Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Date & Time Issue with Mozilla ThunderBird. Bug or Usability Problem?

When mail arrived in Inbox , it doesnot get sorted as per the system date or download date/time , but get sorted as per the date set in sender's PC .

I am using Mozilla Thunderbird ver version (20080914). I observed a typical behavior of this software . It may be a usability issue or it may be a bug too. I set the mail sorting for Inbox. I set Mail sorting as per Date , means the last or latest received mail will be at top position in Inbox.

On 21 November 2008 , I received a mail read return receipt from recipient. As nothing unusual was in it , I just ignored it. On 23 Nov, I observed that the same mail read receipt was occupying the top position , though more than dozens mails has already arrived in Inbox meanwhile. New mails are keep coming , but this particular Return Receipt Email refused to budge from its position.

On careful examination of it, I got the clue. The recipient, which originated the return receipt has set system date on his PC as 28 Nov 2008 and Mozilla Thunderbird is sorting mail as per Date order means as per most recent date and time, hence it is occupying the top slot in Inbox.

Now I decided to do experiment further. I set the system date of my PC to back 10 October and sent mail to myself. This time ,this mail did not positioned at top position in Inbox (which ideally it should be as it was a latest email) , but adjust itself somewhere in between the Inbox , which I found only after scrolling down. The mail was sat in the group of other 10-October mails.

It is clear , Mozilla Thunderbird ver version (20080914) is sorting mails in Inbox , based on sender's date and time not as per receivers system date and time or when it get downloaded. Ideally it should be as per receivers date and time , when it get downloaded.

This particular behavior raises some questions:
1. Why should recipients be a victim of incorrect date and time of Sender?
2. What if someone send mail with old date and time? In this case the mail will be settled at bottom or in between the mailbox and recipient will not come to know about its arrival easily?
3. For better visibility , spammers would set futuristic date say of year 2015 and such mails will always occupy top slots.
4. Most important. It seriously questions the actual arrival date and time of all existing mails as well all incoming mails in Inbox. Now I am not sure about the old mail's date and time. It may be plus or minus from the date which it is displaying.

Is this a bug of software or Usability issue??Any comments.

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