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Mozilla Downshifting Development of Thunderbird E-Mail Client

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the sometimes-it-hits-the-fan dept.

Firefox 378

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla will be announcing next week that they will effectively be taking away resources from Thunderbird's development. Mozilla believes it's better for the developers behind the open-source e-mail client to work on other projects, i.e. Firefox OS. They claim they will not be outright stopping Thunderbird." You can also read the letter at pastebin.

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Tunderbirds are NO! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571183)

It's the beginning of the end for Thunderbird and Mozilla.

Expect the Mozilla tablet next.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (5, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571209)

Well, lets face it, the last major contribution to email was the "discussions view". Not much has changed in the way of email. The standards have been the same, the security is over an SSL standard, the display is either plain text or HTML, and anti-spam is handled by people like spamhaus.
What more is there for email?

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (5, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571241)

Exactly. The browser was perfectly adequate back in the 3.0 days.

In fact, server auto-discovery has made it difficult to configure Tbird on my systems, since I do my own imapd but rely on my ISP's smtp.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571353)

It gets even worse when you have to get at your imap servers over an ssh-forwarded port. Prior to auto-discovery it was pretty easy. Now it's hit-or-miss.

"Just works" (TM) is great when it does, or when you need to do something slightly unusual. Then it just gets in your way. That's the thing that bothers me most about people trying to make Linux "user friendly", because it can only ever be "mostly user friendly" and when they do that they usually also take away the hacker hooks.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571621)

It gets even worse when you have to get at your imap servers over an ssh-forwarded port. Prior to auto-discovery it was pretty easy. Now it's hit-or-miss.

"Just works" (TM) is great when it does, or when you need to do something slightly unusual. Then it just gets in your way. That's the thing that bothers me most about people trying to make Linux "user friendly", because it can only ever be "mostly user friendly" and when they do that they usually also take away the hacker hooks.

Why I stopped using windows so often, too many magical things that happened automatically and me saying ........ noooooooooooo.... that's not what I wanted, but it was too late.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571405)

They could do a ton more for their NNTP support. Like adding binary/NZB support, taking care of bugs which have been rotting for ten years. Finally integrating Lightning would also be interesting.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (2)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571489)

Lightning support would be useful, yes, but NNTP? Why?

Just as IMNSHO email client are superior to Gmail, dedicated news readers are much better than Tbird's news reader.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571987)

Can you name a decently maintained graphical free software client which works on several OSs?

PS: Pan just isn't usable for me, imagine how happy I felt when I realized it no longer had an outbox.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (4, Funny)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571901)

They could do a ton more for their NNTP support..

Yeah!

How's Firefox's Gopher support?

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571951)

Well, they dropped it from the base release about a year ago but it is still there as a plugin.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571589)

Integrated PGP support. You have to install some weird 3rd party plug-in to get what's been standard in other mail clients for a decade.

Mail is insecure unless you encrypt it. This should be the default.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571833)

That's what we said about browsers, but they keep screwing them up.

Re:Tunderbirds are NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572117)

Thunderbird is as bugged as the other clients out there. Email hasn't evolved at all, it's sad.

They might as well kick all the developers. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571185)

And tell them to go find something else to work on. Firefox is officially trash now, never used thunderbird (but I don't know anyone else that does either so whatever) and I know I for wont be touching firefox os after seeing how bad the browser platform has gotten in the last couple years.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (5, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571281)

And tell them to go find something else to work on. Firefox is officially trash now, never used thunderbird (but I don't know anyone else that does either so whatever) and I know I for wont be touching firefox os after seeing how bad the browser platform has gotten in the last couple years.

Firefox is the least ram hungry browser [tomshardware.com] available! Chrome and even IE 9 last year kicked Firefox 4 ass in on a silver platter. However, the quality is considerable better for their browser at least.

I installed FF 3.6 on a machine to test something and it was PAINFUL and slow to scroll and ram and disk hungry. I was so used to it for so long I forgot about what made Chrome so special in 2009 - 2011 when people started using it.

I still feel comfortable using it and if Mozilla fixes just a few more things I may just switch back to using it.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (4, Interesting)

Tancred (3904) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571333)

I'm not so down on the Firefox team, but it seems like Firefox OS will have a tough climb. What's the benefit for a phone maker? Is it more open than Android? Is the HTML5 core going to make development for it easier?

