Some rather unfortunate news broke out this week. Mozilla is looking to dump Thunderbird. See Thunderbird is, in my eyes, a perfect alternative to Microsoft Outlook. In all my past experiences Thunderbird has been faster, smoother, and less resource intensive. Furthermore thanks to extensions – Thunderbird has been a-lot more flexible and customizable – because who doesn’t love theme’d email clients. Having first launched in December of 2004 – Thunderbird reached 1 million downloads just 10 days after the initial release. Since then Thunderbird has became a favorite email client for millions of users – alas Thunderbird’s future is now more questionable than ever.
Truth be told, Thunderbird’s future has been on rocky ground since 2012 when Mozilla officially stopped offering anything except critical security updates for Thunderbird. Then, this week, Mozilla announced that they hope to spin off development of Thunderbird to someone else – leaving them more time to focus on the growth and development of Mozilla Firefox. Now I love Firefox and I want to see it grow – but I also love Thunderbird. Oh woe.
Many inside of Mozilla, including an overwhelming majority of our leadership, feel the need to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact. With all due respect to Thunderbird and the Thunderbird community, we have been clear for years that we do not view Thunderbird as having this sort of potential.
However maybe this is all not such a bad thing. The following behind Thunderbird is rather huge – and as such I don’t think the project will be abandoned. Heck – Winamp technically disappeared years ago. And yet here we are. What I do think is that somebody will step in and take over. After-all there are plenty of users who continue to love Thunderbird, and many users who would love to see it’s development continue – maybe even with a mobile app. Really – this whole thing might be just what Thunderbird needs – a new development team managing new features and new releases.