MozillaZine

Mozilla Thunderbird to Find New Home as Mozilla Foundation Focuses on Mozilla Firefox

Thursday July 26th, 2007

On her weblog, Mozilla Corporation CEO Mitchell Baker has announced that Mozilla Thunderbird is to move to a "new, separate organizational setting" as the Mozilla Foundation continues to focus ever more closely on Mozilla Firefox.

While the Mozilla Foundation supports a number of projects, its taxable subsidiary the Mozilla Corporation is responsible for only Firefox and Thunderbird. However, it has become increasingly clear that Firefox is the priority. The resources allocated to Firefox dwarf those allocated to Thunderbird and recent projects such as the initiative to improve Mozilla support exclude Thunderbird.

Mitchell outlines three possible options for a new organisational structure for Thunderbird. One is to create a entirely new non-profit, which would offer maximum independence for Thunderbird but is organisationally complex. A second option is to create a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation for Thunderbird, which would keep the Mozilla Foundation involved but may mean that Thunderbird continues to be neglected in favour of Firefox. A final option is to recast Thunderbird as community project, similar to SeaMonkey, and set up a small independent services and consulting company to continue development. However, there are concerns over how the Thunderbird product, project and company would interact.

On his new weblog, lead Thunderbird developer Scott MacGregor has posted his thoughts on the finding a new home for Thunderbird. He states that he favours the third option. Scott explains that this means that Thunderbird would continue to use Mozilla Foundation infrastructure, such as the CVS repository and Bugzilla, and the new company would perform a similar role for Thunderbird as the Mozilla Corporation does for Firefox, developing, releasing and supporting the application.

Observers of the Mozilla community may have seen Thunderbird's new home coming. In April, former Firefox lead developer Ben Goodger wrote a weblog post discussing autonomy for non-Firefox projects. He suggested renaming the Mozilla Corporation to the Firefox Corporation and pointed to a newsgroup message in which Mozilla Corporation CTO Brendan Eich declared "Thunderbird will have to fly free". Ten days later, Mitchell Baker wrote a weblog post on the Mozilla Foundation's focus on Firefox, stating that the Foundation's resources would be used to "assist other Mozilla participants and projects, but not equally with Firefox and not at significant cost to Firefox".

Update: In the text above, the sentence "While the Mozilla Foundation supports a number of projects, its taxable subsidiary the Mozilla Corporation is responsible for only Firefox and Thunderbird" was potentially misleading. The Corporation provides significant support to projects other than Firefox and Thunderbird in terms of hardware, services and personnel.

It would be more accurate to say that Firefox and Thunderbird are Mozilla products, which means that they get released, distributed and supported as end-user applications by the Corporation. Other applications, such as SeaMonkey and Camino, are Mozilla projects, which are made into products by volunteers or other organisations, if at all.

Thanks to Asa Dotzler for the clarification in comment 26 and comment 30 on this article.


#1 The cover is gone

by BenoitRen

Thursday July 26th, 2007 10:20 AM

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Finally they're recognising that Thunderbird always was the red-headed stepchild, and that they always were interested in Firefox, not this whole "stand-alone applications" paradigm.

This "stand-alone applications > Mozilla suite!!!11" was only a cover to enable them to focus on Firefox. Everyone who ever said "Mozilla Corporation/Foundation? Firefox Corporation/Foundation!" couldn't have been more right.

#2 MozillaZine Rename?

by ivanwillsau

Thursday July 26th, 2007 12:21 PM

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Bring on FirefoxZine!

#3 Re: MozillaZine Rename?

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Thursday July 26th, 2007 2:56 PM

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No plans to stop reporting on Thunderbird. Even if it completely leaves the Foundation, it continue to remain of interest because of its use of Mozilla technologies.

Alex

#4 Re: MozillaZine Rename?

by roseman

Thursday July 26th, 2007 3:08 PM

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What about ThunderbirdZine (!)

#55 Re: MozillaZine Rename?

by aspr1n

Friday August 31st, 2007 5:31 PM

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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.

#56 Re: Re: MozillaZine Rename?

by leafdigital

Tuesday September 4th, 2007 5:38 AM

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Web 2.0 is not about anything more than marketing BS. It is a worthless concept (or perhaps a worthless non-concept) that means different things to different people.

Email should be in a different program to your web browser because computer interfaces work best with different programs for different tasks. Otherwise you would build a single operating system which does everything and there would be no need for application software at all. That's a logical approach (so if Mozilla decide to write their own complete standalone operating system, it's fine) but it's not the way current operating systems are designed to work. Operating systems are designed to work with a variety of software applications for different tasks, some of which may share similar technical facilities (such as XML rendering).

I don't think TB is 'dire' either, but it's clearly somewhat under-resourced and whichever option is taken here will clearly prolong that. It's a shame; I'd been hoping that, now Firefox is well established as the de facto Web browser, Mozilla would move on to email (and calendaring and related) as the main focus.

#5 Cutting mail&news off

by eyalroz <eyalroz@technion.ac.il>

Thursday July 26th, 2007 3:57 PM

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"Mozilla Corporation/Foundation? Google Corporation!" is more like it.

