Mozilla Messaging

Standard

Today we’ve announced the launch of Mozilla Messaging, the new name for the entity I’ve been calling MailCo on this blog. As promised, it’s a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, focused on email and internet communications. We’ve put up the essential information about the organization on the website, but I have more room for background here.

Since I signed up for this job, I’ve repeatedly been struck by the amazing opportunity it represents. No matter who I talk to, people are happy to know that Mozilla is doing this, go out of their way to express their shared optimism in the project, and either send their heartfelt best wishes, or simply offer their assistance. How many organizations can say that?

Email and other forms of internet communications present us with a paradox. The stunning proportion of our days spent communicating online clearly indicates that as a society, we are more intricately connected via the internet than ever before. I’m a case in point, strongly connected to dozens of people over the last few months in a shared effort to launch this new company, which lives nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Email, IM and IRC make that possible.

Yet as the number of such interactions grows, and as the number of ways in which we interact grows, the joy that communication can bring is too often replaced by frustration, confusion, or stress. Furthermore, as we transmit more and more digital data, privacy and control questions become more and more troublesome.

One common short-hand for the above is to say, somewhat flippantly, that “email is broken”.

I’ll explain what we’re going to do about it in the short term, but the more interesting question is for me to ask you “what are you going to do about it?” As I’ve slowly internalized over the last few months, the notion that anyone can and should participate in helping fix whatever is broken is a key tenet of the Mozilla project. It has structural implications for how we build companies, and, I believe, it’s a key advantage compared to all the other companies who are tackling the nest of issues that entangle internet communications.

We know we can’t do it alone, and we’re not even going to try. Indeed, rather than lay out a bold vision and convince people that we’re going to solve all their problems, we see our primary role as that of facilitating collaborative approaches to problem solving and incremental progress, through a combination of leadership and facilitation work. This is an unusual approach, and it can be chaotic and slow. But it seems to have worked well for Firefox and the web, and I believe it can work well for Thundebird and email.

So what’s our plan?

Our plan starts with building a great product. Firefox has shown that if you have a great product that tens of millions of people love to use daily, doors open and more opportunities become within reach. So we’ll focus on the product. Thunderbird 2 is already a hugely successful product by many measures, providing a great email experience to millions of users around the world, in 37 languages, on all three major operating systems.

We can make it even better.

We’ll do that by responding to user feedback, by incorporating key contributions from third party developers, by providing a streamlined user experience which lets people focus on the interactions they want to have with other people rather than with the software that’s in front of them. We’ll do that by taking into consideration the needs that people have today, and planning for the needs that people will have tomorrow. We’ll do it by implementing the best software engineering and open source practices we can.

No, really, what’s our plan?

We’ve started defining what Thunderbird 3 will be, because we think that there is enough consensus to make some of the first decisions on the most important changes to tackle first. Specifically, Thunderbird 3 will build on the great base that is Thunderbird 2 (and the work already performed in trunk by the current and past contributors), and add some key features, such as:

  • integrated calendaring (building on the great work done by the Mozilla Calendar team and their Lightning add-on to Thunderbird),
  • better search facilities,
  • easier configuration,
  • and a set of other user interface improvements.

What each of those means in practice will be worked out in public, on blogs, mailing lists, and newsgroups, as transparently as possible.

In parallel, we’re going to be starting a multi-year process of improving the back-end architecture of Thunderbird. Over the years, Thunderbird hasn’t had the resources devoted to it that Firefox has, and it’s time to catch up, so that we can implement many of the features we have planned, and so that we can take advantage of the improvements to the Mozilla platform that were built for Firefox, but which we can leverage as well.

Longer term

We’re also going to start a broader conversation as to what the long term vision is for Thunderbird, which will feed back into the software development plans. I’ll have more to say about this soon, but I can give a sketch of where my thinking currently is:

First, it’s important to start from a solid understanding of what Thunderbird is today. Most importantly, it’s a desktop client built on the same technology platform as Firefox. This gives it some weaknesses, and some strengths. I think we should build on the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses.

One huge strength is the extensibility of the platform, which is one key differentiator for Firefox, and which can be even more important for a communications client than it has been for a web browser. Another strength is that we already have a complete web technology stack built into our mail client, and as a result, we can consider deep integration with both websites and web services which other solutions can only dream of. Another, crucial strength, is that as an open source desktop application, Thunderbird “belongs” to the individual person using it, not to the owner of any one website or communications network. As people struggle with keeping track of disparate communication channels and social networks, this nexus of control becomes a sweet spot for integration. There are significant weaknesses as well, most importantly the need to install the software to use it. There are interesting possibilities to consider there as web application technologies become faster, richer, and better integrated with the desktop experience, which will inform our long-term planning.

Second, it’s important to keep an eye on larger trends. Email is more important than ever, and yet it’s no longer the only game in town, or even the dominant one for younger generations or emerging economies. It is worthwhile considering what the right user experience could be for someone using multiple email addresses, multiple instant messaging systems, IRC, reading and writing on blogs, using VoIP, SMS, and the like. What parts of those interactions make sense to integrate, and where? I don’t believe that stuffing all of those communication models inside of one application is the right answer. But the walled gardens that we’re faced with today aren’t the right answer either. There is room for innovation and progress here, and we need to facilitate it.

