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Thunderbird in Crisis? 422

Posted by Zonk
from the film-at-eleven dept.
Elektroschock writes "The two core developers of Thunderbird have left Mozilla. Scott McGregor made a brief statement: 'I wanted to let the Thunderbird community know that Friday October 12th will be my last day as an employee of the Mozilla Corporation.' Meanwhile, David Bienvenu blogged: 'Just wanted to let everyone know that my last day at The Mozilla Corporation will be Oct. 12. I intend to stay involved with Thunderbird... I've enjoyed working at Mozilla a lot, and I wish Mozilla Co and the new Mail Co all the best.' A few month ago Mozilla management considered abandoning their second product and setting up a special corporation just for the mail client. Scott was more or less supportive. David joined in. While Sunbird just released a new version no appropriate resources were dedicated to the missing component. And while Thunderbird became the most used Linux mail client it has been abandoned by Mozilla for 'popularity reasons'. Both messages from David and Scott do not sound as if the founders will play any role in the Thunderbird Mail Corporation. What happened to Mozilla? Is it a case of pauperization through donations?"
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Thunderbird in Crisis?

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  • Still good... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nefarious Wheel (628136) * on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:14AM (#20894657) Journal
    I will continue to use it even if it never changes again. I like it. Maybe it's just *that* stable?
    • Re:Still good... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@hotmail.cOPENBSDom minus bsd> on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:30AM (#20894741) Journal
      I will continue to use it even if it never changes again. I like it.

      I use the Thunder/SunBird combo too, but it would be good to see it continue being developed. Given the possible split from Mozilla, I'd like to see OpenOffice.org take an interest.

    • by Potor (658520)
      i hope this does not affect my university's plans to eventually role out tb 2, which simply rocks as a mail client.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Bah, carving runes on stones and sending them by horse carriage have you beat as for stability and maturity!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I will continue to use it even if it never changes again. I like it. Maybe it's just *that* stable?
      Although it could be considered stable now, what happens if new vulnerabilities are identified and not patched? Would you continue to use it then?
    • Re:Still good... (Score:5, Informative)

      by MikeFM (12491) on Monday October 08, 2007 @04:17AM (#20895687) Homepage Journal
      I've been using Thunderbird as my main mail client for years and overall I like it. My biggest issue with it is that in Linux it has a 2GB limit per mail folder. If it crosses that limit it losses all the mail in the folder up to that point. IMO that is the cardinal sin of programming - permanently lossing data. They've known about this bug for at least a year - because I made it known at that time and had some not so helpful feedback from developers. But it still happens.
      • Re:Still good... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Crayon Kid (700279) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:53AM (#20896323)
        To be frank, I never liked the mbox approach (one big file per folder). I much prefer the maildir approach (each message in its own file). It's cleaner and even if the mail application breaks the structure is still intuitive (there's the folders, there's the messages).
        • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @10:22AM (#20899247) Homepage Journal

          never liked the mbox approach (one big file per folder). I much prefer the maildir approach (each message in its own file).
          True, maildir has clear advantages on a file system that supports tail merging [wikipedia.org], such as Reiser4. But not all file systems can do this; a 5 KiB mail message takes an entire 16 KiB cluster. Specifically, the file systems that come with Windows cannot, which is part of why, say, Outlook Express uses dbx (a variant of mbox).
          • Maildir is luke warm (Score:3, Interesting)

            by arth1 (260657)
            maildir is not a good option if you want to search your e-mails. You'll get an open/close for each and every e-mail, and when there's tens of thousands of e-mail messages, this takes time and ties up IO on the box.

            Too many files, and you'll even thwart normal shell expansions, like grepping for a string in * and getting "Arguments too long".

            I much prefer standard mbox format, with external index files. Not only can the files be read by pretty much anything, but searches are also MUCH faster.
    • Re:Still good... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nossie (753694) <IanHarvie@4[ ]el ... t ['Dev' in gap]> on Monday October 08, 2007 @09:36AM (#20898663)
      I hate to be the tinfoil hat wearer here but I blame google....

