Thunderbird: Stability and Community Innovation

July 6th, 2012

Thunderbird provides an open-source, cross-platform email alternative for those of us who still use stand-alone email clients (and I am one).  It’s trust-worthy, it’s under your control, and it’s built to reflect the Mozilla mission. Once again we’ve been asking the question:  is Thunderbird a likely source of innovation and of leadership in today’s Internet life?  Or is Thunderbird already pretty much what its users want and mostly needs some on-going maintenance?

Much of Mozilla’s leadership — including that of the Thunderbird team — has come to the conclusion that on-going stability is the most important thing, and that continued innovation in Thunderbird is not a priority for Mozilla’s product efforts. (For more information about the path to this conclusion, see the “Background Information” section below.) As a result, the Thunderbird team has developed a plan that provides both stability for Thunderbird’s current state and allows the Thunderbird community to innovate if it chooses.

In this plan, Mozilla will provide security updates through an Extended Support Release process. We will also maintain mechanisms for the Thunderbird community to organize for ongoing development. Here are additional details about this plan. If you are a Thunderbird user and are interested in more details, please follow the discussion at the two URLs above or in the Thunderbird online channels. If you are a Thunderbird developer, join the discussion in the Thunderbird development forums.

Thunderbird is an important product for many people — I am one of them.  If you’re one of us and want to get involved in building Thunderbird, now is the time. For Thunderbird users, the Extended Support Release process will provide security maintenance updates.

Background Information

We’ve asked the question about Thunderbird and ongoing innovation a number of times.  We’ve tried for years to build Thunderbird as a highly innovative offering, where it plays a role in moving modern Internet messaging to a more open, innovative space, and where there is a growing, more active contributor base.  To date, we haven’t achieved this.  The exception to this statement is the Mozilla localization communities, which contributes immense effort into localizing Thunderbird into many languages.  However, the dedicated efforts of these groups have not been supported by an active contributor base in other areas.    This puts great stress on a number of our localization communities.

The Thunderbird team has successfully updated the product and has built infrastructure for innovation in Thunderbird.  It has ideas and projects under way.  It tries to develop and welcome and nurture new contributors.   Over the years we’ve tried a variety of things to encourage community development and innovation in the Thunderbird world.  In the early days of the Foundation in 2003 the same team was developing Firefox and Thunderbird; then we created Mozilla Messaging for a focused development; and today the Thunderbird team is back in the main Mozilla product organization.

Most Thunderbird users seem happy with the basic email feature set.  In parallel, we have seen the rising popularity of Web-based forms of communications representing email alternatives to a desktop solution.  Given this, focusing on stability for Thunderbird and driving innovation through other offerings seems a natural choice.


392 comments for “Thunderbird: Stability and Community Innovation”

  1. 1 said on July 19th, 2012 at 11:54 am:

    Thunderbird… the best email client in the world.
    You can use add-ons to make it more individuell than another software.

    I’m a computer technican and programmer with a large company. And I know from our customers, that cloud computig will be used in futere… but only for non-necessary data.
    maybe private pictures, music, etc.

    Emails and necessary files (sensitive) will be hosted on own servers in own networks.
    No one will trust the clouds…

    Thunderbird is a extremly high standard software… i think it will bring me and my customers throgh the next years. But I’m sure, that will be not the end for one of the best software in the world, and sure the BEST email client in the world.

    What do I love in Thunderbird:
    – google-contacts –> android smartphone
    – google-calendar (Lightning, + google provider) –> android smartphone
    – indivudual design with stationery
    – using quicktext for often used phrases
    – attachment options for individual handling with attachments
    – using the calender when is included (via lightning)
    – really love the adressbook
    – use the RSS function

    “Used Outlook before… but locked out for Thunderbird. And really addictet to Thunderbird.”

  2. 2

    Faustino José de Faria said on July 20th, 2012 at 3:29 pm:

    It’s very simple:
    Users like firefox.
    Users love thunderbird.

  3. 3

    Jos G said on July 22nd, 2012 at 1:35 am:

    I am stunned!
    It seemed to me that I am using Thunderbird for ages now, since I left outlook express for it! And I adviced lots of people to use it too, because it’s an excellent mail-program.
    Now that I read that I have to start looking once more for a good program, I am very disappointed! What will be the next program they are stopping? Every time when there’s a good program but there doesn’t seem to be anough money to earn, they kill it! Poor customers, but that’s not what it’s about! Its all about the money!
    Well, I need to start looking!……………

  4. 4

    Ann said on July 25th, 2012 at 7:41 am:

    Why is Mozilla so crazy lately? Did some new executive take over and decide to drive it into the ground? Firefox OS? You’ve got to be kidding. No one will ever use that. You’ve got the best email client out there, but instead of fixing 5-year old bugs, you’re abandoning it to work on things that no one asked for and no one will use?

