Adjusting the way Thunderbird is managed

Jb Piacentino

20

On Friday, Mitchell Baker posted on the future of Thunderbird. In summary, we are focusing efforts towards important web and mobile projects, such as FirefoxOS, while Thunderbird remains a pure desktop-only email client. We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.  It seems that the most critical needs for the product are on-going security and stability for our 20+millions users, either individuals, SMEs or large corporate/institutions.

However, Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open source multi-platform email applications available today and we want to defend these values.  It also has an active community of contributors, developing new features and addons, helping people and translating the product around the world.

Therefore, we are proposing to adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the product. More details can be found here. Based on the early feedback received from the community, we are confident Thunderbird will continue to provide an outstanding alternative to proprietary email solutions for the desktop.

We want to publicly discuss this plan with individuals and organizations interested in maintaining and advancing Thunderbird in the future. We are looking for your feedback, comments and suggestions to refine and adapt the plan in the best possible way throughout the summer so we can share a final plan of action in early September 2012. We look forward to hearing from you.

20 responses

  1. R Lipps wrote on :

    The most recent release of Thunderbird will not link to Microsoft’s Presentation viewer. Attachments with the .pps extension have to be either saved then viewed out side of Thunderbird or – in my case – Forwarded to my Hotmail account, where they WILL display within Live Mail.
    Was this an oversight or is there a reason Thunderbird no longer supports the Microsoft Presentation viewer?

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  3. wendland wrote on :

    Thunderbird, the perfect answer to a completely overpriced, not much better from Microsoft Outlook. It is incomprehensible to me if that would be set. I personally use Thunderbird now more than 8 years and had been very pleased with you Mozilla developers.

    (German)
    Thunderbird, die perfekte Antwort auf ein völlig überteuertes, nicht viel besseres Outlook von Microsoft. Es ist mir unverständlich wenn das eingestellt werden würde. Ich selber nutze Thunderbird nun mehr über 8 Jahre und war bisher, sehr zufrieden mit euch Mozilla Entwickler.

  4. Aldi wrote on :

    Mozilla makes an absolutely wrong decision here. Thunderbird is used by very many people, private, universities, organisations, companies, almost everywhere. Innovation is badly needed, but it should target professional workers in such environments.

    Why just stopping and not even trying to ask all users for support? Use the start screen of Thunderbird, which each user sees everyday to start a big donation campaign a la Wikipedia or LibreOffice! People are loving Thunderbird!!!! They are willing to contribute!!! Just try a campaign and see what comes out. I will pay.

    Innovation for everyday users is absolutely necessary: Exchange connectivity, a better address book, improvements to the new and awesome (and revenue generating) big attachment feature, LDAP write access, Linux support for attachments on Windows-shares, a new address book. Everything is important.

    The big attachment feature is a killer feature which really has the capacity to generate revenues for Thunderbird. Why stopping now? Just imagine that it could be also used to store group calendars? That would be perfect.

    1. Jb Piacentino wrote on :

      Hi Aldi,

      If you read carefuly what we have announced, it is exactly what you are asking for: we are asking users for help in developping new features. And we are committed to support the product, no matter what.

      1. Aldi wrote on :

        Hi Jb,

        thank you very much for your reply. I have again read it carefully and I have also read the interview with you by Tristan. Although I wished Mozilla had decided differently, I understand why you have decided to do so (TB does not align with Mozilla’s strategy). That’s fine, but the statement that users are satisfied with the feature set is wrong; the feature wish lists are long.

        However, I answer your post for one particular reason: I really beg you to make everyone 100% clear that TB is not dead. Mitchell’s blog caused tremendous misunderstandings and distrust. I give you one example on the extreme negative effects: The IT at our institute (university) fought for the migration of about 100 users to Thunderbird/Lightning (some few were already using TB). Although everyone thought that the decision was already clear, in yesterday’s meeting the migration was stopped, because “we are not stupid to migrate to a dead horse!!!”.

        Please make sure that the future of Thunderbird is clearly communicated to everyone, e.g. announcing clear future release dates for the next years (bugfix or feature releases doesn’t matter to decision makers) or at least an official press release to remedy the damage. Please do it!

  5. Al wrote on :

    I think the “20+ Million users” figure is widely underestimated. That might be the US users, while adding the rest of the world the totale user base is probably ten times.

