Mozilla is putting Thunderbird on an innovation freeze. The organization will no longer invest resources in innovation on Thunderbird. Mozilla was supposed to make the public announcement on Monday but some Mozillian leaked the email to the press and TechCrunch broke the story. Mozilla reacted immediately and posted a blog ahead of time. Now, why is Mozilla putting a freeze on one of the most important open source project?
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. We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.
While it does make sense for Mozilla to concentrate its efforts on Web and Mobile as everyone is moving to cloud and mobile.
What is interesting is the timing of this announcement. One of the major Linux distributions Ubuntu just made a switch from Evolution to Thunderbird as the default mail client. Mozilla just signed deals with registrars such as French Gandi.net and Canadian Hover.com to offer personalized email IDs to users through Thunderbird. Thunderbird 14 was planning to bring IM chat solution which allows users to chat with friends on Gmail from within Thunderbird.
So, despite these progresses sudden announcement of stopping innovation on Thunderbird is surprising. There are more than 20 million Thunderbird users around the globe and these user will be very very unhappy with this announcement.
Thunderbird team has proposed a new release and governance model to allow ongoing security and stability maintenance as well as community driven innovations for the product.
There are strong sentiments within the open source community that Thunderbird should be forked and maintained as an independent project -- someone even proposed a new name for Thunderbird -- Bluebird!
What do you think about this move, share your thoughts in the comments below.