  5. 5

    Gary Mort said on July 26th, 2012 at 8:02 am:

    I see why this decision was made, without community contribution it can seem kind of lonely. I think what your missing is that the extension community IS community contribution, and taking the best of extensions to incorporate into Thunderbird is a way forward.

    I continue to use Thunderbird as it is a cross-platform tool to access all my email. I use both the web and thunderbird to access my gmail, as I prefer thunderbird but sometimes use a system where it’s not installed.

    There is still room for growth within Thunderbird too.
    Android and iOS versions would be ideal…there is no decent email client for mobile phones.

    The sieve plugin is fantastic, embedding this into thunderbird would be perfect.

    Extending filter management to also work with the gmail api and get filters off the desktop would be great.

    That’s about it…3 things to make Thunderbird absolutely perfect.

  6. 6

    Aaron Toponce said on July 29th, 2012 at 7:33 am:

    Well, of course Thunderbird isn’t innovating, because the mail target is a rather static one. What new advancements has there been in mail? New protocols? Nope. New RFCs? Nope. Anything? Nope. Yet, compare it to the ever-moving target of the web. HTML 5 and CSS 3, Javascript JITs, hardware acceleration, just to name a few. Do you need to hardware accelerate your email?

    I don’t blame Mozilla for making the decision they have. Mail is old and stagnant. Has been for ages. What do you expect? The web is fresh and ever-changing. But, as soon as Google decides to stop supporting the Mozilla product, then what? Who will step up to pay their bills? Mozilla needs to keep a sharp focus, and a dedicated team. So, I think this is a very wise move on their part.

    Further, if the community wants to step up and support developing new features into Thunderbird, then let them. After all, Debian is a big success of grassroots, community driven development. If Thunderbird is that important to the community, they’ll fill in and take over.

  7. 7

    drspinderwalf said on July 29th, 2012 at 6:08 pm:

    This move was a very smart one. There’s less need for resources on TB and Seamonkey than on Firefox.

    However, I do love the direction they were going for in their designs as thunderbird being the application for all messaging in general (be that IM, Mail, or any other sort of communication). Hopefully some interested folks in the community will provide some interesting patches.

    I mean, there’s always Sylpheed and Claws mail, too. Lots of great FOSS software out there.

  8. 8

    Multiaccounter said on August 3rd, 2012 at 3:07 am:

    Please do at least 5 things before stop. 1. Build a natively working Exhange support. I hate Outlook and we need Thundurbird at the office too!

    So, you need to integrate 2. Linghting and 3. enigmail to Thundurebird asap! 4. After this you need to add xmpp support to Thunderbird as we need 5. IM features too plus working Video conversation client. Thunderbird is collaboration tool nr# 1.

    And how can you say that Thunderbird is done? It’s far from it and its even more important now than decade a go. Now we have MULTIBLE e-mail accounts and no web based service or client can manage that!

    I can tell you at least ten more features needed. Just don’t stop moving ahead!

    If you stop now – Please – let some other community to take over this project – Now you work and act like Stephen (Idiot) Elop with her burnig float strategy in Nokia.

  9. 9

    Mike Edward Moras (e-sushi™) said on August 5th, 2012 at 7:11 pm:

    Dear Mozilla,

    As you know from your “aggregate” data collections, we’ve been knowing each other for decades. I gave you my trust, I gave you my time, I gave you my support and I gave you my feedback.

    And during all these years, things felt absolutely right.

    But lately, I’ve been feeling more and more surprised by your mood-swings and your intimate dances with Google. Reading what you wrote today was the final eye-opener to me, as it finally dawned upon me that you have not only flirted, but actually managed to completely sell out to Google without even admitting to it. But I understand that you are relying on the fact that your actions scream so loud, not a single word needs to be wasted.

    Now, I know this is going to be hard for you to hear, but I’ve got some nice people standing in my back yard, waving with their shiny, minimal browsers and email clients… and to tell you the truth, compared to them, you don’t feel that good anymore. That’s right, you’ve lost your special something… you’ve lost your *glow*!

