So, That’s It For Thunderbird

Initial reaction is disappointment, but I do wonder (a) who besides me still uses a desktop email client, and (b) if email itself is (as I’ve heard) “something for old people” and “how I reach grandma.” What do y’all think about this development? Do you use Thunderbird? KMail? Evolution? Or just read your mail on the web?
Oh, don’t overlook the link to Mitchell Baker’s blog post at the bottom of this story!


Mozilla is not “stopping” Thunderbird development, it has just decided that: “continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.” And it’s pulling people off the project. But it’s not stopping? Right.

This, according to a letter shared with “Mozillians” ahead of the official announcement to be revealed on Monday. Recipients were asked not to share the letter, blog or tweet about the news until then, but obviously someone out there didn’t agree with that plan.

While it’s sure to upset some diehards, it’s a move that makes sense, given that Thunderbird, an open source Outlook competitor, is desktop software in a world that has been rapidly moving to mobile and web. Mozilla itself has been ramping up efforts in these areas as of late, with the recent introductions of its “boot-to-gecko” OS (now “Firefox OS”), for example, as well as a new…

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2 thoughts on “So, That’s It For Thunderbird

  1. I use a desktop mail client. (Claws Mail, for what it’s worth.) And the one on my smartphone. And Web clients where it’s the only option. Either way, e-mail is still vital for two tasks: 1) business communications and 2) account confirmations, password resets and so on. And it’s not like I wouldn’t like to see XMPP taking over these tasks, but it’s just not the same thing.

    Whether Mozilla should (continue to) have an e-mail client in their product range is a different question. I just hope Thunderbird doesn’t go away, because less choice in the market is the last thing everyone needs.

  2. I agree that it would be a terrible thing if Thunderbird went away entirely, but as long as some users are around, I’m pretty certain there would be enough developers (even just one!) to maintain the code through whatever operating system upgrades occur.

    For a long time, I used Thunderbird and its predecessors on Windows and KMail on Linux. What I always liked about KMail was the list management tools and the brilliant threading and navigation. Then KMail 2.0 became unmanageable, at least on my aging laptop. I personally hope that the KDE-PIM project takes advantage of this moment to make KMail more stable and functional.

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