Email Call to Action

July 25th, 2007

Do you think email is important part of Internet life? Are you interested in seeing something interesting and exciting happen in the mail space? Believe that Thunderbird provides a much-needed option for open source email alternatives and want to see it get more attention on its own? Long to see something more innovative than Thunderbird in the mail space happen?

So does Mozilla.

Are you someone who could contribute to such an effort? Do you have expertise and a desire to be involved in an innovative mail effort and/or a focused Thunderbird effort? If so, Mozilla would like to hear from you.


Mozilla has been supporting Thunderbird as a product since the beginning of the Foundation. The result is a good, solid product that provides an open alternative for desktop mail. However, the Thunderbird effort is dwarfed by the enormous energy and community focused on the web, Firefox and the ecosystem around it. As a result, Mozilla doesn’t focus on Thunderbird as much as we do browsing and Firefox and we don’t expect this to change in the foreseeable future. We are convinced that our current focus — delivering the web, mostly through browsing and related services — is the correct priority. At the same time, the Thunderbird team is extremely dedicated and competent, and we all want to see them do as much as possible with Thunderbird.

We have concluded that we should find a new, separate organizational setting for Thunderbird; one that allows the Thunderbird community to determine its own destiny.

Mozilla is exploring the options for an organization specifically focused on serving Thunderbird users. A separate organization focused on Thunderbird will both be able to move independently and will need to do so to deepen community and user involvement. We’re not yet sure what this organization will look like. We’ve thought about a few different options. I’ve described them below. If you’ve got a different idea please let us know.

Option 1: Create a new non-profit organization analogous to the Mozilla Foundation — a Thunderbird foundation. If it turns out Thunderbird generates a revenue model from the product as Firefox does, then a Thunderbird foundation could follow the Mozilla Foundation model and create a subsidiary.

This model probably offers the maximum independence for Thunderbird. But it is also the most organizationally complex. There is lots of overhead to create a new foundation, find good board members, recreate the administrative load. When we started the Mozilla Foundation Mitch Kapor, our-then business development lead and I spent a bunch of time on this work. The current Thunderbird developers don’t have this level of business assistance. If there is revenue that requires a subsidiary then the overhead goes up even further. There is serious concern that this will detract from serving Thunderbird users, since the core Thunderbird team is small and developer-focused.

Option 2: Create a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation for Thunderbird. This has less overhead, although it still requires a new company that serves the mission of the Mozilla Foundation. In this case the Mozilla Foundation board and personnel would remain involved in Thunderbird. Thunderbird would continue to need to be balanced and prioritized with Mozilla’s focus on delivering the web through Firefox, its ecosystem and the Open Web as the platform. The Thunderbird effort may therefore still end up with less focus and less flexibility.

Option 3: Thunderbird is released as a community project much like SeaMonkey, and a small independent services and consulting company is formed by the Thunderbird developers to continue development and care for Thunderbird users. Many open source projects use this model, it could be simpler and more effective than a Mozilla Foundation subsidiary. However, creating this as a non-profit would be extremely difficult. Running a services company as an independent taxable company is the simplest operational answer. We would need to figure out how such a company relates to the Thunderbird product itself. What’s the best way for such a company to release a product? How does that relate to the community project that stays within Mozilla?

We don’t know the best answer yet. And we don’t expect to without a broad public discussion and involvement, which we hope this message will trigger. Today someone suggested to me that perhaps there is another foundation that might be a good home for Thunderbird. I hadn’t thought of this; it’s a creative idea.

If you’ve got thoughts or — even better — want to get involved, please let us know. Some suggestions for making sure Mozilla is aware of your comments are at the end of this post.

Broader Mail Initiative

We would also like to find contributors committed to creating and implementing a new vision of mail. We would like to have a roadmap that brings wild innovation, increasing richness and fundamental improvements to mail. And equally importantly, we would like to find people with relevant expertise who would join with Mozilla to make something happen.

If we can see a path to an innovative mail initiative in addition to supporting existing Thunderbird users, then we are interested in doing so. If we find the best way to improve mail is incremental development of Thunderbird as already planned, then we’ve learned something extremely valuable as well.

Mozilla has a range of resources — funds, code, etc. — that can be applied to this problem. We’re looking for people with expertise, vision and leadership capabilities. If you are such a person, or know of such people, please let us know.


If you’re interested in these topics, let us know. The web is great at distributed discussions, let’s see what we think about mail. I’ll moderate comments and trackbacks here quickly. If you want to make absolutely sure that Mozilla can find your thoughts easily, feel free to leave a pointer to them here. There’s also a page for each discussion on the Mozillla wiki, although they require you to log-in to edit. So if you have a Mozilla wiki account or are willing to create one, you can find these pages at the locations below. Go to the “Discussion” tab at the top to add your thoughts or pointers back to your posts.

Mail Initiative


188 comments for “Email Call to Action”

  1. 1

    Kurt said on July 25th, 2007 at 10:06 am:

    Why can’t you guys just hire more people to work on it? Mozilla received millions last year and have only picked up a few people here and there so what is going on with the rest of the money?

  2. 2

    Markus said on July 25th, 2007 at 10:11 am:

    No suprise that the OSS community turns away from Mozilla (see Epiphany ported to WebKit). Your arrogant attitude towards the community annoys me sice quite some time. All you care about is revenue. Start fixing bugs (look at the top voted bugs on Bugzilla) instead of think of ways to get more and more money.
    You’re a non-profit organisation for god’s sake.

    Want a new vision of mail? I got one for you:
    After 8 long years start adding a f*cking scroll bar to the header view!

    I’m eager to try out Mac OS X Leopard’s And once the Shiira web browser gets an ad blocker, Mozilla browsers can kiss my a*s.

  3. 3

    Henrik Gemal said on July 25th, 2007 at 11:48 am:

    Sad to see the 110 focus on Firefox. But if that’s what it takes to beat Internet Explorer then we got to make that decision.

    Go Go Go Firefox!

  4. 4

    Ricky said on July 25th, 2007 at 12:13 pm:

    And don’t forget to rename the “Mozilla Corporation” to “Firefox Corporation”, I think that will make things more obvious (

  5. 5

    Andrew Sutherland said on July 25th, 2007 at 12:35 pm:

    In order to thrive, Thunderbird has to not only beat other email clients, but it also has to beat web-based email like gmail and friends. There are some scenarios where gmail/etc. cannot compete, like in the enterprise where coporations likely frown on forwarding all your email outside the company. But it seems hard to build the kind of community around Thunderbird that Firefox has if it is only used in the enterprise.

    I think the core development of Thunderbird has been good and the underlying plug-in architecture enables innovation. I think more could be done to support third-party innovation (ex: put mailnews in mercurial!), and I don’t really see anything wrong with Mozilla contributing with innovation of its own.

    Anywho, my suggestion for a brave new world of email is to put visualization into Thunderbird! I am actually already working on this in my free time, although it’s slow going right now because I am doing so using Python and have to contend with the issues that entails. (Right now there’s a PyXPCOM bug in my setup that has distracted me into Python bindings and associated tooling for Robert O’Callahan’s chronicle-recorder, since I am also a fan of trying to visualize program execution for debugging support…)

    Blog entries with exciting, if confusing and rough, screenshots can be found at:

    I’m not saying Mozilla should throw all their support behind email visualization (though I would not complain!). Although there is some low-hanging fruit in the visualization space, the best visualizations are going to build on deep analysis, which Thunderbird could provide and benefit those people who aren’t a fan of shiny things. For example, topic-analysis of emails or support for automated extraction of quasi-structured data from e-mails. By the latter, I suppose I mean defining an API so that plugins can be written to extract information from e-mails and then exposed to consumers in a common way. (Perhaps this relates to microformats?) Besides the obvious things like extracting UPS/etc. tracking numbers, dates, and places for other plugins to build on, there is the opportunity for the long tail, which is likely a place where gmail will not go.

    For example, I order a lot of CD’s, and I generally receive an invoice via e-mail. A plugin (or plugins with a common output representation) could extract the totals and allow me to chart the horrors of my CD spending sprees. While this information can be gathered other ways (directly crawl and parse Amazon pages for only-Amazon stuff), there is some benefit to leveraging all the information that pours into your inbox.

    A more practical example of something useful would be a plugin that extracted references to bug tracking numbers, and not just a bugzilla-specific one. In my old job, a lot of bug-related conversation happened in e-mail. Let us say I want info about bug #A, and in that thread there is a reference to bug #B, which has other threads. While today I can search for #A in Thunderbird, then when I see the reference to #B I can search for B. However, with these references directly exposed, while I am browsing the thread on A, Thunderbird can directly point out the thread/messages about B, visualizations or no.

    I’d be interested in others who are also interested in visualization in Thunderbird. Although I am still more talk than code right now, I hope to change that soon. So, people interested in this idea I guess please post here too or drop me a line? (

  6. 6

    Majken said on July 25th, 2007 at 1:04 pm:

    I agree that things are going to get really interesting with the web and what it can do. I think we might be missing the boat if we think it’s all going to happen within the browser. All the talk I hear about “the web is the future!” sounds like Firefox as OS, and maybe it’s my lack of vision, but I just can’t see that working out well. If everything is going to be “on the web” then where does a browser separate from the operating system fit in? Will it be like PowerDesktop, an alternative file exlorer?

    I think there is a serious underestimation of how much people want their data *off* the web as much as possible, especially in North America. What will happen for those users? I guess Firefox would save their data to the HD and tell the server to delete it, and then the web interface would be able to read the mail again? Or Firefox would display it without sending it back to the server? Isn’t that another suite?

    I think my biggest problem with all this is I don’t know how far in the future all this is, maybe it’s next year, and so it’s *Really* happening, but is it really? What’s the timeframe for this? Are we really somewhere with standards that it can happen so soon? 5 years maybe?

    So while everyone’s really excited about what’s coming down the tubes, I’m sitting at home wanting to use an email client, and a calendar manager, and I like not having to go online to check stuff (*my* internet is up pretty much 24/7 and I have unlimited bandwidth, but pretty sure that’s still the minority). Especially on my laptop. Yeah there’s mobile phones, too, but seriously what is the security like? Hackers are just beginning to get into the market and will phone providers and manufacturers really have the experience to close the holes quick enough to keep people’s data safe in the near future?

    All this R&D is great, but I’m a user and I exist *right now* and my data could use managing *right now* and *right now* I don’t care how many apps I have to use to do that, that’s what my operating system is for. I care that things like Thunderbird, and Sunbird (which is an alpha I might add, it’s amazing) work. really. well.

    If the technologies are going to converge, then fine. But why so much bet hedging? Why not let it happen organically? Innovate the current products and UI. I mean web based or standalone the UI that people like is going to be the same. Isn’t this what the foundation is *supposed* to be doing? Nurturing things that *are* good for users and seeing what happens?

  7. 7

    Karsten D said on July 25th, 2007 at 2:02 pm:

    TB, unlike Firefox, has always had strong competition – there are *lots* of good mail programs out there – and lack of developer resources, maybe in part a millstone legacy of the Mozilla Suite.
    Misty as TB’s future is, I wish them all the luck they need…

  8. 8

    Karsten D said on July 25th, 2007 at 2:02 pm:

    TB, unlike Firefox, has always had strong competition – there are *lots* of good mail programs out there – and lack of developer resources, maybe in part a millstone legacy of the Mozilla Suite.
    Misty as TB’s future is, I wish them all the luck they need…

  9. 9

    Karsten D said on July 25th, 2007 at 2:02 pm:

    TB, unlike Firefox, has always had strong competition – there are *lots* of good mail programs out there – and lack of developer resources, maybe in part a millstone legacy of the Mozilla Suite.
    Misty as TB’s future is, I wish them all the luck they need…

  10. 10

    Jasper said on July 25th, 2007 at 2:34 pm:

    I agree with Markus to some extent: the users have been contributing in providing direction for the project by filing bug reports (including feature requests) over the years. Several rather annoying bugs have been extensively documented but are still open after more than half a decade (e.g. 65794). So I think it should be clear about where to move with the development at least in the short term, a nice overview to start with is available at:
    And this is only a partial listing, e.g. 161968 and 250340 and probably a lot of others could be added.
    So it is my opinion that the discussion on how to improve Thunderbird is a non-starter.

  11. 11

    mscott said on July 25th, 2007 at 2:47 pm:

    I’ve put some thoughts David and I have on finding a new organizational home for Thunderbird over at:

  12. 12

    Mitchell Baker said on July 25th, 2007 at 3:02 pm:


    I do not believe that hiring more people will solve the Thunderbird issues. Assume an additional 5 (or 10, or 100) people to work on Thunderbird. Is that enough to compete with other players for a consumer based product? No. Firefox is succeeding because of a massive community of people who build the product and drive adoption.

    Thunderbird does not have this community. It never has. We can speculate on the reasons. But whatever the reason, Thunderbird does not have the community development that has driven other projects. I do not see Thunderbird changing. And I do not see Thunderbird developing further within the current structure without such a change. I do not see Mozilla hiring enough people to make up for this difference.


  13. 13

    dan m said on July 25th, 2007 at 3:31 pm:

    been reading several posts about this — sounds like a good move — I’d love to see Thunderbird take off and become more than it already is.

  14. 14

    jminta said on July 25th, 2007 at 4:08 pm:

    What isn’t clear to me from this and the previous posts on Mozilla’s direction is precisely how Firefox and “delivering the web” fit together. Is it Mozilla’s position that Firefox is where the effort is, should, and will be focused in order to “deliver[] the web” or is this more a sign that Thunderbird didn’t match this mission, but Mozilla is looking for other products that might fit? In other words, is there some gap between Firefox and Mozilla that Thunderbird simply hasn’t filled, or are Mozilla and Firefox essentially co-extensive (there never was a gap to fill)?

  15. 15

    Matias Jose said on July 25th, 2007 at 5:46 pm:

    I am not sure what type of organization you should use in the legal aspect. But as a Project Manager, I would recommend that you split current Mozilla organization in three parts: Actual Mozilla taking care of XUL Runtime Libraries (everything that has to do with it including support for the databsae engine and future XUL desktop environment), then the Firefox and Thunderbird folks into 2 separated teams taking care of building the XUL part of the apps (not the core libraries).

    Firefox team cannot take care of both Firefox and the XUL at the same time to my opinion. I think the 3 teams should be deeply connected in the way that both Firefox and Thunderbird teams should be able to work on add ons to the XUL libraries, but then the Mozilla guys should manage and maintain the code.

    Gues Mozilla could split in two (as they already must be doing it, some guys do Firefox, some guys do XUL runtime) and then you could call more people to do just Thunderbird. I think this applies to your idea of Firefox and Thunderbird being subsidiaries of Mozilla.

    Funds can come in lots of ways, including support for Enterprises and custom security applications which work as extensions for both Firefox and Thunderbird and could extend XUL runtime libraries.