      Google has no incentive in TB surviving....
      Google provides Mozilla with LOTS of funding and has a director on board?

      coincidence? :-|
  • by thatseattleguy (897282) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:16AM (#20894661) Homepage
    I'm in the midst of attempting a conversion from my PC-based mail client (Eudora) to Thunderbird on a Mac. It's been a horror show from day one - the Thunderbird import function turns out to be more buggy than a
    New York City apartment in the summer. If I didn't have lots of GNU command-line tools and a hex editor to fix the many things that choke Tbird, I'd have abandoned the effort and switched to some proprietary client a long time ago.

    Let's hope as a separate entity they can do better.
    • by HSpirit (519997) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:29AM (#20894739)

      Not sure if you're aware but there is a Thunderbird project called Penelope [mozilla.org] for those Eudora users stuck by Qualcomm's decision to discontinue the product. I haven't tried the Eudora importers, though...

    • by SD_92104 (714225) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:47AM (#20894839)
      If you are still in midst of this conversion, you should take a look at Eudora Mailbox Cleaner [mac.com] - it can do the conversion for you and should give much better results than TB's own import.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Angostura (703910)
      I converted from Thunderbird on the Mac to Mail.app on the Mac and never looked back. Give it a shot if you haven't already...
    • by BuR4N (512430)
      Last time I switch mail clients I switched to Opera's built in mail client M2, it imports Eudora and Thunderbird mailboxes flawless (at least for me). I'm using Opera on Windows, so I havnt been able to try it on Mac or Linux. But on Windows I can recomend it for anyone that is looking for an alternative plain mail client to Outlook, Thunderbird etc.
    • Try Claws Mail (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2007 @04:01AM (#20895581)
      I don't know why this e-mail client [claws-mail.org] doesn't get more attention. I find it similar to Thunderbird but much faster. Also, as far as I remember, included some tools to import from Eudora, which worked very well for me (while Thunderbird didn't).
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Crayon Kid (700279)
        Version 3, which has been out for a little while, is really awesome. I'd say it's one of the most configurable and powerful graphical email clients out there. Too bad it's not that strong in groupware features as well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RedBear (207369)

        I don't know why this e-mail client [claws-mail.org] doesn't get more attention. I find it similar to Thunderbird but much faster. Also, as far as I remember, included some tools to import from Eudora, which worked very well for me (while Thunderbird didn't).

        Dude, because it bites.

        No, seriously. It says so right on the website. Thanks, I'll be here all day.

        I kid. But seriously for real this time, GTK+? WTF+? That does bite. I know it's a great toolkit that's been in use since ancient times, etc., but it's p

  • by EjectButton (618561) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:17AM (#20894677)
    I use thunderbird quite a bit but I wonder if heavy email clients have much future. Of all the applications where a web client can replace a heavy desktop side client email seems like one of the easiest and google has proven that you can make a webmail client that isn't painful to use.
    • by vux984 (928602) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:35AM (#20894767)
      I hate gmail, and webmail interfaces in general.

      1) Decent integration with -other- applications is non-existent. (even simple stuff like sending an attachment from the windows desktop, or the iphoto / mail.app link on OSX) webmail doesn't compare.

      2) When I decide to just quit all windows of my web-browser to clean up my desktop I hate that the mail gets closed too. I like that its a separate application, one that doesn't crash when I visit a website that kills the browser.

      3) No offline functionality.

      4) Large Attachments have to be 'downloaded' when I need them. I often leave stuff as email attachments, and then just open the attachment when I need to look at it. On my 'heavy' mail client its a fraction of a second to open it.

      5) PRIVACY. You can't rely on that with webmail.

      6) User experience. Gmail is 'comparable' to a real application, in the same way that a mock-up looks like a real product. From 4 feet away it might even look the same, but start using it and its immediately obvious you are using a web based application. Maybe one day that won't be true; but 'html + javascript + xmlrequest' won't be the platform its built on.

      Webmail is a great technology but it doesn't replace a good mail client, it complements it.

      • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:18AM (#20895009) Homepage Journal
        Well said.

        I'll just add to that:

        7) Integration with old mail. I've got email dating back 10 years. I don't know of any way to import that into gmail. But I can import my gmail into my offline mail app.