#6 Can't argue

by scuac

Thursday July 26th, 2007 5:43 PM

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I use Thunderbird exclusively for my email needs both at home and work (same for Firefox), and although I fear this will slow down development on Tb, I can hardly find any arguments against it. The people involved are doing what they have to do. I only hope that this does not spiral into the demise of Tb. If that is the case you can expect lots of Tb users migrating to SeaMonkey. How would that affect Firefox? Me personally, if I am left with no Tb and moved to SM, I would definitely use its browser also and ditch Firefox. In this scenario this decision would be backfiring on Firefox.

#7 Re: Can't arugula

by roseman

Thursday July 26th, 2007 6:16 PM

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i use SeaMonkey for managing my bookmarks, (and could use it for e-mail), but use thunderbird for e-mail now & FF for web.

i think people could use SeaMonkey for e-mail, while still using FF for the web.

#12 Re: Re: Can't arugula

by muwlgr

Thursday July 26th, 2007 11:57 PM

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What's so wrong with using SeaMonkey for web browsing as well ? Then you just won't need any FireFoxes, like me :>

#21 Re: Can't arugula

by roseman

Friday July 27th, 2007 10:19 AM

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i used to use SeaMonkey instead of FF, but FF can be faster, and MANY of my favorite extensions are currently only developed for FF.

#24 Re: Can't arugula

by roseman

Friday July 27th, 2007 1:28 PM

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i used to use SeaMonkey instead of FF, but FF can be faster, and MANY of my favorite extensions are currently only developed for FF.

#25 Puts Seamonkey at equivalent risks, too

by rickst29 <rickstockton@acer-access.com>

Friday July 27th, 2007 1:29 PM

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The Seamonkey 'email' component depends, heavily, on Thunderbird Development and fix efforts. If TB becomes an "orphan", maybe firefox.org (sic) mgmt. will be even LESS willing to allow non-Firefox software to make fixes and development in underlying components (Gecko, XUL, etc.) which aren't needed by Firefox. If "TB" goes away, SeaMonkey becomes more difficult, I think. (I'm not an expert.)

#8 Keep Thunderbird alive!

by SomeGuy

Thursday July 26th, 2007 6:29 PM

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Even if this happens, I hope Mozilla.org continues to promote Thunderbird and make it look like it is a full Mozilla.org product even if development is elsewhere. Nothing kills a product faster than changes in company ownership - except perhaps a name change. PLEASE DON'T CHANGE THE NAME!!!!

Personally I think Thunderbird would have gotten more attention if it had been bundled with Firefox. (I was thinking there should be the normal Firefox only download and then a large bundle with Firefox, Thunderbird, NVU, Java, Flash, some popular extensions... but nobody ever listens to me)

And the Thunderbird 2 CD just got on the store not that long ago! Better go buy a dozen while they last.

#9 Re: Keep Thunderbird alive!

by SomeGuy

Thursday July 26th, 2007 7:00 PM

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BTW, I meant don't change the name of Thunderbird (like they changed Mozilla Suite to SeaMonkey)

I guess I can see some reasons why Google wouldn't want their money to go to Thunderbird, but if it comes to it perhaps it is time for it to start taking donations again.

#10 How about a 4th option

by jallen64

Thursday July 26th, 2007 7:01 PM

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Here's an idea for Thunderbird, give it to the OpenOffice organization as a possible incorporation into their office suite. This would be a good product to round out the OpenOffice suite as Thunderbird with Lightning makes a great email program.

#20 Re: How about a 4th option

by rodrms

Friday July 27th, 2007 10:18 AM

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I agree. OOo is awesome on handling multi projects, and a great e-mail client such as Thunderbird would help them immensely, plus would be a great push to Thunderbird getting better and better as it should.

#11 flounder

by jgl

Thursday July 26th, 2007 9:16 PM

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Although I don't think this is the end of TB I think it hurts it. My guess is that Thunderbird/Sunbird/Lightning will flounder as usual and never gain a foothold let alone be competition for outlook.

#13 Eudora

by dan123

Friday July 27th, 2007 12:03 AM

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This announcement wouldn't have anything to do with Mozilla taking on Eudora, would it...?

#14 Ressources sharing ?

by discom

Friday July 27th, 2007 1:01 AM

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Shouldn't Mozilla share money they earn from Firefox with the others project (Thunderbird, Sunbird, etc...) ?

If i remember well, the income from Firefox is really high, so sharing wouldn't be a problem. We need more than a Brower to use internet !

#15 Email client is nearing death

by rednival

Friday July 27th, 2007 5:51 AM

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I think this might have a lot to do with what Mozilla thinks the future of the email client is. There are many people suggesting that with online clients like Gmail, Yahoo!, and the Live Hotmail, the email client is heading towards extinction. Personally, I think it is a shame and I love my email client, but I can't help but notice that almost everyone I know is just using webmail to send and receive email. Even my coworkers, who are savy enough to use email clients, choose to simply use their webmail for their personal accounts.

Mozilla is focused on consumers and not business. If Thunderbird has any chance of surviving, I whatever organization it ends up at has to refocus and start trying to reach out to business users, who will probably be the only people using email clients in the not too distant future.