    I think XUL Runtime should me modular and extendable using platform specific dynamic link libraries for its non essential functions (aka internet connectivity) so we don’t get into the .NET bottleneck problem of having to load 18MB of code to run Notepad…

  16. 16

    Rafael said on July 25th, 2007 at 9:07 pm:

    This is good. Option #3 is the best choice and we should see some good innovation coming out of Thunderbird/Mail.

  17. 17

    Craig said on July 25th, 2007 at 10:05 pm:

    I used to be an avid user of Thunderbird. It is a great e-mail and Usenet client.

    However, I honestly must say that I do not have much use for an offline client anymore. On any given day I use three to five workstations, not to mention systems that are not mine. Synchronizing my e-mail and Usenet settings is tedious at best. However, the real killer is that usually one of those systems always being reformatted weekly. Constantly backing up my data, importing it, and then trying to keep them all synchronized is just too much work.

    For the last few years I have switched to entirely online options. Gmail, Hotmail etc. solve all of my e-mail problems. Google Groups solves my Usenet problems. No more back ups, importing, and synchronization. It really is an ideal system for me.

    Thunderbird has some great features that I miss. Most important to me is being able to see the encoding of a post, something that neither Gmail nor Hotmail specifically support (although defaulting to UTF-8 is very acceptable). Sorting Usenet messages is quite useful too.

    However, as good as the features are, an offline client is just not practical for my needs.

    While I do hope for a continued, bright future for Thunderbird, I can not grasp how it can survive as an offline client. Synchronization between multiple systems is the biggest obstacle. Firefox, on the hand, provides a platform for solving all of these issues.

    What can Thunderbird do support my needs?

  18. 18

    Michal Illich said on July 25th, 2007 at 11:08 pm:

    Well, there may be two things that can hurt Thundebird more than the organizational and personal issues which you are facing now:

    Threat 1: Losing Mozilla brand for e-mail application. I don

  19. 19

    Eoban said on July 26th, 2007 at 12:22 am:

    I cannot help but consider that this decision by Mozilla might have been partially brought around by the fact that Thunderbird, unlike Firefox, has no clear revenue model. Firefox’s Google search bar gets Mozilla a few cents from Google each time someone uses the built-in search. However, Thunderbird has no such revenue stream. I’m not accusing anyone of anything; I am merely pointing out this important difference between Firefox and Thunderbird.

  20. 20

    Alex Hudson said on July 26th, 2007 at 12:40 am:

    (I’m a hacker on a server-side mail project, Bongo – click my name [I think?!] to get to our homepage).

    This news makes me sad. Not because Mozilla seems to have realised that Tbird doesn’t really fit, but that there doesn’t seem to be any idea about what Tbird is/was about.

    It’s probably true in a way that webmail has eaten some of Tbird’s lunch: it’s a simple mail client not terribly suitable for corporate use, and signing up to a webmail is a lot simpler than downloading and configuring a mail client.

    It seems very clear to me that Tbird doesn’t know who its users are, though. And talking about which organisation is best suited to developing it seems to be putting the cart before the horse: without knowing who you’re developing it for, I can’t see how you can know _how_ you should develop it.

    I personally think Tbird has been too afraid of taking on Outlook. God knows I have no love of “enterprise groupware” – again, see the Bongo Project – but if Tbird is to be developed sustainably, it needs revenue, and I don’t see how revenue can be generated by aiming it as a free product for home users. It can’t send users to Google like Firefox can, or support itself with ads. That seems to be pretty simple, to me.

    Personally, I would _love_ Tbird to get closer to the Bongo Project, and become a client really suitable for business use. It doesn’t need bells or whistles: it needs to do stuff like sharing contacts and calendars easily. It needs to be something which doesn’t require configuration, and can pull resources like signatures from a server.

    Yes, it is a desktop project, but it needs to stop trying to cater just to lowest common denominator. Without losing the ability to do that, it can gain much tighter integration with open source mail and appeal to a much broader audience, and hopefully one who would be willing to put some money its way.

    I’m extremely interested in the future of Tbird; the business I run uses it exclusively for our mail. But more than that, I see a lot of potential for it. It absolutely needs vision, though!

  21. 21

    Mick T said on July 26th, 2007 at 12:46 am:

    I don’t understand the reasoning behind saying that Thunderbird doesn’t fit into the Mozilla manifesto.

    It seems to me that Thunderbird fits perfectly into Mozilla’s vision of the open web, and I really don’t understand why Mozilla doesn’t believe it has the resources to run both the Firefox and Thunderbird development.

    Am I missing something here?

  22. 22

    Dean said on July 26th, 2007 at 1:00 am:

    Craig: IMAP removes all that need except for some miniscule configuration.

  23. 23

    Markc said on July 26th, 2007 at 1:09 am:

    Although this could potentially be a good move for Thunderbird, if it ultimately results in more focus and resources, I see it as a bad idea for the Mozilla ecosystem as a whole.

    Already there have been misgivings from some developers about the Foundation/Corporation’s dedication to Mozilla as a platform. Platform work seems largely focused on “is this feature needed for Firefox” rather than “is it a good idea for the platform as a whole”.

    Without Thunderbird to worry about, I fear that platform work will become ever-more Firefox-oriented, leaving other consumers out in the cold – especially the small companies and individuals who aren’t in a position to maintain their own XULRunner builds and patches.

  24. 24

    jp said on July 26th, 2007 at 1:10 am:

    So what became of the idea to have TB and FB both be XULRUNNER applications? I think it is a pity that the Mozilla foundation concentrates so much on FF, since Thunderbird has much more potential for truely innovative and interesting features, especially also for users from companies. But obviously this is about money and greed rather than innovation and development. Google probably does not like to see competition to its Gmail and probably is not interested to see its money go to TB development.

  25. 25

    Fede said on July 26th, 2007 at 1:32 am:

    Craig: Or just use IMAP. With IMAP, the email resides on the server, but you connect with a client like thunderbird. So, as long as you have the mail account configured (which, with thunderbird, is as hard as carrying along your profile to the new computer the first time you use it), your mail is there waiting for you, with your custom folders, etc.

  26. 26

    Benoit said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:01 am:

    Even if Option 3 is chosen, I think this Thunderbird effort should get a stronger support (including funds, trademarks) from the Foundation than SeaMonkey today.

    I always understood your mission of preserving choice and innovation on the Internet as it is written: it’s the Internet, not the Web.

    I think integrating the calendar team (Lightning) with this new Thunderbird structure might also be a good idea.

  27. 27

    Cris said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:42 am:

    sorry, but this is a crazy and even stupid idea! i am very sad to see what is happening since mozilla lost its roots and since the new mozilla corporation comes up :( i am really disappointed. thunderbird is a great product and the ONLY remaining alternative for windows users.

  28. 28

    Fr said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:42 am:

    Mitchell says:

    “Assume an additional 5 (or 10, or 100) people to work on Thunderbird. Is that enough to compete with other players for a consumer based product? No. [...] Thunderbird does not have this community. It never has.”

    So what’s the point of letting Thunderbird going its own way? Do you expect to see more people involved? I don’t see how. Email is part of the web, it’s part of the Mozilla mission.

    From what I see, my family is more interested in reading their email than browsing the web. What they first want is a way to easily read their email. If they want to read news, they read them in newspaper. If they want to watch TV, they turn on the TV; they don’t care about people blogging, they don’t care about the latest release to see SVG working in a web browser. They want to read and write emails. Sorry, but that’s part of the web. Unless you define “the web” as what and only what goes through a web browser. But that’s certainly incorrect.

    I agree with a previous comment. Rename Mozilla Corp as Firefox Corp. First the Mozilla Suite, and now Thunderbird. Which is next?

  29. 29

    Fr said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:42 am:

    Mitchell says:

    “Assume an additional 5 (or 10, or 100) people to work on Thunderbird. Is that enough to compete with other players for a consumer based product? No. [...] Thunderbird does not have this community. It never has.”

    So what’s the point of letting Thunderbird going its own way? Do you expect to see more people involved? I don’t see how. Email is part of the web, it’s part of the Mozilla mission.

    From what I see, my family is more interested in reading their email than browsing the web. What they first want is a way to easily read their email. If they want to read news, they read them in newspaper. If they want to watch TV, they turn on the TV; they don’t care about people blogging, they don’t care about the latest release to see SVG working in a web browser. They want to read and write emails. Sorry, but that’s part of the web. Unless you define “the web” as what and only what goes through a web browser. But that’s certainly incorrect.

    I agree with a previous comment. Rename Mozilla Corp as Firefox Corp. First the Mozilla Suite, and now Thunderbird. Which is next?

  30. 30

    Fr said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:42 am:

    Mitchell says:

    “Assume an additional 5 (or 10, or 100) people to work on Thunderbird. Is that enough to compete with other players for a consumer based product? No. [...] Thunderbird does not have this community. It never has.”

    So what’s the point of letting Thunderbird going its own way? Do you expect to see more people involved? I don’t see how. Email is part of the web, it’s part of the Mozilla mission.

    From what I see, my family is more interested in reading their email than browsing the web. What they first want is a way to easily read their email. If they want to read news, they read them in newspaper. If they want to watch TV, they turn on the TV; they don’t care about people blogging, they don’t care about the latest release to see SVG working in a web browser. They want to read and write emails. Sorry, but that’s part of the web. Unless you define “the web” as what and only what goes through a web browser. But that’s certainly incorrect.

    I agree with a previous comment. Rename Mozilla Corp as Firefox Corp. First the Mozilla Suite, and now Thunderbird. Which is next?

  31. 31

    Daniel said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:08 am:

    Why not just keep Seamonkey which is stable and fast. Firefox has been a memory hog from the beginning and this is the major complaint and is still the problem at the present time.

    Concentrate time and effort into one brand makes sense. Seamonkey!

  32. 32

    Thomas said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:38 am:

    I see a disturbing trend in the current development at Mozilla. First, old bugs seem not to be fixed in favor of addition of revenue-generating features such as google search etc. Next, xul/gecko receive less and less focus. The xul runtime is very old and needs to be overhauled. Xul runner seems to get “kind-of” canceled due to alledged lack of programmers. SVG never gets the focus it need to make Firefox stand out compared to its competition. And finally, another piece of software that does not generate money as much as firefox does also should be outsourced. I was always wondering why Apple choose khtml as a basis for Safari, now I start understanding the issues. It was never the intention that the Mozilla foundation creates a “useful” open-source platform to implement exciting browsers or web-related applications. It appears to me that the main goal from the very beginning was to still squeeze out some money of the inital Netscape code-base, by simply getting a large user-base and then adding in some funding through google or therelike.
    I am truly disappointed to see these “new” ideas popping out of Mrs. Baker recently so fast. For me it’s clear, more and more developers/users will turn away eventually from Mozilla.

  33. 33

    Mike said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:45 am:

    Firefox and Thunderbird are a quite good package. If you give avay one of them (in occurance Thunderbird), I think it should be very hard in the future for you to stay on the market. We need both and not only one of them. If not, I think that a lot of people will change also their browser if they must have an other mail client.
    So keep Thunderbird in the Mozilla Foundation anf found out few people for programming them.

  34. 34

    CableGuy said on July 26th, 2007 at 5:51 am:

    Whatever solution is going to be chosen. I wish you all the best and all help you can need. Please go on with the best e-mail client ever made!

  35. 35

    Michael Smith said on July 26th, 2007 at 5:57 am:

    Hello Mitchel,

    thanks for this initiative, I think I have two good ideas to the development, the thunderbird development team and the organizational structure.

    Maybe Thunderbird has not such a usersbase and development features and money resources to stay in that shape as it is.

    But I would not through away the baby with the bath tub, as we say here.

    First, making a new organization/foundation is too much work and takes time. So I suggest to give Thunderbird just one year more in the mozilla organization and then make it either a cild company or a community project.

    After that year, do not miss to ask the developers and coders about their interest, in which environment they want to work.

    Please, let Thunderbird for one year in this organizational structure as it is. And we can develop the following ideas.

    1. Thunderbird is a very good mail client. It is in one step mass-ready: But, Outlook is still better, because it has a calendar.
    So just add to Thunderbird a calendar function to get reminders for emails to reciepients with a bithday. So instead of outsourcing Thunderbird, merge Thunderbird, with Sunbird. Both are birds, you know?

    2. And this is the new idea of email: 80 % of email we do to trusted friends. And we do less email, because we are on Instant Messengers.
    So we need like in Google Mail the option for both: sending an email message or – if online – an Instant Message.
    There is a new serverless Instant Messenger out. this is

    It is open for client and protocol, for all posix available, at the moment with QT/FLTK gui.

    The main principle is, that all communication is done ONLY to friends, which were defined before with a symmetric key exchange. This means, communication is safe and encrypted.

    This has the side effect, that no one can message and email me – besides the definded trusted friends.

    Retroshare Messenger is both: an email client and an serverless Instant Messenger.

    So… sending serverless Email is definately a feature, how mail is in future organized. The same for Instant Messaging. The Instant Messenger market is one with very high interest, see Google Talk or the merge of AOL-ICQ and MSN-Yahoo and all the Multimessengers.

    The idea is now: to implement RetroShare serverless Email and serverless Instant Messenger into Thunderbird.

    This should be scheduled for one year of work within the Mozilla Foundation (just a gui integration) and then we release some betas of Thunderbird with Retroshare Instant Messenger and serverless Mail and ideally with Sunbird Calendar. The official Release is then a full integration of RetroShare serverless protocol for serverless Email and Instant Message and the Sunbird.

    3. Thunderbird is used not so much, because it is not bundled into the Firefox Installer.
    One Comment said, that the Mozialla Foundation should then use the name Firefox Foundation.
    But instead of your initiative, I would recommend to a) give Thunderbird one year merging with Retroshare and b) going a little bit back to the roots: Mozilla Foundation was Netscape? So Mail and Surf. And if the we get Thunderbird with Firefox bundled to ONE Suite, then we would not have these problems. Really, I am really surprised about the suggestion to outsource Thunderbird, if it was Sunbird, ok, but Thunderbird? Even Netscape said, that the acutal version is only browser. But a few days later they said an email client will be not excluded for the future!!!

    My suggestion is:

    1. Integrate Sunbird in Thunderbird
    2. Integrate Retroshare in Thunderbird
    3. Bundle it to the Firefox Installer.

    Then after one year of development, decide new and see, how the product is used or not.

    And last: If there is a new organization needed for Thunderbird in one year, this is definately the community, as they play around with a calendar and as well with an Instant Messenger.

    *IF* Thunderbird MUST be outsourced now, then make a new joint-venture-company with OpenOffice, for a Product, which has Email (Thunerbird) Serverless Email and IM (Retroshare) and third a calendar (Sunbird) integrated.

    But it is a mistake to do it isolated outsourced (merged in a joint venture or not), this is why I suggest to have a very HIGH DEVELOPMENT for the next six months, to get the first version of Thunderbird launched this year, with Sunbird and Retroshare implemented in the gui.
    The beta should be this year released.

    Then in 2008 we get first official Version of

    I think this would be a good vision to email: a serverless email and message communication done with the retroshare protocol in the Thunderbird.

