Mozilla Messaging is a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, and as the name says, focusing on messaging (via Ars Technica). The plans, as David Ascher explains, are to build a great product on the existing Thunderbird 2 base.
We’ve started defining what Thunderbird 3 will be, because we think that there is enough consensus to make some of the first decisions on the most important changes to tackle first. Specifically, Thunderbird 3 will build on the great base that is Thunderbird 2 (and the work already performed in trunk by the current and past contributors), and add some key features, such as:
- integrated calendaring (building on the great work done by the Mozilla Calendar team and their Lightning add-on to Thunderbird),
- better search facilitie),
- easier configuratio),
- and a set of other user interface improvements.
I am excited. A while back Thunderbird was almost orphaned, but this might give its worth back to it. I have seen some negative reactions to the desktop software being developed, but I still believe that in many cases webified applications are better than the browsered ones.
Value of messaging, and specifically email, is mostly dependent on what you can do with it. Also, it has to be well integrated with your social manifold, at an individual level. That is when it can break or minimize your constraints of communication. And this can be done better with taking desktop to the Web, not the other way round. But there have been negative reactions to the non-Web approach, and it will be interesting to see how Thunderbird 3 shapes up, and goes beyond just email.
I use Thunderbird, I also use Gmail, for each of their capabilities. Gmail’s web interface is good, and its USP is the view it provides into our Inbox. But it is terrible at standards and becomes unusable on many browsers. Thunderbird lets me work offline, and makes the emails available to be part of the bigger knowledge base. Also, it eliminates a part of the dependency on the service availability for reading emails and stays with me.
Overall, this news has got me excited. With email, I would prefer to do better on Thunderbird’s web capabilities than working offline with Gmail.