Services & Software

Mozilla calling it quits on Thunderbird, report says

The Internet company plans to let go of its open-source e-mail software, with hopes that other people will keep the T-bird alive, according to a leaked letter obtained by TechCrunch.

Surprised to find out that Mozilla's Thunderbird isn't dead yet? Well, have we've got news for you.

Mozilla is just now (sort of) pulling the plug on its open-source e-mail software, TechCrunch reported today. The company is looking for feedback and plans to share a final action plan in September.

In a "confidential" message sent to "Mozillians" prior to an official announcement this coming Monday, Thunderbird Managing Director JB Piacentino said Mozilla is moving its resources away from further developing the software with hopes that Thunderbird's vocal fans will take over that responsibility.

The information was suppose to accompany a blog post from Mozilla Foundation Chair Mitchell Baker on Monday afternoon. It seems the post, which focuses on the Thunderbird's stability and community, was published today (after TechCrunch's report was published). The news release is expected to be posted here on Monday.

When contacted by CNET, a Mozilla spokesperson pointed to the Baker post as a response, but did not comment further.

In the letter, Piacentino said the company is not stopping Thunderbird, but resources will be sent to other projects. Will this mean more people to work on Mozilla Kilimanjaro?

"We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals. The most critical needs for the product are ongoing security and stability for our 20+ million users," Piacentino wrote in the letter obtained by TechCrunch. "However, Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open-source multi-platform e-mail applications available today and we want to defend these values. We're not "stopping" Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the product. This will mean an eventual shift in how we staff Thunderbird at Mozilla Corporation -- we are still working out details, but some people will likely end up on other Mozilla projects."