Finally, it’s important to keep our options open. Thunderbird has a unique opportunity because of its relative uniqueness as a popular open source desktop communications client. There are countless possibilities for evolution even today, and more will show up tomorrow.

Time will tell whether the plan succeeds. I’m happy to hear about other approaches we should consider, so feel free to drop me a line.

People

To build a company that can succeed in this effort requires individuals who share an common perspective on what defines success. I’m extremely proud of the people who have alread chosen to help, signing on as board members, employees and contractors, or as volunteer contributors. If you get to interact with them, I’m sure you’ll understand why. Each of them combine deep competence in some aspect of building a great software company, understands that to succeed we must be part of a broader community, and subscribes to the Mozilla vision of what the internet could and should be. They all could be spending their time doing something more lucrative, but apparently they simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to try and work together to do something really great, and have fun in the process. I can’t wait to work with all of them.

In addition, I’ve been awed by the competence and dedication of all of the people who have helped us get to today’s launch. At this point I think everyone in Mozilla has helped in some key way, starting with legal & recruiting, through engineering, QA, build, marketing, and PR, and finishing, late at night, with IT. Thanks to all, and I look forward to continuing our collaboration!

In some ways, I hope that I won’t have much occasion to write about what Mozilla Messaging, Inc. is doing over the coming months, because it is not the interesting story. We’ll provide significant input and leadership in the direction setting, engineering work, and operational support, but the really interesting story will be whether we can convince people to spend their time working with us.

Email is broken. What are you going to do about it?

117 thoughts on “Mozilla Messaging

  1. Finally we’ve got a name. Internet really needs some fresh air when it comes to messaging suites.
    Maybe it’s time to get involved and spend some time for the greater good?

  2. It’s great to hear the new vision for Mozilla Messaging. It is also great to hear that this will start off with Thunderbird 3. I’m very pleased that you have signed up some real talent to facilitate this. Most importantly – ‘What each of those means in practice will be worked out in public, on blogs, mailing lists, and newsgroups, as transparently as possible.’ – this is the best thing possible, communication. I look forward to using/testing and perhaps contributing to the future products of Mozilla Messaging.

  3. Matt Barton

    What I’d really like from the next version of Thunderbird is the ability to synchronize email/calendar/contacts, etc with Smartphones and PDAs.

  4. One big issue with Thunderbird is extension management. Indeed, you have to download the extension from a browser ( with firefox you’d better do a right click or else it will try to install the extension/xpi file ), and then click on “Add” in the extension manager and select the downloaded file.

    While looking at the new Firefox 3, I see the new Add-on manager, and really Thunderbird should use that, and IMHO all Mozilla apps using extensions ( Thunderbird, Songird ?, … ) should have this integrated extension manager.
    It means that for Thunderbird users, they no longer have to do complex manipulations to install an extension.

    http://madhava.com/egotism/archive/005012.html
    http://www.laurathomson.com/2008/02/firefox-3-beta.html
    http://blog.mozilla.com/webdev/2008/02/15/hungry-hungry-add-ons-manager/

  5. Balgor

    For me, the problems with the current Thunderbird are not the lack of features (it has enough), but reliability.

    It is much less reliable than Firefox. It has many annoying bugs. I’m talking about things like whenever my news provider has trouble, Thunderbird crashes. When downloading IMAP attachments from fastmail.fm, they get corrupted more often than not (while there are no problems with the same mailbox with Outlook Express). One cannot even correctly copy an expression like x^2 from a message, because it’s formatted specially, and the copied version becomes x2, and the developer responsible for the “feature” refuses to fix it, placing “coolness” above accessibility/usability.

    What Thunderbird needs is a lot of bug fixing and making it more usable/accessible! I’d like to see it become as reliable as Firefox.

  6. This is a great writeup and roadmap for what is to come. Thank you for outlining the changes and benefits of the current iterations of the program.

    I agree that the best integration point may be different for a power user vs. a simple one email address user and the system must be able to handle both. It seems that we are leaning towards a cloud based system whether we choose to or not and the desktop installer will soon be a thing of the past.

    I think the true defining moment will be when there is an install option, online option and full sync. between the two.

  7. If you want to stop people from saying E-mail is broken, stop people from top-posting and using HTML mail. Anyone who’s been online since the 1990s considers these showstopper issues; if you don’t fix those, your software is as broken as E-mail is claimed to be.

  8. Ninja

    Ascher,
    ‘For instant messaging software, Ascher is looking at XMPP, the Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol used by Jabber and Google Talk. “That kind of technology might make its way into Thunderbird someday,” he said.’

    As in might show up for Thunderbird or added into Thunderbird? FYI, it’s already here (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/3633)

    Some extensions have stuff that you’ve been planning to do already.

  9. JP

    For heaven’s sake, make a decent database-based meta-data backend for emails a top priority! If there is a flexible back-end for this (maybe similar to what was done for Firefox places) instead of the ugly crap MORK, and a clean API, this would spark innovation just because extension and other developers would finally be able to do all the things that are nearly impossible now. More important that a slightly improved search within TB is a better API to allow desktop search engines to index emails and metadata. Make it easy for people to base their own creativity on TB! There is far more room for truely innovative things in TB than in FF.