        I don't want to lose my mail history every time I switch webmail providers.
        • Actually, you can import old mail quite easily. I can't exactly remember how (I've only needed to do this once), but I think it involved creating a filter in thunderbird or some other such 'e-mail' client, applied to * or all the messages you want to import, and adding a 'forward' or 'bounce' rule to it or something like that. It all comes into gmail as new messages, which you subsequently label (or set up a temporary filter in gmail to label all incoming mail during the import). Google it for more info.

          In
          • But then all the mail appears to have come from a single source (you can try & forge headers, but SPF will stop most messages these days). Dates & times will also be wrong.

            Not particularly useful I think.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mrbooze (49713)
          There's tools like this for importing old mail into GMail:
          http://marklyon.org/gmail/instruction.htm [marklyon.org]
      • by Jugalator (259273)

        I hate gmail, and webmail interfaces in general.

        Webmail is just a subset of the Gmail services, though.

        1) Decent integration with -other- applications is non-existent. (even simple stuff like sending an attachment from the windows desktop, or the iphoto / mail.app link on OSX) webmail doesn't compare.

        I'd say that Gmail's free POP3 support works pretty well with other applications, along with its various POP3 delivery settings.

        2) When I decide to just quit all windows of my web-browser to clean up my desktop I hate that the mail gets closed too.

        Don't close the tab you run Gmail in...? What are you "cleaning up your desktop" for if you want some stuff to remain open? Sorry, I must simply not get this part.

        4) Large Attachments have to be 'downloaded' when I need them. I often leave stuff as email attachments, and then just open the attachment when I need to look at it. On my 'heavy' mail client its a fraction of a second to open it.

        Well, but that's because your mail client downloads them in the background. Again, you can do either this with Gmail by using POP3, or by saving the large attache

        • by vux984 (928602)
          Webmail is just a subset of the Gmail services, though.

          But its the part of gmail that defines it. Gmail's pop3 is pretty much the same as anyone elses. Except you get more space than usual, and you pay for it with a privacy policy that no one should be willing to submit to.

          That said, most of your counter-examples come down to using gmails pop3. Which presumes using a 'heavy client' which nullifies the op's suggestion that 'heavy clients' are obsolete.

          Anyway, one big advantage for me with webmail is that it
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

          2) When I decide to just quit all windows of my web-browser to clean up my desktop I hate that the mail gets closed too.

          Don't close the tab you run Gmail in...? What are you "cleaning up your desktop" for if you want some stuff to remain open? Sorry, I must simply not get this part.

          It's pretty simple, if you have a heavy mail client all you have to do to close a couple of dozen browser windows is bring one into focus and hit [CMD]+[Q] or whatever key combination you use in WIndows/Linux to get rid of all of them instantly. The moment you start using a web browser as your e-mail client you have to close each browser window individually using [CMD]+[W] ([ALT]+[F4] on Windows IIRC) to filter out the one you want to keep. I usually use Safari for browsing but I always open my web-mail in

      • by Kjella (173770)
        5) PRIVACY. You can't rely on that with webmail.

        Unless you operate your own MTA, how is web mail any more or less private? Ultimately you rely on those operating your mail account not to peek in your inbox.
        • Shouldn't you update your sig to encourage everyone to use Amazon's cross platform, completely DRM free service?

          Much better than iTunes - your non-PC-savvy friends will be able to confidently buy any track from Amazon, instead of being confused by the mingling of DRM-encumbered & DRM-free tracks on iTunes (and its cheaper to boot).
      • My #1 gripe with thunderbird is threading bugs (that is e-mails that are part of a thread are incorrectly placed in the thread or even worse moved to their own new thread). It isn't anywhere near as reliable as gmail (and even that doesn't work 100% of the time).
      • This won't solve all your problems, but if you are on OS X it looks like it might make GMail pretty nice to use w/o your browser: http://mailplaneapp.com/ [mailplaneapp.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by WingCmdr (100480)
      I really don't like google's webmail client. I much prefer yahoo mail. And Hot(spam)mail is my least favorite.
    • I hate webmail, too. While I have to maintain a lot of email addresses, whenever possible I access my webmail accounts through Thunderbird, anyway. That way at least I have a consistent interface.
    • by Joe Tie. (567096)
      Just to balance the replies a bit, I prefer gmail over any desktop client. Then again, off of work IM has made a pretty big dent in my email use anyway.
  • by mind21_98 (18647) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:18AM (#20894681) Homepage Journal
    And it'd be sad if it disappeared, but Apple Mail, Evolution and Gmail are better options on non-Windows platforms. That's probably why it's not as popular as it should be.