    Besided it would have good synergies to have the option to mail to friend over Retroshare (no spam, confidential mail, sending of documents… etc)
    and second you can use for Mails to public Mailadresses (with @ in a mailadress) the Thunderbird. Thunderbird would get an Instant Messenger as well.

    Last idea: Retroshare is discussion to add the Multimessenger as a Patch to retroshare, or other way round, SIM will integrate Retroshare…. this both added to Thunderbird would be like a Multimessenger we need.
    - serbased Mail Message (Thunderbird)
    - serverless Mail Message (Retroshare)
    - Serveless Instant Message (Retroshare)
    - Serverbased Multimessenger ( with AOl, MSN YAHO ICQ JABBER)
    - Calender Function like in Outlook (Sunbird).

    This should be the plans for thunderbird in the next months.. a lot of stuff to do, maybe you can discuss it with the small development team and get a few coders as well from firefox.

    Remember: The main goal is to get an Installer ready, which is Bundling Firefox with the Message Tool.

    Reading Information is only the half of the medaillon, the other half is to discuss them onlin ewith friends.

    Incoming Information (Reading web, Firefox) and outgoing information (Email, Thunderbird) are 2 ways of communications, which are essential for human beings.

    So please do not make mistakes! Give Thunderbird a Push with a serverless Instant Messenger.


  36. 36

    Thomas M. Ritter said on July 26th, 2007 at 6:11 am:

    Yes, its important…eMail communication is a part of our daily life, may be more – its the “control center” of many tasks and messages. In the future there`re will be exist not several programs for messaging, mailing and so on, only one tool is needed for efficient communication.So the development of a “player”, which integrates such functionality, is needed.
    Our suggestions are: developing Thunderbird Core by small team of separate enterprise added by open modules /tools, developed by community. Both, the Core and the tools area can connected to several using scenario and business cases, like bundling with a larger partner or personalisation of each Thunderbird. There

  37. 37

    mfmeulenbelt said on July 26th, 2007 at 6:44 am:

    I don’t really get it. I assume this decision has been discussed for quite some time within the Mozilla Corporation / Foundation, so why did you choose to take up the Eudora code? And why do you state you want a new initiative for mail, when you’ve just ditched your mail client? If you want to integrate mail into Firefox, use the Seamonkey code. If you want to have a separate mail client anyway, use Eudora or Thunderbird. Or am I missing another option for mail?
    Then the options for Thunderbird: just how much development has Seamonkey had since it’s inception? If Thunderbird is to follow a similar route, how much development do you expect Thunderbird to get? I expect close to none, but that’s strictly as an outsider. At least it can’t be much less then now.
    I’m sorry, but I feel like I’ve just been robbed of my two favourite mail clients.

  38. 38

    John Q Public said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:02 am:

    If mozilla foundation does spin off Thunderbird like it did SeaMonkey, then it should change its name to Firefox Foundation. It’s becoming clear that mozilla foundation does not support the innovative internet suite that it could have been.

  39. 39

    Percy said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:03 am:

    Cross-posting relevant portion from Mozilla Links:

    My first reaction is surprise. It is pretty obvious that Firefox is the focus of most resources available at the Mozilla Foundation/Corporation. Firefox is the most important source of revenue for the Mozilla entities but most importantly an extremely effective way to follow its principles and achieve its goals of building and enabling open source technologies, consumer products, and economic models for public value. Regarding the web.

    But according to the Mozilla Manifesto, Mozilla is about all that for the Internet and not just the web. Mozilla could be about chat, VoIP, video conference, peer to peer and other Internet enabled technologies. Not all of them or at least not all of them at the same time, but being solidly established in the email segment I don

  40. 40

    hrmpf said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:10 am:

    Ihr stopft Firefox voll mit irgendwelchem Script-Mist, weil ihr von Google korrumpiert werdet, anstatt den Browser schlank zu halten, und dann auch noch so was …

  41. 41

    guanxi said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:14 am:

    Mitchell – There are two things that I don’t think are clear (or at least, not clear to me):

    1) How does being in MoFo/MoCo limit TB? It may seem obvious from the inside, but could you give a specific example?

    2) If I understand correctly, the new mail innovations are a a new MoFo/MoCo project. Why are they not going into Thunderbird, and how will this project integrate better with MoFo/MoCo?


  42. 42

    Andr said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:35 am:

    Do you think email is important part of Internet life?

    I’m only a user but… afraid to the future

  43. 43

    Andr said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:35 am:

    Do you think email is important part of Internet life?

    I’m only a user but… afraid to the future

  44. 44

    Andr said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:35 am:

    Do you think email is important part of Internet life?

    I’m only a user but… afraid to the future

  45. 45 said on July 26th, 2007 at 8:40 am:

    Rettet Thunderbird (oder so)!

    Offensichtlich halte nicht nur icke E-Mail für die wichtigste Anwendung im großen Internetz: In Mitchell’s Blog schreibt Mozilla-CEO Mitchell Baker (das muss man auch erst einmal hinkriegen: auf der eigenen Seite unter “About me” au…

  46. 46

    asteko said on July 26th, 2007 at 8:52 am:

    “The Mozilla project is to preserve choice and innovation on the Internet.”

    - from “About Mozilla”

    “The Mozilla Foundation was established in July 2003 as a California not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the public benefit. The Mozilla Corporation was subsequently established in August 2005 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Foundation to coordinate the development and marketing of Mozilla technologies and products.”

    - from “About the Mozilla Foundation”

  47. 47

    nadav said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:21 am:

    the major problem with thunderbird, and the cause for it’s lack of popularity (compared with firefox), is that it is desktop software and not a web client. the majority of users don’t need all the features the program has. they prefer the comfort of webmail, accessible from everywhere. gmail, yahoo, ms, and many more – all suggest a good web alternative. If there was a webmail which had the usability and strong programer support thunderbird has – it would be #1. there is no real necessity in staying chained to the desktop. the change needed is big, no doubt, but so would be the outcome.

  48. 48

    Ben said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:24 am:

    Percy: in the early days at the Foundation, when money genuinely was stretched thin, it was rather the opposite: corporate support contracts for _Thunderbird_ contributed in non-trivial ways to the organizational bottom line. Those of us working on Firefox that needed the time to get our product in shape really appreciated the work Scott, David and the rest of the Thunderbird team did to help bridge the gap.

  49. 49

    Vaughn Reid said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:58 am:

    I am sad to see that the Mozilla Foundation does not feel that Thunderbird is an integral part of its mission to further access to the Web in an open manner. Email access, whether from a browser or a desktop based client is still a fundamental part of Internet access for most users. It will continue to remain a fundamental part of access to the Internet by most people for the foreseeable future.

    A free open, extensible mail client that shares a similar code base to Firefox, Lightning, and Sunbird are the only chance that Windows users have of replacing the Exchange/Outlook/Internet Explorer Juggernaut that currently absorbs corporate IT cultures and corporate Intranets.

  50. 50

    Vaughn said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:59 am:

    I have a theory about why Mozilla Foundation may be getting rid of Thuderbird. Here it is:

    Since Google is a primary funder of the Mozilla Foundation, and since Google is actively developing and offering their own enterprise grade email ecosystem via gmail and google apps, maybe they are wanting to kill off or hinder the development of Thunderbird to

  51. 51

    R.A. Martin said on July 26th, 2007 at 10:04 am:

    Yes, email is an important part of Internet life and a desktop-based application like Thunderbird is still needed. A question (somewhat) related to this topic: Qualcomm stopped selling Eudora on May 1st saying an open source version of Eudora is being developed by Mozilla and will be free of charge. Would that effort be moved along with the Thunderbird effort?

  52. 52

    Nation said on July 26th, 2007 at 10:36 am:

    I uninstalled thunderbird after I did not open it for many months. Gmail and Google Business Solutions (allowing domain names to use gmail) has ended my general need for some program on my computer.

    The only time I might need something on my computer is when I am traveling with a laptop and no net connection … oh yeah, google gears might eliminate that need for a program on my comp soonish.

  53. 53

    Phillip Rhodes said on July 26th, 2007 at 10:52 am:

    In a way I hate to see this, because there is so much potential rooted in having XULRunner as the base, and a thriving ecosystem of apps (Firefox, Seamonkey, Thunderbird, Sunbird, Chatzilla, etc) running on top of it… and creating wedges in the overall Mozilla community (in the most inclusive sense) seems like a mistake to me.

    BUT… it might pay off in the long-run. Historically the Mozilla project (and later the Mozilla Foundation) have been pretty poor at working with the larger community, IMO. The projects have always had an arrogance about them, that I assume is rooted in the Netscape heritage. Giving TBird and Seamonkey (and presumably eventually the other non-Firefox projects) separate homes might allow them to become real community driven projects. Eg, not projects where a bug gets 8 zillion votes and stays marked as “WONTFIX” because it doesn’t fit the vision of one insider qabal member.

    It would be nice to keep the synergy between projects though… How about if Seamonkey, Thunderbird, Chatzilla, Sunbird, etc. ALL wind up at a new home together, fork XULRunner, and just go do their own thing? Just consider the “Seamonkey browser” as essentially a fork of Firefox, with standalone distribution, and Seamonkey proper as a distribution consisting of the Browser, Thunderbird, Sunbird, etc. along with whatever glue code is needed to allow them to work together seamlessly.

  54. 54

    Marc said on July 26th, 2007 at 10:55 am:

    Maybe my tinfoil hat is just wrapped a bit too tight today, but what’s the odds that Google pressured the MoCo folks to simply cut ties on the stand-alone Thunderbird mail client, since they (Google) are trying to move the average home user to web-based Gmail, anyway?

    Any bets?

  55. 55

    Unaghost said on July 26th, 2007 at 11:05 am:

    *WHAT* do we read here ?

    “Are you interested in seeing something interesting and exciting happen…”

    “If you’re interested in these topics, let us know.”

    “Are you someone who could contribute to such an effort?”

    So, just found a “Mitchell Baker” foundation so that Mitchell has something to play with and can make meaningless press statements and blog entries – while the rest of us is continues with the development work.

    Mrs. Baker: Please, just resign from your job and let the rest of the community and the foundation do their work. Mozilla Foundation, as well as Firefox and Thunderbird is not your personal plaything you are directing and it is not a toy whose direction you are governing – but it is rather an innovative piece of open source software which has been, is and will be developed by the community.

    So stop asking useless CEO and PR-oriented questions and use the resources of the foundation to get the work done which has to be done – or resign.

    I am really fed up with the perspective that one of the finest open source developments is going down the drain because some strategic PR lobbyist wants to make headline news.

  56. 56

    Phillip Rhodes’ Weblog said on July 26th, 2007 at 11:12 am:

    Mozilla Foundation to drop / spin-off Thunderbird? Fine, fork the entire freaking Mozilla project and start anew.

    From Mitchell Baker’s weblog :

    Mozilla has been supporting Thunderbird as a product since the beginning of the Foundation. The result is a good, solid product that provides an open alternative for desktop mail. However, the Thunderbird effort is d

  57. 57

    DigDug said on July 26th, 2007 at 11:24 am:

    From my experience hacking at TB, its far far FAR more difficult than hacking Firefox. Writing extensions is the same and whatnot, but the TB backend and frontends both are just hard to hook into, and not really documented anywhere. That said, I kinda look forward to this change. It just seems like a good time to sit down and rethink how the interfaces work, both its front and backend sides, and write something thats better. Something that developers can tinker with to create some new mail paradigms, and something that’s simpler and more powerful for end users.

    It feels like a much bigger problem than FF had when it started, but I don’t think it’ll ever get done in the current paradigm (which seems pretty focused on just adding new features with each release).

    So I say go for it. I’m willing to pull up my sleeves and try to get through XPCOM puberty so I can help out.

  58. 58

    andrew said on July 26th, 2007 at 12:02 pm:

    Spinning thunderbird off will harm it, not hurt it. Try leveraging the brand and call it “Firefox Mail” and call the browser “Firefox Browser”.

    You need to come at this from a marketing mindset.


  59. 59

    JL Sigman said on July 26th, 2007 at 12:18 pm:

    Please do not dump, get rid of, or otherwise stop working on Thunderbird. I do not like web-based email clients (Windows Live Hotmail is absolutely awful), and I really don’t want to have to put Outlook Express on my computer to access my BellSouth email account (we won’t even go into how outdated their webmail client is).

  60. 60

    Pete said on July 26th, 2007 at 12:28 pm:

    Option 1 is the best, as Thunderbird is an excellent piece of software which deserves this step. Like Firefox it is there to make one of the best e-mail-clients free!

    Choose option 1 !!!

    All the best & thanks for your excellent work!

  61. 61

    James said on July 26th, 2007 at 1:24 pm:

    Thunderbird is a great product, with a lot of potential. With further development of Thunderbird and Lightning, it could crush Outlook. We need a good open source e-mail client with full RSS functionalities. I say option 1 or 2. But whatever you do, don’t let Thunderbird die.

  62. 62

    Michael said on July 26th, 2007 at 1:27 pm:

    I see Portable Apps as the next big wave.
    I love having Firefox and Thunderbird on my USB stick and being able to browse the web and check my email from any computer as if it were my home computer!

    Once Sunbird/Lightning gets flying then Thunderbird will really be a serious beast to contend with on the open market. Also who says they cant stick a search box on Thunderbird? Google does email and desktop searches too.

    I highly doubt that Google would be happy about this move and it can’t be because it’s a competing product (hell, Skype is included in Google Pack and it’s a direct competitor to Google Talk) With Google increasingly interested in the desktop, having a desktop gmail client (Thunderbird) fits nicely.

  63. 63

    BAG07 said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:00 pm:

    The reason I threw away Outlook is because of the relationship between Firefox and T’bird. I would never have made the switch without my excellent experience with Firefox. T’bird is not perfect … yet, but it is a good email application with plenty of extensions and configurability (sp) to make it more powerful and fit your own personal needs. I would hate to see it separate from Mozilla and I would hate even more to see it die … which it could if separated. This move sounds akin to OpenOffice deciding to remove the spreadsheet or presentation function because someone thought it didn’t fit, didn’t have enough users, etc.

  64. 64

    ronlm said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:19 pm:

    I have to agree with Ben above. As a user of both Firefox and Thunderbird ( as well as the Lightning Calendar Plugin), I’m saddend to see that the Foundation does not see Thunderbird as part of its future. Without the ‘Mozilla’ moniker, Thunderbird will probably slowly dissapear.

    I would think that one of the Foundation’s objectives would be to have an alternative to IE/Exchange, that works across platforms. If Thunderbird was not part of the plan, then what? Firefox is great, but the browser is not the only web component. Web mail has its place, but can’t always replace the desktop client ( Despite all the jumping up and down about Web 2.0 and Ajax. This comes from developers, not end users.) What is really needed is something to counter Exchange.