  10. Aaron

    I strongly recommend looking to Gmail for hints at interface and chat integration. One should be able to log in to Mozilla Messaging and have access to all archived material, extensions, and settings from any computer.

  11. Hello David,

    I think that spinning out a thunderbird co is a good idea if it has resources. Good luck!

    I tried to fix email myself in ’99 with http://thinmail.com, a saas which stripped and cached attachments in the cloud, enabling an 80% reduction in mailbox size as well as surprising power to preview, forward and fax documents from pagers, pdas and phones. But I lacked resources to match my ambition!

    Now I think that to save email, we need to get away from the compromised ISP, webmail, and private network facebook models to converge to a new “ideal” like the original 7-bit text-email store/forward ideal.

    Two thoughts on a new ideal:

    Since our computers are online broadband all the time, email should evolve away from a client of a POP or IMAP server towards a stored IM/skype P2P model, where private data transfer of both messages and attachments between known parties is enabled.

    Second, since consumer machines are fast enough to run a full SQL database,
    email should evolve from a mailbox in a closed (PST) or obscure format to a fully qualified set of SQL tables. This should allow the development of tools to unify messaging stores across their lifetime of changing jobs and addresses, as well as tuning up, backing up, and de-corrupting mailboxes.

  12. Andrew Heenan

    I wish you well – I really do.

    But anyone who seriously thinks they are going to ‘fix’ email without the word “spam” anywhere in your manifesto, is frankly doomed.

    And it’s worse; the ‘webmail’ leaders, like gmail, DO take spam seriously; it’s the desktop folk who haven’t a clue.

    My tip is “get one”. Soonest.

  13. Thunderbird is go!

    Wahoo,

    I love Thunderbird. Its my baby and it goes with me everywhere, even as a portable app.

    The only down side of Thunderbird has been for me, Ldap one way address books, and the calendar integration, but this is improving. In addition *most* users dont know the full functionality of Thunderbird due to misunderstandings of backend server configurations. How many Thunderbird users use shared folders? and how many of them know how to set them up.

    Also also love the functionality of the extensions and use a host of them. I would look to some of these with possibility of inclusion on v3 with the likes of virtual identity, kolab sync, lookout, Sun’s wcap enabler, google calendar, contacts sidebar(gr8 one), and the list is endless. I would imagine these add-ons would benefit enormously from deeper integration with the client.

    Its hard to believe, including projects like chandler etc that we still don’t have a application to rival outlook in full functionality, albeit outlook with all its bugs it has some great usability for its users. However that said once a user converts to Thunderbird it is hard to get them back to outlook.

    Now that M$ in euroland has had to open its protocols to 3rd party, is this something that the Thunderbird client could intercept? win over some win32 clientelle? The last hurdle in OSS.

    Anyhow heres looking forward to some interesting times ahead. Oooooo I its so exciting….

    J.

  14. david

    Thanks all for the comments. Addressing them broadly:

    * We haven’t forgotten about spam, address book improvements, synchronization, and all of the other improvements that need to happen. We just need to prioritize in order to get something done. The more people contribute, the more we can do, though, so if there are features or enhancements that you care about, see if there is a way you can help them move forward.

    * Added a bug to add a favicon, thanks

    * Posted on mozilla.dev.apps.thunderbird, thanks for the reminder.

    Thanks all for the great feedback. I agree, it’s quite an exciting time!

  15. This is indeed very interesting, I’m looking forward to hearing how you will scope thing, for now it seems you have thrown a lot of balls up into the air (and some great ones :-) )

    Moreover it’s also interesting to see how your calendar integration will be, and it seems that Mozilla Messaging will launch it self on a lot of competitors.

    I’m particularly interested in the VoIP integration. All of a sudden the contact-book and the possibilities it has seems interesting :-)

  16. Victor

    Yes. Syncing with Nokia PC Suite / Black Berry / Windows Mobile / Outlook should be one of the top priorities.

    It’s an stop bug for any company.

  17. Congrats David. I was concerned about mozilla letting go of Thunderbird and am relieved and excited that it is staying under the umbrella so to speak.

    I look forward to the changes and integration. For instance, Lightning could certainly use some loving.

    Again congrats.

    MrCopilot

  18. Robert Layton

    I think a focus for Thunderbird needs to be the corporate sector. Roaming profiles, public address books, resource booking and other aspects that are really important in a corporate environment.

    Once you get a foothold in that market, you can then leverage support, which will bring in revenue that can help you build the product later on. Firefox has Google’s backing, and that money has helped it grow. Where is Thunderbird’s major backing going to come from?

  19. Andreas

    A couple of thoughts on the subject.
    1. Please do not turn TBird into a jack of all trades.
    I myself am really looking forward to having Sunbird integrated (i’d love to have it store my data into an imap folder, same goes for contacts btw.) but i see that only a very limited group of people will actually use it. For all those other people it is going to useless bloat that annoys them countless times a day by increasing startup times.
    Integrating IM’s into TBird? a big no for me! During the last 10 years my icq contact list has grown to 90+ contacts and tbh, less than 10 of those do actually have valid Conact information like e-mail adresses or phone numbers attached to their profiles. So in my case it would clutter my Contacts with Useless entries.
    Integration into VoiP/Phones? Nice Idea, but who has a phone that can be accessed via a TAP Device. Again i think this would be a feature only very few people will ever use.

