Mozilla identifying home for Thunderbird as it focuses on Firefox

The decision follows the foundation's move in 2012 not to focus development resources on Thunderbird

To better focus on Firefox and its other products, the Mozilla Foundation decided in 2012 to address the on-going stability of the open-source Thunderbird email client rather than new development, which was passed on to volunteer developers. 

The rationale for the decision was that in view of the growing popularity of Web-based alternative forms of communications, Thunderbird was not likely to be a source of innovation and was seen more or less as a settled product with a basic set of features that users were happy with.

"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?" wrote foundation chair Mitchell Baker in 2012.

Baker, who says she uses Thunderbird to organize vast parts of her life, now believes that the email client will thrive best if it does not rely on Mozilla for development resources and, in some cases, on Mozilla technology. "The current setting isn’t stable, and we should start actively looking into how we can transition in an orderly way to a future where Thunderbird and Firefox are un-coupled," she wrote in Mozilla's public governance forum  on Monday.

Firefox and Thunderbird have lived with competing demands for some time now, with engineers working on Firefox, for example, uncertain as to whether and how much they should contribute to Thunderbird. "These competing demands are not good for either project," she added.

Many inside the foundation, including an overwhelming majority of its leadership, feel the need to focus on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact, Baker said. Thunderbird is not seen as playing such a role at Mozilla.

"Today Thunderbird developers spend much of their time responding to changes made in core Mozilla systems and technologies. At the same time, build, Firefox, and platform engineers continue to pay a tax to support Thunderbird," Baker wrote.

A Mozilla spokesman, who confirmed that the post was from Baker,  did not immediately comment on whether the foundation was considering handing over the Thunderbird project to a group outside the organization.

In a follow-up post to that of Baker, the foundation's executive director Mark Surman wrote that it is talking to "at least one org who is considering supporting Thunderbird," besides looking at adding an user donation function, supplemented by the foundation's own assistance "in a small way," to support the Thunderbird community.

Baker wrote that she wanted to make sure that Thunderbird has the right kind of "legal and financial home" that will help the community thrive.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?