    As far a gmail, etc are concerned – yea right. I’ve seen how Google handles privacy. Thats all I need is all my email, docs, etc living on Google’s servers. I don’t think so. I won’t even get into hotmail and MS. I’ll leave that for another rant.

  65. 65

    Futurepower(R) said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:24 pm:

    Winifred is the problem, not Thunderbird.

  66. 66

    Baptiste said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:31 pm:

    sorry, but this looks like another case of the MoFo following the money and the hipe. As fashionable as the “rich internet applications” might be, there is still life ont the Internet outside of port 80. Sure, most of the MoFo users today may be using FireFox on Windows to read their Gmail account. But catering only to that narrow ecosystem is the mark of a dangerous short-termism.

  67. 67

    Just another seafaring ape said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:38 pm:

    Let’s sum up this blog post in a few short sentences:

    “Hi everyone, Google 0wnz us, so we’ve been killing off Thunderbird. But now we want to make it official! Please choose whether we should A) not fund tb development, B) not fund it at all or C) disown it completely”

  68. 68

    Braden McDaniel said on July 26th, 2007 at 2:44 pm:

    Will the Mozilla Foundation be changing its name to the Firefox Foundation?

    Serious question.

    Why does, “You can determine your own destiny,” sound a whole lot like, “You can’t rely on us anymore.” Does the motivation for this spin-off come from within the Thunderbird community? Or is accommodating Thunderbird perceived as too much of an inconvenience to Firefox developers?

    I guess that I have a hard time believing that Thunderbird’s problems getting developers are attributable to existing in Firefox’s shadow. The question I have is: Is the Mozilla Foundation interested in creating reusable software, or just a Web browser? I.e., what does this mean for the much-delayed XULRunner?

    A XULRunner Foundation sounds like a fine idea.

  69. 69

    Danny said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:01 pm:

    Oh no, don’t dump TB. It’s the only Mozilla product I use. It’s a great email client, and I just have too many important messages on it. Migrating to another client would be a major headache. Please reconsider.

    Oh, maybe you can get some of the FF evangelists like Asa to do some real work by assigning them to the TB team. :)

  70. 70

    Chris Rebert said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:02 pm:

    Please, please ignore any calls for Thunderbird to take on Outlook. I use Thunderbird frequently. I like it pretty well. Know why? Because it’s *just* a mail application. It’s precisely because it doesn’t have all of the other enterprisey junk that I love it. I use GNOME and T-bird is about my only option for a mail app. Balsa seems kind of iffy and Evolution is trying to be just like Outlook, so I use T-bird. I’ve never had a problem with it.

    I also agree with those who desire T-bird to stay integrated w/ the foundation so it can benefit from Firefox’s popularity and boulstering of the Mozilla brand name.

  71. 71

    vsync said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:11 pm:

    This seems like a terrible plan. Are the codebases going to fork ever farther?

    The general public and Steve Jobs think everything is “the Web”. Software developers should know better.

  72. 72

    Eddy Nigg said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:26 pm:

    That’s a sad announcement for Thunderbird! Is this because it hurts adoption of Gmail? I guess not!

    However Thunderbird gives me what I need today and I use TB 24/7 without a rest. However in order to attract more interest the focus must be on competing with Outlook, mobile sync/access. calendaring and the like. Lightning together with Thunderbird really started to look good and I really scratch my head now why this sudden change…

    Without more information, this seems to me like a mistake!

    Eddy Nigg, StartCom

  73. 73

    Isaac Garcia said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:31 pm:

    I wonder if Mozilla or Google are concerned about the potential conflict between Thunderbird and Gmail?


  74. 74

    TomS said on July 26th, 2007 at 3:58 pm:

    Please dont drop/outsource the work on Thunderbird. The Mozilla eMail-Client is the best multiplatform client and cant substituted by a webmailer. TB benefits from the synergy of solving common bugs/feature-requests of Firefox (like S/MIME-functions, certicate-handling etc.)

    The mail client was always a important part of the mozilla suite and still is.
    If not sure, ask your users about the importance of the eMail client. You may be surprised.

  75. 75

    Adam Robinson said on July 26th, 2007 at 4:04 pm:

    What relationship is there between the Firefox user base and the Thunderbird user base?

    I don’t want to use gmail or hotmail (privacy concerns). I want to operate disconnected. And I want to work with tools that support both Linux as Windows.

    If Thunderbird goes, the obvious options to replace it are SeaMonkey or Opera, and it might impact my Firefox usage.


  76. 76

    JC said on July 26th, 2007 at 4:34 pm:

    I personally will be unhappy if Thunderbird goes away. I much prefer over Outlook, Eudora, and other mail programs. Easy to setup, easy to use, open.

    I also agree with others here, I don’t think you are being truthful with the “empowering Thunderbird” talk, it’s most likely a revenue issue, and then a conflict with Gmail thing.

    And there really isn’t a substitute, for me, unless Gmail starts doing IMAP, for my different computers and business needs.

  77. 77

    Sigs said on July 26th, 2007 at 4:35 pm:

    I’ve tried Firefox on and off for 3 years. I’ve used Thunderbird exclusively for 3 years (with some brief on the side email experimentation with other email systems). Get Thunderbird away from Firefox. Thunderbird works. Firefox needs a LARGE team to work on it because invariably issues that significantly affect my computer’s performance crop up which is why I keep dropping it. I’m fearful if Mozilla keeps working on Thunderbird they will turn it into the monstrosity Firefox has become.

  78. 78

    Mister B said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:11 pm:

    Great, even more confusion in Mozilla Land.

    We used to have “mozilla”. There were various alphas, betas and releases. Everything was covered. Life was simple.

    Then “mozilla” got split into “firefox” and “thunderbird”. Plus “gecko”, the guts under it all. Some people preferred the intergration of “mozilla” along with it’s more advanced configuration options, so they soldiered on with “seamonkey”. Initially we had release, alphas and betas. Now we have two supported releases(1.5 and 2.0) plus various alphas, trees, trunks and branches. Plus various point releases. Add in a new engine(XUL Runner?) under the hood, I think. Life is complicated.

    “seamonkey” seems to be languishing due to fewer developers.

    Now “thunderbird” looks like it is going to get kicked out of the nest. Someone will determine if it can fly or not on the way down.

    Any sort of integrated platform, such as calendering and instant messaging, has to be pieced together. Not being part of a standard package makes it much less likely to be used as well. Outlook continues to dominate. IMAP is an oddity. Perhaps the MoFo could have pushed extensions to POP3 and SMTP to ISPs.

  79. 79

    nix said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:21 pm:

    Keep supporting Thunderbird; it befits from being under the FF umbrella. Web, email and calendar is huge part of the desktop experience.

    just my .02 cents worth.

  80. 80

    Mohamed Samy said on July 26th, 2007 at 7:24 pm:

    Strange coincidence! I was thinking, a few weeks ago, about the features I wanted in my ideal email client.
    I posted a rough outline in the Future of Mail wiki page ( at, the bit titled “next generation Thunderbird”.

    I left this comment as a pointer.I’ll try to add more detail in the coming days. Unable to do that right now :(

    The general idea is to 1) make it more extensive (like Outlook) and 2) make it much smarter at searching and organizing information.

    Also, To Alex Hudson: the Bongo project seems very, very interesting. it already includes some of the ideas I had (like natural language data entry). I’d be very happy to see it integrated with Thundebird!

  81. 81

    Sam Damon said on July 26th, 2007 at 8:44 pm:

    The only thing that worries me about this move is the following scenario:

    First Thunderbird is cast off by MozFo, then Camino.

    Camino’s development effort predates Firefox’s. IMO, the Camino team has accomplished a great deal with significant resource limitations (one of their tinderbox machines, *a 7-year old Power Mac G3* was only decommissioned in early July!), and yet there exists in my mind the perception MozFo would cheerfully be rid of the project.

    That’s why I look at MozFo’s casting off of Thunderbird with a bit of trepidation.

  82. 82

    Elias said on July 26th, 2007 at 8:55 pm:

    I love Thunderbird but the ONLY two things that keep me with outlook is painless activesync with my mobile, and the tasks manager. If Thunderbird picks up ground here, then I will switch in a heartbeat

  83. 83

    Karl Rohde said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:01 pm:

    I find it hard to understand some of the harsh negative comments. Thunderbird is a great tool, but still needs a lot of work. Moving it to it’s own team, unrestrained by other issues is clearly the best option for it. Instead of being negative, how about you put your money where your mouth is an offer support financially to what ever entity takes over development of Thunderbird.

    - Those that can, do; those that can’t, moan.

  84. 84

    Dan said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:10 pm:

    I’m a happy Thunderbird user–it’s much better than any of the commercial clients I’ve tried (though still far from perfect).

    Most of the attention (and revenue) for the foundation come from Firefox. But, it seems like we’re reaching a point where FF improvements are a bit like counting how many angels can fit on the head of a pin. It’s getting pretty close to rendering every bit of HTML and CSS that complies with every major standard perfectly.

    Once it does that, it seems like there are two choices: Make up new standards, or work on other projects that take advantage of the platform.

    Making up new standards seems bad. The majority of Internet users are using browsers other than FF. Let’s stay standards-compliant, with a set of standards that are widely supported.

    So, it would seem to me, that rather than disbanding FF, Moz should instead focus a lot more effort/resources/money on Thunderbird. There’s a world of low-hanging fruit of improvements to the mail client that can/should be made.

    Among them are better filtering (Thunderbird’s bayesian filters are merely ok), Search (TB’s is slow), hackability (it’s much harder than FF), and calendar integration.

    IIRC, in the early days, TB commercial support provided a lot of the $$ for FF development. Now, it would be great if the millions pouring in to FF went to support 5-10 full-time developers for Thunderbird.

    While I am in no particular position to speak for the foundation, I find this very disappointing.

  85. 85

    DonGato said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:14 pm:

    I have no complains with current development. You always have add-ons (aka extensions) to extend features or change functionality as you wish.

    I agree some features are missing and would be nice to have. In any case they are not that important IMO or would require new server functionality. Every day I convince a new user to switch from bloated clients like Outlook. And they never look back.

    In my opinion we don’t need a separate project or fork. Is it fine as it is now. Adding much more features would make it what I’m leaving, a bloated client. The only thing we need is a new powerful server protocol that challenges Exchange/Notes corporate features.

  86. 86

    Channy Yun said on July 26th, 2007 at 9:41 pm:

    I know Mozilla Corp. don’t have any affords to care other projects except Firefox. It’s right to concentrate Firefox itself for Open Web environment for most of people.

    But, Thunderbird is not already only email client, but is the information broker for email, newsgroup, RSS and other web services including Open APIs. Also it has possibilities to evolve new web data client of rich formats.

    Option 1 and 3 is very burden to Thuderbird developers and community. I think there are many TB users in the world and they want to continue Mozilla’s care. So I suggest revised Option 2 that Mozilla Corp. changes to Firefox Corp. and make new Corp. named in Thunderbird Corp.

    But, the problem is funding or business model for TB corp. as like Mozilla Corp. right now. There are many web-based email companies in the world, TB corp. can make business relationship with them as like easy Gmail account setting.

  87. 87

    Wangtam said on July 26th, 2007 at 10:20 pm:

    Thunderbird 意欲脱离 Mozilla

    - Thunderbird 意欲脱离 Mozilla – K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 3.3.0 – Review: Nokia E90 – 网络美胸大赛 论坛大秀女性胸部照片引争议 – 13 Rules for making web pages fast (Yahoo) – Coming Soon: The Pownce Public API – ChoreWars helps you and your “team”…

  88. 88

    Unni Nambiar said on July 26th, 2007 at 10:49 pm:

    I believe Option 1 is the right way to go. I’m re-posting most of what I posted on Scott’s blog. There are two more options here. (which may have already been suggested by someone else)

    Option 0: (preferred)
    Instead of making MoFo more Firefox centric, they should go the other way and make it less browser centric. MoFo should morph into an umbrella organization and create Firefox Foundation/Corporation as a child and grandchild subsidiaries. Similarly they should do the same with Thunderbird and create Thunderbird Foundation/Corporation subsidiaries. This would also protect against unnecessary forking of common modules. This is Option 1 without its challenges.

    Option 4: (less preferred)
    Find a new host Foundation that already has the organizational bandwidth to support this project. The Apache Foundation seems like the only other powerhouse foundation that can do this other than Mozilla. (There may be others I�m not aware of.) This is again an Option 1 variant without its challenges.

    I believe Option 3 is a bit shortsighted and convenient in the short run. Ultimately, the TB folks need to realize that MoFo gives it the right street cred, as far as corporate decision makers are concerned. Granted they are a great team of developers, but a new organization will be just another new unproven player that will need to build its reputation before the corporate world bites again. This will push back TB adoption as an MS alternative by years, which is sad considering they are so close now with the lightning integration (which I wish would speed up a lot more).

    MoFo needs to see the untapped IT budgets waiting to be freed once a truly viable Outlook alternative is created. Webmail, Phonemail and Desktop mail are all complementary to each other for business users. We will never use just one of these. Hence TB does not intrude into Gmail space as many have suggested. (Unless Google is planning a desktop offline extension to gmail as an outlook-killer, in which case TB is as good as dead.)

    Choose wisely.

  89. 89

    Steven Alyari said on July 26th, 2007 at 11:41 pm:

    I think the Mozilla Foundation ought to consider funding Thunderbird development. The users are definitely rooting for Thunderbird, a multi-platform free/libre e-mail client, which could one day deliver the features they so desire.

    Thunderbird is similar to Mozilla, the browser, in it’s early days. Many of us were rooting for it and using it in it’s infancy, and when 1.0 came out we spread the word like wildfire and gave rise to Firefox.

    In my view Thunderbird is still not at that 1.0 stage, it needs something on the level of a Gecko type technology but for mail. This type of strategic change would attract developer support of a e-mail client which probably has the and passionate user following.

    If Mozilla drops Thunderbird, it will likely die due to further lack of developer interest or funding. Diverting some of the resources away from Firefox and to Thunderbird would be worth it. All mail clients suck, we really need one that doesn’t.

  90. 90

    Derek He said on July 27th, 2007 at 12:30 am:

    Mozilla wants to drop Thunderbird?
    Mozilla is like to be Firefox Foundation

  91. 91

    Ashish said on July 27th, 2007 at 12:31 am:

    i have been using thunderbird sincly early days, and am addicted to it. However, i am also concerned with slowness with innovative features appearing in it. Being a developer, i am working in making it taste email analytics, which could spawn other useful features. Some of those i wish to implement are listed at

    Its true that it is facing growing competitions with some nice products like zimbra, gmail and others. The efforts in reviving it are far less compared to Fox. It needs resuiting and “the” foundation has been mostly condoning it. You have a product that has immense potential to drive itself into board rooms, which is mostly outlook territory. With google’s increasing efforts in putting everything on the web, it is going to kill the thunder out of the bird.

    There is some difference in basic use cases of firefox and thunderbird as far as enterprise customers are concerned. EMail holds significant data, which is prime to any organisation. Which is why they end up making billy rich. Added work has to be done to take thunderbird to that level.

