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Tame Your Email. Take Back Control.

This is part of the continuing story about what happens when an Ubuntu local community meets great software and decides to help make it more accessible.

Despite not (yet) being the default email client for Ubuntu, Thunderbird is one of those applications that is a "must have".

In Vancouver BC, I have spoken to many community members that are struggling with email. There's too much of it. There's no easy way to separate the good stuff from the spam from the bacn. This puzzled me until I realized that most people use free web-based mail services. Web mail interfaces are clumsy and ultimately designed to maximize distraction (and time spent exposed to advertising) rather than to promote efficient communication. Web mail features are hobbled and can (and do) change without notice, without any apparent logic. It's no wonder why people are saying "Enough is enough!" and dreading having to manage their inbox or simply opting out of email altogether.

The Ubuntu Vancouver Local Community believes that one barrier to the widespread adoption of Ubuntu's collection of outstanding software is a shortage of well-written and accessible user guides. The kind of guides that give a person reading it a sense of "Hey, this is quite good!" or "Wow, I didn't know Thunderbird could do that!". Add to that the fact that so many people struggle locally and I had what could be considered an "Aha" moment.

So, back in the autumn of 2010, I set out to catalyze the creation of the first comprehensive guide to Thunderbird on Ubuntu written from the standpoint of an email user under siege. (We called her Mary.) If you are like Mary, you have several (usually free) web-based email accounts and you're tired of managing them.

With the help of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) we, Charlene Tessier and yours truly, identified a talented technical writer, Jim McCullough, to partner with us and to help fix this issue, not only in Vancouver, but everywhere.

After many months of effort, I am happy to announce that our first Thunderbird Guides are complete and ready for your enjoyment.

Our first guide "follows Mary, an Ubuntu email user, through the decision to use Thunderbird and the steps she takes to install Thunderbird 3.1 onto Ubuntu... We'll see just how easy it is as Mary imports the email and contacts from her other other accounts into Thunderbird." (Jim McCullough)

Get it here: http://ubuntuone.com/p/oWc/

Our second guide "continues to follow Mary... as she learns how to use Thunderbird to manage the large volume of email she receives. With dozens of email messages arriving in each of her email accounts every day... Mary has been suffering from 'email overload'... We'll watch as Mary learns to efficiently view and search email, group and prioritize messages, filter and automate message handling, and finally maintain and backup Thunderbird so that it continues to run smoothly." (Jim McCullough)

Get it here: http://ubuntuone.com/p/oWf/

Please join me in thanking Jim McCullough and Charlene Tessier for a job well done.

And finally, a huge thanks to the Mozilla Messaging Team for making Thunderbird amazing, from their headquarters right here in Vancouver BC!

All Ubuntu community members are invited to help make our guides even better and to help get them into the hands of even more people. Want to help? Thunderbird needs you, and so does your own local community.

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