    Please do not make the same mistake you made with Firefox by creating v2. It had some valuable additions, but is a horribly sluggish application. I was about to finally migrate to Opera (whose UI i despise) until i tried the FF3 beta. It felt like a browser should..

    What i am actually trying to say. Make TBird 3 a modularised application. Let Users decide which parts of the app they want. But please make the Base Application as slim as possible. Mail/Spamfiltering (Tbird spamfilter is the best reason to use it btw)/Contacts and that’s it. everything else should be optional at install time and add-able later.
    How about these goals?
    1. Target for a 5MB Download for the base application
    2. Try to convince as many people as possible the additional modules will add to their experience
    3. Whatever you add to the applications, make it so that EVERY data i put into my precious T-Bird can be saved/synchronized to an external storage media (imap/webdav/you name it)
    Lots of people have more than one computer and having two adressbooks/todolists/calendars is about as useless as it can get.
    With #3. well done TBird could actually make Microsofts SBS useless for a lot of small companies…

  20. sisooktom

    What role if any, will the previous Thunderbird devs, namely Scott and David, have? There seemed to be some tension there when the spinoff happened. I’d hope that Mozilla Messaging will be able to leverage their knowledge.

  21. Congratulations!

    I hope that in addition to making great client software you will also work on developing new standards for interaction with servers. One of the reasons for Exchange/Outlook’s success is that the client and the server are so tightly integrated. This cannot currently be fully achieved using open standards (e.g. AFAIK there is no open standard for controlling server-side mail filtering/forwarding from the client).

  22. It’s getting harder to find a good email client that isn’t tied to a web interface. Web interfaces have the single advantage of portability. But the interface is slow, they download the same data repeatedly, if you have a spotty connection they don’t work well, and if you have no connection (like on an airplane) you can’t read your old mail at all. All of us reading this need a desktop email client. That’s why we use Thunderbird or something similar.

    I have one request. With all this new functionality built in, whether it is encryption-by-default, calendar support, or shared address books, please PLEASE build them in as *extensions* which can be removed. Go ahead and install them by default. But if I’m not a corporate user I neither need nor want calendar or Exchange support. For a home user, that stuff adds bloat and interface cruft. Build it into a “Corporate plugins” package that comes with the installer. Hey, ask the user at install time whether they want the “corporate” or “minimal” install. That way you can keep the home version slim while still using the same codebase, thus avoiding an “Outlook Express” debacle.

    Stuff everyone needs:
    -Smart, easy, automatic encryption and signing by default with compatible clients
    -Better search
    -UI improvements (been waiting for them to fix the “fetch mail while compressing folders” bug forever)
    -Automatic separation and storage of attachments (about a 15-20% storage improvement here)
    -Stability

    Stuff only corporate users need, but need badly:
    -Exchange support
    -Shared calendars
    -Shared address books
    -Mail caching policy management and secure deletion

  23. Dan

    Congrats on taking over. Thunderbird is the single application I spend the most time in. I’m glad to see it getting some love.

    Since lots of people are giving an informal list of their priorities, here are mine:

    #1: Gmail-style conversation views
    #2: Ultra-fast/flexible full-text search
    #3: Better tags. The current tag impl is not nearly as useful as it could be
    #4: Good Chandler (the open src calendaring/todo app) integration–that product isn’t nearly as mature UI-wise, but it complements TB well.
    #5: Better phone/multi-computer syncing
    #6: SQlite (or similar) backend storage (optional)
    Longer-term: Xobni-style metrics and social tools on top of email, Chat support

    Anyway, good luck & thanks & hopefully I’ll find a way to contribute!

  24. This seems great. Just please, keep it **simple**. What I love about Thunderbird is it loads quickly and is easy to use. If it takes as long at Outlook to load, I’ll be disappointed. Perhaps make the calendar an optional plugin.

  25. Mozilla Messaging? So with the tendency to abbreviate, this will become “MoMess”…?

    The amount of mess aside, it seems that there are two things that are lacking outside of Outlook (not that Outlook is a panacea, but it is regarded as the thing to beat) that have not been addressed:
    1) Sophisticated contacts management. Contacts should be about organizing people and organizations, not simply email addresses — and that’s been the failing point across the board. Mail clients cater to organizing email contacts, and CRM apps operate on the far end of overkill. There is nothing in the middle. Strangely though, my dentist doesn’t have an email address, and I need a schema that not only takes this into account, but does it in such a way that such contacts aren’t made to seem like aberrant cases or third class citizens.

    2) Shared calendaring is the only thing that is keeping the corporate world tied to Exchange, and no one has come up with anything to challenge that. (Though supposedly that’s what the Chandler project is about.) It shouldn’t be that hard to come up with a suitable alternative, but then look at the number of films that tried to copy (and therefore cash in on the success of) Star Wars.
    The best possible solution would be to develop a way by which users could share data in a serverless environment. By using public/private keys it could be possible to allow pre-approved people to query a dataset in a designated public area. If P2P apps can function without a central server, or a mail server can be coded into a minuscule trojan, then there’s no reason why a rudimentary data exchange server couldn’t be built into a mail client. That would also allow you to do serverless IM.

