I do not know why this is so difficult. I have multiple GMail accounts, and dealing with multiple accounts within GMail has always been a weak point (IMO). I first gave Evolution a try, but quickly alterred course when I realized how slowly Evolution loads IMAP messages (is this particular to GMail?). After scouring the internet to find 64 bit Thunderbird for Linux, or 64 bit Thunderbird at all, really, I set about to get things configured.
I thought the requirements were simple. I have several mailing lists and a few project-specific automated messages that I wanted in folders. I want sent mail and drafts to work, and I don’t want new messages to show up in multiple places. This is how I accomplished it.
All of this is under the Gear - Mail Settings options.
At first, I was impressed here. I am configuring a gmail business email account, so the domain is not blah at gmail dot com, Thunderbird still identified as a gmail address and configured incoming and outgoing servers correctly. Not only that, but the old Thunderbird 2 “feature” where you need to enter your password and save it twice (once for incoming and once for outgoing) is no longer featured (I think they updated this in Thunderbird 3, though).
After some initial pleasure driven by the lack of manual configuration, I quickly realized that my emails were showing up in multiple places (The multiple places issue is resolved by ensuring the “Show in IMAP” boxes are unchecked for some of the default GMail labels). I also wasn’t getting information about my custom labels (the folders did not show up, even when manually “Get Mail”-ing). More internet digging…
Account settings – Server Settings – Advanced: uncheck the “Show only subscribed folders” option.
Great! Now I get my custom folders (labels from GMail). A day later, I still wasn’t seeing much action in my custom folders. Thinking that I would spur one of them into action, I selected one of my custom label folders (non-bold, no new messages). What do you know? Upon selecting, Thunderbird loaded messages from the server. Why wasn’t this folder syncing properly?
I found this only after pulling my hair out for a little while and randomly clicking on things. Highlight the folder name in the folder pane, select Edit – Folder Properties (alternatively, right click on the folder name, and select properties - I can not figure out a way to do this that allows manipulation for more than a single folder at a time, tips welcome [UPDATE: Thanks to Dragos in the comments for a workaround]). In the Folder Properties: General Information tab, check the “When getting new messages for this account, always check this folder” option. Enjoy your simple IMAP folder configuration in Thunderbird 5 and GMail.
[UPDATE] If you configure the account in Thunderbird, and then uncheck the “Show in IMAP” option in GMail, Thunderbird will throw errors. You won’t be able to unsubscribe from the folder at that point in Thunderbird, because it populates its subscription list based on what is available on the server, not based on the folders to which you are already subscribed (which makes sense, but can be another annoyance if you are dealing with this setup). Just re-enable those folders in the GMail settings, unsubscribe to those folders in Thunderbird, and then re-disable the “Show in IMAP” option again in GMail.
Am I the idiot here, or is this particular integration overly complex?
I did not notice at first, but my Drafts were getting saved to my [Gmail]->Trash folder. This did not really bother me much, since Gmail keeps trash messages around for 30 days, and I can not think of a reason to keep a draft around for that long. However, if you want draft messages to save in the [Gmail]->Drafts folder, proceed to Account Settings -> Copies & Folders -> Under Drafts and Templates: select Other, then