    Anyway, I’m not a heart-breaker like you are, cutting half way through our relationship out of the blue. I prefer a clean cut all the way through. That’s why I’m herewith officially telling you that I will be abandoning you today. This is it. The point of no return. The day you finally managed to screw up our relationship for ever.

    But no hard feelings from my side. Actually it was my fault because I should have known you by now. A wolf doesn’t change it’s coat. And things are obviously going down just like back in the Netscape days, aren’t they? Time will show what I’m seeing coming… again.

    Therefore, I wish you luck – as you will need it while the masses depart. And I wish you comfort – in the dark nights where you will try to remind yourself of the good old days that once were so comforting.

    Bah, whatever!

    Can’t waste too much time anymore. I’m off now. I’ve got a date with a brand new browser and email client and I sure don’t want to be late because of you.



  10. 10

    Mike Edward Moras (e-sushi™) said on August 5th, 2012 at 7:16 pm:

    Just couldn’t help myself adding a post scriptum: “Next up, email in your browser!”
    (Just wait and see… been there done it, same story again.)

  11. 11

    Nigelle said on August 8th, 2012 at 9:24 am:

    Thunderbird (TB) has several problems :
    1) The main : most of the people in US do not use a mailer as TB but the Web-mail interface of their browser. In all other countries it is the reverse, the mailer is the most common use…
    Unfortunately most Mozilla people (workers or decision taking) are in the US and are US citizen because it is difficult to be allowed to work if you are a foreigner, so they don’t use TB and think that it has no interest and is not needed !
    This is the perfect situation to take a biased decision taking into account only US that is less than 1/20 of the world population or 1/10 of the PCs…
    2) Due to 1) TB is starved from development resources : old (>10 years) bugs with many votes (>50) are not yet been fixed e.g.
    -Bug 11039 – Filter outgoing/Sent messages (perhaps to use a different Sent/FCC folder) ; Reported: 1999-08-01 ; enhancement with 116 votes .
    filtering manually sent message is working but an option to do it automatically as for inbox messages is needed by users…
    -Bug 93094 – [RFE] Add an archive mail feature (automatic archiving of messages per month /other interval) ; Reported: 2001-08-01 ; enhancement with 61 votes .
    users wish to have old mail moved to a backup drive (and not in C: with the normal mail as presently available) and still accessible by TB….
    So it is untrue to say that development is finished.
    3) Why a mailer is needed ? this is a question of functionality : with good settings and one action and eventually entering password(s), TB receives all your mail in a row and sends all the email you have prepared, compare this to Web-mail in which you have to access all the sites of your email addresses providers and enter all your users and passwords…
    I know how I backup my mails from a POP server and I am confident. I don’t know how this is done by the web-mail server.
    It is interesting for an hacker to break a web-mail server and obtain access to all the accounts with all their mails. On a POP server where I erase messages after my backup there are just few mails left. If you hack my PC you’ll have all of them but except if I am a VIP nobody will try to hack it !
    4) Is the community sufficient ? No except if the project has a charismatic recognized genius as leader because he can convince voluntary developers to fix a particular bug or start a new development… And developers program a functions in the way that is easy to code but not the best for the users e.g. the answer to inbox messages goes into the same folder i.e. inbox !
    5) What should Mozilla organisation do ? What the voluntary developers cannot or do not wish to do.
    -Have paid developers to fix old bugs with many votes and more or less high severity according rules to be defined when nobody is voluntary.
    -Offer general services.
    -Plan long term developments and their directions. Copying what the others do and having many functions that only a few % use is not the best solution…
    -Study what should be the architecture.
    6) What should NOT Mozilla organisation do ?
    -Waste users and developers time by changing User Interface of program existing for a long time : 1/10 of an hour (6 minutes, a big underestimate) to learn again how it works for 20 000 000 users means 2 000 000 hours which is equivalent to 1000 men working full time (2000 hours for 50 weeks of 40 hours). It is important to have a good UI but it should be studied before first release of the program to users and not changed after the second release except catastrophic failure.
    -develop an Operating System : this should be a separate project. Mozilla may help with screen management or browser and mailer integration. An OS is an other job…
    7) The profile architecture of TB and FF is obsolete, it was valid only at the beginning of Netscape when there was only a profile per user or an address mail (account architecture of TB). This limit the functionality offered to users and a newer architecture is perhaps the reason why FF has been overtaken by an other browser.
    Think again the file structure : some files are better system-wide (as the virus signatures data base of my antivirus) e.g. urlclassifier3.sqlite the dangerous URLs, others user-wide e.g. bookmarks or the address book, others in the profile. For TB in particular, the accounts=mail addresses should be organised in groups (present profiles) but with the possibility to move to an other group to follow the status of the address : current with many or few messages, phasing out for too much spam, abandoned…
    As most on-the-shelf PCs have now 2 partitions : one for Windows, the other for data an easy method to put what is presently included in the profile in this second partition (which is a safer place). Presently it is possible only if you are a geek and the root e.g. profiles.ini remains in C: which is unpleasant to reconstruct if you format C: …
    8) Advertising through a mailer seems difficult : either it is spam if new mail is sent or it is tampering of correspondence which is illegal. With web-mail, it is easy to show advertising around the email part of the screen. Did Goggle or other advertisers have a voice in the decision against TB ?
    9) Beware : if you phase out TB, users may find an other mailer but as mailer and browser often go together they may also use the other browser instead of FF…