    As far as different options are concerned, i would see it to be building an independent foundation in order to succeed. It requires some serious attention.

    One thing. I wish bird really thunders some day.

  92. 92

    Jeroen Roland said on July 27th, 2007 at 1:12 am:

    I find Thunderbird a good program. But why make your it better with goolgle Gmail. design it more form Gmail than form pop mail! I have problems with my router can not open poort. But my web browser function good on poort 80: Why make Thunderbird better to e webbrowser email cliet that i can read my gmail with Mozilla thunderbird.

  93. 93

    Alan Lord said on July 27th, 2007 at 1:21 am:

    I am a long-time user of Thunderbird, initially on Windows and now on Ubuntu Linux. I use it with the Lightning plug-in. I run several businesses and my TB client connects to about 10 separate email accounts on various servers (including g and hotmail). I also subscribe and use the newsreader features constantly. I NEVER use webmail unless I am travelling…

    From an outsider’s perspective, I have always felt like the Mozilla org was quite a closed and unwelcoming community, so my suggestion would be to just free TB and Lightning to the community at large and let them get on with it.

    In OSS, if a product fills a need, and delivers good performance, it’s community will grow and prosper. If it doesn’t it will die or fork. Don’t drag it down with the sinking ship, let it go…


  94. 94

    Karl said on July 27th, 2007 at 1:40 am:

    I am just a private user writing from Germany. Thunderbird is well known in this country and highly valued by so many users. To my mind there must be still a lot of potential in Thunderbird. I therefore cannot understand that Mozilla is considering to drop it. Stop this nonsense and instead invest in this fantastic email client. It should even be possible to make money to make a lot of money with it!

  95. 95

    arhgi said on July 27th, 2007 at 2:04 am:

    I do agree with other I have read above.
    - Emailing is the second (and for a lot of people the first) ingredient of internet so I do think this is part of Mozilla goals to support Thunderbird
    - I don’t think putting Thunderbird out or just apart of Mozilla will help it as it will have less visibility with the lost of Mozilla brightness.
    Perhaps all that Tbird need is more communication from Mozilla with help requirements to make it have a community as Ff has?
    Even if it’s true that there isn’t a “mailer war” as there is a “browser war” and make press speaks of Firefox. But why don’t make it happen?

  96. 96

    Jean said on July 27th, 2007 at 2:38 am:

    So the Foundation’s only aim is to fight Windows? What about “taking back the web”? Aren’t e-mails very closely related to the web? So now we give up everything we believe in? I guess some day we will have to pay to use Firefox.

    I personally think it is a very stupid idea to let every project down just to keep Firefox. Sure Firefox is a great product, but I do not have seen real ground-braking improvements in the past which for me as a user are really helpful.

    Thundebird needs much more improvements. It is a good software, but its possibilities are not exploited yet. As Derek He says: “I wish bird really thunders some day”.

  97. 97

    Don Albrecht said on July 27th, 2007 at 4:20 am:

    I’ve used Thunderbird personally for years. I’ve always had small problems getting others to adopt it. The following 3 issues regularly have presented themselves. 1. The lack of calendar sharing, 2. The address book being inadequate, 3. The inability to synchronize sent messages between the web access point and the local mail client. It wasn’t until VERY recently that solutions to any of these issues presented themselves through the use of the recent sunbird release, the ability to synchronize to google calendars. The address book continues to be lacking in the eyes of many users I support.

    There is definitely a place for thunderbird. But I would argue that the future lies in continued iterative improvement. The integration with social networking systems for improved address book management. A dramatically improved RSS reader and partnerships with online solution providers like google & zimbra to ensure ease of inter-operation.

  98. 98

    ericbe said on July 27th, 2007 at 4:29 am:

    For me, the best organization to deal with Thunderbird is the community. I remember reading the was interested is distributing Thunderbird with Openoffice.
    Where Gmail does not replace TH for me is when I want to distribute documents. Moreover, OO now have a good database, need email for e-mailing and Instant Messenger for the work in collaboration.

    Openoffice and Thunderbird share the same vision of the desktop which contrast with those of Google.

    Are the Mozilla foundation and Google closer than one I first thought ?

  99. 99

    Wing Flanagan said on July 27th, 2007 at 4:32 am:

    I would like to echo the call for another foundation to be launched to further the development of Thunderbird. This alternative is second in preference only to Mozilla continuing to harbor the project (which, I understand will simply not happen).

    Thunderbird is an important part of my digital life. I use multiple operating systems and am able to use my e-mail transparently across all of them. Yes, you will note I have a GMail account, and that the same could be said for accessing it from a web browser. Call me old fashioned; there is still a place for traditional e-mail clients in this increasingly webbified world.

    For Thunderbird to thrive, it needs to grow into the full-fledged Outlook replacement it wants to be. The foundation has been set, and it’s solid: Thunderbird is a hell of a good e-mail program. If it’s going to leave the nest, it needs to do so backed by an entity with the resources to help it grow.

  100. 100

    cantalou said on July 27th, 2007 at 6:41 am:

    I’m so disappointed.
    Mozilla was my personal choice because it was an open source software. I switched to Firefox and Thunderbird as my personal browser and e-mail client for same reason.

    I convinced my company to move from IE to Firefox. I started to install in my company Thunderbird and Lightning. I was confident that Thunderbird + Lightning would speed up development and finally become one day a real alternative to Outlook thanks to Mozilla Corp support and huge resources.

    Stand alone Thunderbird means another e-mail client on the market with very low chance to become Outlook open source alternative.

    Mozilla Corp. cashcow is Firefox. I would expect Mozilla Corp. to take advantage of his big money to support other application that doesn’t make big money but bring real big added value to open source users and web community. Thunderbird + Lightning will bring huge added value to open source community. Think about all Outlook + Exchange users without open source alternative.

    In my opinion, Mozilla Manifesto bring a wider vision of Internet and not only on browser. E-Mail *IS* part of Internet. I’m disappointed by Mozilla Corp leader’s vision focused only on browser.

    If Thunderbird is not anymore supported by Mozilla Corp. my interest in Firefox would decrease. I use FireFox to support all open source software and not only to have an open source browser.

    I really hope that Thunderbird will keep full support (technical, human and financial) from Mozilla Corp.

  101. 101

    Mikael Odhage said on July 27th, 2007 at 7:08 am:

    My profession is among other things to help develop organisation. I don’t have enough information to say anything wise on the organisation for TB. Instead I will ask for some features that I today miss in my TB.
    1. A combination of desktop- and web based e-mail.
    2. Easy synchronisation with handheld devises.
    3. Integration with “snail-mail”. A worldwide service for delivering printed mail to physical addresses. Say, I live in Sweden and write a letter to someone without an e-mail address (or no-one that I know) in Buenos Aires. If I use my local Mail service for this, it will cost the service (printmail) and postage for airmail and take a week instead of a day. If I had an account on TB for such a service, TB could find the nearest printout-and-deliver-service, use that and in turn be charged by them.

  102. 102

    Fini Alring said on July 27th, 2007 at 7:21 am:

    I’m reclaiming my Inbox!

    After reading tons of comments and ideas about tb on a few sites, I will crawl into my cave and make my own tb/email roadmap.
    The target is clear, replace Outlook in the corp. zones. We need tb data to use the new db-layer, and we need sync and extensions to work like a dream.

    I’ll be back!

  103. 103

    sunnysardine said on July 27th, 2007 at 7:50 am:

    1)Create a new non-profit organization analogous to the Mozilla Foundation – a Thunderbird foundation.
    2)Create a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation for Thunderbird.
    3)Thunderbird is released as a community project much like SeaMonkey.
    4)None of the above, find other solutions.
    Vote here:

    Well, I don’t get the point why Mitchell Baker wanna open this discussion to the public in her blog, but I am rather sad to hear that through my RSS reader. Yesterday, I just suggested my girlfriend to use Mozilla Thunderbird as an email client in her office since she complained about her company SquirrelMail was a bad one.

    After spending lots of time reading replies on her blog, I still cannot figure out WHY she as a CEO of the Mozilla Corporation wanna discuss this publicly. Shouldn’t she discuss it with people of Mozilla Corporation and come out with better solutions?

    “However, the Thunderbird effort is dwarfed by the enormous energy and community focused on the web, Firefox and the ecosystem around it” says Mitchell in her blog, what those she mean enormous energy? I do not understand all that, there is too much of imaginations. Then she says “As a result, Mozilla doesn’t focus on Thunderbird as much as we do browsing and Firefox and we don’t expect this to change in the foreseeable future. We are convinced that our current focus – delivering the web, mostly through browsing and related services – is the correct priority.” ah ha, now I got you, you said you convinced that Mozilla doesn’t focus on Thunderbird as much as Firefox, and you still won’t expect this to change in the future! Firefox is the ONLY priority!

    So WHY she ask us to choose Thunderbird’s destiny instead of killing the pity bird herself? Maybe she should said: “We I have concluded that we should find a new, separate organizational setting for Thunderbird; one that allows the Thunderbird community to determine its own destiny”.

  104. 104

    Chris Barnes said on July 27th, 2007 at 8:38 am:

    Ok, I’m going to come at this from a somewhat different perspective. Unlike some of you who seem to have “google hate” (something I find amazing), where I see the biggest need for the market is in a client which runs on the user’s local machine, but keeps it’s data **AND PROFILE SETTINGS** on a free, public server.

    Note that I’m talking about more than just email here. A client for Email (accessing Gmail). A client for a Calendar app (nothing exists, but would be easy to intergrate into Google/Calendar. Another app for a full blown (outlook-like) Contacts list (probably ldap based) – nothing exists for this *anywhere*.

    Personally, I like having separate, stand-alone clients that happen to “know about” each other – but if someone wants an integrated app (ala SeaMonkey) that is fine too.

    Note that all of these client/server apps very well could have a revenue stream attached to them (as they are accessing google – or some other online provider). What is astounding to me is that noone else has thought of this..

  105. 105

    Jeroen Roland said on July 27th, 2007 at 10:16 am:

    When make Mozilla from Thunderbirth a realy
    web browser email client connection to poort 80 and not more form pop3/smtp25 mail. I can with Firefox 2 (upload/ receive mail gmail but we i used Thunderbird all my poort are close form (Tele2 & versatel router modem). But we mozilla make Thunderbrith Gmail on poort 80: Internet i can read my email and i used thunderbrith!.

  106. 106

    Ann Watson said on July 27th, 2007 at 11:17 am:

    Sure Thunderbird should stand on its own, but the question is can it? I doubt donations would keep development going for long and how else do e-mail/newsreader clients generate cash? Sellingng ad space in your messages? Yuuuuck!

  107. 107

    Pixelapes said on July 27th, 2007 at 1:06 pm:

    Thunderbird may need a new nest?

    It looks as though there could be some major changes ahead for Mozilla Thunderbird, the excellent open-source alternative to Outlook Express.
    According to Mitchell Baker of the Mozilla Foundation there are discussions in progress regarding the future …

  108. 108

    matt said on July 27th, 2007 at 2:19 pm:


    I have to agree with the spirit of Fr

  109. 109

    Lynden said on July 27th, 2007 at 8:43 pm:

    Well if there is any thing I can do to help just contact me. Oh and I will be blogging about this. I’ll think about it some more and then I will blog about it. But don’t worry I will provide a link back here.

  110. 110

    Michael Koechling said on July 27th, 2007 at 10:39 pm:

    Hey Mitchell,

    we need an fast and lightwight E-Mail Application! It’s important for Mozilla to have both of applications; Internet and E-Mail.

    Just split the Thunderbird Development from Firfox (work and release with it’s own release plan).

  111. 111

    disciple said on July 28th, 2007 at 3:06 am:

    … and kiss your *nix market goodbye.

  112. 112

    Ben said on July 28th, 2007 at 3:42 am:

    I don’t care what you do but thunderbird rocks, and as long as it exsists without ads and spyware i’ll be happy.

  113. 113

    Drazen Gemic said on July 28th, 2007 at 6:11 am:

    I’d be willing to pay some amount of money for Thunderbird. Thunderbird is important to me. I have a registered business and I need to keep my mail and mail from my customers. WebMail is not an option.

    The most of my work is done on FreeBSD box, so I don’t use Outlook. Thunderbird is better, at least for me, than Evolution and Sylpheed. Yes, I’d be willing to pay for Thunderbird.


  114. 114

    Amigomr’s English Diary said on July 28th, 2007 at 6:48 am:

    Think of Localization !

    I have read Mitchell’s post. This is shocked me.
    I think we should think localization for Thunderbir…

  115. 115

    mick said on July 28th, 2007 at 9:00 am:

    If you ask me this is the begging of the end for FF and what ever you say is not going to sway me from the fact that google had something to do with you dropping TB, you can rant and blog all you like saying they had nothing to do with it, sources tell me other wise. and No I wouldnt be willing to pay for TB just incase that question is put forth.

  116. 116

    Sarah said on July 28th, 2007 at 9:33 am:

    Thunderbird’s definitely worth fighting for. Do what is in its best interests.

  117. 117

    Andre Natta said on July 28th, 2007 at 9:54 am:

    I have been reading some of the entries above (some were getting repetitive, probably in the same way that mine will be) and have been thinking that you may be going about it all wrong in terms of not considering a fourth option.

    We all currently enjoy the flexibility that Firefox gives us and some of us still need or want an offline alternative for our email, but thinking of a way to make Thunderbird a built in part of Firefox, providing the opportunity to use an offline application and calendar (with (hopefully) continued improvements to Lightning) would be an ideal situation for the future, unless I’m missing something.

    If the future is contained in the browser, make it something unique and a real long term solution to our needs. The ability to see work on or offline, particularly in my case while starting a new online publication, is essential, though I spend a great deal of time checking my online accounts. Figure out a way to make it all one piece of software and you get the best of all worlds. You make all of us loyal Thunderbird users happy its still around in a more useful way while continuing to expand the Firefox brand.

    It’s definitely worth considering.

  118. 118

    Ray Harris said on July 28th, 2007 at 10:38 am:

    Pls, do not do this.

  119. 119

    suseconfig said on July 28th, 2007 at 11:01 am:

    In my humble opinion, the decision to separate the development of Firefox and Thunderbird, one way or the other, seems very sound. Nowadays, a web browser has to fulfil two different tasks: (1) browsing the web and (2) supporting the use of webbased apps – online as well as offline. Firefox 3.0 promises to deliver support for offline use of webbased services, whereas Thunderbird vigorously competes against its webbased brethren. Using a lot of Firefox money to support the development of a traditional e-mail client, belonging to a dying breed of desktop apps, doesn’t make sense. The users of Firefox and Gmail and the users of Thunderbird don’t have very much in common, except the Mozilla brand. A separation of the development of Firefox and Thunderbird would give rise to a much stronger Mozilla brand, fully aligned with Web 2.0.