    (also, if you're careful enough, Outlook and Outlook Express are perfectly usable on Windows, especially the newer versions)
    • by kimvette (919543) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:27AM (#20894725) Homepage Journal
      No way. Thunderbird is stable, Evolution is not.

      Thunderbird's renderer works, Evolution's is crap.

      Also, while there is a tiny handful of plugins for Evolution, there is a HUGE selection of extensions for Tunderbird which are extremely useful, including one extension which can be used to automatically purge duplicate messages from one's inbox.

      With that said, I do use Evolution as my primary email program both at home and at work, but only because the scalix connector is available for Evolution. Thunderbird can access via IMAP only, and cannot use Scalix's calendaring features.
      • by rtb61 (674572) on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:18AM (#20895013) Homepage
        So that is the real problem competition with Gmail and Evolution or more specifically successful competition against both those products are having an impact on future thunderbird development.

        So in a nut shell, there appear to be limited corporate revenue opportunities for thunderbird, it is just a useful, simple, easy to use, end user interface for managing email, fit for purpose rather than fit for profit software.

        No corporations are really going to get behind it, especially not google or any other company involved with email servers.

        So thunderbird will keep quietly ticking along, doing the job it needs to do, with out any major changes, just continual refinement. I use it and I am pretty happy with that. To put it simply, I am sick of software changing for change sake and to generate upgrade profits. As for privacy invasive web mail, eww, I only use that for G-mail (garbage mail) and questionable web sites.

        The next big thing might be email address portability, much like postal address not being bound to the people making the deliveries, one could envisage a government controlled email address router to allow end users to retain a permanent email address, not bound to a particular supplier or as a marketing tool for that particular supplier ie. an address that avoids customer lock and ensures competition in email services. It would really hurt web mail but of course not as much as cheap internet serving appliances, IPv6 and free email software servers, privacy invasive web mail is doomed ;).

    • by Osty (16825) on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:39AM (#20894799)

      also, if you're careful enough, Outlook and Outlook Express are perfectly usable on Windows, especially the newer versions

      Outlook has been pretty safe since the XP release (Outlook 2002), and even the 2000 release with a patch. That's when they stopped allowing you to open executable attachments. There was still a minor risk of javascript nastiness, but they fixed that as well. The 2003 (11) and 2007 (12) releases of Outlook have been stable and safe. (Outlook 2007 doesn't use the controversial Ribbon toolbar like the rest of the Office 12 suite)

      Outlook Express is dead, though if you're still using XP you have it. Outlook Express has also been the Microsoft mail client with the most issues, mostly because it's free and more or less neglected. The problem is that "Outlook Express" and "Outlook" actually share nothing in common except for the name and the fact that they both do email. Beyond that they're two separate codebases, managed by two separate teams. It's unfortunate that they're named similarly, since Outlook Express' issues have tarnished the fact that Outlook proper is actually a very good, secure, and competent email client.

      If you're running Vista, Outlook Express is gone. It was replaced by Windows Mail, a more bare-bones mail and news reader that finally divorces the "Outlook" name from the free mail client. Alternatively, you can use the Windows Live Mail Beta [live.com] software (different from Hotmail/Windows Live Mail web interface, as it's client software that can be used for other mail accounts besides just Hotmail). Windows Live Mail integrates with Live services (Messenger, Spaces), where Outlook Express and Windows Mail don't.

      • It sounds like Windows Live Mail fits right into Microsoft's "Software as a service" push

        Hmm... is "Windows Live Mail" basically "Outlook Live," in the same vein as "Office Live"?
      • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:52AM (#20896309)
        I agree that Microsoft wishes to kill Outlook Express and replace it with something that generates them revenue. I do not agree that Outlook is better than Outlook Express as a pure email client.