  12. 12

    anduzzu said on August 13th, 2012 at 2:26 am:

    Thunderbird is my favorite email client. I used it on Windows and I countinue to use it on my linux machine. It’s awsome!

  13. 13

    Bob Cross said on August 17th, 2012 at 2:27 am:

    I’m going to echo most of what’s already been said. First off Firefox _and_ Thunderbird are a great “one-two” punch against IE/Outlook – and those two aren’t cross-platform, FF/TB are!

    Secondly, I just can’t believe that Mozilla folks are seriously suggesting that _any_ web-based email system has the power/flexibility that Thunderbird has “out of the box”, never mind with a selection of the excellent add-ons that exist. I can be far more productive in TB than GMail for example, and as for Live-Mail/Hotmail – I use the webmail plug in on TB because it makes using Hotmail a lot nicer. Heck, I’m so much of a TB fan, that it’s a piece of software that I’d happily pay for.

    Lastly, I just can’t believe that Mozilla are dropping TB in favour of this “FirefoxOS”. My problem with this project is that it’s … just … not … needed. There’s already Android, ChromeOS, Tizen, et al covering what FirefoxOS seems to want to do. If Mozilla are hell bent on reinventing a fifth wheel then presumably we’ll be seeing a “Firefox Office” shortly?

    As you can probably tell, I’m very unimpressed with this decision of Mozilla’s and it’s one I hope that they’ll reconsider.

  14. 14

    Clemens said on August 20th, 2012 at 6:02 am:

    I loved to use mozilla thunderbird, hope they won’t let it die…

  15. 15

    Tacky said on August 20th, 2012 at 9:43 am:

    i absolutely agree with Nigelle #374, TB has in its “final” Version several, partly heavy problems.
    Today a IMPORTANT email has vanished, nowhere to find. Yes, absolutely shure.
    Gogl the web shows same results from other users, often not solved.
    I have a idea where the problem could be found ( a mix of a lot opened eMails, long time archieve demand denied, several accounts etc ).
    I really absolutely cant believe that TB is eating eMails, but there’s no doubt about it.
    ( i have the counterpart in the send-folder)
    I know a few bugs from working where i must say, if you have several accounts and are
    working intensive you MUST detect this bugs, so i cant believe that there is a reasonable
    testing in the TB environment.
    i am very dissapointed, and this and a lot of issues with FF shows to me that there are some
    very fundamental problems…


  16. 16

    Sohbet said on August 21st, 2012 at 2:10 am:

    I’d much rather use a desktop client than a web client.

  17. 17

    Anders said on August 25th, 2012 at 2:05 am:

    Sounds like there’s a great opportunity for someone to pick up Thunderbird from where it is now and make a commercial version of it…

    Any takers?