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571363)

never used thunderbird (but I don't know anyone else that does either so whatever)

I used Thunderbird for a while. Had to remove it after I got mad enough at it. The rich text editor in it was broken - it refused to use fonts that I wanted, reverting back at every opportunity. Also it loved to eat ends of lines - all of them in one big bite. Start typing your reply, press END, press DEL and now the first line of the quoted text is sitting at the cursor.

Eventually I got tired of that and reverted to the Dark Side. (Or is it Yellow Side now?) At least it works. This is not the year 2000 to endlessly mess with MUAs. I want my email to work, and the best MUA to do it gets the job.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (0)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571759)

I used Thunderbird for a while. Had to remove it after I got mad enough at it. The rich text editor in it was broken - it refused to use fonts that I wanted, reverting back at every opportunity.

I bet you top post, too. (of course you do, Lookout pretty much forces that, damn noobs)

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (3, Interesting)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571399)

Firefox is officially trash now.

I beg to differ. I always have Firefox *and* Chrome open, but I spend most of my time in Firefox. 1) Firefox can scroll tabs. 2) Firefox will open a pdf or other document just by clicking on it. Chrome insists on downloading it and littering my Downloads directory with things I don't want to keep, besides requiring an extra step to open. 3) I use a Firefox plugin to remove Google's evil link obfuscation, so I can open search results much faster and cut and paste links in a way that makes sense. Not to mention making my eyes hurt less.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (3, Informative)

Tancred (3904) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571867)

I don't know why this isn't built in, but you can install this extension in Chrome to see PDF and PPT docs in a sensible manner:

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google)

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (1)

cdecoro (882384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572057)

2) Firefox will open a pdf or other document just by clicking on it. Chrome insists on downloading it and littering my Downloads directory with things I don't want to keep, besides requiring an extra step to open.

I actually have the exact *opposite* problem on Mac; Chrome will open PDFs natively in a tab, while Firefox wants me to open Preview. This was the primary reason I switched. If the Firefox developers added native PDF support on Mac, I'd consider switching back.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572249)

This must be something to do with configuration & plug-ins. On my Ubuntu (10.4) FF always opens up a separate application (acroread), and the file is always in /tmp/blah.pdf. I'm not sure I always want PDFs to open up in the browser, but I would sometimes prefer that. I have 'open new window' links always open into a background tab, so maybe that has something to do with it. It's never been enough of a hassle to spend the time to figure this out.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (4, Interesting)

cgenman (325138) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571549)

Thunderbird is pretty good. There aren't many open-source graphical mail clients out there that work consistently across all platforms. It is a little over-built and quirky, like all of Firefox. But there isn't really an equivalent alternative, especially if you need a newsgroup client.

The main competition at this point is webmail. But for people who need a desktop platform, Thunderbird is an easy go-to option.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (2)

twistedcubic (577194) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571923)

In my opinion, Iceape (Seamonkey) looks and feels better than Thunderbird. However, I haven't used Thunderbird in the last year, so it may be superior. I think people are not aware that Seamonkey is just as good.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572241)

I agree thunderbird is an easy go-to option. Seamonkey is pretty good, too. I like really like Seamonkey, but I use webmail so I don't need a multifunction internet suite.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571675)

I used to think that Firefox was headed for the trash heap too, but now it has several features and performance charactertistics that beat even Chrome. Memory usage is less than half of what it was, plugins default to compatible since version 10, etc. The fact that it only loads tabs as you need them on startup saves a lot of time, and people are clammoring for that to be added to Chrome.

Browser Speed Tests: Chrome 19, Firefox 13, Internet Explorer 9, and Opera 12

http://lifehacker.com/5917714/browser-speed-tests-chrome-19-firefox-13-internet-explorer-9-and-opera-1164

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571857)

> ... and I know I for [sure] won[']t be touching firefox os after seeing how bad the browser platform has gotten in the last couple years.

It hasn't gotten any bad; if anything, it's better, getting things others already had like that "speed dial" thing. Where are you living? A parallel universe?

