Reports have been filtering through that Mozilla is planning to pull the plug on its popular free open source email client in the not too distant future – I’ve been sitting back waiting on developments before commenting one way or the other. Well, Mozilla has now issued a statement which suggests that, while there has been some truth to the rumors, they are not dumping Thunderbird altogether, merely “redirecting resources to other projects”. Hmm, I would say that all depends on just how much “redirecting” takes place.
Mozilla is focusing a lot of its efforts towards important web and mobile projects, while Thunderbird remains a pure desktop only email client. We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not a priority for Mozilla and that the most critical needs for the product are on-going security and stability. In fact, it is quite possible that Thunderbird is already pretty much what its users want and there is not a high demand for innovation in this field.
It seems Mozilla’s new release model means they shall continue working on stability and security only, while innovations and further development are set to become the sole domain of community-driven efforts.
I can see Mozilla’s point; Thunderbird is now well established software and there’s no doubt the organization has bigger fish to fry at the moment. Plus, the preferred method for many people these day is web-mail rather than a desktop client. I can’t see this decision having any major impact on Thunderbird users, it’s already a very mature application and if the community gets on board, who knows, it may even make for an improved situation.
In my opinion, Thunderbird fans do not have too much too worry about. Of course, that is all providing this move is not actually the initial step in a more sinister overall plan… conspiracy theories abound! I seriously doubt that would be the case.
You can view Mozilla’s announcement in full HERE.