  26. Victor

    great news…

    you’ve got Sun’s attention (via Sunbird and Lighting) to be OpenOffice’s Outlook, so that proves how far the TB project has come..

    in my POV, right now you need to look at other projects that are TB related (such as extension like the XMPP one and others like Sunbird and Spicebird http://www.spicebird.com/) and try to integrate those efforts a little better…

    I agree to a previous comment that TB should be as modular as possible, to keep it lean and customized for each one according to their needs… but the extensions and other projects should be coordinated a little better to prevent incompatibilities between them as it happens with some of them right now..

  27. Jon

    As we seem to be venting our pet hopes: I am looking forward to the day Thunderbird, as the center of my communication, integrates functionality similar (but better?) than that of, say, Toodledo. Or allows full integration (as I am happy to pay them their $15/yr for a full account, it’s a great product). But I would be saddened to see any move toward relying on “the cloud” in a desktop messaging app – some of us rely on these programs specifically because we work in the field, in places where there is no connectivity but we still need our data. The “cloud” is not yet nearly as pervasive as some believe.

  28. So – is SeaMonkey dead? When I connect to the internet, I always use browser and email. The Netscape/Mozilla suite/SeaMonkey approach has served me well for years – VoIP, IM don’t fit my work environment at all. Have I now been abandoned?

  29. Tarjei Huse

    What I would like to see is support for a simple REST API for the different “views” that Thunderbird represents.

    That is APIs for:
    * messaging, including editing
    * A way to edit remote address books
    * A way to set urls that can be used to add extra applications to the existing set of apps.

    With an approach like this, it would be easy to use Thunderbird to provide an interface for all those small applications that you got in an organization.

    Oh, and no SOAP :)

  30. lup

    what’s broken is that I get 200 spams / day. a little effort on security (including an easy signing UI / spam reporting) would transform the huge amount of individual time lost in isolation in a collaborative work of useful e-mail!
    (and what about a web-based thunderbird?)

  31. Alan

    David
    Good luck with the project, great to see TBird get the focus it needs.

    I think the best thing you can do is give TBird the features of Outlook, offer long term support versions and get it into the corporate world as part of an open-source replacement for the Exchange/Outlook solution.

    PLEASE don’t turn it into a bloated do everything tool. Features should be optional but keep the main client light, robust and fast.

    The future’s bright.

  32. a very hearty YES PLEASE to all your suggestions! but seriously, the one idea that tops them all is instant messaging service, like an integrated PIDGIN. the less applications I have open in front of me, the better. and this will be really helpful.

  33. Jos Smolders

    Whereas I am pleased to read about the new route that the Thunderbird team is going to fly, I do miss a few interesting areas. Most importantly about who is going to be the ideal user of Thunderbird. David’s note puts a strong focus on technology: will Thunderbird be a geek app? Or should it be something for my grandma as well? The issue of open source is hardly one that my grandma (or anybody else in my environment) takes into consideration when choosing. As a consumer you need the best app there is. Full stop.

    And what about corporate use? In my country Notes and Exchange (and sometimes Mac stuff) are the dominant players. I never see Thunderbird in a business context.
    It seems to me that those are more strategic considerations than the inclusion of some or other add-on.

    Otherwise: I have been a very content user of Thunderbirds for years and will continue to do so. Good luck to the entire team! Boldly go where no other Bird has ever gone before!

  34. Dennis Benzinger

    Is there a wiki where Thunderbird users can put their suggestion for TB3? Or at least a poll where users can decide which planned features are most important.

  35. MoJo

    All these exiting new features are great, but when are you going to fix the basic stuff? Every email client ever has default new mail and reply templates with variables, for example.

    Being able to actually build the damn thing on Win32 would also help you get a lot more support. The current instructions don’t work and even if they did the internal documentation is poor – meaning actually making improvements is not exactly easy anyway.

    I’m not trying to troll, I’m just saying you need to get some basic stuff sorted out before thinking about all these more advanced features.

  36. I’m really glad to see that there is finally some publically visible movement on the Thunderbird front.

    I think calendar integration will be the Thunderbirds killer app that everyone has been waiting for.

    Good luck to you all.

  37. “What I’d really like from the next version of Thunderbird is the ability to synchronize email/calendar/contacts, etc with Smart phones and PDAs”

    Please, its the only thing keeping me with outlook, well that and the callander in outlook, but if you can fix it to be an Outlook killer, I will be there :D

    (I use Thunderbird Portable for my encrypted emails!)

  38. Luc

    You guys don’t only have a nice ambition: you’ll succeed !

    Because:

    - TB is already a very good base, my only mailer at home for many years
    - it’s the best mailer on Linux desktops (and Mac too ?), which home and corporate uses are on nice steep growth pathes (but don’t neglect windz though!)

    In addition to home, I’d love to be able to recommend it at work in our Lotus Notes environment. The motives for a 100 000+ employees corporation to make the move:

    1) huge productivity gains thru better usability than Notes Mail (easy target !)
    2) unique innovations: clic-sender-name-to-call is the most badly needed one (probably Avaya in the back-end, consider interface, or with bluetooth cell phone), a company can save millions of bucks in dialing/redialing time with this
    3) Increase in security (e.g. consider protecting the contents with an expirable user id with server-side renewal)
    4) sync to nokia and win-mobile
    5) seamless archive management
    6) good IM integration

    I need this tomorrow ;) Good luck !