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  7. benjamin melançon wrote on ::

    Here registering strong support for continuing Thunderbird development, including as much involvement as Mozilla can muster.

    Where do we follow and participate in discussion of continued development and funding?

  8. Chris wrote on :

    Can you be clear? We don’t want emplty sentences like “We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.”

    Why do you stop developing TB exactly? Will there be future TB developments or not? Does that mean a slow death for TB? I’m sure you know the answers so please talk honestly, be factual.

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  10. Sad for Mozilla wrote on :

    It’s really sad to see the one free and open source mail client that could almost stand up to Outlook go this way. For a long time, Mozilla did not really do much for Thunderbird (not even a fraction of what was done for Firefox). I was hoping that someone at Mozilla would wake up and start making Thunderbird work better with native support for MS Exchange (mail and calendaring). Now that seems like a lost cause.

    I’ve been using Thunderbird from when it was a new entrant a decade ago. It’s very disappointing to think that it would not only get any better but also be left to stagnate and die (without leadership, the community cannot do much).

    Please reconsider and add more resources at Mozilla to make it work better – we’ve been waiting for better MS Exchange support, alternative mail storage (like maildir), etc., for a very long time.

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  12. Laura Ess wrote on :

    Well to be honest I swapped over to THUNDERBIRD from THE BAT about six years ago because I wanted an email client that would work under both Windows and Linux. While on the whole it has performed reasonably well, two features that I had under The Bat (outgoing filters and contact categories ala Outreach) have never been implemented (not even as add-ins) much to my frustration and disappointment. Also, a few months ago, both Thunderbird and Firefox changed (for a while) the way that updates were done, assuming that add-ons were incompatible with the new version and defaulting to disabling them!

    After a couple of these stupidities I was ready to migrate to another email client, and considered several. The problem though has been finding one which I can import my emails and contacts to. And while my plan used to be moving over to linux completely, it’s been modified to having dual boots (mostly because the software I need to do my creative work needs windows to run properly, WINE notwithstanding).

    So I’m very tempted to go back to The Bat, or maybe even adopt CLAWS or some other client. I have appreciated all the effort over the years, but there it is.

  13. James.Bertolina wrote on :

    Since the upgrade to version 13 I have been seeing the attachments truncated seemingly at random. I get “rtrv command failed” messages and cannot restart mail retrieve for 15 minutes.
    Once in a long while I used to see truncated attachments but never before have I experienced
    the “rtrv command … ” messages or had a 15 minute timeout before restarting the retrieve
    function. Is it possible to revert to version 11 or 12 ? I understand you are not going to fix problems in the mew release but I’m not wanting to migrate to Outlook unless I have no other choice. Thanks for your good work to date. I’m a mostly happy Firefox and Thunderbird user.
    Best Regards, emiliob

  14. Alquiler yates Ibiza wrote on ::

    Thunderbird is used by very many people, private, universities, organisations, companies, almost everywhere. Innovation is badly needed, but it should target professional workers in such environments. Why just stopping and not even trying to ask all users for support? Use the start screen of Thunderbird, which each user sees everyday to start a big donation campaign a la Wikipedia or LibreOffice! People are loving Thunderbird. They are willing to contribute!!! Just try a campaign and see what comes out. I will pay.
    Innovation for everyday users is absolutely necessary: Exchange connectivity, a better address book, improvements to the new and awesome (and revenue generating) big attachment feature, LDAP write access, Linux support for attachments on Windows-shares, a new address book. Everything is important.

  15. Pvt_Tracy wrote on ::

    I actually like Thunderbird better than Outlook for the fact that it will keep mail separated according to the account it came from unlike Outlook which just puts it all in one folder. That gets frustrating because you don’t always know which email came from which account. I run four different websites and Thunderbird helps me out greatly with keeping tract of which email I need to get to first. It is a shame that you will no longer be working on this.

  16. Gavin Burgess wrote on :

    I have been using Tbird since the day I first saw it, which was a lot of years ago. I would definitely contribute money given the opportunity. I have messed around with a couple of others, just out of curiosity, but there’s nothing out there that truly compares. I’d like to see this decision reversed or, if there’s no chance of that, how about spinning it? If I had money I’d make an offer. Oh, forgot– I’d need a bit more technical know-how too….

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