Chrome is great but simply won't work at my job (someone fixed the firewall so Chrome can't update, and I won't be downloading the program every week). FF can and does update, the plugins I use work ok (except one, KDE Oxygen). At home, for the moment, it's Mageia 1 with FF 10 Extended Support Release, pretty much does not stand in the way.

Chromium works at home and is installed. I simply see no reason to use it (yet, absence of Flash might force me...). Lately, FF has been getting faster to fight Chrome and that's nice.

That said, I use Thunderbird only at work, because there's a need there. It's way better than the forced by decree Outlook. It always pain me to see someone that POS, but unfortunately I won't evagnelize about Thunderbird, because I'd need to support it. So, it's important to me.

I suppose they will maintain Thunderbird and do some patches, if M$ comes up with another way to screw us. Or maybe they've seen into the cloudy future and decided to put all the chips on FF, in case M$ gets crazy and uses that key thing to make foreign apps unusable. I hope we get BYOD before that.

Anyway, maybe I can use another mail client in the future, should the need arise... already found comparisons of some which are GPL and for Windows.

Re:They might as well kick all the developers. (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572087)

The "getting things others already had" is part of why it's becoming worse. They're trying way to hard to copy chrome. If I wanted to use a browser like chrome, I would just use chrome. Mozilla has taken the google route and dumbed down their UI to the point where I refuse to upgrade past 3.6 because I don't want to have to install 80 addons just to get the UI back to where it should be.

Probably won't hurt anything......for now (5, Interesting)

ClassicASP (1791116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571231)

Boy was that leaked fast. I've been using thunderbird for years and never have had much trouble with the mail client. Its pretty stable. Probably won't hurt anything to temporarily take resources off of it. But I hope they don't discontinue it entirely. I feel its way better than Outlook.

Re:Probably won't hurt anything......for now (2)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571393)

Yeah I've been using it for years as well. I've yet to find something not quite as annoying, though I've never really looked for options. Despite what the /. crowd thinks, it is popular with the non-teksavy crowd, at least those who got tired of MS and their OLE replacements.

Re:Probably won't hurt anything......for now (2)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571523)

There aren't really any non-niche replacement options for ThunderBird or Outlook since Eudora was killed by Qualcomm. I've tried several of the better ones, and they're universally painful to use.

It's actually unfortunate that there's not a binary compiled version of RoundCube, because it has a reasonably usable interface for a web client.

Re:Probably won't hurt anything......for now (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571565)

Sounds to me like there's a good FOSS project in the making then.

Re:Probably won't hurt anything......for now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571469)

Boy was that leaked fast.

Not really. I created the pastebin this morning and submitted it to HN. It got no traction and eventually disappeared: http://news.ycombinator.com/submitted?id=mozillarewind

https://twitter.com/mozillarewind

I can't wait! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571253)

With all the developers moving, they will finally have the resources necessary to change the Firefox UX all over again. Hurrah!

In all seriousness though, I'd rather they move resources to where they could be more useful. Although, I'm not sure Firefox OS is the right move either.

Re:I can't wait! (2)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571359)

With all the developers moving, they will finally have the resources necessary to change the Firefox UX all over again. Hurrah!

I would like Mozilla to put the "reload" button back where it used to be. What do you think, Mr Anonymous?

Re:I can't wait! (5, Informative)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571437)

Want the "Reload" button back where it used to be? Right-click, "Customize", drag the reload button where you want it, click "Done".

You're welcome.

Re:I can't wait! (2, Funny)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571497)

Want the "Reload" button back where it used to be? Right-click, "Customize", drag the reload button where you want it, click "Done". You're welcome.

Thankyou, so now I understand. They just moved the the reload button to a stupid place to force everybody to learn their new customization interface. Right, that's it.

Re:I can't wait! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571933)

Did someone move F5 on the keyboard?

Re:I can't wait! (1)

ClassicASP (1791116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571439)

agreed. i miss the reload button

Re:I can't wait! (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571451)

I'm not sure Firefox OS is the right move either.

I'm sure it isn't, but maybe Mozilla foundation will figure that out faster than Googlers, who have a nasty ingrained habit of ignoring the evidence before their eyes, such as 99% of ChromeOS trials coming back with "this is stupid, why cripple the computer and brick it when the connection drops".

Re:I can't wait! (1)

asa (33102) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571667)

Firefox OS works fine when there's no connection. Apps are cached for off-line use. When they get another connection, they sync.