  39. Al Brittain

    I’d ask you to take a very close look at Time & Chaos / !ntellect ( http://www.chaossoftware.com) and build something around Thunderbird that will allow us to accomplish everything you can there, only in an open source environment. !ntellect incorporates Chaos Software’s e-mail client into T&C, but I’ve never liked it, and still use Thunderbird which does not, of course, integrate with T&C.

    I’ve been using T&C for over 15 years now, and it’s amazing to me with all the development during that time that there is still no other application that comes close. And, trust me, I’ve looked hard a number of times at Lightning, Evolution, etc, because T&C is really the only thing keeping me on Windows. It’s not just the app itself, but also the syncing with WM and Palm OS devices as well – just way too much trouble to accomplish all of that in Linux, if it even can be done, and, based on my experience, I’m not convinced that it can.

    Something just like !ntellect but with Firefox as the browser portion and Thunderbird as the e-mail client would be absolutely ideal for me as the front end console I would operate from all the time.

  40. Dominic Amann

    I have several business clients I have set up on Thunderbird using IMAP with backend dbmail (sql based). Here are some of the real business issues that need to be addressed:

    Server stored address books (ldap has never worked for us).
    While we are at it – remote profile management. It used to work for Mozilla – one login and everything is the same everywhere!
    Syncing with palm/blackberry – including syncing google calendar (lightning) with palm/blackberry.
    A mozilla provided secure SMTP server so I do not have to help users through ridiculous arcane procedures to configure their ISP’s SMTP servers when they work from home (those same ISP’s won’t let me use my own SMTP server – or cripple it due to DNS issues with spam blockers).

  41. Craig Huff

    I would love to see an intelligent filter generator — Something like Quicken financial transaction reconciliations between existing Quicken account transactions and a QDF download from a bank or broker. Every time I drag an e-mail out of the inbox to another folder, a record of the action would be made and after a threshold (user configurable, of course) was reached a pop up could offer to create a rule to do it automatically and show the proposed rule conditions (from, to, subject, words in message body, spam filter score, etc.) and actions (move, copy, delete, play sound, tag, relate to specific e-mail personna, etc.) and allow modifications before commitment.

  42. Hi David – congratulations on the launch of Mozilla Messaging, this is an exciting time for all us Thunderbird fans!

    (I left this comment yesterday but it appears not to have made it through, so I’m reposting. Hope that’s OK.)

    I have one question and one suggestion about the future of Mozilla Messaging:

    Question: How does this impact the Eudora “Penelope” project that aimed to migrate Eudora users to a new Thunderbird-derived product?

    Suggestion: If you’re looking for new ideas about handling messaging on the desktop, I recommend checking out HEP (http://www.fettig.net/projects/hep/), a pretty clever project that brings together mail and feeds into one interface. It’s not perfect, but it does provide an interesting look at one way TB could evolve into a sort of personal messaging hub.

  43. This T-bird e-mail project will end up just like Outlook Express…full of worthless functions, constant crashes, poor flexibility to entegrate with other software, and limited ability to facilitate add-ons.

    Ed

  44. William Pietri

    As a long-time Thunderbird user, my personal hope is for reliability, consistency, and speed.

    Right now, there are a heap of Thunderbird issues that I sigh and put up with: quirky editing, a slow interface, needing to repeatedly redo actions, occasional inability to send, and restarting every day.

    For me, mail is a critical application, and although I use Thunderbird, its poor quality makes me reluctant to recommend it. Even before new features, please make it something everybody is proud of!

  45. matthew

    I’m reading all of this and trying to understand whether you’re just adding features to Thunderbird or actually trying to come up with an entirely new personal communication system to replace email.

    Coming up with a new system to replace email would mean abandoning the core of email, SMTP, for something new. For two years now, I’ve been working on a project that does exactly that–replaces SMTP with a more modern, web-friendly core protocol. If you’d like to hear more about it, or to take a look at my source code, just let me know (you have my email address).

  46. Cato

    You really need to focus on *reliability* – I have an 80 year older relative using Thunderbird but the folder indexing / storage frequently breaks, and I have to somehow fix this. Far better to adopt a reliable storage format, e.g. maildir. I hesitate to recommend Thunderbird to new users for this reason.

    See http://lwn.net/Articles/266938/ for a few comments that amplify on this, including a comment from someone else that points out his wife, a real power user, also finds that Thunderbird is not reliable enough.

    There’s no such thing as 100% reliability, but I have never found Outlook 2003 has any of these problems, and sadly Thunderbird does have them.

    http://lwn.net/Articles/266938/ also has some comments about the stateful nature of the user interface and how this confuses some users.

  47. Michael

    I probably am just missing what you are talking about, but I don’t really see the vision. Calendaring may well be important, but adding calendaring because the other guys have it doesn’t seem like the correct approach. What is it that you are trying to do? What problem will Thunderbird be the best at solving?

    Calendaring would fit if your goal is to organize people’s life. With this goal I would also add a to-do capability. Some way to send reminders to mobile devices. Also a way to accept text messages from cell phones to add events and to-do’s. And probably more along this line.

