From the "leaked memo" previewing today's announcement that Thunderbird's development is ceasing:

In summary, we've been focusing efforts towards important web and mobile projects, such as B2G, while Thunderbird remains a pure desktop-only email client.

One important bit of information: B2G is Mozilla's Boot to Gecko project, which quickly appears to be a Mozilla suite for mobile devices. 

And from this, I think we have our answer why Thunderbird's "dying" -- which, you should note, it's not; it's simply going from development to maintenance.  And what's the last bit of innovation you saw from Thunderbird anyhow?  How anything really changed in 10 years?  Since the Netscape client, what's changed minus better rendering, encryption perhaps, and a passable junk mail filter?

Our answer?  There's not a lot of corporate adoption of Thunderbird.  Show me one desk job where a desktop email client isn't a necessity.  If there was, this announcement would have never happened, even if Mozilla still wasn't going to do more development on Thunderbird

That is, this "announcement" is very bad press for Thunderbird.  If your company was considering using it before, well, after hearing the spin that it's toast, you're not now.  Thunderbird failed at business, so they've not only stopped planning to make it better but have also announced to the world that it's essentially dead. This announcement is more important/telling taken as part of a media relations strategy than what it means for Thunderbird in the future.

And let's face it: Thunderbird is a good client, but it's never been great.  I think Mozilla finally figured out they didn't have the resources to change that with this codebase. 

Now if they'd just start porting libmime to more programming languages...  ;^)

EDIT: Here's a nice description of how much of Thunderbird is being reused in the B2G project. Hello, Chandler 2.0? (Which is to say, they're reinventing 90% of an already solid wheel.)

Labels: , ,