another folder it will mess up the tabs.
  • Double clicking on a message should probably open in a new tab, but it still opens in a new window.

It is expected that some things wouldn’t work since this feature was just recently implemented, but at this point it is the thought that counts. The Alpha builds will probably be starting in August if they want to meet the Q1 2008 deadline for shipping Thunderbird 3. At that time the tabs should be considerably more stable, but we’ll have to see what other goodies Thunderbird 3 will have since they haven’t added details to the roadmap.

View my favorite Thunderbird 2 extensions
Source: FFExtensionGuru & Mozilla Links

No, the elves have nothing to do with it, but who doesn’t love dancing elves?