  120. 120

    LC said on July 28th, 2007 at 11:08 am:

    I think Mozilla officially dropping everything but Firefox is simply the end of Mozilla as “idea” of a community working for a new, better and open Web.
    We are told Mozilla is just a company and Firefox is the product.
    This company could kindly “sponsor” some community driven minor projects, like Seamonkey and now Thunderbird, until they don’t draw resources from the “mission”.
    What “mission”?
    I regret all the time I wasted these years in advocating Mozilla projects, the whole thing was a joke and I have been naive.
    Me and all those silly guys at “SpreadFirefox”, those who bought the gadgets, put the banners on their blogs and so on.

  121. 121

    Chris Conn said on July 28th, 2007 at 11:25 am:

    Thunderbird is an awesome email client. I’ll continue to use it as long as it’s around. I agree with other posters that the organization should concentrate on quality (fixing bugs) rather than all this great vision for the future stuff.

    Wasn’t the goal in the first place to make independent quality products? Now it seems to be all about money and politics.

  122. 122

    xenophobe said on July 28th, 2007 at 11:42 am:

    This is SAD news.

    I’ve been happily using the Netscape/Thunderbird mail application since the earliest days of the Communicator Suite.

    I imagine there are a lot more users out there than you would image, and I for one would be extremely saddened to be forced to use another mail application after using this for nearly 10 years.

  123. 123

    Emin said on July 28th, 2007 at 12:48 pm:

    “I agree with a previous comment. Rename Mozilla Corp as Firefox Corp. First the Mozilla Suite, and now Thunderbird. Which is next?”


    There are a lot of very bad people, which want to use FireFox for free… Oh… It’s so difficult to develop open sourse project…

  124. 124

    Jaggs said on July 28th, 2007 at 2:59 pm:

    Thunderbird is an awesome email client. Just keep it going, and eventually people will learn about it and start using it like they did with Firefox in the early days. It doesn’t need a whole lot of new feature development, just fix bugs and keep it a bit fresh here and there.

  125. 125

    Bitterroot said on July 28th, 2007 at 3:11 pm:

    So, what we’re seeing here is… Microsoft and Google win yet another battle in the war on our desktops – a war in which our *privacy* is the net casualty.

    I’m using a dual-boot system, and finding that I’m spending more and more time in Linux. Evolution is an okay product, but I have preferred Thunderbird, and have been using Tbird cross-platform for the very reason that it *IS* cross-platform. I currently IMAP my windows client (from our own dedicated email server) and archive the important stuff on my Linux client.

    This news has me rethinking my whole desktop strategy. Not that I’m about to abandon Linux – but I’m hardly going to invest any more time and devotion to an abandoned software effort.

    Unfortunately, I’m pretty certain I won’t be the first rat off this sinking ship – or the last.

    And DAMN that makes me angry!

    The PC-based OS market (i.e., Microsoft) has never been so vulnerable as it is now, and the threatened loss of Thunderbird is yet another destabilizing factor. Apple with OS/X Leopard is in an unprecedented position to gain well-deserved market share from crusty old PC-jockeys like myself… But I’m betting their arrogance will prevent them from doing so – AGAIN.

  126. 126

    W^L+ said on July 28th, 2007 at 3:39 pm:

    One of the reasons that people have not been as enthusiastic about TB is the idiotic choice to default to a single SMTP server / account. When your ISP gives you up to five e-mail accounts, in addition to other POP/IMAP accounts like GMail (and your workplace), you need for each INCOMING account (e.g., on to be paired with its corresponding OUTGOING account (e.g., on

    TB also needs to come with the calendar extension pre-installed, just because its competition isn’t generic old Outlook Express, it is the professional version of Outlook.

    That said, I use TB, but it takes a lot of time to get it configured properly because of the above issues. There are people that I won’t recommend TB to, simply because they won’t put up with these glaring holes (and I don’t want to do it for them).

  127. 127

    Istakozor said on July 28th, 2007 at 7:01 pm:

    Just for the record: Thunderbird is not only a mail client, but a Usenet client as well. Unfortunately, the Usenet side has a lot of bugs and lacking features (binary combine and decode, yEnc, nzb support).
    I’m unable to code, otherwise I’d gladly help (I just translated a few extensions), but I think that the MoFo has now the means to hire a developers specifically for this purpose. At least I hope so. I’d rather see Thunderbird as part of the MoFo, but with much more resources (devs, “marketing” etc.) Also, before considering a split, IMHO the SeaMonkey team should be asked about difficulties of a community driven project. They probably have interesting ideas on this.

    And, please, don’t neglect the news client part of Thunderbird.

  128. 128

    Phil said on July 28th, 2007 at 8:52 pm:

    Looking at Mitchell’s message and comments, I think that all comments have exclusively focused on the Mozilla-drops-thunderbird part and mostly ignored the “Broader Mail Initiative” part.

    I believe that Mozilla sees Thunderbird as a thing of the past. A good implementation of an old, tired concept.

    I believe that Mozilla has already embarked –probably with Google– in the development of a new mail client concept far from the old POP paradigm. A combination of gmail and firefox3 with offline extensions.

    Mozilla told us that the next Firefox frontier will be the support of offline work. Now, just add that to Google funding, the amazing Gmail success and MoFo’s glaring lack of interest for Thunderbird…

    The direction is pretty clear, and pretty exciting too.

    Let’s Thunderbird live its own life with the support of its many fans, and let’s focus on next gen e-mail!

  129. 129

    dimensionsix dot net said on July 28th, 2007 at 10:14 pm:

    The Forgotten Little Brother

    There has been a lot of chatter and debate in the Mozilla development community of late over a recent decision by Mozilla’s powers-that-be that will see the development of Mozilla Thunderbird, the e-mail companion software to the (far) more popul…

  130. 130

    Ryan said on July 28th, 2007 at 10:28 pm:

    Thunderbird must live on. Arguably, Thunderbird is one of the best email apps ever! I want to see it keep it going!

  131. 131

    suseconfig said on July 29th, 2007 at 12:59 am:

    I fully agree with the resounding remarks on this blog about the quality of Thunderbird. Thunderbird is indeed a very capable e-mail client and, securitywise, it’s one of the best around. But all the remarks about the eminent quality of Thunderbird don’t address the problem. Since 2004 broadband connections and increasing online storage on webmail services have made the use of desktop e-mail clients superfluous, and people now in their teens or twenties couldn’t possibly care less about desktop dinosaurs like Thunderbird. The only Mozilla app that is all the rage is Firefox so it seems like a sensible decision that Mozilla Foundation is going to concentrate the attention on the development of Firefox, thereby cutting desktop dinosaurs like Thunderbird, Sunbird, and Lightning out of the equation.

    A happy Firefox user, running openSUSE 10.2.

  132. 132

    [[[CAM]]] said on July 29th, 2007 at 1:42 am:

    Integrate Thunderbird in Firefox, that’s the solution.

  133. 133

    Gate 303 said on July 29th, 2007 at 2:22 am:

    Thunderbird kommer inte fortsätta vara ett Mozillaprojekt

    Thunderbird kommer att sluta vara ett Mozillaprojekt, detta enligt Mozillas VD Mitchell Baker som skriver om detta i sin blogg. Exakt vad det innebär är än så länge lite svårt att avgöra. Det finns både risker och möjligheter med den uppkomna …

  134. 134

    yanychar said on July 29th, 2007 at 3:21 am:

    Right direction

    I am not happy with Mozilla Corp. dropping of TB support. But this is a long expected step.

    Mozilla is using the most complicated build system I can imagine. The “one tree many projects” mantra makes practically all ./configure options unreliable. In its current state, mozilla resembles a hydra with each head trying to push the body in its own direction. It needs clear priorities to keep on flying.

    However, concerns are voiced about mozilla sustainability as a platform. If that also ceases to be a priority, I would expect an alternative line of development or fork to appear. For example, xulrunner is already an important part of Debian Linux. Like any good platform it is shipped as a number of packages, not a single one. And those packages have dozens of dependencies. In turn, many of the dependencies have fought their way into the set of programs installed by default. Developers, maintainers and users of these packages is a community with a potential to support possible fork.

    Whatever Mozilla thinks of mail client, that kind of program is a must-have for any modern desktop operating system. Mozilla paved the way for GNU/Linux to workstations of normal users, Dell+Ubuntu is the brightest example. And there is no sign of retreat.

    In short, if TB is let fly free to facilitate mozilla platform restructuring this is a good news. If to the contrary this is the step to promote gmail and drop platform support, we should see some strong resistance from OSS community.

  135. 135

    leblase said on July 29th, 2007 at 3:42 am:

    Please convince your hegemonic Google partners that a TB desktop or a TBmail included in FF is good for their “friendly” image, else FF goes down the drain.

    TB could use some of Blackberry’s features, like visualization and push e-mail.
    Gmail is great but too intrusive.

    As for the organizational situation, how can one truly answer to you since one cannot believe you tell us all?

  136. 136

    bdew said on July 29th, 2007 at 3:52 am:

    Just rename yourself to googlefox foundation.

  137. 137

    Robert said on July 29th, 2007 at 9:33 am:

    I like Thunderbird and wish it the best as it tries to resolve any issues, problems, etc. Even if your using Linux you have a known email client

  138. 138

    Zapy said on July 29th, 2007 at 10:19 am:

    I haven’t read the all the comments but i say, start some kind of Global Donation Accounts, Paypal, Paynova, at a Bank with IABN-NR or similar make the money flow, i think it would be much appreciated to the Mozilla Foundation and the programmers.

  139. 139

    bob said on July 29th, 2007 at 11:33 am:

    Ok something that got missed in all the comments above is that biz are required to keep critical emails for seven years now that might have legal implications. A judge can hold you in contempt if you can not produce them. TB right now can archive said emails complete with headers you can burn to disk save to tape back out hell even print to hard copy, I do not know of one web based email that does this. I use TB over outlook because I switch to plain text view and don’t have to worry about some forwarded email executing code while I figure out if it is spam or legit email. I do not use firefox because there is way too much junk and less control on my end over what I load on my machine, I have enough head aches from fixing other glitches I want my email not to be the reason I don’t have the email anymore. I’ve noticed that while the spam filters have gotten better I get false positives now which is really bad. Also what was the point of changing label to tag? It seems like the efforts are getting spent in the wrong areas maybe? Last web based email clients have their place but you can not send a encrypted emails with them because the keys have no place to reside.

  140. 140

    PK said on July 29th, 2007 at 3:30 pm:

    There should not be a question about abandoning desktop mail because webmail is so powerful now (thanks to Google and others). The desktop mail has its niche that cannot be replaced by webmail. It is a matter of personal choice. It is a matter of organizational choice. It is a matter of business choice, at last.

    Why I am using TB during last years and recommend it to enterprises:
    - Because it is a good email client.
    - Because it is the only valuable multiplatform desktop mail client.
    - Because it is the only valuable alternative to Outlook at Windows platform.
    - Because it is a part of Mozilla and it nicely fits with Firefox.

    Dropping the TB from Mozilla mainstream will negatively impact an overall Mozilla acceptance in organizations.

    Vision for the TB has been outlined in this blog in very good level of details.
    Just a summary:
    - Better calendar support => Multiplatform calendar solution
    - Better syncml support => Multiplatform synchronization with handheld devices
    - Better organization of information => Better desktop email processing
    - Server-based configuration => Better enterprise/organization support

    Regardless of the decision being made, I’d like to thank all the current and past TB developers. You are doing a great job by providing a great product that gives the world a chance to adopt a single free desktop email solution, and that competes with many commercial products. Please continue your work regardless of this post and further decisions.

  141. 141

    Gensus said on July 29th, 2007 at 3:50 pm:

    Sometimes, the obvious is overlooked.

    If Thunderbird had more users, this whole problem would not exist.

    Therefore, to get more users, Mozilla has to advertise TB more.

    1) Put TB as a link in the Firefox menu.
    2) Mention TB on the same page as the Firefox download

    Right now, it is hard to find mention of TB on the firefox page. One has to go to the “other products” page.

    This is so simple. Why don’t they do it?

  142. 142

    Jon said on July 29th, 2007 at 4:26 pm:

    So long as thunderbird development moves forward I think everyone will be happy. Personally I would like to see thunderbird remain a product of the mozilla corporation.

  143. 143

    Erik said on July 29th, 2007 at 10:25 pm:

    This really upsets me

  144. 144

    BiSshop said on July 29th, 2007 at 11:24 pm:

    Dear all,

    Thunderbird can make the difference with other mail apps if it can alow the same functionalities and more…

    I mean that you have to develop a calendar and task manager like OutZook. And I’m sure that you will take more part of the market if you are able to manage synch with PDA & mobile.

    For sure those functionalities must be by default. Understand that could be hard for a non-specialist to download and install extensions.

    An other idea is to use TB for RSS and Podcast publishing, think it!!!

  145. 145

    suseconfig said on July 30th, 2007 at 1:11 am:

    If Firefox 3.0 delivers on all the promises, it will easily be far ahead of the competition. Thunderbird, however, is a solid mail-client which cannot compete against Outlook due to the well known inertia of the enterprise as well as the lack of integrated calendaring (Lightning is a work in progress, i.e. not ready for the enterprise). And Thunderbird cannot compete against webbased e-mail services due to the proliferation of broadband connections and the increase in online storage on webbased e-mail services since 2004.

  146. 146

    Bill Todd said on July 30th, 2007 at 3:10 am:

    Firefox is a nice enough browser, but hardly irreplaceable from my viewpoint. In fact, the main thing keeping me from seriously considering Opera is the cultural compatibility that Firefox and Thunderbird share.

    So if Thunderbird becomes obsolete, I’ll likely move to some other at least semi-integrated email/browser combination. For that matter, if Thunderbird had never existed I might not have moved off IE (sure, it’s a bit harder to keep buttoned down, but sitting behind a router we just don’t see most potential attacks – and since we still need IE for Windows Update anyway…).

    Many a contemporary corporation has suffered from myopic attempts to ‘streamline’ its activities around a single ‘star’ product without realizing how much synergy perhaps less luminous associated products contributed to its success. That’s often false economy even in the commercial world: a non-profit has no excuse for it whatsoever.

    Of course, that’s just one user’s opinion…

  147. 147

    rschetterer said on July 30th, 2007 at 3:37 am:

    Perhaps the only thing that went wrong with thunderbid is that your are still related in Mozilla/Thunderbird perhaps you should go to companies which like to see thunderbird getting stopped like apple/google/m$ cause mail ist a big market for them.
    also your call for action ist totally nonsense how would you ever like to measure how many people
    using thunderbird, so i call you to act more and invest more to thunderbird that it will be the all platform outlook killer app as it should be, include imap acl, sieve from open source libaries instead of playing new gadgets to firefox und code webmail stuff

  148. 148

    schetterer said on July 30th, 2007 at 3:39 am:

    Perhaps the only thing that went wrong with thunderbid is that your are still related in Mozilla/Thunderbird perhaps you should go to companies which like to see thunderbird getting stopped like apple/google/m$ cause mail ist a big market for them.
    also your call for action ist totally nonsense how would you ever like to measure how many people
    using thunderbird, so i call you to act more and invest more to thunderbird that it will be the all platform outlook killer app as it should be, include imap acl, sieve from open source libaries instead of playing new gadgets to firefox und code webmail stuff,
    i advise everyone to use Thunderbird since it came out

  149. 149

    JS said on July 30th, 2007 at 5:29 am:

    You should keep Thunderbird, It is my primary e-mail client, works very well.

