Mozilla Plans To Halt Thunderbird Development

Today, an internal message to all staff at Mozilla (the company behind Thunderbird & Firefox) was leaked. Within this message it was announced that the on-going development of Thunderbird is to change. Here is an excerpt of the leaked message:

[quote]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. We’re not “stopping” Thunderbird, but proposing we 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. This will mean an eventual shift in how we staff Thunderbird at Mozilla Corporation – we are still working out details, but some people will likely end up on other Mozilla projects.[/quote]

Once the message was leaked and Mozilla got wind of it, they released this statement:

[quote]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. 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.[/quote]

Should I be worried?

In short, no! Mozilla aren’t completely ceasing development of Thunderbird, they are merely focussing their efforts. So from Monday, Mozilla will be concentrating more on stability and security rather than new features. Let’s face it, what do you need an email client to do? Send/receive emails right? Does Thunderbird do this? The answer is a resounding yes.

New features etc will no doubt continue to be developed by the plethora of developers that make addons for Thunderbird. I use Google Apps for all of my emails and I am actually in the process of migrating back to the Google web interface rather than using Thunderbird but even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be worried and I will continue to recommend Thunderbird to anyone who asks.

What are your thoughts on this change in direction by Mozilla? Do you think it’s the beginning of the end for Thunderbird? I don’t.

Mozilla Plans To Halt Thunderbird Development
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