#16 Re: Email client is nearing death

by pedroren

Friday July 27th, 2007 7:26 AM

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There's still no way a webmail could replace an email client, because email client can sync with the PDA/Phones, so they can synchronize emails/contacts/agenda. I was waiting for the day Thunderbird could do this with my PalmOS device, but now I see it far from real.

#23 Re: Re: Email client is nearing death

by jdclucidly <clintonj@umkc.edu>

Friday July 27th, 2007 1:01 PM

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Almost all of the major webmail services and certainly the commercial ones can be sync'd through a number of facilities. For Gmail for example, you can use Goosync which is compatible with "Mail for Exchange" -- a service provided by nearly every mobile device in existence.

Zimba, which is replacing "enterprise" mail servers at a surprising rate, supports "Mail for Exchange" natively. It sync calendar, contacts and email.

#22 The future of TBird

by mitrich <mitrich@optonline.net>

Friday July 27th, 2007 11:05 AM

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Two things in response;

Web mail will never ever be as elegant and simple and swift as TBird. When I am at work,I use my ISP's web mail to check my home email. I also use Yahoo Mail. They are great in that you can use them for any mail in or out from any place you happen to be. But, beyond that they are clutsy and clumsy.

Regarding reaching out to business, for get that too. I used TBird for a while when Outlook on my new Vista computer was sick from trying to digest a huge importof my .pst folder.and I was curing it. TBird handled mail beautifully. It was nimble, speedy, a joy. But that's where it ended. Importing an address book was miserable. Lining up fields from Outlook to TBird was from the stone age, moving categories one space at a time, and then re-alligning all of the others. Also, that three tab card thing is ridiculous. Outlook, beyond mail, has collaboration, calendar, journal, and a great Contact process. Outlook will rule in the corporate/industrial/financial world for the foreseeable future.

I sincerely hope that TBird makes it. It is a worthy competitor to Outlook Express.

Most of TBird's work is done by volunteers. So, some other organization might come along and add a feather to its cap by adopting the organization. When the Mets put Julio Franco up for assignment, the Braves grabbed him. Maybe some organization like Netscape might come along and step up, putting its AOL/Time Warner muscle behind TBird. Radical, but possible.

#53 Re: Email client is nearing death

by data <updates@laag.us>

Monday August 6th, 2007 9:41 PM

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I think this is part of it. I have been using eudora since 1998 and use the last 7.1 edition. Then Quallcomm dropped Eudora like dirty laundy Oct 06, claiming that it was lending 6 full time eudora software people to the "Penelope" project, which quite frankly has not produced much since oct 06. I agree that the enthusiasm for Eudora, Penelope and thurderbird is reduced these days. I think part of that is that FF has sucked up so much of the resources of Mozilla in trying to outdo IE at every turn as well as all the Mac stuff. I just think that there are not a lot of power pop3 users out there and for those that rely on email for business as I do have just been stuck with outlook as in corp environments that is all you get. I really like gmail and use it with eudora. Quite frankly I would like to see Penelope blossom. The reality is there is just no money for it. I never have understood open source and why people donate their time. I do what I can to help, but I am not a developer. Google money coming in the back door for FF makes sense. It has to. I would like to see more Ubuntu work and Open office dev. I think a lot of people are just plain sick of MS. Problem is they have well paid people doing development. Open source does not.

#17 Split resources among applications naturally...

by pplwong

Friday July 27th, 2007 8:22 AM

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The Mozilla Foundation gets resources from donation etc. anyway.

They can simply let donators to specify the % of their donation they want to use for funding which products. The profit generated from their services can be divided the same way - whatever product gives them a profit gets those profits.

If a donator choose to let the foundation decide how to use their donation, then the money will be up to the foundation. But I guess most donators should have an idea about how many % of their donation should go to which product.

This way, they can leave the decision to "the market/users" instead of "we will focus on Firefox". Yes, leaving this to the market will probably end up with "firefox focused" anyway. But having Thunderbird leaving the foundation really shouldn't help them at all if Mozilla Foundation allows users to decide what and how much they want to fund.

Really, I can't see a reason to have them leaving the foundation.

#18 Split resources among applications naturally...

by pplwong

Friday July 27th, 2007 8:26 AM

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The Mozilla Foundation gets resources from donation etc. anyway.

They can simply let donators to specify the % of their donation they want to use for funding which products. The profit generated from their services can be divided the same way - whatever product gives them a profit gets those profits.

If a donator choose to let the foundation decide how to use their donation, then the money will be up to the foundation. But I guess most donators should have an idea about how many % of their donation should go to which product.

This way, they can leave the decision to "the market/users" instead of "we will focus on Firefox". Yes, leaving this to the market will probably end up with "firefox focused" anyway. But having Thunderbird leaving the foundation really shouldn't help them at all if Mozilla Foundation allows users to decide what and how much they want to fund.

Really, I can't see a reason to have them leaving the foundation.

#19 Mozilla Abandoning Thunderbird

by HwC

Friday July 27th, 2007 9:49 AM

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I can't help but think that this situation is related to Google/gmail calling some shots they shouldn't be, being that Google is highly profitable and Mozilla/Thunderbird is supposed to be non-profit. We've seen that businesses have said they were holding off migrating from M$ to Mozilla products until Tb becomes competitive (in terms of their specific needs rather than home users). The answer of pushing them to gmail and spinning off Tb is Microsoftthink, and I can't see any long-term benefit to the Mozilla community, which I remind all, has until now included the Thunderbird community.

