mozilla messaging Back in September 2007 Mozilla decided to break their email client, called Thunderbird, away from the browser and create a separate subsidiary for it. Up until now the new subsidiary has been called MailCo, but today it officially received the name of Mozilla Messaging. I believe the new name of the subsidiary is a good indication that Thunderbird will evolve into more than just an email application.

David Ascher, the CEO of Mozilla Messaging, has shed some light on the direction that the new subsidiary will be going as they push forward. In Thunderbird 3 they hope to provide an integrated calendar based on the Lightning add-on, add better search capabilities, easier configuration, and enhance the user interface. So it looks like the project might still be alive after all, but what’s expected of Thunderbird 3 makes it sound like it should really be called Thunderbird 2.5.

From the sounds of it the future of Thunderbird will not revolve solely around email. They want to expand into instant messaging, SMS, and possibly even VoIP:

It is worthwhile considering what the right user experience could be for someone using multiple email addresses, multiple instant messaging systems, IRC, reading and writing on blogs, using VoIP, SMS, and the like. What parts of those interactions make sense to integrate, and where? I don’t believe that stuffing all of those communication models inside of one application is the right answer.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on Mozilla Messaging as they move forward, and will definitely watch for improvements to Thunderbird.

David Ascher’s Blog [via Webware]

There Are 7 Comments

  1. TB 3 .0 + Lotus Organizer + Skype + IM

    I already use Thunderbird 2.0 as my email client for my numerous email with a lot of add-ons particularly WebMail and have had good luck with it. It just works and is simple.
    I try to use sunbird or the calendar function on TB :-(
    I would love a calendar, adress book, notes pages, todo, planning with Thunderbird as on my Lotus Organizer 6.1
    The multiple calendar, multiple adress books, call possiblity and so…. features is still the only reason I still use Lotus Organizer.
    The usability and the friendness more the look are absolutely fantastic. I use it for at least 10 years now and never have a problem.
    It misses just an email client…
    Unfortunately It’s a long time that IBM had abandoned the development.
    The MS outlook killer will be Thunderbid 3 or maybe 4.0 with the functionality of Lotus Organizer 6.1 +(skype & IM) and working on Linux too.
    Simply the best

  2. I cannot say iam perfectly happy with Evolution. i cant say of windows users, but Linux users would lap up Thunderbird 3.0 if it comes up to expectation.

  3. 8O, they want to integrate all that in Thunderbird? I hope he meant that they’re going to research those fields, and spin new products or addons for Thunderbird to provide that functionality, adding so many functions directly in the main application would turn Thunderbird into the Nero suite of the mail applications. Feature bloat is not a path worth walking.

  4. They need to drum up support for Thunderbird or it may die a slow death. I think the path they are laying out before them has great potential; it will be interesting to see how it plays out over time.

  5. I wonder what would happen to Instantbird (the TB-based mail client with IM support that you wrote about a while ago) if Thunderbird would become a full-blown messaging app…

  6. If they would add the double-height message list the way Outlook does it, I’d finally make the switch. I like to put the reading pane on the right, but it’s completely obnoxious the way Thunderbird does it… Outlook nicely compresses the list into 2 lines per message so you can easily read it.

    Why every mail client doesn’t support that, I just don’t know. Drives me crazy.

  7. Lashiec wrote:
    they want to integrate all that in Thunderbird? I hope he meant that they’re going to research those fields, and spin new products or addons for Thunderbird to provide that functionality, adding so many functions directly in the main application would turn Thunderbird into the Nero suite of the mail applications. Feature bloat is not a path worth walking.

    I think they are definitely looking at integrating all of that into Thunderbird. I’m guessing that they will still offer a version of Thunderbird that doesn’t have the calendar, but they may not.

    leland wrote:
    They need to drum up support for Thunderbird or it may die a slow death. I think the path they are laying out before them has great potential; it will be interesting to see how it plays out over time.

    I couldn’t agree with you more! I think that a lot of people are looking for other alternatives because of how slow the development of Thunderbird has become. I know several of my friends who have since given up using Thunderbird.

    Pieter wrote:
    I wonder what would happen to Instantbird (the TB-based mail client with IM support that you wrote about a while ago) if Thunderbird would become a full-blown messaging app…

    It’s really a matter of how well Mozilla implements it. I know their initial thinking is to add the Jabber support (like Google Talk), but I’m not sure if they want to bring all of the various networks into the application.

    The How-To Geek wrote:
    If they would add the double-height message list the way Outlook does it, I’d finally make the switch. I like to put the reading pane on the right, but it’s completely obnoxious the way Thunderbird does it… Outlook nicely compresses the list into 2 lines per message so you can easily read it.

    Why every mail client doesn’t support that, I just don’t know. Drives me crazy.

    That’s one thing that irritates me about Thunderbird as well. For awhile I was using it, and I’ve had to switch to Outlook because I just can’t read the emails as fast in Thunderbird.

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