    Maybe your goal is to be a information center. You mention the tracking of blogs, IM, and of course email. You could also add in voice mail integration through a service such as grand central. How about web clips of part of web pages with notes and annotation. A watch on web pages to see when they change. Rethink bookmarks to save a web of pages associated with a topic.

    Alternatively, you might focus just on email as a function. In this case, IM, calendaring, etcetera are unimportant. However, there are email problems that need to be ‘fixed’. Certainly spam control — possibly a combination of known trusted senders as well as a passphrase for new emails. Finding/search is another area of improvement. In addition to better filtering, and search what about automatic labeling possibly using bayesian approaches similar to the spam filter. “I notice some of your emails are addressed to John Doe, Sara Smith, and Pete Doe. Would you like me to create a new category?” Yes, this category “Family” would contain all emails to/from these people. Likewise, auto categories might be created for travel reservations, workgroup messages, and newsletters. Attachments are another broken feature of email systems. You get an attachment from a colleague, and you can’t edit it directly. You have to save it somewhere else. Once it is saved elsewhere, it is not associated with the email thread anymore. Over time, you have a set of emails in, and a set of saved messages that all together represent different versions of the same document. However, these documents are only associated in your head — not in the email system. Similarly, I often send attachments to myself to transfer docs from home to work. I end up with multiple doc copies stored in email and multiple copies stored in folders.

    So, this email represents three different views of a future system. Maybe you would suggest another alternative that’s even better. My point is that you are more likely to get an interesting vision of the future if you first determine the problem space that you are working in, and then design the features. A features first approach can lead to a scattershot solution or one that is less imaginative.

    Sorry, if this sounds a bit like a lecture. I teach this stuff at a University and this is similar to an exercise that I set for my students.

  48. Ziggy

    What is about Mozilla messaging and calendar/taks/contacts syncronization with mobile phones and PDA’s? I don’t want use Outlook anymore for that!. This is only reason why I’m using Outlook.

  49. luc

    Very interesting Prof. Michael, really. In other words, is this project about creating, or about improving ? And to what extent ?

    With venture capital investors backing me, I would go for the creation, but with less financial and time resources I would have to shoot for a realistic migration of installed base in corporate environment, which means less cutting-edge innovation.

  50. Christoph Vogelbusch

    As much as I love Tthunderbird, I’m a bit skeptical that the thoughts go far enough. It sounds a bit like an outlook copy.

    Risks & Chances:
    1. If it’s becoming too much of an Outlook clone, you would be aiming for the past, instead of being innovative. => So try finding an innovative new messaging path.
    2. Syncronization is today the big thing, people are willing to have a worse communication center if it nicely syncs with their mobile devices (Webservices, Phones/PDAs as well as Notebooks)
    3. The big chances are filling the gaps between current tools:
    a)the gap between Chatting and eMailing. We always had synchronous and asynchronous communication, e.g. phone + answering machine. With Chatting and eMailing we have a big gap because neither do they interact (I can pick up my phone while someone is talking to my machine) NOR do they have the same features (chatting can text, video, voice and even transfere large files directly from a to b while eMail is mostly text small attachments and with complicated way over storing stuff on the web and sending links even file transfere)

    I hope these thoughts will make Thunderbird the most exciting project of the next years.

    Thunderbird CAN have the next iPhone-like hype.

  51. one more vote for secure-by-default emails.

    But, hey, you’ve got your work for you in picking this list of wishes. They seem to be very many, evenly spread, with rather few favourites. That may mean that it is fine as it is, for now.

    Which probably adds weight to the need for a bigger, better “vision” while you have a chance.

  52. luc

    So obvious I even forgot to mention them: user-chosen either icons or picture thumbnails for each personal folder and each contact, displayed in e-mail list and headers.

    Looks like cosmetics but it’s actually real productivity gain, especially in big entreprise.

  53. JoeCool

    Type your comment here.
    You really need to cut a new branch as soon as possible, meaning RIGHT NOW. Just cut it and then start with the bug fixing and do a release of Thunderbird 2.5 for March 15. There are too many bugs fixed to wait until a Thunderbird 3.0 with all the doodads. Just cut the branch now with the bug fixes and cull out the additions, and give us a decent working product. Thanks.

  54. Let me put my ha’penny where so many others have and request a true, rdbms backend (ODBC compliant?!) for Thunderbird 3.0. If you want to open the app up to some real outsider development, we’ll all benefit from a nice, clean, standards-compliant clean break between user interface and backend. Power a new wave of mail handlers with an industry leading relational backend in 3, please!

  55. Congrats for getting MoMe (as someone on Mozillazine suggested) off the ground! Hopefully now we can see quicker updates to Tb than we’ve seen in the past.

    I personally would love to see an easy way to use Firefox’s cookies in Tb, plus a way to finally use embedded objects in messages, especially RSS feeds. As it stands now I have to expand the header pane (which I usually keep closed to have more screen for the messages) and open an article from a news feed in my browser to see a Flash video, and that’s simply a pain in the arse to have to do so often. I know it was removed a while back, but please bring the plugins back in the first MoMe release of Thunderbird.