    I think spinning it off would be a bad idea, and feel the project would go down hill due to less connection / more time to keep in patch with the FF code.

    If your worried about lack of PIM features / having trouble with them, focus on adding them as mozilla corp created add-on vs integration in to the e-mail client.

  150. 150

    Oren Sreebny’s Weblog said on July 30th, 2007 at 6:41 am:

    Mozilla, Thunderbird, and the future of email

    There’s been a lot of discussion (much of it of the hand-wringing variety) of Mitchell Baker’s Email Call To Action blog post where she talks about Mozilla splitting off the development of the Thunderbird email client software to a new organization. In…

  151. 151

    Alex Graveley said on July 30th, 2007 at 10:44 am:

    This has been a long time coming.

    Follow Option #3:
    Set the ‘bird free and see where it goes.
    Galvanize the Mozilla messaging exclusively around Firefox.

  152. 152

    suseconfig said on July 30th, 2007 at 11:27 am:

    Back in 2004/2005, it was Firefox who convinced me that I had to ditch Windows 2000 in favour of Linux and open source. Without the Firefox experience, I should never have even contemplated trying out Thunderbird. I find it hard to believe that Thunderbird could cause a user to try out Firefox since Firefox has 10 or 20 times as many users as Thunderbird. And I don’t understand why a desktop e-mail client nowadays would be a necessary companion to a web browser which predominantly is an access point to any webbased app, not just to webbased mail services.

  153. 153

    fpiera said on July 30th, 2007 at 12:23 pm:

    I have been using thunderbird since the early versions and always had a useful por and smtp email client. Far more easy and useful than outlook. I hate webmail, I prefer pop and smtp as I like to store in my own facilities my own mail, and with thunderbird I can access my different mail accounts simultaneously from anyware when carrying my own pc.
    If thunderbird is dropped I will have to look for another email client, or go back to Eudora or Pegasus. I have a gmail account which I use via pop also without problems. One thing is a enterprise minded business and another the private user. If Mozzilla foundations drops thunderbird, they will be dropping a lot of private users.

  154. 154

    Nat said on July 30th, 2007 at 12:44 pm:

    I put my thoughts over at but to quickly summarize, Thunderbird needs to split off into it’s own foundation, Firefox’s shadow is swallowing Thunderbird, denying it room to grow.

  155. 155

    OSZine said on July 30th, 2007 at 1:24 pm:

    Mozilla Thunderbird sucht neues zu Hause

    Die Mozilla Foundation arbeitet derzeit ausgiebig am Webbrowser Firefox und dessen Weiterentwicklung. Das hat zur Folge, dass laut Meinung der Stiftung nicht genügend Ressourcen für den EMail-Klienten Thunderbird existieren. Daher hat Mozilla nun 3 Vors

  156. 156

    Eugene Tucker said on July 30th, 2007 at 1:53 pm:

    Many of us got sold on Firefox and Thunderbird as a package. I think that Mozilla should stay the course. But other than that I guess option 1 or 2.

  157. 157

    Open Source Applications Foundation Blog said on July 30th, 2007 at 4:37 pm:

    Mozilla’s call for a new vision of email

    Mitchell Baker started a conversation about the future of email at Mozilla, looking for people to participate in “a new vision of mail”. OSAF should be engaging in this conversation, looking for ways to collaborate with Mozilla.


  158. 158

    Letnix said on July 30th, 2007 at 5:32 pm:

    Mitchell Baker, how much money get you from Google for killing TB??

  159. 159

    Elaine said on July 31st, 2007 at 4:52 am:

    Don’t know about Outlook but I’ve just switched four computers from Windows Mail (the Vista mail product) because of Windows Mail’s ridiculous solution for multiple email address access – no more easy switching identities with Vista.

    Firefox handles this without breaking a sweat. I see complaints about Vista’s solution all over the net. Seems to me Firefox should expliot this opportunity.


    Oh yeah, I’d love an integrated calendar function too.

  160. 160

    suseconfig said on July 31st, 2007 at 5:17 am:

    In accordance with my previous postings, I would vote for option 3.

  161. 161

    Thomas said on July 31st, 2007 at 9:29 am:

    Figures. I’ve been worried this day would come sine the great Firefox push started.

    We has a great product in NS Communicator, created when the browser added an email tool (instead of a stand-alone, text app). Mozilla only exists because Netscape decide to get community help in the major rewrite the suite needed. Anyone else remember the early milestones builds (M8 was always a favorite of mine)

    I though Firefox was an interesting, but misguided idea at the time. Always thought the XULrunner idea was the way to go. A core Mozilla library, and a browser, mail, irc, calendar client built using it. They were all linked by the core library, and shared configuration, but would have been separable is needed.

    No mozilla has really returned to it roots. I mean Netscape Navigator 1.0, back before Communicator, mail, news or calendar.

    Maybe someone will build a GUI e-mail app that is as useful as PINE was in the text only days. Basically TB without the browser baggage. Until then I’ll see where TB and SeaMonkey go (not that SM has made much headway since it formed).

  162. 162

    Myra said on July 31st, 2007 at 10:00 am:

    I’ve read all the reasons and the responses. I’ve used Firefox (0.7) and Thunderbird (I can’t remember) since the early versions. The main appeal was getting away from IE and Outlook, which I despise. I had already swithced to Eudora, but the appeal of both products coming from a unified base was great.

    I’m an independent consultant who does “Enterprise” work without an “Enterprise” base to work from, so I would be labeled as a “private user”. I would like to address some of the comments from above.

    1. Web mail just doesn’t cut it.

    2. Not everyone enjoys the luxury of living where a “Broadband” connection is available and anyone who uses satellite will tell you “it’s okay if there is nothing else”. I can assure you “no one” has any intention of getting true broadband to us where we live and we’re only two miles outside the city limits, but in a totally rural area.

    3. Some of us curmudgeons still prefer to have our apps on our machines and there are still a lot of us out there. We pay our bills on line, shop on line, get our news on line and in general have adopted the digital lifestyle with ease and great zeal, but still prefer certain things on our machines.

    I understand the business end and maximizing resources, I’m and independent business person who deals with that fact everyday, but giving your users/customers what they want and need should also be a priority. The last part of that line could be construed either way but I was referring to a unified web solution.

    I think the Thunderbird developers have done an excellent job and should be lauded for their continuing efforts I think it would be a huge mistake for Mozilla to divide the two solutions thus forcing many “private users” to go elsewhere in search of a unified solution.

    The old adage of “divide and conquer” may be at work here. Maybe the Mozilla foundation should look at where the advice and pressure is coming from to drop Thunderbird, Maybe someone is out to slow down the juggernaut that has been created.

  163. 163

    Manish Chakravarty said on July 31st, 2007 at 11:24 am:

    This is certainly sad news :(

    I am a heavy user of Thunderbird on Solaris Express (at home) and on Ubuntu (Office )

    I love it’s cross platform capabilites.
    I already share my inbox across Ubuntu and OpenSolaris by putting it on a common fat partition.

    I’m sure I could share with Windows as well.

    Cross-platform support is one of thunderbird’s biggest USP’s

    I’ll have no choice but to switch to Evolution if they stop developing T-bird.

    I wonder if the Mozilla guys could completely open source the developement of T-bird if they dont want to develop on it and simply provide the infrastructure.

    After all Firefox and Thundberbird are both going to become XULRunner based apps. May be i am just thinking aloud there..

  164. 164

    knotty said on July 31st, 2007 at 11:49 am:

    Seems Mozilla is taking over Eudora as open source?

  165. 165

    Katie Capps Parlante said on July 31st, 2007 at 3:39 pm:

    The trackback ping didn’t seem to work, but I posted over at the Chandler project blog that we’re interested in finding a way to collaborate.

    Also, Mimi, our designer, has posted some thoughts about email in the context of the “email is soooo dead” idea. (Rumors of its death greatly exaggerated?)

  166. 166

    Asa Dotzler said on July 31st, 2007 at 10:31 pm:

    “I wonder if the Mozilla guys could completely open source the developement of T-bird if they dont want to develop on it and simply provide the infrastructure.”

    I’m not sure what you mean by “completely open source the development”. Do you mean let any random person have access to change the code? If not, then it’s already completely open sourced.

    There will definitely be infrastructure to support the continued development of Thunderbird. That is not in question.

    - A

  167. 167

    Fernando Cassia said on July 31st, 2007 at 11:29 pm:

    I jokingly started referring to Mozilla as the “Mozarella Foundation” after they cheesy decision to drop Mozilla Suite support (only to later resume lukewarm support towards the SeaMonkey council).

    And now they kill Thunderbird, great!.

    I can only say that there’a future, and it’s called SeaMonkey.

    An integrated e-mail client and web browser is just the killer application. Back when Mozilla was <1.0 and not stable, people complained about “the web browser going down and taking e-mail with it” but this isn’t so anymore that SeaMonkey is rock solid.

    With SeaMonkey moving to the latest Gecko engine and Cairo, it will continue being the most powerful way to do your web browsing, GMail AND old fashioned POP3/IMAP email, for power users. Of course, despite the press general disregard and ignorance of SeaMonkey due to the evergrowing Firefox hype.

    So, farewell thunderbird!. It was a solution looking for a problem. Who does need a separate email client, and at the same time no integrated browser?.

    Just my $0.02…

  168. 168

    suseconfig said on August 1st, 2007 at 12:45 am:

    Eventually, the software industry, commercial companies as well as open source companies like Mozilla Corporation, cannot support the development of both desktop apps and webbased counterparts. Such a duplicated development effort is too expensive and too time consuming in the long run. For that very reason, the software industry is forced to develop their apps for the majority, i.e. for the users of webbased apps.
    By the way, you don’t need a broadband connection to access webbased apps, you only need any internet connection.

  169. 169

    suseconfig said on August 1st, 2007 at 12:59 am:

    It seems to me that the majority of the angry Thunderbird users on this blog
    a) will not pay for Thunderbird
    b) demands that Thunderbird be part of the Mozilla product line going forward
    c) despises the notion of a separate development organization for Thunderbird (option 3)
    d) don’t want to use webbased apps in general or don’t want to use webmail services in particular, for reasons not clearly stated
    e) will not or cannot take part in the development of Thunderbird

  170. 170

    suseconfig said on August 1st, 2007 at 9:01 am:

    Many of the disappointed Thunderbird users have emphatically stated on this blog that Mozilla Corporation forces the Thunderbird users to go elsewhere in search of a unified solution (i.e. web browser and desktop e-mail client). I don’t quite understand the reasoning. The Thunderbird users are free to use Firefox in conjunction with Thunderbird even if the development of Thunderbird continues outside Mozilla Corporation. If a truely unified solution is required, then go for Seamonkey! As I have said earlier, the very notion of an intimate connexion between a web browser and a desktop e-mail client is severely outdated, as a web browser nowadays acts as an access point to any webbased service. Many people use their web browser to access online banking services but that doesn’t entail that a home banking app is a necessary companion to a web browser. Instead of bashing Mozilla Corporation for the decision to separate the development of Firefox and Thunderbird, it would be appropriate for all the angry Thunderbird curmudgeons with outdated software perceptions to offer their support, going forward, to the two lead developers of Thunderbird. Mind you, I use several desktop apps and a lot of command line apps, but I don’t frown on the rise of webbased services.

  171. 171

    Ooga Chaka said on August 1st, 2007 at 9:20 am:

    I thought the future XULRunnerize everything? If XULRunner is so good then why let a very capable and useful example of a XULRunner app disappear?

    What TBird has that rox:

    - support for standards esp. IMAP!
    - excellent ID and multi-account managment
    - tagging (needs UI improvements but it rox – integrate it with GMail labels :-)
    - super speedy search for local (and IMAP) mail

    What TBird has that less rox:

    - certificate import for SSL enabled sites has borked strings and the workflow is confusing. It works really well though once you figure it out!
    - Clunky UI … should be more like the browser Ctrl-K focuses me in the search/filter dropdown but I can’t tell which filter I’m using !! (Subject, Sender or Subject, To: CC: etc) make it work more like the firefox search engine where there’s a visual cue about the search engine – or in this case the filter.

    What TBird could have that would make it rox more:

    - Even better search

    - Timeline like UI for mail history (e.g. think what the flickr picassa f-spot UIs do for photo management)

    - take an approach a bit like tinymail … dissect TBird into libraries that can be useful elsewhere … think of TBird as opportunity to support lemonade and mobile IMAP extensions! Work with Google to make that happen! (and get google to offer IMAP for paying customers of GMail).

    - Team up with some MTA spamfiltering and account access projects (I know this already happening but) so that Thunderbird ROX their worlds too …
    eg: dovecot and cyrus IMAP,, qmail/maildir support of course ;-) heheh, TBird plugins for email list management, TBird interface to tinymail .. run it on my phone please!

    Also … since evolution is sort of under the control of Novell perhaps some other Linux distro suppliers (Redhat, Mandriva); or big universities that prefer TBird to Outlook on windows (there are some – they are mostly in Europe); or generous individual users can supply needed cash to keep it going or get it going as a separate project of

    Where Thunderbird can get dollar$ to make it keep on roxing :-)

    - ad revenue (old fashioned opera browser style)

    - 10$ donation per download :-)

    - 10$ perseat per year supported version

    - 10$ perseat per year (5$ per seat over 100 users) supported version complete with a 2500$ full end-to-end email solution (postfix/dovecot or qmail based) that is an alternative to GMail or MS-Exchange selfhosted, or partnering with google for percentage of fees on a “hosted in partnership” version with Google’s GMail domains, or a version that supplies virtual mail hosting domains via (easy to do with postfix, qmail, dovecot, or for up to 100 users for 50$ a month.

    - or ALL of the above ;-)

    BUT the question remains and Mitchell should answer it: what does all this mean for XULRunner … if apps based on XUL all take on separate “foundation” status who controls XULRunner?

  172. 172

    Larry Gerard said on August 1st, 2007 at 11:05 am:

    My view is simplistic.
    I started with netscape in the 90′s – it was my browser and email client. It worked well for my needs which is sending email to the membership of a private club. When netscape discontinued support for email I was quite disappointed.
    6 months ago I downloaded and starting using firefox and thunderbird once again I was a fairly happy camper. I believe that Mozilla should continue to develop thunderbird, market it and find a way to have it pay for itself. It has great potential and I will be sorry if it leaves the Mozilla umbrella.

  173. 173

    Rakshat said on August 1st, 2007 at 11:05 am:

    This is a repost from my comment on Scott MacGregor’s blog. Just thought that I should also share my thoughts as a long time user and supporter (i.e. a consumer not a developer) of both Firefox and TB with MoFo/MoCo people who read this blog.

