Mozilla set to dump Thunderbird?


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.


Posted in:
About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

7 Comments

  1. Jim,

    I am a very long time Thunderbird user, I hope it isnt going away! For a couple of weeks last year I had a problem with Thunderbird, & downloaded Eudora and absolutely hated it! Then tried a couple of others that didn’t work for me but they never got into the I Hate this **%$**program like I did with Eudora.

    Nothing for email that I’ve found is as good at it as Thunderbird!

    • Hey Richard – I suspect there are many Tbird users with the identical sentiments mate. Obviously no-one can say for certain, but I’d be very surprised if Mozilla dropped Tbird altogether, in the foreseeable future anyway.

      Cheers… Jim

  2. I have no doubt t-bird will be around maybe longer than i will but just in case i outlast it …where to go next? i detest yahoo mail and have no interest in hotmail…what’s left?
    inquiring minds want to know.

  3. There are other mail clients out there – check on FreewareBB – though I have yet to find one as good as Thunderbird. For all that, just because a standalone client is no longer, there’s no reason you can’t use webmail. You don’t HAVE to use hotmail, LiveMail, Yahoo or gmail if you don’t want to. Depends on your ISP, most offer a webmail-based option for those who need to access email while travelling but no device except a borrowed machine. Check your ISP’s website.

  4. I currently don’t use Thunderbird, but I can’t fathom why Mozilla would even consider stopping such a popular thing as that. So many people I know do use it and will most likely not use any other mail client.

  5. A bit off-topic here, but I’ve just read that short author’s biography up above, the one for Jim Hillier, and it just struck me as odd that he professes a “passion for free software” and yet proudly states that he uses Windows XP and Windows 7. Something does not compute here. Where’s your FreeBSD, Jim? : )

    • Hi Haggis -The BIO was actually compiled by Dave based on information supplied at the time, plus the fact that I have been writing about and reviewing freeware for many years, since way back when Clif and Gizmo pretty much ruled the roost. I wrote articles for both back in the day, before joining DCT.

      Actually, the BIO is now quite old and probably should be updated – I haven’t been using XP for years and my two main OSs are currently Windows 7 and Ubuntu.

      Critically, what OSs we writers choose to run is not necessarily based on personal preference but rather dictated by work commitments. I’m going to have to install Windows 8 sooner or later for that very reason, although, at this stage anyway, I’d probably prefer not to.

      Cheers… Jim