#26 not quite, alex

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Friday July 27th, 2007 3:03 PM

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"While the Mozilla Foundation supports a number of projects, its taxable subsidiary the Mozilla Corporation is responsible for only Firefox and Thunderbird."

What exactly is the Foundation doing to support "a number of projects"? Which projects are those? Seamonkey? Calendar? Camino? NSS? NSPR? Rhino? Bouncer? AUS? Bugzilla? Bonsai? Tinderbox? The Foundation is supporting their version control systems, their bonsai, tinderboxen servers and clients, their build and release equipment, their distribution networks and hosting machines, their own versions of the web apps AMO, AUS, and Bugzilla, their dev doc sites, their wikis, their locale and testing community servers, etc.?

Nope. That's the Mozilla Corporation. Yep, the Corporation supports all of the Mozilla projects with personel, hosting services, and equipment. The Foundation doesn't employ a single sysadmin, build person, release engineer, web application or webtool developer. The Corporation does all of that. The Foundation doesn't pay for hosting or bandwidth for any of the Mozilla projects. The Corporation does that.

So, what exactly is the Foundation doing to support projects that the Corporation isn't doing because it's only doing Firefox?

- A

#28 Re: not quite, alex

by AlexBishop <alex@mozillazine.org>

Friday July 27th, 2007 3:38 PM

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Asa,

The distinction was supposed to be that while SeaMonkey, Camino and Bugzilla etc. are Mozilla Foundation projects, Firefox and Thunderbird are Mozilla Corporation products and as such receive greater support from the combined Foundation/Corporation operation (most notably in terms of development and marketing resources). Which is how I understood the split, at least back in 2005. I'm aware that in reality, the Corporation is responsible for operational matters while the Foundation is responsible for policy matters.

The intention was not to state that the Foundation provides operational support for all projects while the Corporation provides operational support Firefox and Thunderbird. It was more to state that the there are a number of projects under the Foundation umbrella but that the Corporation takes a greater interest in and responsibility for Firefox and Thunderbird. However, I agree that the sentence is unclear and an update is needed to clarify it. What would you suggest?

Do you think the distinction between Foundation projects and Corporation products really exists any more? (Did it ever?) I've never been too clear on the exact division (though with overlapping personnel and offices, it would probably be blurry in any case). I thought I understood it for a while but then I got thrown when the Mozilla Store was relaunched and it was a Foundation thing rather than a Corporation thing (given the inherent commercial nature of selling stuff, I thought it would have been part of the commercial Corporation). Frankly, I've found the increasing tendency to refer to the Foundation and/or Corporation with the ambiguous noun "Mozilla" less than helpful in figuring out who runs what. Maybe it only matters in terms of obscure tax regulations but I always got the impression that the division was supposed to be more than that.

Alex

#30 Re: Re: not quite, alex

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Friday July 27th, 2007 11:18 PM

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"Frankly, I've found the increasing tendency to refer to the Foundation and/or Corporation with the ambiguous noun "Mozilla" less than helpful in figuring out who runs what."

I actually think that using the noun "Mozilla" is the best way to go, unless you want to refer to the specific activities of a particular group or person. There are about 115 people paid by Mozilla. Right now, 4 of them work for the Foundation (it was 3 until about a month ago.) Many of the things that the 4 Foundation employees do are very important to Firefox, and many of the things that the 111 Corporation employees do are very important to SeaMonkey, Camino, Bugzila, etc. You can take a look at the weekly status reports to see who is working on what <http://wiki.mozilla.org/WeeklyUpdates>

I see the distinction as really between "Mozilla Products" and "Mozilla Projects" (sometimes called "community projects"), not this "Corporation" or "Foundation" thing. Mozilla Products are Mozilla-hosted applications that are productized by Mozilla. Mozilla Projects are Mozilla-hosted applications that are productized by volunteers or other organizations or not productized at all.

"Maybe it only matters in terms of obscure tax regulations but I always got the impression that the division was supposed to be more than that."

Today, it mostly only matters in terms of obscure tax regulations.

This may change some. I personally hope it does. We're searching for an Executive Director for the Mozilla Foundation and that person will continue to define the role of the Foundation and the set of activities it will engage in to realize the Mozilla vision. Until we're much further along in that process, we're pretty much just "Mozilla", a growing group of people working on making Mozilla products and projects as successful as we can.

- A

#36 Re: Re: Re: not quite, alex

by ronin65

Sunday July 29th, 2007 8:17 AM

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Actually, I suspect that a close analysis of the tax exempt/non-tax exempt activities of the two bodies would find that there are activities being conducted by the taxable arm which could be conducted by the non-taxable arm which would therefore be a more efficient utilization of the funds.

in fact, I must question the whole concept of the taxable arm. It seems that there are probably few, if any, activities which could not be conducted by a tax-exempt non-profit organization.