  18. 18

    Sascha said on August 31st, 2012 at 2:25 am:

    I don´t think that this is a wise decision. Because it doesn´t fit to the policy always pronounced by Mozilla. At the moment is a real good e-mail client, like Thunderbird, the best an most private way to handle e-mails. This won´t change in the future, no matter if there is a Cloud or a Webmail feature. The Cloud is nothing more as a external storage wich is located in the internet. Webmail is may good for only one e-mail account or for checking your e-mails while you are on the road.
    This is disappointing and i hope you think about that for a while, before you will really do this mistake…

  19. 19

    Peter m. said on September 3rd, 2012 at 3:02 am:

    I am very disappointed. Having lost my trust into web-companies I don’t use web-clients and cloud services, as I usually like to control my data. That’s why I use an desktop-client like Thunderbird to manage my e-mail and contacts.
    I believe, it’s a big error to join the choir who shouts that all data shold be organized in clouds (under control of Google, Apple etc.) That’s only what these companies want me to think. Then, after a time of lovely benefits they will tell me, what I may do or think and what I must not. However: do I really need these benefits? or am I manipulated?
    The past has showed that not everything thas has been developed was a positive development for the human society.
    So I am reaaly sad about the decision of Mozilla to bury Thunderbird.

  20. 20

    Sam said on September 7th, 2012 at 5:19 am:

    Start a “kickstarter” plan for Thunderbird features.
    Have users pledge money for the features they want.

    Prominently feature a “donate” button.

    Encourage companies with wide deployments to donate.


    Please keep developing Thunderbird. I want / need local email, not web based.
    We have thousands of emails, and web email is just too slow.

    Develop a version for Android and for Apple.

    Develop an addressbook that synchronizes with others, automatically.


    There are many browsers that are good enough. I like and use Firefox but the truth is that FF could go away and my work day would not hiccup.
    But if we lost Thunderbird that is a major problem.

    No way would I switch to a FireFox OS. An OS without apps / software I need is useless.

    Please please keep Thunderbird going

    thank you

  21. 21

    Martin Forisch said on September 13th, 2012 at 11:35 am:

    Oh well, spent years weening my surrounding off Outlook, now that I’v almost succeed, this….

    1) I prefer a fat email client for my mail and most people in my surrounding agree.
    2) Webmail offers tend to lock in users.
    I.e. at least some providers do not make it easy to migrate away from them, as an export function is missing most of the time.
    So if you want to switch your email provider, you have to say goodbye to some of your historic mail and the folder structure it is stored in.
    If you want control of your mail: Use a fat email client.
    3)Email on smartphones is on the rise, one might think that removes the need for a fat email client: My take on this: Good for casual usage, not good for longer mails and longterm storage.
    4)Email is a pervasive communication method, widely used and despite the rise of facebook, google+ and other such platforms a common denominator in modern communication.
    Despite the reasons given above I can not fathom the decision of not wanting to further develop this space.

    just my 0.2 c
    Regards, Martin

  22. 22

    Thomas said on September 21st, 2012 at 4:16 pm:

    I´m working for a Meditation centre,

    all people there are working honorary, no one get´s money for his work.
    The whole facility is based on gifts from people who came there and got
    great benefits of this meditation technique.

    So the centre itself tries to keep all the cost on a minimum.
    Thunderbird is doing a great job in our office und helps to keep the cost low.

    Many of the centre servers haven´t much money,
    because they give all their power to keep the centre working. Many of them are using
    Thunderbird too.

    If we loose Thunderbird we will have a problem.

    So please keep Thunderbird going.

    Thank you for all your efforts until today.

    best regards,


  23. 23

    Kevin McCormick said on September 23rd, 2012 at 5:39 am:

    “the Thunderbird team has developed a plan that provides both stability for Thunderbird’s current state and allows the Thunderbird community to innovate if it chooses.”

    This may seem a bit rude, but I want to make my point. How kind of you. It appears the Thunderbird team has developed themselves into a box — nowhere to go, but not willing to give up their position. Naturally, offer the users the option to “innovate” (according to the team’s predefined notion) and maintain control. Perhaps Thunderbird just can’t attract top developers, but I believe Mozilla should be looking for a new Thunderbird team.

  24. 24

    Ryan said on October 16th, 2012 at 3:28 pm:

    Obviously bad news for those who want constant innovation, but I really do understand this decision. Thunderbird is already the best desktop email client, and the truth is that most people use webmail and aren’t going to return to managing their own mailbox. Concentrate on security and stability, and let the community drive it from here

  25. 25

    wayfair sunglasses shop said on October 28th, 2012 at 3:08 am:

    I think that everything posted made a bunch of sense.

    But, what about this? what if you added a little content? I mean, I
    don’t wish to tell you how to run your website, but what if you added a post title that grabbed people’s
    attention? I mean Thunderbird: Stability and Community Innovation
    | Mitchell’s Blog is kinda boring. You could look at Yahoo’s front page and
    watch how they create article headlines to get viewers to click.

