In the next few months I hope to do a series of blog posts that talk about Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client and its future. Here’s the TL;DR version (though still pretty long). These are my personal views, I have no authority to speak for Mozilla or for the Thunderbird project.
Current Status Thunderbird usage is growing, we have a strong core team, and expect to remain relevant to the internet for the foreseeable future. Thunderbird is mission critical to tens of millions of users. The last two “community-developed” Thunderbird releases, 24 and 31, while successful as stability releases, had few [...]
What will it take to keep Thunderbird stable and vibrant? Although there is a dedicated, hard-working team of volunteers trying hard to keep Thunderbird alive, there has been very little progress on improvements since Mozilla drastically reduced their funding. I’ve been an advocate for some time that Thunderbird needs income to fulfill its potential, and that the best way to generate that income would be to appeal directly to its users for donations.
One internet organization that has done this successfully has been Wikipedia. How much income could Thunderbird generate if they received the same income per user as Wikipedia? [...]
For the first time in a while, the Thunderbird build tree is all green. That means that all platforms are building, and passing all tests:
The Thunderbird build tree is green!
Many thanks to Joshua Cranmer for all of his hard work to make it so!
When I was first getting involved in Thunderbird, I recall reading a post from early leader Scott MacGregor that puzzled me. When the project was essentially a two-person project, he said that the next person they needed was a build engineer. I had always thought of that as a backwater for people who couldn’t do real coding.
How my thinking has changed! As we look to the future of the Thunderbird project, it is clear that the main threat at the moment is losing control of the build process. These days, it takes a PhD candidate in computer science (Joshua [...]
I recently received a review of my ExQuilla addon for Thunderbird with the glowing report “It works well, I’ll give you that. No more, no less”. Should be 5 stars, right? No, the addon got 2.
This is the proxy battle over whether there should be paid addons in the Mozilla ecosystem, fought by trashing the ratings of paid addons. The reviewer gave me 2 stars because he believes “Please find purchasers from paid email software, not in an open source software.” He also complained about my response to an earlier reviewer who gave ExQuilla one star because, even though [...]
Recently we learned that the “Exchange 2007/2010/2013 Provider” addon is no longer being developed, and the final version did not fully support Thunderbird 24 and Exchange Server 2013 & Office365. While eventually we intend to fully integrate Calendar and Task support into ExQuilla, at the moment that support is incomplete and experimental, so many of our customers had relied on the now-abandoned addon. So as a convenience to our customers, we have forked and updated that addon to provide a version that works with current Thunderbird and Microsoft Exchange, as well as includes better compatibility with ExQuilla. We call this [...]
About a year ago, when we on the Thunderbird team were having very active discussions about the future of Thunderbird after Mozilla’s drastic cutback in funding, Axel Grude and myself were minority voices promoting the importance of developing funding sources for Thunderbird if it were to prosper in the future. In contrast, the majority viewpoint, as I understand it, was some combination of 1) We don’t need funding, Thunderbird is fine the way it is, and eager volunteers will move things forward, and 2) Mozilla Messaging tried for years to develop funding and failed, so it is probably impossible to [...]
The second option is somewhat unusual, and represents an attempt to [...]
My EarlyLight addon, which is an unofficial build of the Lightning calendar extension, supporting multiple Thunderbird versions, is now available for Thunderbird 14 – 16. This is based on the current Lightning 1.8a2 source (which is now in the aurora directories). Download here:
I’ll probably stop supporting this once Thunderbird switches to its slower release cycle.
I got tired of waiting for Lightning to fix their aurora build problems so I decided to practice my newly-acquired Mozilla build foo to build my own. In the process, I extended the usual Lightning build so that I have Lightning that can work with current TB release, beta, and aurora versions, that is Thunderbird 13, 14, and 15.
The “source” for this is just a makefile which you can see here. (I added my fix in Mozilla bug 766685 so that I could build this with my VS 2008 on Windows). This will only work in my local build [...]