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posted by n1 on Wednesday December 02 2015, @09:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the focused-user-experience dept.

In this Ars Technica article, Mozilla Corporation Chair Mitchell Baker discloses the desire to drop the Thunderbird email client altogether.

"Many inside of Mozilla, including an overwhelming majority of our leadership, feel the need to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact." Baker writes. "With all due respect to Thunderbird and the Thunderbird community, we have been clear for years that we do not view Thunderbird as having this sort of potential."

Thunderbird has already been demoted to second-tier status, receiving only security updates since the summer of 2012. Baker's plan would turn Thunderbird over to a community product, similar to what happened with the Mozilla Suite a decade ago.

Is Mozilla's decision to laser-focus on improving Firefox going to stop their dwindling market share? Who else, besides the submitter, is still using Thunderbird? And where will you go once Thunderbird is no longer supported?

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02 2015, @03:05PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02 2015, @03:05PM (#270702)

    Another bad decision by Mozilla... o_O

    I think Mozilla is trying to keep it too real. They see that people are mostly using centralized email providers trough their web interfaces and decide to kill Thunderbird. Instead they should be thinking whether this is a good or bad development and act accordingly. Their mission statement reads

    " keep the Internet alive and accessible, so people worldwide can be informed contributors and creators of the Web. We believe this act of human collaboration across an open platform is essential to individual growth and our collective future"

    Web interfaces to email tend to be horrible. And unique to which ever provider you happen to be using. Often you simply cannot perform any advanced actions or at least they are very well hidden. So I'd say having a civilized dedicated client around would certainly help with accessibility. I also claim it would help keep the internet alive instead of getting centralized to oligopoly to monopoly.

    But this is Mozilla, people who are crazy enough to use HTML5 to build applications on their Firefox OS. They also killed the Mozilla Suite, part of which was for creating web pages. But hey, who needs that, we have these wonderful social media walled gardens that allow even (and mostly) idiots to create "web pages". (Ha!) So much for "open platforms". I'm getting worried about our collective future.

    I recently noted that Mozilla is asking for donations. Sorry but I'm not giving a dime to such a silly corporation. And that's coming for a person who once thought I should work for Mozilla.

    And having said all that, I'm using a Firefox derivative as browser, it's still easily the best option around.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02 2015, @05:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02 2015, @05:52PM (#270813)

    "They see that people are mostly using centralized email providers trough their web interfaces and decide to kill Thunderbird. Instead they should be thinking whether this is a good or bad development and act accordingly."

    I applied a couple years ago to Mozilla to work on Thunderbird towards this end of a better decentralized information system. Never heard back ftom them that I can recall. Bunch of GitHub stuff by me in various related directions, for example: []

    I can look in my Thunderbird app and privately review and privately search more than a million messages I've received stretching back for over a decade, as well as review and search tens of thousands of messages I've sent during that time. Tell me how to do that with a scattering of web services (other than poorly and publicly with a web search engine). And no, not with another centralized privacy-invading services like Slack -- although I guess I could check out, say, Mattermost, a FOSS Slack alternative.

    Sad to see such a great group like Mozilla with so much potential make such a terrible decision. We apparently need better alternatives. I hope a
    "social semantic desktop" based on good standards is someday the norm. It would have been nice if Mozilla could have lead us to that.

    --Paul Fernhout

    • (Score: 1) by pdfernhout on Thursday December 10 2015, @10:09PM

      by pdfernhout (5984) on Thursday December 10 2015, @10:09PM (#274667) Homepage

      My essay on this written yesterday: []
      "To deal with Thunderbird's technical debt (which Andrew Sutherland described on the Mozilla Governance thread that Mitchell Baker started), I propose Mozilla fund a "skunkworks" team of about seven people for a year to create a new server version of Thunderbird (called "Thunderbird Server", or "ThunderbirdS" for short) that runs initially as a locally-installed Node.js app providing a single-page JavaScript/TypeScript/Mithril/D3 webapp for email handling and other peer-to-peer communications using the local file system. Thunderbird Server would use Firefox (desktop or mobile) as its primary client; Firefox would access Thunderbird Server just like any other (local) web server using web standards. The most significant Thunderbird Desktop plugins (based on downloads or other metrics) would be ported by the team to this new Thunderbird Server platform (ideally, aided by a custom tool for such porting). Some of the most popular plugins might be unneeded though for Thunderbird Server given they could run directly in Firefox (like translation tools and ad blockers). This Thunderbird Server platform would, through plugins, eventually become a social semantic desktop that could change the nature of the web as we know it, reducing the significance of the distinction between local copies shared with peers and centralized content shared with clients. "

      (I also made the comment above mentioning Pointrel. Finally signed up for an account today.)

      The biggest challenge of the 21st century: the irony of technologies of abundance used by scarcity-minded people.