        Outlook Express certainly has weaknesses, but it is relatively standards compliant. If one of my customers sends me an email using Outlook Express, I will be able to read it with whatever email client I am using at the time. If someone uses Outlook to send me mail, I may be faced with a Winmail.DAT attachment that nothing except Outlook (and a few webmail sites) can interpret. Similarly, any mail that I have stored in Outlook Express is easily exported to other mail clients. With Outlook, third party products are necessary to avoid serious lock-in. In some areas (again, considering just email in isolation) OE has better functionality. In particular, the IMAP support in OE is better than that in Outlook 2003.

        Every site I have ever been to that uses Outlook experiences periodic Outlook lock-ups. These will often clear themselves after a few minutes, but have a real impact on productivity. Sometimes, their cause is quite mysterious.

        I allow that Outlook in conjunction with Exchange has some compelling functionality, especially in the areas of shared folders and calendar/task management. These make Outlook an appropriate choice at times, but I am always relieved when the decision goes against Outlook.

    • Don't forget KMail (Score:3, Informative)

      by xaxa (988988)
      KMail is a good option too, or Kontact if you want integration with calendars and a newsreader (KNode), or just run them each separately. I use KMail for all my email, I prefer the interface to Thunderbird's.
      • For quite awhile I used Kmail and it worked pretty well. I eventually tried Thunderbird and, for my purposes - tunneling an X connection over ssh on a DSL connection - Thunderbird was _much_ slower than Kmail. You could watch it slowly paint many areas of useless eye candy. I'm now using fetchmail/procmail/mutt which, based on speed over a remote link, works quite awesomely.
      • by AaronW (33736)
        Kmail shows a lot of promise, but I keep running into major stability issues with IMAP support with Kmail, plus it doesn't support the immediate notification of email like Thunderbird does. Hopefully this will be improved in KDE 4.0.
      • How accurate is it in placing new e-mails in long threads? Also how well does it order e-mails while in threaded mode? I recently started importing my gmail e-mails into Thunderbird with the order being based on date and time. It sorts correctly when not in threaded mode, but loses that when threaded (I can't see any discernable reasoning behind the ordering. It doesn't order based on number of e-mails in the thread, whether or not its part of a thread, the date of the first e-mail in a thread or the date o
    • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:36AM (#20895105)
      I'll throw in the odd vote for Mail.app, for two features I just can't live without:

      One, the aggregate Inbox - I can view all my inboxes at once without actually merging the folders. It's so handy to be able to see all my new messages at a glance, or separated into accounts, so quickly and intuitively.

      Two, filtering IMAP messages by body text. I've tried half a dozen other email programs and none of them seem able to filter IMAP messages this way. I can't see any valid explanation why other clients refuse to do this. I can sort quasi-spam (ads from companies I've placed orders from, for example) far more effectively with body filters.

      If Thunderbird could duplicate those two features I'd probably give up Mail.app. Thunderbird is far more extensible and has quite a few features Apple's client lacks, like good IMAP folder management and Bayesian filtering.

      Yet both Thunderbird and Firefox feel largely stagnant these days - Firefox 3's promises seem nebulous and the release never seems to come any closer, and neither program is doing anything all that innovative in the meantime. The most impressive new feature I've seen in the past year (which wasn't an extension) has been Thunderbird's categories, which is itself is a copy of Gmail's keywords feature and rather similar to Mail.app's smart folders. What are the devs doing?
      • by igb (28052)
        ``Thunderbird is far more extensible and has quite a few features Apple's client lacks, like good IMAP folder management and Bayesian filtering.'' Huh? Mail.app is the first GUI client I've found tolerable (Multics read_mail 1983-86, MH and nmh 1986-1999 with a brief flirtation with RMAIL in there somewhere, then mutt when I needed IMAP4 support, now Mail.app since I've drunk the Jobs Koolaid). It has Bayesian filtering --- its junk filtering is both Bayesian and ``pay attention to ISP headers''. I'm n
      • by dkf (304284)

        [F]iltering IMAP messages by body text. I've tried half a dozen other email programs and none of them seem able to filter IMAP messages this way. I can't see any valid explanation why other clients refuse to do this./quote>It's computationally quite complex. To do it sanely, you need a fairly sophisticated text-processing database engine on the backend, and they've not been available for that long. But I do think you'll see that feature more in the future now that there's OSS DBs that can tackle this so that everyone doesn't have to reinvent it. The future's bright!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 08, 2007 @01:26AM (#20894715)
    ...When even International Rescue are in crisis!