As far as the merits, or lack thereof, of the decision taken to "drop" Thunderbird, it seems almost self evident that a browser and an email client are two sides of the same coin if one is talking about the internet. Either one without the other is incomplete and hence unlikely to attract the users that that both should and would. That is unless this action constitutes an admission by Mozilla Foundation and Corporation that they have so badly botched Thunderbird that it is to be considered, even by them, a failure and hence a write-off or throwaway. Essentially, this is a surrender the Microsoft Outlook Express. Certainly Penelope will not be what the majority of Thunderbird users revert to as Thunderbird is left to wither on the vine.

In my view, this action reflects a profound lack of vision on the part of the most senior leadership of the Mozilla Foundation and Corporation. Perhaps they are what needs to be changed.

#27 pegasus mail

by fsando

Friday July 27th, 2007 3:37 PM

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I've used Tb for years and I always liked it. Before that I used pegasus mail (pmail) and I LOVED it - can't use any more as I've left Windows. What if David Harris could be convinced to opensource it? I think that holds great potential - get him embedded in the opensource movement somehow and create a Linux port.

#29 Cutting Thunderbird Loose...Mistake

by devdanke

Friday July 27th, 2007 9:32 PM

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I feel that separating Tbird from Firefox is a mistake. This will hurt FF and Tbird. FF is a more attractive browser when paired with its sister email application. Their similarity in look-and-feel, as well as that many cool extensions work on both. I believe that not maintaining a strong link between Tbird and FF will slow FF's growth. Many IE users will not be won over to FF unless they can also be weaned from Outlook. Instead of cutting Tbird loose, the Mozilla Corporation should find a way to funnel more resources into Tbird to make it better. FF and Tbird together are greater than the sum of their parts.

#38 Re: Cutting Thunderbird Loose...Mistake

by sol

Monday July 30th, 2007 5:12 AM

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I am so disappointed at this move. I've been trying to find time for the past few days to compose my comment. I must say that devdanke said it all, perfectly, above - leaving nothing further for me to add. Please don't deprecate the bird!

#39 Re: Re: Cutting Thunderbird Loose...Mistake

by marcpare

Monday July 30th, 2007 9:21 PM

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I would also like to voice my disappointment as one who has actively encouraged users to try/use the Firefox/Thunderbird combination, I also know that after having helped others install their Linux boxes and migrate their browser and email data from their Win boxes that all have been satisfied with the choice of Thunderbird as their email agent. Again, as we are all aware, the only complaint to date is the lack of the calendaring feature that most missed. I also believe, as devdanke et al, that breaking up the pair will not work in Firefox's favour as most users who are looking for change from IE and Outlook are searching for viable alternatives. FF and TB provide quite easily this alternative. Perhaps what is needed is a more focussed development plan of TB needed features which would create some excitement within the TB community. I personally would rather use pop mail rather than webmail as I find it more secure and TB has performed quite well this way.

FF has evolved into an exceptional project and there is no reason why TB could not follow suit.

#58 Re: Cutting Thunderbird Loose...Mistake

by ddr513

Saturday January 5th, 2008 9:46 PM

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>>I feel that separating Tbird from Firefox is a mistake. ... FF and Tbird together are greater than the sum of their parts.<<

I agree. That's why I use SeaMonkey. ;)

#31 This is sad :-(

by dExcaliber

Saturday July 28th, 2007 12:28 AM

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Just as I use Firefox over IE, I also prefer Thunderbird over Outlook, or for that matter any other email client. To me there is none better than TBird. I also completely agree with devdanke, these two should not be separated. Please keep the Thunderbird Client alive!!!

#32 Finally, the truth rears its ugly head!! :-(

by DP3_001

Saturday July 28th, 2007 4:05 AM

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For awhile now, there's been a lot of people on the Thunderbird side (who've been sitting on their lazy asses) that've been worried more about doing just enough to pass the smell test, and it's hurt TB development significantly. And anybody who's had the "gaul" to bring this up has been dismissed in the worst possible way. Well, we were right, weren't we? But what's the solution the Mozilla Foundation comes up with to "fix" the problem? Kick TB out to the curb!! Great idea, guys!! (NOT!!) Maybe Thunderbird should be in a separate company. Maybe then, it'd get the respect it isn't getting right now, because it's obvious that MozFo could give a shit, and that it never did. Disgusting!!!

#33 Right direction

by yanychar

Sunday July 29th, 2007 4:07 AM

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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.

#34 Seamonkey/Firefox

by ackerberg

Sunday July 29th, 2007 6:11 AM

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I use SeaMonkey on my desktop computer and Firefox on my laptop. The SeaMonkey mail is where I download and save mail and I look at the mail and delete spam using Firefox through the webmail. This combo works great for me.

#35 Re: Seamonkey/Firefox

by ackerberg

Sunday July 29th, 2007 6:13 AM

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I can also use SeaMonkey to delete the spam via the webmail, but I prefer to sit in my dining room and use the laptop :)

#37 Why !!?

by ruturajv

Sunday July 29th, 2007 9:40 PM

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Its sad to know that thunderbird could be departing from the Foundation, which means that its not have a good parent, if it moves to seamonkey it could mean more of features with more bugs, But u'd get bleeding edge tech and featureset.

#40 This is a very sad moment for Mozilla :|

by Xemanth

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 12:32 AM

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I would like to say that Thunderbird is one of the best email browsers that I have ever used. I always recommend it to my family, relatives and to all my friends :~ Please don't stop developing it :(

#41 dissapointed

by brunosanz

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 7:14 AM

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What kind of team is this that is not even able to produce 2 products?