    You might try adding a video or a picture or two to get people excited about everything’ve got to say. In my opinion, it would bring your posts a little livelier.

  26. 26

    ilya said on December 5th, 2012 at 11:05 pm:

    Sorry, but this is very bad idea. Thunderbird is best standalone client in their field with unique functions and great extention api + very big library. It does not replace Gmail or Hotmail. No other interface that has such a unique opportunity. Termination of its development – it’s a mistake and you’re good to feel it. Not everything in our lives can be transferred online and in each forest birds need. In Thunderbird there will be numerous fans.

  27. 27 said on December 9th, 2012 at 8:33 am:

    I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure
    of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could
    connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of
    text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  28. 28

    Lowell Skoog said on December 29th, 2012 at 8:29 am:

    I just switched to Thunderbird 17.0 from Eudora 7 as my primary email client.

    That’s right, I just switched TO Thunderbird. I was a paid customer of Eudora for years, and I’ve continued to limp along using my old copy on new computers and new operating system releases (Windows), but I finally decided I needed to transition away from it.

    I don’t have the time (and probably don’t have the expertise) to contribute to the maintenance of Thunderbird at this point in my life, but for me it is the best email solution available. I’m going to continue to use it for the foreseeable future and I sincerely hope that it remains viable.

    My use of email is perhaps not typical. I’ve been active on-line since the 1980s, before the birth of the web. I’m an amateur historian, and I have THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of emails documenting my historical research. I absolutely need to know that these emails are safe on my personal backup disks and that I’m not susceptible to the kind of catastrophic cloud hacking that James Fallows described in a blog post several months ago:

    I also value the fact that Thunderbird (like Eudora) saves emails in a collection of files that, in a pinch, I can read using a simple text editor, rather than a binary “blob” (i.e. Outlook) which, if corrupted, could result in the loss of all my emails.

    I was delighted at the ease with which I was able to move my thousands of email folders to Thunderbird when I installed version 17.0 recently. I’m getting used to Thunderbird now, and am very happy with it so far. If Thunderbird deteriorates at some indeterminate time in the future, I will deal with it. (I know there are applications out there that I can use to convert my email archives to other formats.) But for now and for the foreseeable future, I’m sticking with Thunderbird.

    Thanks to Mozilla and the Thunderbird community for creating such a great email client.

    Keep calm and carry on.

  29. 29

    bird-person said on January 3rd, 2013 at 12:23 am:

    Mozilla has been starving out Mail & News for _years_. Dressing it up as though some benevolent decision has been made is just the corporate talk one would expect from the likes of Ms. Baker. Mozilla has tens of Millions in revenue, and practically none of this is going to develop anything in Mail & News, leaving most people to the mercy of MS Outlook.

    What a frustration this all is for dedicated users and extension developers.

  30. 30

    bdosfan said on February 11th, 2013 at 1:15 pm:

    I am just praying that Mozilla will fix this – for years known – damned problem of changing font sizes while editing an email, before they REALLY leave us alone with this mess!!!

    Had I known about this problem earlier I would have changed to another email client. I loved ans still do love many of the other the features, in particular the finely tunable filter rules! Or multiple identities, a great feature with potential for more development and improvement.

    However, what’s not going to happen does not happen.

    @Mozilla. PLEASE, get this font problem fixed, before you bury Thunderbird!!! Thanks in the name of ALL those millions of Thunderbird users.

  31. 31

    David Gessel said on February 23rd, 2013 at 10:10 am:

    This is a disastrous decision. Obviously Mozilla can’t be forced to look out for the welfare of the world when there is money to be made in rev share with default search, but killing the most popular legitimate mail client, and which has to some extent by its success driven out of the market many viable alternatives, borders on evil.

    While droves of naive users trust webmail provided for “free” by for-profit corporations (and, sadly, many savvy users who should know better do as well), it is a false economy to gift something so dear and central as our correspondence in exchange for at-whim convenience.

    It is unnerving that some of the most successful open source stories, the Mozilla foundation and Ubuntu, have been co-opted into embracing the Orwellian path to profits championed by Facebook. Privacy is dead. At least as a viable business model.

    It is my sincere hope that the community is able to maintain this critical tool’s viability indefinitely.