    Oh wait, what...?
  • mozilla has eudora as well

    i suspect this is having an unspoken impact on things in the mozilla camp
  • by flydpnkrtn (114575) on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:05AM (#20894955)
    I would say that due to the fact that we're approaching the end of 2007 and Thunderbird still doesn't have integrated calendaring (not in beta, that's a copout), then yes, Thunderbird is in crisis.

    Until feature-for-feature Thunderbird can equal or beat Outlook it will never have people flocking to it like Firefox did.

    Look at Firefox versus IE 6 - heck, Firefox basically "inspired" IE 7 (tabs, search bar on the top right, extensions, etc. etc.) That's what led to the huge masses adopting it.

    The fact that Zimbra has released a cross-platform offline client instead of extending Thunderbird to fit their needs speaks volumes.
    http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/03/26/zimbra-to-lauch-desktop-application-with-full-offline-functionality/ [techcrunch.com]
    • by J0nne (924579) on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:20AM (#20895021)
      Why does an e-mail application need a calendar? Wouldn't it be better to just use a calendar application to handle calendar stuff?
      • by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Monday October 08, 2007 @03:08AM (#20895271) Homepage
        I used Outlook for calendaring and contact management, actually, and was using it with Thunderbird as the mail client. At a certain point, I realized that was one more executable more than I needed running, and migrated to Outlook for mail, as well. Outlook's IMAP performance is, in my experience, smoother than T-bird's (which often seems to "forget" that it copied messages to my offline store, making them unavailable when I'm offline.)

        Once you start dragging and dropping from your inbox to your to-do list, contact list, and calendar, it's hard to give that up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dave420 (699308)
        Because thinking about email as just being email is a bit short-sighted. I'm not being rude, but emails rarely start and end with the conversation, especially in a work-place. Outlook is as strong as it is because the Outlook team realises that. That's why they have built in various features people in offices love to use - shared folders, global address books, calendars, etc. It's the same reason email clients are also usually NNTP clients - it's all about communication. Calendars, shared folders, web-
    • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:20AM (#20895025)
      Why *should* an email program have *integrated* calendaring? A separate program like Sunbird makes more sense to me, as long as the programs work together seamlessly. Which is not to say that Thunderbird and Sunbird work together particularly well, but I think they have the right idea, just like Apple with Mail.app + iCal + Address Book. I will agree that nothing out there handles as well as Outlook yet, but that's because Microsoft has thrown massive resources at it. I think that any PIM software would be better implemented as a cluster of mini-apps, which each do one thing well, and communicate via a good set of APIs.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by darthflo (1095225)
        I'm not saying the Unix approach to this matter is bad, but good PIM software may be doing a tiny little bit more than just piping text from one tool to another. Additionally: If a great Application like Outlook (v12 "2007" is great, stable and not as memory-consuming as previous ones) does all the tasks better than three, five or seventeen mini-apps, I am going to use the monolithic thing. Seems kind of similar to the [Gentoo/LFS]/[Ubuntu/Novell/RedHat], [Firefox + Thunderbird + n Extensions/Opera or Build
      • by div_2n (525075) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:31AM (#20897203)
        I believe the reason many people don't see the deep connection between emailing and calendaring is the way they use the two. If you use your calendar simply to schedule _your_ day and don't get involved with other people, then I can see where you wouldn't find integration useful.

        Now let's say you are scheduling meetings with multiple people in multiple buildings. When you send a meeting request, doesn't email seem like the best place for that request to land? They click a button of some sort embedded in the message to accept (or reject) your meeting request. The sauce behind what happens next is what I think leads to a valid decision to marry the two. If you had a separate program for calendaring, how would the email client signal the calendaring solution of the acceptance?