Re:I can't wait! (2)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571691)

Firefox OS works fine when there's no connection. Apps are cached for off-line use. When they get another connection, they sync.

You mean it kinda sorta works when there's no connection. For example, if you want to run an application you haven't downloaded yet, or forgot to download, you're out of luck. Just one of an endless list of common examples of why the concept suffers from serious braindamage.

Re:I can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571711)

I'm not sure Firefox OS is the right move either.

I'm sure it isn't, but maybe Mozilla foundation will figure that out faster than Googlers, who have a nasty ingrained habit of ignoring the evidence before their eyes, such as 99% of ChromeOS trials coming back with "this is stupid, why cripple the computer and brick it when the connection drops".

I'm waiting for mycleanpc OS and their new phone. Everyone is doing it these days.

Good. (5, Insightful)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571289)

Thunderbird isn't a commercial product. It doesn't have to add arbitrary bullet points every 18 months so they can sell an upgrade. There is eventually a point where it's good enough and adding anything to it would detract. If only more software would do this.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571487)

You say that as though Thunderbird is a feature-complete replacement for commercial competitors, the elephant in the room being Outlook. Thunderbird doesn't even have an integrated calendar, and even with the Lightning add-on it doesn't quite match the awareness that Outlook has (for example, the calendar needs tighter system integration so that you can receive alerts on time -- Thunderbird doesn't even start in the background by default). Thunderbird has long been suffering as an also-ran, and Mozilla really needs to decide whether to support it properly or kill it. The way it is now is just a waste.

With so many email users now being web-based, Thunderbird as a POP/SMTP client is quickly running out of relevance, and without the integration of scheduling features to go with the email there's really not much of an advantage to using it.

Re:Good. (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571547)

Tbird will never be an Outlook replacement until they can reverse engineer the Outlook protocols.

Re:Good. (5, Informative)

defaria (741527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571903)

Already been done. Google DavMail. I use it everyday! It talks stupid Exchange protocols (BTW it's not Outlook protocols rather it's Exchange protocols) and converts them to industry standard protocols (like LDAP/CalDAV/SMTP/IMAP). This allows TB to connect to the Exchange server and everything just works.

Re:Good. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571567)

... It doesn't have to add arbitrary bullet points every 18 months...

Sure, except Mozilla employs that exact same bullet point strategy with Firefox. Every month there is another ./ post about a new version, and equally bold claims that it came with some real improvements. Thunderbird may not be updated often, but it could desperately use bug fixes and UI refinements.

Re:Good. (1)

defaria (741527) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571895)

How is this any different than say Firefox?

Good timing for us (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571303)

We've just switched over to Zimbra and all the thick clients are going away soon, so at least this won't be ammunition for the people who want to use Outlook. :P

Other options? (4, Insightful)

Moridineas (213502) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571305)

I don't like Thunderbird (hilarious bugs like this one [mozilla.org] are part of the reason why), but it's what most people at work use on Windows. Mac users primarily use OSX mail.app. I also find the searching majorly FUBAR.

So now that Thunderbird is getting fewer resources, are there any other options? What other clients are people using on windows?

Re:Other options? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571411)

I'm using "Mutt".

Re:Other options? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572281)

alpine.

Re:Other options? (3, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571513)

You hit the biggest problem with Open Source -- the dev's just don't understand the importance of UI.

11 years to fix a 5-min patch. Sad, really.

Re:Other options? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572073)

That's the beauty of Open Source. Fix it your damn self you lazy freeloader.

See you in 5 minutes.

Re:Other options? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571521)

I recently downloaded Thunderbird to help a client do a migration from Outlook Express POP to IMAP as Thunderbird can move multiple folders at a time, but the amount of bugs that I encountered in such a short time was ridiculous. It has problems with IMAP folders that contain sub-folders, it can locally store folders that have a slash in the name, but doesn't know how to create them on the server, and the list just goes on.

I don't think Mail.app is perfect, nor do I think Outlook under Windows is very good, but Thunderbird just doesn't seem that good at anything. If they made something that was closer to Sparrow on the Mac then they'd actually be producing something that wasn't just a equally buggy copy of Outlook.

Re:Other options? (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571525)

What other clients are people using on windows?

