Thunderbird must go says Mozilla CEO

happygeek

Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker has admitted that Thunderbird is to be booted out of the Mozilla camp in order to allow “the Thunderbird community to determine its own destiny” apparently. Put through my patented BS translator this produced “Thunderbird brings us no revenue, gets a bad press whether compared to Outlook or Gmail, and anyway Firefox is our future.”

Although Mozilla has stated it is looking for a new and separate organizational setting for Thunderbird, the writing really does look to be on the wall for the client. As much as I want to like it, and have in the past praised it for daring to be different, the truth is that while Firefox has generated the revenue required to allow the Mozilla Foundation to create something that truly has the ability to shake up the browser client market (and has already done so to a limited extent), Thunderbird has stagnated into just another desktop email client at a time when people are moving away from the same.

Indeed, despite the reported 5 million users of the software, Thunderbird is increasingly looking like the Billy No Mates of the email world. And Firefox is at least to blame as it makes finding and using free web based email services that much easier and rewarding. Gmail has pretty much got the spam situation sorted, unlike Thunderbird which requires plenty of out of the box training to achieve a barely adequate level of Bayesian filter protection. The bigger email hitters, work at home professionals and the business world, look to Microsoft Outlook with its calendaring and organizational capabilities. Again, Thunderbird just cannot compete even with the promise of Mozilla Sunbird.

Baker talks of perhaps releasing Thunderbird in the wild, letting the community continue to develop the project in a similar way as the SeaMonkey suite. The what, do I hear you ask? Exactly. SeaMonkey is what is left of what was Mozilla before Firefox eclipsed all before it. An integrated suite of online applications that, frankly, nobody wants. Maybe, then, this is the right way to go with Thunderbird after all…

269 Views
About the Author

A freelance technology journalist for 30 years, I have been a Contributing Editor at PC Pro (one of the best selling computer magazines in the UK) for most of them. As well as currently contributing to Forbes.com, The Times and Sunday Times via Raconteur Special Reports, SC Magazine UK, Digital Health, IT Pro and Infosecurity Magazine, I am also something of a prolific author. My last book, Being Virtual: Who You Really are Online, which was published in 2008 as part of the Science Museum TechKnow Series by John Wiley & Sons. I am also the only three times winner (2006, 2008, 2010) of the BT Information Security Journalist of the Year title, and was humbled to be presented with the ‘Enigma Award’ for a ‘lifetime contribution to information security journalism’ in 2011 despite my life being far from over...

jbennet 1,618 Most Valuable Poster Team Colleague Featured Poster

Why dont they port Evolution to windows?

Evolution is IMHO a much better app than thunderbird. Its got like 99% of the features of outlook.

Flannel Avenger 0 Newbie Poster

I wouldn't say that NOBODY wants Seamonkey. I know some people who will relinquish it when you pry it from their cold dead hands.

And, if Thunderbird dies, I may convert over to Seamonkey, as e-mail is still an integral part of being on the internet for me, and I really have no interest in fooling with web based e-mail clients (this is, of course, a rather subjective preference, but I am still free to have that preference :P )

Tim Hodkinson 0 Newbie Poster

I never liked Thunderbird and now, like the article suggests, I prefer to use webmail anyhow.

I know this might sound ridiculous, but I think Seamonkey's browser is the fastest of all of them. I've compared it to FF, Opera and Konqueror and it just seems to display pages without any hesitation. It's got some inconveniences too, but in terms of browsing speed, I've found it to be an improvement on everything else.

lasher511 185 Veteran Poster

Ahh but you have not used safari have you?

mmonaco27 0 Light Poster

I think a great feature for Thunderbird would be a TBird Web Access server. That way you can store your mail on your computer but still access it via a web interface for convenience. And why not? Plenty of programs are coming out with web interfaces like eMule, uTorrent, and others.

caughtintheact 0 Newbie Poster

And it doesn't appear that much work has been done on Eudora since Qualcomm released it to Mozilla. So perhaps not strange thast Baker didn't even refer to Eudora in his comments.

bogenbroom 5 Newbie Poster

For corporate/enterprise email I prefer desktop clients over web clients mostly because desktop clients have a tendency to be more responsive. I don't like to wait for a web page to refresh every time I change the item I'm viewing.

That being said, on my Linux boxes, Evolution has become my client of choice as it is the only Linux based desktop client that I've found that will interface even close to properly with our Exchange servers. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite measure up to Outlook quite yet, but it compares well with Entourage (the email client in MS Office for Mac). I believe that Evolution has the potential to surmount its shortcomings in the relatively near future, and I would love to see it ported to Windows as an alternative to Outlook.

sidney.b 0 Newbie Poster

Sorry to disagree with everyone else, but Thunderbird has got me out of an e-mail hole. My new pc came with Vista and i had nothing but problems with vista mail. Outlook 2000 doesn't work with Vista and I had either to look to buying a later version of MS Outlook or try Thunderbird.
The latter has been ok for me, although I admit that it has it's drawbacks. I will be sorry to lose it and have to change to Gmail or something else or move to webmail. As a relative newbie, I don't look forward to that.

kim wally 0 Newbie Poster

i have used tbird for years and have found it easy to use and configure.One problem i have ...
i like to leave my mail up on the server and i download it to a couple of boxes -both linux and m/sloft but i've found that i get duplicate messages which add up.I downloaded the dupicate message remover add-on and it worked fine until tbird and firefox were upgraded-now it doesn't work (script stops responding) and i've tried all the usual suggestions.i've tried the alternative one offered -again ,won't work -especially on larger folders.it works to some extent on small ones.
now i need to know either a fix or a new email client.
thanks kim

Be a part of the DaniWeb community

We're a friendly, industry-focused community of 1.19 million developers, IT pros, digital marketers, and technology enthusiasts learning and sharing knowledge.