    I am a home user of Thunderbird (pulling my Google mail into the client) and am very happy with the product. Please let me know where I may donate money as a thank you to the developers/contributors/community that made thunderbird possible and to encourage further work on this remarkable product.

    This is going to be a bit disjointed but I would welcome your ideas on the following – A lot of us did contribute and raise over $250,000 for the Firefox NYT advertisement. If we were able to raise a similar amount would it be possible for development to continue on TB for about 6 months (along with the cvs/bugzilla/irc/hosting support that Mozilla will continue to provide. The six months should be enough to once again revitalise community volunteer developers, testers/bug reporters and spreaders around TB.

    There are a few people out there who like TB. Infact when version one of Firefox was being launched and Spreadfirefox had just been operationalized there were a lot of people who felt that TB should get equal marketing push (and for sometime around TB version 1 release it did get some push) Anyway form the launch of version 1 and especially after the NYT advertisement Mozilla actively encouraged users (old and new) to spread firefox. Across the world people evangalised for Firefox as it was a great (if not the best – opera and safari fans do contest this from time to time. I like Firefox more) browser and it was open. I still remember the Firefox 1 party, which I held at my house in Delhi on 20th November 2004 (I think a few days after FF 1 was released)I still think that Firefox is a great product and continue to spread it at every possible opportunity. Sometime after the NYT advertisement MoCo was formed in order to meet tax regulations (MoFo was never able to give the final breakup of the NYT ad collection spending though I personally asked Asa on two occasions via sfx) As time passed after this the focus moved to FF and TB took a back seat. The understanding or rationale I gave myself (I may have been wrong as this was never explicitly mentioned by MoFo/MoCo) was that as FF was easier to showcase, the competing dominant product was clearly inferior and it would be easier to switch users to firefox. At a later stage the high adoption percentages and hype around firefox would be used by MoFo and MoCo to push TB (around version 3 or around the now time). Instead one gets a mozillaZine headline

  174. 174

    Asa Dotzler said on August 2nd, 2007 at 12:00 am:

    Ooga, you said “BUT the question remains and Mitchell should answer it: what does all this mean for XULRunner … if apps based on XUL all take on separate “foundation” status who controls XULRunner?”

    The answer to that question is pretty simple. The people who “control” XULRunner are the people building XULRunner. You can learn more about what they’re up to at the mozpad site

    - A

  175. 175

    Angelo Rossi said on August 3rd, 2007 at 8:36 am:

    I’m a postmaster with almost 2000 mailboxes to keep. Good part of my customers are using Thunderbird, and IMHO it’s the only good alternative to Outlook. Some of them also switched from Win to Linux, with some year of email, just with a copy and paste. Please, continue the support of this fantastic program.

  176. 176

    Miriam said on August 3rd, 2007 at 2:17 pm:

    Hello Mitchell
    I’m a happy user of the team firefox/thunderbird, and I’ve put my gmail accont into it.
    I will avoid, as long as I can, to use gmail on line services (or any other alike) to recive my mail
    It seems to me that the decition to give away thunderbird it’s wrong. You should keep developing thunderbird. there may be obstacles, but don’t you know that IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING?.
    Miriam G L

  177. 177

    Lawrence Salberg said on August 4th, 2007 at 2:30 pm:

    Why do ANYTHING? I’ve already written on my personal blog about how great Thunderbird is. Just be patient. Promote it better. Is there some great feature missing in Thunderbird? I realize it might need to be updated or bug-fixed as time goes on, but I hardly think it needs its own project. That’s just reshuffling for the sake of reshuffling. Tbird’s biggest chance for success, however you define it, is on the coattails of Firefox, which hasn’t exactly “won” the browser war… yet.

    Hang tight and keep promoting. And be a bit more aggressive for crying out loud. (i.e. “Outlook costs $99. Thunderbird is free… and better”). Simple tag lines. Did I say “promote”. I’ve installed Tbird on at least 3 clients machines who were using toys (Outlook Express, etc) and they had, of course, never heard of it. Go after Microsoft on this. I’m hardly a Microsoft hater (far from it – I actually like Bill Gates), but NOW is the time to strike with the product you ALREADY have.

    What’s all this nonsense about shifting, creating non-profits, blah, blah…. you are starting to sound like Microsoft. There are far too many meetings and bureaucrats over there. Don’t worry so much about revenue quite yet. If anything, commit to bug fixes for the next 18 months, and delay any new features. Let’s see what shakes out.

  178. 178

    Dan Thies said on August 6th, 2007 at 8:18 am:

    Thunderbird is a decent email client. But that’s all it is.

    I used to use Thunderbird… then I went through the enormously painful and time consuming process of migrating back to Outlook.

    Why did I stop using T-bird? Outlook is better, guys… and it’s only a hundred bucks – less if you need to Office suite anyway.

    Why better? Well, Outlook has so many very helpful features, such as:
    - Tagging emails by category (and I can make my own, which was not possible in Tbird)
    - Flagging emails for follow-up – which works with the calendar
    - Outlook actually has a calendar, not a hack-extension that lets me open a calendar, a real calendar that’s part of the application
    - Outlook users can send me appointment requests that I can accept in Outlook, or stare at and wonder what they are in T-bird
    - Drag and drop: emails into a todo list, emails or todos onto the calendar, etc.

    (Those things, plus there were some emails that I simply could NOT delete in T-bird without hacking into the mailbox files.)

    What would get me to go through the enormously painful and time-consuming process of switching back to Thunderbird?

    1) Recognize that being “just an email client” isn’t good enough any more – watch how people use Outlook & Google
    2) Recognize that M$ apps define some standards and that even though the world shouldn’t work that way it does – interoperability matters
    3) Make the migration easy instead of a huge pain in the butt.
    4) Take some of the email tricks that GMail does and Outlook doesn’t do – like tagging emails in multiple categories
    5) Give me a fast search function – INDEX the emails. Outlook only gives you this if you install the bloated “Desktop Search” tool, which indexes every damn thing you have and will eat most of the space on a typical laptop drive.
    6) How about some kind of web-sync or remote email capability?

    At this point I’m far more likely to “dump Outlook” for GMail and the rest of the Google suite – because they let me get to everything via the web. Google Calendar, BTW, does at least sort of work with Outlook. :D

    $99 vs. Free is not a good reason for me to give up several hours a month (minimum) in productivity. It’s not even worth it for a minimum-wage worker. If all you have to sell is “price” you’re screwed.

  179. 179

    Ilgaz said on August 11th, 2007 at 5:07 am:

    It is considerably funny that people who believes in open source development and open standards which would naturally result in complete protection of privacy also loves Gmail for some reason.

    Gmail is the largest breach of privacy since first generation of spyware. They keep your mail, analyse your mail and advertise using your private mail data.

    I was never a great fan of Mozilla project but the recent progress and some shadowy decisions like these makes me question what kind of “good” Mozilla offers over MS IE.

    One is bound to MSN/Microsoft and other is bound to Google. Where is the difference? If you are that bound to Google, why still beg for Donation from good willing people who thinks they are supporting open future?

    Apple Safari is used as a weapon in their hands to force people to upgrade their already working operating systems but I don’t see they put “Donate to Webkit” buttons all over the place.

    If you give up actual mail technologies like IMAP for some Webmail which doesn’t give a heck to your privacy and your client vendor does some tricks to force you to that technology, would it matter if it is open source or not?

    Tell us when are you putting “Click here for mail” link pointing people to Gmail on Firefox.

    With recent developments in scene and everyone having good bandwidth, especially with introduction of 3G technologies, real mail isn’t going anywhere. Just check around, how many Blackberries you see?

    If you take this decision and couple of years later you whine about how evil that MS Outlook/Lotus duopoly is, we will make people remember it.

    Last word: You should notify Qualcomm about your Gmail support plans so a great mail client which is use in REAL corporate World would continue its development instead of becoming a “theme” on an abandoned non serious mail client.

  180. 180

    Philip said on August 15th, 2007 at 2:03 pm:

    Do thunderbird users stick with the same computer for the rest of their natural lives? I try to import my email from one machine to the other, but there is no obvious way to import thiunderbird datafiles from one machine to another. Maybe I should see if OE can do this?

  181. 181

    Kelv said on August 16th, 2007 at 12:03 pm:

    You can use Firefox at home and in the office. For Thunderbird to be accepted in the office, the groupware situation HAS to be sorted out. Until the Mozilla foundation wakes up to this and pays some attention to Lightning / Sunbird, they are never going to get anywhere.

    I tried very hard to standardise a medium sized business on Thunderbird / IMAP and as great as the e-mail part of it was, the various departments asked for on a frequent basis was the calendar / tasks / meetings functionality. In came a new manager who saw this deficiency, and what did he do? Wiped the whole lot out with Outlook and Exchange.

    Now someone will no doubt chime in to tell me “Oh but TB was never a business class app, and is meant for home e-mail”. Business is where the investment and community are. Business needs are what pushes Linux kernel development and so many other aspects of OSS.

    I have actively participated with feedback / bugzilla and in Q&A sessions for Lightning and the pathetic resources pooled to Clint and the team is so obvious. Help them get the groupware aspect sorted asap, get in bed with the Funambol project for your synchronisation with mobile devices, help the caldav server developers out, etc and you will have your community, your investment and success.

    By all means ignore this, and turn off the light while you’re at it. Messing around splitting TB up from the well known FF / Moz brand when you should be focusing on the calendaring/tasks/meetings/etc is idiotic. You may as well as Google to PR0 it.

  182. 182

    Paul said on August 17th, 2007 at 5:21 am:

    I use Thunderbird at home and at work. I don’t use Outlook at work like all the other folks. The reasons I use Thunderbird and not Outlook are:

    - I’m more productive with its UI than I am with Outlook.
    - I like the unlimited tags and saved searches
    - I use secure pop connections so I can use which is by far the best email categorizer/spam detecter I’ve seen.
    - I feel more secure from viruses when using Thunderbird as compared to Outlook.

    I use Thunderbird over Gmail because:

    - I prefer the UI
    - I occasionally have to send encrypted/signed emails between email accounts and I can do that easily with Thunderbird and haven’t figured out how to do that with GMail.

  183. 183

    Waiter said on August 23rd, 2007 at 7:34 am:

    The obvious is often starring us in the face.

    If Thunderbird had tons of users, then Mozilla would have no problems with keeping it going.

    Why then — and here’s the obvious thing, at least to those who know marketing principles — why hasn’t Mozilla displayed the Thunderbird download button on the same page as the Firefox download page.

    Duhhhh. When the people come to get Firefox, they’ll see Thunderbird, and out of curioisity many will download it.

    It’s called leverage. Co-branding.

    So obvious.

    Right now, the Thunderbird download page is hidden away, requiring the users to click the PRODUCTS page to find out. Most people are not curious, and won’t click the PRODUCTS link.

    People in Mozilla live in an ivory tower inhabited by techies. They think everyone knows about Thunderbird, but aren’t using it. No, most people don’t know about Thunderbird.

    Geez. I get so frustrated. Why not try the obvious. It can’t hurt. Put the Thunderbird download button on the same page as Firefox.

    Look, don’t kill off our Thunderbird program, before you’ve at least tried the obvious.

    And, admit it, spinning off Thunderbird into a separate organization will kill it off, because you’ll have lost the chance to leverage off the massive Firefox user base.

    Please, at least try the obvious.

  184. 184

    Neil Stansbury said on August 31st, 2007 at 4:23 pm:

    After all the pain the Mozilla “organisation” has gone through over the years it would be such a shame to appear to have not learnt from it’s titan achievements.

    There is no real difference between Firefox and TB, they are just different ways of displaying web data, XUL + RDF + XML + SOAP + HTTP + FTP + IMAP are just ways of representing XML over an open standards connection.

    Don’t get caught up in it’s an email vs web thing – it’s not – it’s all just XML data, and somewhere in the not to distant future it will all begin to align, and the varous Mozilla technologies are the perfect place for them to meet.

    Yes TB is dire, but why should my calendar and email be in a different app to my web browser? Why should I care that one is XHTML and another MIME? Why is it all not just web data? If Web 2.0 is about anything more than marketing BS it’s about destroying data silos.

    If TB can generate a revenue, then fine let it, but if you want both TB and Firefox to have a longterm future, then they are fundimentally intertwined – one feeding from the other, stop thinking web vs email and starting leveraging this spectacular platform.

  185. 185

    John Degen said on September 4th, 2007 at 4:01 am:

    I think email is moving towards the Web. Many people use Gmail, Hotmail etc. exclusively. Some of these webclients (Yahoo) are already pretty advanced. Might this not be a golden opportunity for Mozilla to develop the ultimate webmail client?

    I’m thinking of an clean and fast interface which uses hotkeys, advanced filtering, plenty of storage, embedded chat client, features for mobile phones/SMS, the works.

  186. 186

    Greg said on September 6th, 2007 at 9:56 am:

    This strikes me as just pie-in-the-sky BS, if you want to innovate start your own project.

    At work I’m stuck with an exchange server. For my personal email, I run my own server. I use thunderbird (IMAP and SSL) inside my network, and when I’m away from home I use the squirrelmail web-client (also IMAP and SSL). I do this is because you have to install thunderbird, which I can’t always do.

    The only good idea here is adding new kinds of indexing, data collecting and searches to thunderbird (like the CD spending example).

    The idea expressed here forgets that anykind of web-email depends on someone hosting huge email servers somewhere. Are you wanting to provide an out of the box hotmail or yahoo service? Do you think hotmail or yahoo or anybody else will start using it? There are already tons of web-clients (like squirrelmail) try improving them instead.

    If you want to go out and make an “exciting” software web service company out of email don’t hide behind open source get your own venture capital.

    I think the mozilla foundation should exist for more than just Firefox. In stead of always factionalizing and duplicating efforts, we should build instituions that can grow and survive.

    If most of the “buzz” is about firefox (right now, might not be that way 2 years from now), then it can help support other projects inside Mozilla. I still don’t use firefox because it’s klunky and limited. I use the latest version of what the foundation is named after.

    I think companys would free their old, no-longer profitable code as long as there is an organization to take it over, not just throw it away without any hope of anything coming of it. All of this old code might not live on as seperate, resurected products, but its code can be known, learned from, and provide prior art to protect free software from software patents.

  187. 187

    aadutoy said on September 18th, 2007 at 12:18 am:
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  188. 188

    Pod said on September 18th, 2007 at 12:42 pm:

    I thought that the success of firefox would be used to finance other development projects such as Sunbird and Thunderbird. But apparently the success of Firefox kills the success of the other projects. That is insane and stupid Management.

    Sunbird is the Thunderbird blocker in the enterprise market. Thunderbird plus Sunbird plus a groupware server (kolab etc.) has the potential to kill the Exchange platform, a giant market.

    The problem of Open Source is that you need some investment and critical mass to take off. Firefox got the investment.

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