I convinced lot of people to use TB and now mozilla leave us....

...In the otherwise i understand....Firefox is stoping being the best browser in the last times...IF they ever were able to make the Firefox run a bit better....Used to be fast thin and smart...But maybe this is the past Now is fat and strong...

Bruno

#42 A sad day (or not) for Thunderbird?

by pkb351 <pbergsagel@shaw.ca>

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 8:50 AM

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The exact same scenario was voiced by supporters of the Mozilla suite as it was being dropped by Mozilla and before it found new life as the SeaMonkey project. If anyone remembers the final years of development of the Mozilla suite (before it became SeaMonkey) knew that Mozilla had no interest in an all in one suite and this showed in the progress of the development of the suite. I for one am glad that Mozilla was honest enough to state that it had little interest in the suite and would not dedicate resources to its development. Once a few developers at Mozilla decided that "stand alone apps" was all the wanted to develop, it didn't matter what anyone else (paid or volunteer) at Mozilla felt or thought. Did a few developers actually believe in supporting stand alone apps (Firefox/Thunderbird/NVU) as a replacement for the Mozilla Suite(SeaMonkey) or did they see moving to stand alone apps as a way to devote the majority of the resources to the browser by making the opponents of the decision to drop the suite believe the suite was gaining new life as "stand alone apps"? Where we duped? Was this a plan to make us believe Mozilla was interested in developing "stand alone apps" to replace the suite just a ploy to squelch any any major unrest if Mozilla had simply dropped all "stand alone apps" several years ago in favour of only developing the browser?

I am not all negative over the decisions made over the decision to move the Mozilla Suite from Mozilla to a community project. Some paid Mozilla developers were only interested in the browser. The issue of "bloat" for dropping the suite was a ruse since FireFox, it can be argued, is just as bloated as the old Mozilla suite ever was. Whatever one can state about the politics involved in the dropping of the suite, with little of it positive, there is one major positive to come out of the period of Mozilla history. The Mozilla suite had to be set free from a group of developers interested in only developing a browser. SeaMonkey lives because it was set free.

Mozilla did not want to develop an internet suite and did not feel an internet suite was the best way forward if Mozilla was to gain user share. Fortunately Mozilla understood that that if there were users and developers who believed that an internet suite was a good way forward for the internet, Mozilla would provide still allow a close relationship between the suite and FireFox. They would support the suite development by allowing the suite to participate in the development of Gecko, use Bugzilla, and build versions of SeaMonkey at Mozilla, and host Seamonkey discussions at Mozillazine.

Thus SeaMonkey was born. IT went from being an unwanted project to a beloved project of the SeaMonkey Community. SeaMonkey has come a long way since it was the Mozilla Suite. I love the Suite and all the improvements the developers have put into SeaMonkey. SeaMonkey's development would still be stalled if it was not set free to be a project of Mozilla. SeaMonkey needed a group of developers who believed in the project for the suite to continue to improve. SeaMonkey also required a close connection with Mozilla or the suite would not have improved to be the high quality internet suite it is today.

The users who want ThunderBird to continue would be advised to follow the path taken by SeaMonkey. Just don't change its name. There are still users who are using old versions of the Mozilla Suite because they have not realized that the suite is being actively developed as is now called SeaMonkey. (If only the name Mozilla Suite could have been used, but thats another story.) Even though I never agreed with the process taken by Mozilla to unfairly pull the plug on the suite, setting the browser free has been what has saved it and improved its quality. Anyone who wants a very good browser/mail/newsgroup/etc. should look to SeaMonkey.

I hope, the decision to drop Thunderbird, Google (as a donor to the foundation/paying developers). Gmail, or the recent decision by Edora to base its software on Thunderbird.

Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

"On October 11, 2006, Qualcomm announced [1] that future versions of Eudora would be based on the same technology platform as Mozilla Thunderbird and be open source. The current codename for this project is "Penelope" [2]. Penelope is developed by the Mozilla Foundation, and the project is being led by the former Qualcomm team, including original developer Steve Dorner.

Penelope is currently available as an extension to Mozilla Thunderbird. The Paid mode commercial versions of Eudora are no longer available as of May 1st, 2007. The Sponsored mode versions of Eudora continue to be available for download.

The Qualcomm Penelope developers announced on 07-19-2007: "We currently have, in house, our first actual Beta build (called Eudora 8.0.0b1). We'll probably get this posted in the next few weeks." This open-source, Thunderbird-based version has been under development since 2006, but will not be a true replacement for the current Eudora (ie., one that has similar features/capabilities) until 2008 at the earliest. [2]" <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudora>

Now just as Thunderbird has managed to gain more developers with the Penelope development how does Thuinderbird lack developer resources? Is Google putting pressure on Mozilla to drop Thunderbird as they now feel a real threat to Google's email projects from the possibility that the Eudora/Penelope project producing a very good email client?

#46 Re: A sad day (or not) for Thunderbird?

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 9:38 PM

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"Is Google putting pressure on Mozilla to drop Thunderbird as they now feel a real threat to Google's email projects from the possibility that the Eudora/Penelope project producing a very good email client? "

No.

