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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?