You can try Eudora if you want wallow in some "used to be great".

Re:Other options? (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571697)

Eudora still works pretty well. And it would be great, if Mozilla had simply spent resources on updating it, instead of ripping it down to the frame and rebuilding it as TBird, then trying to get it back as Penelope/Eudora OSE. None of those were even close to as good as Eudora, especially in UI. When I finally switched to TBird, it simply couldn't do what Eudora could, especially with filtering, which forced me to learn and use server side procmail.

Re:Other options? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571555)

I think the hilarious thing about the "bug" is that there is an operating system in this day and age that can't handle upper/lower case in filenames correctly. I'm spilting the blame 50/50 between Windows and Thunderbird.

Re:Other options? (5, Informative)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571733)

I think the hilarious thing about the "bug" is that there is an operating system in this day and age that can't handle upper/lower case in filenames correctly. I'm spilting the blame 50/50 between Windows and Thunderbird.

Although this is a problem unique to Windows, it's not really a Windows bug. You can tell Windows to do the rename in those circumstances and it will. Thunderbird was the one that barfed.

What happened was that Thunderbird was written to ask if a file exists before doing the rename. Windows, ignoring the case said "Yep!" and so it refused to do the rename. This is expected behaviour. The fix is just to check if the names are the same if they're both lcase'd, and to skip the existence check if it's true, then tell Windows to do the rename.

This isn't really the sort of thing where a bug report would be sent to Microsoft.

Re:Other options? (1)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572131)

I miss Emacs VM with the MIT remembrance agent. That thing did everything I wanted. Message threading, cross referencing mails I'd sent in the past, plain text only. Problem was it also liked to eat my entire mail spool on a pretty regular basis. Gnus does threading even better and is even worse about eating all your E-Mail. If they could just make one of those agents not destroy all my E-Mail on a regular basis, I really wouldn't need anything else.

Re:Other options? (2)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572197)

Yea that one where the devs slam "wontfix" on it and it gets perpetually reopened. Since mozilla is going the way of ms/ubuntu/gnome and that bug caters to MS why am I not surprised.

Re:Other options? (1)

KenCrandall (13860) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572229)

Or what about this one right here [mozilla.org] that many, many people have been asking for, but has been languishing for years because it's not "interesting" to developers?

IMO, Thunderbird stopped being industry-leading or interesting from a UI/UX perspective years ago. As one who uses it on a daily basis, it makes me sad.

Things like Postbox [postbox-inc.com] show that the code base can still function well and can be used with some UI/UX love, but since Postbox is a closed project, the majority of extensions, etc. cannot be used with it unless they are "Postbox-specific" versions. (Note, I am not knocking them for this, just stating the facts.)

I just wish we had the Postbox UI with the community of Thunderbird around it...

Not a big problem (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571307)

This isn't a bad thing.

Let's start with the biggest reason: now they can't completely ruin it with a redesign. On an "active" project, you eventually run out of stuff to do. No new features to add, no glaring design problems, just boring bugs and maintenance. So you're eventually going to do some big overhaul, some big redesign, if only to justify being an active, major project. See: almost every major desktop environment. Sometimes a big redesign is necessary, but quite often, the change is just for the sake of change. Downshifting development means you don't need to "justify" your project's existence - you're just maintaining it, fixing bugs and minor issues, keeping up with the times. Because let's face it, there's only so many features you can add to an email client.

Second reason: how many people don't even use a dedicated email program anymore? I haven't used one in years (discounting the GMail app on my phone, that doesn't count). I just use a website, either GMail or whatever that online Outlook is. It's faster, and I *always* have a browser open anyways, so why not? Sure, some people will actually need features they don't have, or maybe just want a dedicated email program anyways. That's fine - Thunderbird still exists for those people. But I do not doubt that the potential userbase is shrinking.

Third and final reason: it's open source. If you really think they are no longer doing a good job with it, do it yourself. Fork it. Fix it. If you need help, you'll find people, as long as the work is worth doing.

Re:Not a big problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571701)

Second reason: how many people don't even use a dedicated email program anymore?

Almost none. That's why this doesn't really matter: everyone moved over to web mail years ago. I don't know a single person - literally not even one - who still uses local mail. Almost everyone's on gmail, with a handful on yahoo. Local mail is dead.