        I don't doubt workable solutions could be offered. I'm just suggesting the most _logical_ shortest path of least resistance is indeed to have them integrated.
    • by sveinhal (469879) on Monday October 08, 2007 @03:18AM (#20895333) Homepage

      Look at Firefox versus IE 6 - heck, Firefox basically "inspired" IE 7 (tabs, search bar on the top right, extensions, etc. etc.) That's what led to the huge masses adopting it.


      You should give credit to the right people. Two of those three are Opera innovations, that Firefox copied. Not that Firefox is not a good browser. I'm just saying who actually did this first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Elektroschock (659467)
      But they have cash unlike other Open Source projects. Mozilla sits on money. I don't understand this. When Mozilla was experimental we used their x crappy products. And I thought when firefox gets a success Thunderbird will get appropriate cross-financing, and then Sunbird as well. But nothing happened. NVU is patched externally as Kompozer. Does Mozilla support these volunteers? No. Not our code. They apply a totally broken business ideology.
  • by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon&gamerslastwill,com> on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:30AM (#20895081) Homepage Journal
    I have used Thunderbird exclusively since v1.5 and I have never looked back! I need those new features.
    I need security updates. I need a calendar. We all use Thunderbird. Just fork it damnit! We need it.

    call it Inlook or something!
  • by Soko (17987) on Monday October 08, 2007 @02:34AM (#20895091) Homepage
    The reason Thunderbird won't gain the same traction as Firefox has is Exchange. The Thunderbird developers have made a great email client, but they've hit the wrong target. They, along with GMail et. al. have killed off Eudora and Pegasus, not Outlook. (aside - here's hoping IncrediMail is next)

    Email has evolved into a collaboration tool, not just a way of sending words in ASCII. Plain and simple, until your contacts can email you a meeting request and TBird puts it in your calendar automagically - and that meeting goes in your BlackBerry/Treo/Gizmo-of-the-week - it won't gain near the same buzz. Outlook + Exchange adds far too much business value to simply abandon in the name of Open and Free.

    If you just need email, Thunderbird is OK-fine - if you need collaboration, you need Outlook. It's a damn shame, too.

    • by haeger (85819) on Monday October 08, 2007 @03:31AM (#20895433)
      if you need collaboration, you need... something like Kontact [kontact.org]?

      Still it doesn't do exchange intigration all that well, but I think they're on the right track.
      They wrote about it on the dot [kde.org] a few days ago.

      .haeger

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday October 08, 2007 @06:43AM (#20896709) Journal
      Calendar sharing is something of a problem. Fortunately, Apple seem to be working on solving it. In Leopard, the updated iCal supports CalDAV, a set of extensions to WebDAV for better supporting calendaring. Oh, and they've released the server as open source software [calendarserver.org]. Mozilla Sunbird already supports CalDAV, as do a few other projects [calendarserver.org].
    • by gosand (234100) on Monday October 08, 2007 @09:02AM (#20898227)
      Outlook + Exchange adds far too much business value to simply abandon in the name of Open and Free.


      Yep... I always *hated* outlook for email (still do). But I use it daily at work. At work, I am constantly getting scheduled for meetings, or scheduling them myself. These meetings are always with people in different cities, states, or even different countries. You can look at other people's calendars, and see if they have declined/accepted a meeting. There are a few glitches, but overall it works very well. I use Office Communicator as much as email. Although I can't stand many things about it, it does integrate nicely with the corporate address book. If someone is in a meeting, their status goes to "in a meeting". If only they would have tabbed windows and allow logging of conversations. You can email a conversation, which is nice, but there are times when you forget to do it.


      Overall, I have gained a real appreciation for using these tools in business by using them daily.


      And if you think I have gone soft, I still use pine as my primary mail client at home. :)

  • As far as I am aware, there hasn't been a single negative comment from these developers upon their departure. Do you think there might be a slim possibility that they received job offers that interested them more than Thunderbird?
  • by DrXym (126579) on Monday October 08, 2007 @05:14AM (#20896021)
    Thunderbird would be a hell of a lot more popular if it supported Exchange - private & public folders, address book, resources. Sunbird would have to be part of the solution for tasks and appointments. There is already code to connect available in Evolution, so why not make use of it in Thunderbird? I know in theory that you could configure IMAP on MS Exchange, but I'm talking or proper support.