- A

#43 IceWeasel & LightningBuzzard

by schooner

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 9:37 AM

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I really caution Mozilla from doing this in a non-committal manner. Wasn't it enough to let Nvu fail? Now, Thunderbird is going to fall apart too? What is going to happen is similar to what you saw with IceWeasel. Someone will fork the project and they will be left with nothing but a black eye to show for it. I suggest the the entire Mozilla group, foundation, or whatever it is called now, get back to the basics and stop trying to reason your way out of things. End users do not want to hear complaining about it being too hard to manage more than one big project. They want options. They need to let it go completely if there is any doubt they can support it and let someone else pick up the gauntlet before it turns into two separate projects which destroy each other.

#47 Re: IceWeasel & LightningBuzzard

by asa <asa@mozilla.org>

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 9:42 PM

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"What is going to happen is similar to what you saw with IceWeasel. Someone will fork the project and they will be left with nothing but a black eye to show for it."

First of all, IceWeasel is not a fork. There is no meaningful development. It's a distribution of Firefox with a different name and missing a few critical security patches. That's about it. Second, are you suggesting that someone is going to fork Thunderbird? Can you point me to those people? If they exist, they haven't stepped up over the last 4 years and voiced any opinion or produced any code. That doesn't bode well for your imagined fork.

- A

#44 IceWeasel & LightningBuzzard

by schooner

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 12:16 PM

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I really caution Mozilla from doing this in a non-committal manner. Wasn't it enough to let Nvu fail? Now, Thunderbird is going to fall apart too? What is going to happen is similar to what you saw with IceWeasel. Someone will fork the project and they will be left with nothing but a black eye to show for it. I suggest the the entire Mozilla group, foundation, or whatever it is called now, get back to the basics and stop trying to reason your way out of things. End users do not want to hear complaining about it being too hard to manage more than one big project. They want options. They need to let it go completely if there is any doubt they can support it and let someone else pick up the gauntlet before it turns into two separate projects which destroy each other.

#45 IceWeasel & LightningBuzzard

by schooner

Tuesday July 31st, 2007 12:17 PM

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I really caution Mozilla from doing this in a non-committal manner. Wasn't it enough to let Nvu fail? Now, Thunderbird is going to fall apart too? What is going to happen is similar to what you saw with IceWeasel. Someone will fork the project and they will be left with nothing but a black eye to show for it. I suggest the the entire Mozilla group, foundation, or whatever it is called now, get back to the basics and stop trying to reason your way out of things. End users do not want to hear complaining about it being too hard to manage more than one big project. They want options. They need to let it go completely if there is any doubt they can support it and let someone else pick up the gauntlet before it turns into two separate projects which destroy each other.

#48 Advantages of e-mail over Web mail

by ajpaterson

Wednesday August 1st, 2007 3:27 AM

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One big advantage of e-mail over Web mail is that I can check out potentially harmful e-mail offline. After downloading the e-mail into Thunderbird, I put on ZoneAlarm's Internet lock to prevent access to the 'Net. Then I switch off HTML in TB and try to view the message. If there isn't any non-HTML text, that is immediately suspicious but then I will switch HTML back on and see what is visible. If there is no text, just an image (which TB does not display by default - good!) and/or an attachment, I know that it must be spam and possibly malicious so I simply delete it. (Anyone who knows me would at least put a message to say what it was.) If I really want to be safe, TB stores mail in mbox (text-based) format so I can just open up the appropriate mailbox file in a text editor and view the raw e-mail...

There is so much that can be done from HTML, especially using Javascript, that Web mail is getting more and more dangerous. I know that some Web mail now does not display images by default and that there are other things that can be done to make Web mail safer but you cannot check out Web mail offline! It is so much easier using TB, especially if you use extensions like the Sender Verification utility.

(Actually, I use a combination of e-mail and Web mail. I use my ISP's Web mail utility to view the inbox and delete any that are obviously spam from the sender and/or the subject line. Note that I do not view the actual messages from Web mail, only the inbox. Then I download the rest into Thunderbird and check out any suspicious ones as just described.)

Some more points: * With TB, I can check out old messages and write replies without having to connect to the Internet. (This can be useful sometimes!)

* Web mail is rarely guaranteed and, if it is down for some reason, you cannot do anything. For example, I was recently re-installing some software and I needed the registration code that had been e-mailed to me. Unfortunately, the Web mail account where it was held was down for several days and so I had to wait until it returned to install the software. Needless to say, as soon as the Web mail was back online, I immediately forwarded all archived e-mail from that account to a POP mailbox and downloaded it into TB.

* You can back up TB e-mail but you cannot back up Web mail (other than by forwarding it to another account). Again, I had a bad experience when a Web mail server crashed and I (and many others) lost a lot of recent e-mail because it had not been backed up by the provider before the crash.

* If you exceed your allocation on Web mail, the provider will block any further incoming mail. This is not a problem with e-mail provided that you delete the mail from the server after download.

#49 Bought out by Google

by wizardB

Wednesday August 1st, 2007 6:09 AM

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Way to go bowing to Googles threats because Tbird might affect Gmail usage it's really quite sad to see a project that started with such clear goals getting sucked in the maw of a scary machine like Googles next you'll be tracking our broswing habits and selling the stats WAY TO GO,give your heads a shake and smarten up before you are the Gfox browser another little cog in the Google empire!!