Re:Not a big problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572089)

Do you have a real job? I don't know of only one company that uses webmail (gmail) and their IT admin complains about it more than when they used exchange.

Re:Not a big problem (3, Insightful)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572115)

For me, I've never used webmail service that was even remotely as fast as even a big clunky client like Thunderbird. Gmail and MS Live Mail or whatever they call it are absolutely terrible to use from a browser! Ugh, javascript monstrosities!

Re:Not a big problem (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572129)

The only reason I even use outlook is not for its email client, its all the other shit that it also does, none of which thunderbird does and thus I never use it

thunderturd blew dicks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571315)

that shit was more bloated and shitty than firefox

Don't be crazy (3, Insightful)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571329)

Thunderbird is the only effective way to restore the functionality on Windows that Microsoft took away by removing Outlook Express, short of being frog marched by Microsoft into its own creepy cloud.

Re:Don't be crazy (3, Funny)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571647)

Hey now, Creepy Cloud is my exotic dancer stage name.

Re:Don't be crazy (4, Informative)

toygeek (473120) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571753)

By removing Outlook Express, they did the world a favor. What a gigantic piece of crap that was. Getting double mails for no good reason? Remove and reinstall the offending account. Lost all your mail? Well, don't clear your recycle bin any time soon, or its probably gone forever. Just quit working altogether? That's normal for OE.

I worked for a small web hosting company during the time that OE was en vogue. Don't tell me about "lost functionality". That thing was and still is a huge piece of crap.

Did I mention it was a piece of crap?

It was a piece of crap.

It had a great run (0)

detain (687995) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571341)

Its definitly time to retire thunderbird. It has been around forever and while its never been a bad email client, its not nearly as popular as it once was. Mozilla has enough other projects its working on to still be distracted by this. Thunderbird must be one of the oldest clients out there that was still developed.

Not all of us want web mail only! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571407)

I have used Thunderbird for a long time, and am sad to see developers being removed from it. I don't want my mail in "the cloud," especially when the cloud fails. Web browsers suck for managing email, and the stand-alone client does a far superior job. I can have a back-up of my own messages, and view them off-line any time I want. Stop ceding your privacy, and power, to "the cloud." When it comes back to bite you, you will regret it. "Oh, you want to access your old email? We archived it, and there is a fee to have us reload it for you." Just wait, it will happen.

Re:Not all of us want web mail only! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571767)

Paranoid much?

Web mail is the safer thing for 99.9% of users. They don't have to worry about backing up their local mail, or having a virus delete it. It's there from whatever machine they are using, at home, on the go, at the office, whatever, it's all the same. When their computer dies and they replace it, they can just start up again right where they left off.

Local mail died for a reason. Technology changes. If you don't want to keep up, that's fine, have fun on your VT-100 with mailx. Everyone else moved on, because it's better.

Part okay, part stupid (2)

Tridus (79566) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571511)

Well, as a Thunderbird user I don't think this is the end of the world, for now. It's not like they really change anything between versions anymore anyway. Email is pretty much a known thing, and the client gets the job done. There's not a whole lot of innovation going on for desktop clients anymore. Plus, fewer people are using them. The danger is that they so understaff it that things stop working and don't get fixed, but I guess we'll see.

Then of course I read they're going to shift the people over to something completely ridiculous like Firefox OS. Mozilla is really all over the map these days, and the product is suffering for it. Firefox OS is just a stupid idea that will never gain any real traction or have any impact, and most of Mozilla's "goals" these days are terrible. Pretty much any time they touch the UI now they make it worse.

At the rate they're going, the time to migrate away will be coming soon.

Off-topic question... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571561)

I don't use Thunderbird so I really don't have anything useful to add to the discussion. But I did want to ask a semi-off-topic question:

I use GMail now and one of the features I love the most is being able to Google search through my messages. If I type a coworker's name, for example, almost immediately I see a list of all the emails I had pertaining to that person. One of the reasons I moved to GMail is because the same task in Outlook involved several minutes of sifting through all my emails and digging up results.

So here's my question: Let's say I wanted to ditch GMail and instead have all my email sitting on my computer, like I went back to Outlook or switched to Thunderbird or something like that. Is there a client out there that can do Google'esque searches with the same approximate speed?

