Mozilla Pulling Out of Thunderbird Email Project

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News Posted: Sun, Jul 8 2012 10:08 AM
Mozilla on Monday is expected to announce that it's no longer going to develop its popular Thunderbird email client, leaving such chores to the open source community at large. News of Mozilla's decision came to light when a confidential letter sent out to "Mozillians" was leaked to the Web for all to see.

"We’ve been focusing efforts towards important Web and mobile projects, such as B2G, while Thunderbird remains a pure desktop-only email client. We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals," Mozilla said in an email.

Mozilla Thunderbird Email Client

Mozilla went on to clarify that it's not 'stopping' Thunderbird, per se, "but proposing we adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the product."

Thunderbird has been a popular Outlook alternative ever since it was released nine years ago this month.
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3vi1 replied on Sun, Jul 8 2012 10:53 AM

Thunderbird has always been my email client of choice. Combined with Enigmail, it's simply the best solution for personal use.

Too bad about this news, but I really haven't noticed much improvement with Thunderbird recently. Maybe this will inspire another project to attempt to take things to the next level.

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I use it for a single RSS feed and thats about it.

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, Jul 8 2012 2:42 PM

So, that's like, HotHardware.com's feed then? Hmm... good reason to keep it around I guess! ;)

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The blog post foretold by the internal email was posted ahead of schedule, and gives some clarification.

http://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2012/07/06/thunderbird-stability-and-community-innovation/

Thunderbird isn't being killed, and will still benefit from Mozilla's infrastructure. It will be less of a priority for Mozilla, at least as far as paid resources go - the paid resources will basically be reduced and rededicated, but the remaining resources will be sufficient to keep up with security and stability work and release engineering.

The intent is that the community will drive the active development - and to a very large part, that's what already happens. Longtime contributer Joshua Cranmer posted on the subject over the weekend - http://quetzalcoatal.blogspot.com/2012/07/mozilla-and-thunderbird.html

In particular, he writes "More than half of the top-ten contributors are non-employees". By that metric, I espect that Thunderbird will do just fine, even with the reduced resources.

Another big change in the announcement is in the technical details posted at https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Proposal:_New_Release_and_Governance_Model - this change may actually free up some resources to work on Thunderbird in the long run, since the big pull from mozilla-central into comm-central that syncs up the Gecko engine Thunderbird shares with it's bigger sibling will only happen on the ESR schedule. That sensibly means less integration work to keep up with what Firefox is doing.

From a user perspective, the regular 6 week releases will continue, with whatever the Thunderbird community improves on, and whatever bugfixes come from the ESR line. The ESR (which is intended only for large organizations that require long lead times before deploying software)) will integrate the community-driven changes only at the start of each cycle. Basically, business as usual for both end users and corporate users.

Streamlined governance has also been promised - it will be easier to contribute and there will be a strong effort to recruit amd include more community members into the development and QA process, as well as the management of Thunderbird (leadership across all Mozilla projects continues to be open to community members as well as employees on a strict meritocratic basis)

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rapid1 replied on Mon, Jul 9 2012 8:08 AM

I use and have used for many years Thunderbird on my desktop. I don't think this is really bad in essence anyway. The one thing I don't like is a singular point for security concerns. While having it developed by many individuals may be better I think it needs to have a single point to make sure all known bases and threats are covered. Whereas the open side makes sure that the unthought of or even singular threats on the wings are taken care of.

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I have been using it for the one POP email account I'm still stuck with looks like this might be the final nail in that coffin. Would be nice if I could use webmail offline as I have some of the worst connectivity issues of anyone in a major city anywhere. Seriously they should pay me to use their internet service its so bad.

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Dave_HH replied on Mon, Jul 9 2012 9:17 AM

Great info, Steph. Thanks and welcome!

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rapid1 replied on Tue, Jul 10 2012 7:55 AM

Hey digitaldd if your broadband is through cable you may want to look into an amplifier. I am assuming a good bit here but I imagine your on broadband. If it is cable you can get a powerline adapter that plugs in and amplifies the cable signal to you whole house. When you plug it to the main splitter from where it comes into your house and it amplifies from there out. It also helps top make sure the line going to the room where your cable or phone line modem is on the -5 out from the splitter (and that there is no other splitter between your cable in and where ever your modem is in the cable line to that modem). I don't know what your situation is entirely but if you are on cable broadband that can help tremendously.

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wuyu0109 replied on Tue, Jul 10 2012 9:37 AM

Thanks and welcome!

 

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digitaldd replied on Fri, Jul 13 2012 8:58 AM

rapid1:

Hey digitaldd if your broadband is through cable you may want to look into an amplifier. I am assuming a good bit here but I imagine your on broadband. If it is cable you can get a powerline adapter that plugs in and amplifies the cable signal to you whole house. When you plug it to the main splitter from where it comes into your house and it amplifies from there out. It also helps top make sure the line going to the room where your cable or phone line modem is on the -5 out from the splitter (and that there is no other splitter between your cable in and where ever your modem is in the cable line to that modem). I don't know what your situation is entirely but if you are on cable broadband that can help tremendously.

The problem isn't just me its my whole neighborhood that goes down. everyone looses TV service as well for about a 4 block radius..

 

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