    The advantage of Thunderbird over Evolution is that it runs on all major platforms. Evolution does have a port for Windows, but it's pretty poor. I expect that a lot of companies would be interested in a Thunderbird client (and paying support for it) if it would support the mail server they use.

    Perhaps Thunderbird / Sunbird should even move to the OpenOffice project. After all, an Outlook app must be the major the missing component in the OpenOffice suite, and here is one ready for adoption.

  • Kmail for KDE (Score:4, Informative)

    by bl8n8r (649187) on Monday October 08, 2007 @07:03AM (#20896927)
    Would be my next Linux choice. http://kontact.kde.org/kmail/ [kde.org]
  • by Jay L (74152) <jay+slashNO@SPAMjay.fm> on Monday October 08, 2007 @08:22AM (#20897733) Homepage
    MailCo's new (president?):

    Both Scott McGregor and David Bienvenu have posted that they are leaving Mozilla Corp. My understanding from chats with them weeks ago (I hope I'm not divulging anything that I shouldn't) is that they have decided to start a new venture. They've worked on Thunderbird and its predecessors within Mozilla and Nestcape for a long time, and I can certainly understand their desire to do something different[...]

    We're recruiting experienced developers now to focus specifically on Thunderbird and more broadly on improving mail and communications in general. Everyone involved full-time in the development of Thunderbird has been offered a role and we're moving forward as quickly as possible to hire additional developers[...]

    The opinions of the core Thunderbird community are more important than many, so if you care about Thunderbird, please let me know what you think. Now is a great time to influence the future of Thunderbird.


    Open Letter to the Thunderbird Community [ascher.ca]

    Also note that both Scott and David say they'll still be working on TB. Scott's post:

    I plan to continue on, as a volunteer, with my role as a module owner for the Thunderbird project.

    David's:

    I intend to stay involved with Thunderbird and to continue on as a module owner.


    Given the timing and very similar wording of their posts, I'm guessing that Ascher's right - they're going off to work on something together.

    It does suck; those two know more about TB than anyone, and even when they were full-time employees, TB development was fairly glacial - it's just too big and monolithic for that size development team. But I don't know that this necessarily means the end of TB. I certainly hope not.
  • by aristolochene (997556) on Monday October 08, 2007 @10:15AM (#20899157)
    I'm not worried: I'm more of an olde english drinker.
  • by pjr.cc (760528) on Monday October 08, 2007 @10:44AM (#20899525)
    Being able to integrate with exchange would be MARVELOUS - if it were open. And by that i dont mean that Exchange should be open, but the communication with it. Take a look at things like:

    http://sourceforge.net/projects/openchange/ [sourceforge.net]

    There have been MANY projects to try and pull apart that communications channel into a library that could be implemented anywhere and no one has managed it (yet). The original work (above) was about trying to make an exchange (server) replacement, but now its extending into implementing client connectivity. Hell, evolution only manages to do it by going thru the OWA (which is a hack at best). So everyone sitting there going "oh it should have exchange connectivity" paleeease write to MS and tell them they should open the protocols (personally, i think they should be forced to do this).. It would be fair to say that it would be nice if it had a real calendar/colab tool for the corporate environment, but if your using this at home you really REALLY need to get a more spontaneous life, seriously!.
  • Money? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danious (202113) on Monday October 08, 2007 @12:00PM (#20900583) Homepage
    Mozilla makes a fortune from Firefox thanks to their Google deal, so Firefox is self-funding where-as Thunderbird has no potential revenue stream so is just seen as a drain on resources. That's what happens when your corporatise an open source project, the money clouds your vision and detracts from your goals. The tin-foil hat brigade out there might even suggest that Thunderbird, as a competitor to Google, threatens Mozilla's main revenue stream and so may well be paying the price for Googles ongoing support...

"Why can't we ever attempt to solve a problem in this country without having a 'War' on it?" -- Rich Thomson, talk.politics.misc

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