The Mozilla Corporation wants to give away Thunderbird or donate it or do away with it. Whatever it gets called, the CEO Mitchell Baker says it is for its own good. But somehow it is not very convincing, and so much can be read between the lines. It is especially tempting to think that Mozilla does not believe in desktop email clients anymore.
Thunderbird is one of the excellent desktop email clients out there, open source or not. And the fact that it is based on the Mozilla’s framework has given it stability, elegance and cross platform ability. There are not many out there. In fact, the open source Eudora might be built on Thunderbird.
I agree with Shelley Powers when she says that it is all about browser. Mozilla’s recent focus has been exclusively on the browser. The browser has not only taken over the desktop applications, but it probably also stealing focus from a lot of other desktop initiatives. In my opinion, this is undue, especially I actively use the desktop email client. It is especially useful if you use more than one active POP/IMAP accounts. Thunderbird’s threading and saved searches enhance usability and offline accessibility is still a need. Of course there is Google Gears which might make Gmail accessible offline, but this is all about Google, leaving lesser options for me.
Thunderbird lead developer Scott MacGregor thinks a community project might work better than belonging to another organizational setting. I hope, as a Thunderbird fan, as a Mozilla framework fan, that it works and does not get hidden. Thunderbird is tightly coupled to the framework, it will have to synchronously evolve as the framework evolves. Otherwise reclaiming Thunderbird will become the new slogan.