  32. 32

    vrnx said on March 18th, 2013 at 11:30 am:

    Maybe instead of trying to come up with new innovative features, Mozilla should’ve made the existing ones work the way they’re supposed to…

  33. 33

    Bob Martel said on March 27th, 2013 at 5:18 pm:

    Wish the ability to edit LDAP based address books had been finished ( bug fixed) before it was decided to reallocate resources.

  34. 34

    Art said on March 28th, 2013 at 3:58 pm:

    Mitchell…if stability is the paramount goal why has Thunderbird continued to lose user emails . I’m using 17 and have just experienced the total loss of thousands of business and personal emails and folder contents …without recourse. Reading posts I’ve found I’m one amongst many who have suffered the same fate.

    The quantity of conflicting advice to resolve issues, along with complaints of no resolution with newer releases paints a picture of complete incompetence and stupidity.

    I’ve used Thunderbird for many years and now find myself seeking a more trustworthy solution.

  35. 35

    Concerned user said on April 1st, 2013 at 3:27 am:

    Not sure if this will fall on deaf ears or not, but if thunderbird is basically owned by google, then why not roll it out as a google platform and make it a desktop client for gmail, google voice, google talk, google drive et al? This would make life easier for folks like me who use those apps every day on my linux system and would like there to be some kind of tray notification when I get a call or a text or an IM or a gmail email. This would bring the product up to current with the current state of affairs and would give a good alternative to those of us who prefer firefox to chrome (course if chrome lets you work with IMAP providers other than gmail, then thunderbird is in trouble!)

  36. 36

    Concerned user said on April 1st, 2013 at 3:29 am:

    Mitchell – Dont go looking for more stable in the form of gnome’s evolution. those guys really messed that client up badly – i just jumped ship from that client. between gnome 3 and evolution they seem to have forgotten how to write good code…

  37. 37

    roscoe said on April 2nd, 2013 at 3:51 pm:

    This is really disappointing.

    First Sunbird – a fine, robust Calendar app gets killed off.

    Then Songbird support on Linux was dropped.

    Now development of Thunderbird, the only reliable free GUI email client, is to be “left to the community”.

    Mozilla are putting all of their eggs in one basket with this narrow focus on Firefox OS, which, lets face it, is doomed to failure. There is no way Firefox OS can compete with Android. Thunderbird was great because it gave Mozilla a niche – Google don’t offer a desktop Email Client.

    Mitchell says “we have seen the rising popularity of Web-based forms of communications”. With Thunderbird being effectively mothballed, and a lack of other good free GUI based email clients, many people will have little choice but to switch to webmail.

    Also I don’t believe that people have an aversion to native apps – look at the remarkable popularity of the Apple and Android appstores. In contrast, Chrome OS, which relies solely upon webapps, has not been as wildly successful, so I think this suggestion that no one wants native apps anymore, they all want webapps instead is untrue.

    I know Mozilla are saying thunderbird is not dying… it will just be community lead from now on, but look at Sunbird. When Sunbird development was “handed over to the community” a number of years ago the project basically died. I’ve just checked on Wikipedia and the last new stable release of Sunbird was in 2008! I fear a similar fate for thunderbird – that it will stagnate and slowly die.

    Also, Thunderbird is very good, but is NOT feature complete. GPG encryption should be included by default, rather than having to rely upon an add on, for instance. The addition of Chat functionality is controversial, but, for me, a decent chat client needs to allow you to make audio and video calls. Thunderbird does not offer this functionality, so for my chat client I am going to use Pidgin or Empathy or some other program that does.

    I would prefer it if Mozilla dropped Firefox OS and instead developed their own Mozilla Linux distribution with Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird and Songbird joined by other software that would complement it well… for example a Mozilla photo manager app, a Mozilla File manager, a Mozilla Video Editor and a Mozilla Office suite and all of this really well integrated to provide a cohesive experience with quality I have come to expect from Mozillas individual products.

  38. 38

    me said on April 15th, 2013 at 6:36 pm:

    I am curious what companies will use from now on. Outlook is a s…t. You cannot use an obscure email client full of Trojans.

    There is no PRO desktop email client on market at this time or maybe it is but with a huge cost.

    I am wondering how these “managers” are thinking the strategies. They wake up in the morning and they think like this: “I want to do something thing, I want the people to talk about ME. YES, I remove X product!”

    A lot of stupidity on this planet.

  39. 39

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  40. 40

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  41. 41

    russia said on January 6th, 2014 at 4:58 pm:

    this decision is bad and stays bad

    kick of Mitchell Baker, as she destoys Mozilla

  42. 42

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