Tag Archives: free

Thunderbird Run Now Filters Fail on Custom Headers in IMAP Messages

After updating from Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5 to 2.0, I noticed that a manual filter that I had set up stopped working when I clicked the Run Now button. Today, I found a painless and effective workaround for it.

This problem occurs under the following conditions:

  1. The folder is on an IMAP server
  2. The mail filter contains one or more rules that match a custom header
  3. The filter is run manually by selecting “Run Filters on Folder” from the Tools menu or by going to the Message Filters dialog, selecting a folder from the “Run selected filters on” drop down list and then clicking the Run Now button

Note: Filtering on a custom header will work on incoming IMAP mail, just not when run manually on IMAP folders.

The reason the filter fails is that the filter functionality in Thunderbird 2.0 was changed to search the local cache instead of the server and the cache doesn’t contain custom header information, only the standard headers. This change was made because some IMAP servers either don’t have search capability or their implementation is broken.

So, in order to get the filter to work again, Thunderbird needs to have a local copy of all the message headers. Bug 184490, After-the-fact Filters on custom header (eg “User-Agent” or “Newsgroup”) won’t match for IMAP messages, documents this problem and David Bienvenu, in comment #50, gave a very nice workaround for it.

The workaround simply downloads all the messages with all the headers to the local repository for offline use. Hence, Thunderbird can now see all the custom headers and filter on them. To employ the workaround, simply do the following:

  1. Right-click on the folder you want to filter
  2. Select Properties
  3. Click on the Offline tab
  4. Select the “Select this folder for offline use” checkbox
  5. Click the Download Now button to make sure your local copy is up to date
  6. Click the OK button

Now, when you manually run your filter(s), they work! What a relief it was to find this.

VirtualBox: Free Virtualization on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X

Innotek released version 1.5.0 of VirtualBox, their open-source virtualization product, the other day. In addition to many fixes and improvements, this version includes seamless window virtualization when running Windows in Linux so you can have Windows applications running right beside Linux ones.

I guess you could call this the summer of virtualization with all the buzz about saving energy via server consolidation, running Windows in Mac OS X with Parallels Desktop and VMWare going public with extraordinary gusto. However, what if you want to get into the game without using closed source software or without spending a lot of money while having support for many platforms? That’s where VirtualBox comes in.

VirtualBox runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux and enables you to use a variety of guest operating systems in it including DOS, Windows, Unix, Linux, Solaris and OS/2. As I mentioned before, when running Windows inside VirtualBox on Linux, through seamless virtualization Windows applications will run right beside Linux ones on the Linux desktop. For other operating system combinations, the guest OS will still have its own desktop window like it did in VirtualBox 1.4.0.

If you’re currently running Linux, many distributions already have VirtualBox available for installation from their software repositories. For example, in Ubuntu, Kubuntu or Xubuntu, just run Synaptic or Aptitude and choose VirtualBox from the list of packages. Otherwise, you can get it from the VirtualBox download page.

Google Earth’s Flight Simulator Easter Egg

Just saw over at Mashable that Google hid a rudimentary flight simulator inside Google Earth. Pressing Ctrl+Alt+A (Windows) or Command+Option+A (Mac) opens a dialog window where you can select one of two aircraft, your starting location and whether or not you want to use a joystick (keyboard and mouse are also supported).

I had often thought it’d be nice to combine the open-source FlightGear Flight Simulator with the ground imagery of Google Earth/Maps. This is a step in the right direction but it’s hard to say if Google would ever go that far. It’d be nice, though.

Open Source Alternatives

Are you looking for an open source alternative to a well-known commercial application? Do you use an open source program and want to see what commercial product is similar? Well, check out Open Source Alternative, a directory of cross-referenced open source and commercial applications.

You can browse by categories such as business, communications, multimedia and web development or search the directory by application name. On a program’s detail page will be a short description, a link to its web site, the platforms that are supported (Java, Linux, Mac, Unix and/or Windows), and a list of alternatives. For a commercial product, open source alternatives are listed. For an open source product, commercial alternatives are listed. I’ve found it to be a very handy resource for locating software solutions.

Encrypt Synergy Connections with SSH

If you’re using Synergy, all of your keystrokes are sent over the network as cleartext because Synergy does not provide any encryption. In other words, unless you’re using a private network to connect your computers, anyone can sniff the data to see what you’re typing to client computers including passwords, credit card numbers and other sensitive information.

The good news is that it’s not too difficult to prevent snooping by using OpenSSH. The Synergy Network Security Guide shows you how to do this on Linux/Unix-based systems (which should work similarly on Mac OS X).

The bad news is that if your Synergy server or client is on Windows, setting up OpenSSH isn’t as straightforward. I was in this situation for quite a while and, after several unsuccessful tries, I put it on the shelf for a while. Well, tonight I found a very good resource to get OpenSSH working on Windows. I successfully set up a Synergy/OpenSSH server on a Windows XP laptop and connected a Linux client to it.

Note that if you’re using QuickSynergy to set up a client on Linux or Mac OS X, you can simply enter localhost as the server name in the QuickSynergy dialog instead of running synergyc -f localhost as described in the last step of the Synergy Network Security Guide.