#50 How do you kno this about Google?

by pkb351 <pbergsagel@shaw.ca>

Wednesday August 1st, 2007 8:29 PM

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wizzardB,

How do you know what the real reason is behind Mozilla's decision to drop Thunderbird? Do you know for a fact that Google is behind the decision to drop Thunderbird? My suspicion is that Google may not be the the full reason behind the decision to drop Thunderbird. Why? If Google was putting pressure on Mozilla to discontinue Thunderbird's development would the Thunderbird developers be seriously considering to make Thunderbird a Mozilla project, like the SeaMonkey project, which would continue its development. If Google was behind this decision I suspect there would be pressure from Google to prevent Thunderbird's adoption as a Mozilla project. As a Mozilla project SeaMonkey revived the Mozilla suite; it has been very beneficial for the development of the suite. Most likely Thunderbird will become a Mozilla project and its development will take off in the same way SeaMonkey's has. Its not all gloom and doom for Thunderbird, although I hope that FireFox and ThunderBird can be bundled for release. If Thunderbird gets lost in the change over I feel this will have a negative effect on FireFox.

#51 We don't understand

by nick <nick@reloco.com.ar>

Saturday August 4th, 2007 5:14 PM

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The thing is: We the people don't understand this move. Some talk about Google, some not. But clearly there's no clear reason to "drop" Thunderbird. Mozilla.org seemed to be set to be the "Apache" of client side internet application. It could have created a system in which different projects get different "support"... Why not? I'm not asking that mozilla has the disparate (and often conflicting) large number of project Apache hosts. Just 3 or 4: A nice browser, a nice email program and a nice web page composer. So.... what's really going on? Mitchel Baker's post it's just PR-speak. No details, it just says: "Do you care about email? Please, take this!" And the readers could add "we don't care about mail". And nobody is saying that they should be treated the same, it's obvious that it's wise to give the focus to Firefox...

So... the question: What's the big deal about having these two projects as Mozilla projects?

#52 Re: We don't understand

by schooner

Monday August 6th, 2007 6:30 PM

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I really doubt Google would be involved in this decision. I could be mistaken, but I am pretty sure regardless of whether you use TB with GMail or Firefox with the web interface, Google still gets their marketing data. They also wouldn't seek to damage the only competition for Vista Mail on Windows. The unknown that concerns me is how many devs will be forced to choose between Firefox and Thunderbird when they contribute code to both. The further the two split, the less likely it will be to find themes that match. I haven't used Seamonkey before, but do all the plugins work between SM and TB? It just seems crazy to dump Thunderbird off to the community when someone's finally got Google calendar working for read and write. I'm not a big fan of webmail or this notion that everything's going to be browser based anyway. The providers then have complete control of the code and the features. I highly doubt we will see as extensible a mail environment if everything goes to webmail. Thunderbird finally has the features necessary to beat up Outlook and it's come to a choice between Firefox or Thunderbird for some reason. It just doesn't make any sense to me. That's why I would welcome a full commitment one way or the other: either let it go completely and find a company willing to fight their way through or press on knowing that the end of the tunnel is closer than they think it is.

#54 Re: We don't understand

by schapel

Wednesday August 8th, 2007 10:29 AM

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"What's the big deal about having these two projects as Mozilla projects? "

I guess you really don't understand. Thunderbird will continue on as at least a project, just as SeaMonkey and Camino have. It may not be a Mozilla *product* any more. As Mitchell states quite clearly: "The open question is what group takes that code, makes the Thunderbird product from it, releases and supports that product. "

#57 never got the point

by cmd9999

Wednesday November 7th, 2007 9:20 AM

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Thunderbird is at best a mediocre email client and moving to it when Qualcomm abandoned Eudora has been enormous work. My guess is that anyone who lives on email personally or professionally - and that's millions of people - has met with the same difficulties looking for an email client that would allow them the hope of escaping from Microsoft and Outlook. However, moving from Eudora to Thunderbird WAS NEVER THE FINAL OBJECTIVE. The final objective was to find an integrated information manager that would emulate and bring forward the kind of ideas that were embedded in the old ECCO. This would mean at least the seamless integration of a calendar, addressbook, email client, browser, and some kind of project timeline / notebook feature, in short an INFORMATION MANAGER. The problem with Mozilla from the beginning has been its lack of vision. Having somehow missed these announcements earlier and still not sure where Mozilla is going with all this - have no idea what a subsidiary means in this context - I'm still wondering and waiting to see if any product will emerge that really pulls all the pieces of an integrated information manager together on one platform. Probably not in my lifetime. So Microsoft wins again. If Mozilla thinks that Firefox is the name of the game they don't understand how at least a large contingent of computer users use computers. Sure, they browse. And the browser is a window on the web. Great. But so what. Sophisticated users also use digital tools to communicate and store the information that flows from that communication. Mozilla won't do it because their idea of a "community" is do their own thing and you follow or go someplace else, wherever that might be. But if they would go back and look at ECCO and figure out where they could go from there, they'd actually contribute to the development of the digital information systems available to users. Of course, they won't. That's the sad part of this whole, big mess.