Re:Off-topic question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571799)

If by "the same approximate speed" you mean "faster", then yes, most of them. Evolution will do it instantly - there's no perceptable delay. Thunderbird seems instant too but I admit my mail database with Thunderbird is only a thousand or so messages so I haven't tried that with a really huge collection.

MOST mailers do fast local search. Fire up Evolution, type in a random word from the body of some mail (doesn't even have to be the author, but you can restrict it like that if you want). You get an instant list of all the messages that contain that word anywhere in the body. Etc.

Re:Off-topic question... (1)

lastx33 (2097770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571931)

I have a lot of accounts and thousands of emails in Evolution and it seems pretty instant to me too. Evolution also has a PIM built in for contacts and the search works quickly in that too.

Re:Off-topic question... (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572185)

Thank you!

Thunderbird is great. (5, Insightful)

charlesr44403 (1504587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571573)

I started with Netscape Mail in 1995 and then painlessly moved to Thunderbird when it was released. I've been with it ever since then and am unlikely to change. Most every new release has some small but nice improvement, and no major detriments of the sort that Firefox has suffered. I refuse to use the vaunted cloud or any sort of webmail.

whats mozilla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571631)

ohh right that company that makes firefox what version they at 666?

There's still Postbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571645)

It's made by some of the people that used to make Thunderbird, back before the last realignment of resources. It's like Thunderbird, but made with the modern internet in mind. It is commercial, but the licenses are affordable enough if you really love mail.

Why webmail is bad. (5, Insightful)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571725)

Under the ECPA of 1986, all mail left on the server after 180 days is fair game. Law enforcement does not need a warrant, just a subpoena, and you'd better cough up the mail. This is because back in 1986, all mail clients stored locally. Leaving your mail on the server all the time was considered rude, frankly. It's your shit, take it and get out of here.

26 years later, people are encouraged to leave their mail on the server for years. Google even goes so far as to tell people they don't ever have to delete. But the law has not changed. It's still the same old ECPA which assumes you don't give two cents for stuff you left on the server for more than 6 months.

Tbird and other mail clients allow you to grab the mail off the server and delete it off the server and store it locally. Once this is done, and the mail is in your possession only, it is no longer covered by the ECPA, but rather the 4'th and 5'th amendments to the US Constitution.

--
BMO

Re:Why webmail is bad. (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571805)

POP3 > IMAP

Re:Why webmail is bad. (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571941)

You can tell IMAP to delete the mail off the server.

Check your client.

--
BMO

Re:Why webmail is bad. (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572093)

Yes, you can. But no good (read: standardized) way of archiving it locally. Do you know of an IMAP client which will allow you to move emails to local mbox storage, and allow easy/quick search? (maildir is too OS specific)

Re:Why webmail is bad. (1)

profplump (309017) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572183)

Maildir is OS specific? And by that same standard, mbox isn't?

Re:Why webmail is bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571863)

Right, because that's really important for most people. No, really, it is.

Re:Why webmail is bad. (2)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571965)

Ah yes, the "If you have nothing to hide, why worry" canard.

>anonymous coward

But of course.

--
BMO

Mozilla "Foundation" is a corporation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571751)

...and as such it oes what a company does: it tries to maximize profits.

Eudora (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571779)

Are they going to put Thunderbird and Eudora on the same update cycle since they both run on PCs?

Mozilla needs another Pheonix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571793)

It's been almost 10 years since the Phoenix project which became Firefox and Thunderbird was started. A complete rewrite of the memory management engine for a start (instead of the hacky "memfix") plus a sane versioning system that only bumps major numbers once every ESR cycle. Also Thunderbird needs to stick around. Even though most people use webmail there are still plenty of uses for traditional mail or we will go back to the bad old days of "Outlook Express".

Mozilla helped us get out of the IE6 era, but now it needs to compete with Chrome which is a much more brutal competitor.

All Done? - But for Lightning (1)

daniel23 (605413) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571815)

Lightning, the calendar - addon for thunderbird, is the only aspect of thunderbird development where I feel some work is still needed, but apparently there are no resources available for it. For years.

This may turn out to be somewhat offtopic, I'm not at all sure about the actual relation of the sunbird/lightning and the thunderbird dev team and whether the decision has effects for the lightning development.
However, thunderbird and lightning are so tightly integrated that deficiencies in lightning look like thunderbird problems to me.

