THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION is planning a serious upgrade to its open source desktop email client, Thunderbird.
Thunderbird has been around for a long time now and is starting to feel extremely clunky and dated, plus it doesn't have support for Archiving, Labelling and other features unique to Gmail.
This has instantly put it at a disadvantage. Gmail's 1.4 billion accounts haven't been served properly and this puts the usefulness of Thunderbird as an open source alternative to Outlook at an extreme disadvantage.
Thunderbird's big problem has been largely one of indecision on Mozilla's part, with the company considering whether or not to even continue investing time in the project for several years, to the point of looking for alternative investors. It has threatened to abandon the email client in 2004, 2007, 2012 and 2015.
A blog post from community manager Ryan Sipes has confirmed that there future looks much brighter for Thunderbird and that it even has eight full-time developers working on it.
Outlining plans for 2019, Sipes confirms that speed is high up on the list, especially as by decoupling it from Firefox, it hasn't benefited from the Quantum engine that powers its browsing sister.
A new user interface is also planned, which hopefully will make it feel a little less like Word 2003. Other improvements will include security, with an emphasis on ease of encryption (which is quite fiddly to configure right now) and better handling of .ics calendar files from that pesky Apple.
A list of planned development for Thunderbird says: "of our users a great deal of them use Gmail, so it makes sense for us to improve supporting their quirks"
Yeah, you quirky lot.
Sipes adds: "Thunderbird can do a lot so we'll be looking into improving the experience around settings so that it is easier to find and manage what you're looking for."
The post ends with an appeal for those interested in the project to start contributing. It's likely that during the wilderness period, a lot of devs will have drifted off. Hopefully, this will see them drift back. μ
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