I think of tasks administration in lightning:
- support for hierarchical tasks (allow subtasks)
- sync with Google Tasks

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=194863 [mozilla.org] is nine years old and still has status New.

Maybe it's just stable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571823)

I hope this move is because the client is stable. I have become a huge fan of Thunderbird, it's hands down the nicest, easiest to use e-mail client I've encountered. Really like how it lets me work and stays out of the way. There are a few minor bugs here and there, but they're things a few developers could tackle, no need for a large team. The client seems stable and functional, they probably don't need many people to maintain it.

Mozilla needs to refocus on its core strenghts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40571853)

Let's face it, this plan is bullshit. You'll get Chrome-like updates every six weeks with.. well, nothing new. Mozilla just invented numerous updates with no content, the worst of two worlds. But it gets worse: Thunderbird's codebase is complex enough, expecting community contributions which will accept to deal with regular Gecko updates doesn't make sense (don't count on Canonical on this). At some point Mozilla folks will just wave their hands and say "sorry guys and gals, there are no contributions, end of story". They just can't say so yet.

All this for what? Firefox OS aka B2G? The problem is that there's no way they can compete against Android. New SoCs will target exactly the price points they're aiming at ($50 to $100 devices). Who would chose Firefox OS with no native apps rather than an Android device with hundreds of thousands of apps? Hell, Firefox (the browser) doesn't even work on my low end device. And how on earth diverting resources from Thunderbird is going the help with this? In short, they're panicking and will lose on both Firefox OS and Thunderbird. All this when Firefox is bleeding users to Chrome.

Mozilla needs to get its act together. Abandoning the mobile OS bandwagon and refocusing on its core goals (Firefox, Thunderbird, Lightning) would be a good start.

Maybe they should downshift the Firefox updates (1)

ErnoWindt (301103) | more than 2 years ago | (#40571911)

When they stop releasing a new version of Firefox every two weeks - let me know. It's really tiresome. Maybe they should just schedule their updates with Windows Update. Yeah, I know - makes way too much sense. I can hear the howling now.

Re:Maybe they should downshift the Firefox updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572027)

For one, I simply wish they would make Firefox stop crashing :(

That's new? (1)

guygo (894298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40572033)

With all the ridiculous rendering bugs in Thunderbird, and the complete lack of response from anyone who may be "developing" it, how can they claim they are now ending development. TBird dev stopped years ago. And yes, it would be nice if Firefox actually stabilized for more than a few months. I just love all the "This addon is incompatible..." messages.

And Nothing of Value... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40572061)

was lost. Webmail is not just better than client based mail, it's INFINITELY better. Look, people. It's simple. You get an e-mail, you want to save it for future reference, save it to your local machine, your thumb drive, or whatever, and be done with it. Otherwise, acknowledge receipt, or don't, and carry on with your lives. It's a good thing e-mails take up almost no space on a machine, physically. What you do when you refuse to delete old messages that most of you don't need, is like what hoarders do. You don't really need an e-mail from six years ago in which your best friend goes on for 2.7kB about the minutia of how she picked out her prom dress. Even if it's more recent data, you still don't need it anymore, that's what Facebutt and Splitter are for.

The truth is, guys and dolls, few people use something like Thunderbird anymore. Most people are using web-based e-mail, or even have moved on from that, and are now using texting, skyping, facebutting, or twatering to do what they used to do with e-mail. Sadly, I think one of the greatest impellers of that trend has been the ineffectiveness of e-mail, (a flaw inherent in its design,) in stemming the tide of SPAM messages. Combine that with all the worms and trojans, etc., that would broadcast themselves along with random documents from your local drive across the internet to everyone in your address/contact books, and you have a recipe for people abandoning the concept of e-mail itself in droves, which is what we're starting to see.

This is a good thing, Boot-to-Gecko* or Firefox OS is a much more important thing for them to be doing, and spending their time on than some unimportant e-volutionary dead-end like Thunderbird that just really doesn't matter that much anymore

* Boot to Gecko should not be confused with the new Insurance OS they're working on which when you wake it up from sleep or boot afresh offers to save you 15% or more on your car insurance.

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