    As far as the future goes, I understand why you’d want to include all kinds of messaging, and I know some people want it, but many more DON’T want things like IMs in our email client for a variety of reasons. Personally I only have Tb open once or twice a day to grab mail and update my RSS feeds (I’m disabled so I don’t have the constant work emails to have to deal with). Putting an IM client in Tb would be a complete waste of code for me. As it is I can’t use the Gmail IM feature closed since I have three Gmail accounts and am constantly switching between them. If the MoMe devs insist on adding a ton of features to Tb please make them modular enough that users can disable them upon installation, especially for us Linux users that get Tb right from your servers and not from our distro’s repository. I’d hate to have to stay with an old version of Tb simply because it got too filled with features I have no interest in using.

  56. Maravilha. Nas empresas em que trabalho retirei outlook de todos os lugares e coloquei o Thunderbird. O Mozilla Messaging com certeza revolucionará ainda mais esse excelente cliente de e-mail.
    Meus softwares open source:
    - Firefox
    - Thunderbird
    - Openbravo
    - Linux Fedora
    - BrOffice

    Recomendo todos eles.

  57. Jan Danielsson

    I’ve lost emails in Thunderbird due to database corruption. It was insanely annoying. (It was only one email I lost, but it was a pretty important one).

    I have a PostgreSQL database on my system. I would like to stick my email in it, since it would allow me to have a fast, secure, scalable storage for all my mails. Also, backups would come naturally from my normal database backup routines. It would also allow me to have my database frontend (Thunderbird) on one system, and the actual database data on another.

    I’d like to see a generic database interface in Thunderbird, which can be used to stick mails in any kind of storage system (provided someone writes the thin layer required).

    MySQL and PostgreSQL should be supported out-of-the-box, so to speak, but the interfaces should be simple enough to add any other storage backend within a few hours of coding. (Obviously the external database support would be a build-time configuration — no one should be forced to have a bunch of database code installed on their system which they don’t use).

    I would be willing to put some coding effort into this myself.

  58. I’m very happy to see the new website and David’s blog entry. Of course it’ll take some time to see the results, but I’m relieved to see TB in good hands ;)

  59. Really glad there is an email product competitor coming to the forefront. I’m a small businessman, and I’ve been “locked” into MS Outlook (mostly because of compatibility issues). Hope that’s over soon, so I can remove the complete suite, and use a “good, useable” package. I’m using OpenOffice, but I’m in need of a valid email program for my work, one with features of the mainstream products.
    Perhaps other software developers (like Intuit) will develop apps to be shared with open source products, not just “hard-coding” their software for MS products.

  60. Fulvio Perini (fp)

    I hope that the development of Messanging will go on smoothly.
    I was a bit bothered by the fact that TB3.0a1pre build of 2/19, and earlier dates worked fine, but those of 2/20 and on had serious SMTP problems. The same was true of Seamonkey2.0a1pre mail. I could not reply or forward using the ISP SMTP. May be someone else commented on this, but I found it disturbing.

  61. As a user of Thunderbird currently, its functional but lots of room for improvement. I am very happy you all are continuing to develop and improve Thunderbird and keep good options open for mail client.

    Using it as a collection point and archiving for several addresses, so my mail db gets quite large. Right now, when dealing with large volume of mail with several filters, it is really slow. I would really like to see more speed in dealing with larger volume.

    The other thing is that it is still difficult to move mail files from one machine to another. I would like to be able to point to backed up mail folders and have it import them into a new installation.. have not figured out how to do that easily. Import – export has to work better.

    Last.. thought it would be interesting to have more tools to make it easier and faster to back up web based email clients.

    Thanks for reading my rants.

  62. Charles

    I tried Thunderbird 2 years ago (ages in internet time) but decided to stick with Eudora. The main sticking point is that it does not automatically decode and store attachments in a separate directory. I carry around my files in a flash drive. There are some attachments that I still might need that I don’t have to carry around all the time. So I move them to a separate folder in my main computer. I never figured out how to have Thunderbird store attachments that way.

    I have been searching vainly for something that functions like the Palm Desktop or Microsoft Outlook for years that can synchronize with my celphone’s (Symbian, SE P990i) contacts directory and calendar. Ideally with the capability to put the data anywhere in a network or the net. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

  63. I know I want true portability. I use three machines regularly (home, work, laptop) and others occasionally. I’d like to designate one machine my “home base” and be able to plug in a memory stick, take everything TBird I might possibly need with me (including attachments, rules, filters, archive etc) and then when I get back to home base be able to dump the things I have acquired in my travels back into that computer.

    I am sooo tired of having to watch the same stuff download over and over again. I am sooooo tired of having to set up duplicate message rules to be able to make sense of my Email. And I really don’t want to have to have an Internet connection to check something in my Email archive/attachments.

  64. Hi David,

    Thanks for blogging in such detail on the thinking behind this new initiative. It’s great to follow along, and certainly gives me hope that we’ll have better solutions to online communications soon!

    Email is broken because we’ve changed our demands, expectations, and interactions with it. We’ve also fragmented the medium searching for quick fixes to distributed collaboration and social networking. Thankfully, it sounds like Mozilla Messaging may be the entity that can enable the changes we need.

    It’s pretty amazing to think that the work you’re doing has the power to impact human interactions on a global scale.

    Cheers,
    Erik

  65. raja

    Will your project be an alternative to MS Outlook? Will it interface to an exchange server? Will it be able to interface with 70% of the functionality on the Ex Svr? If so you have a hit.

    There are zillions of ppl like me who grudgingly switched to MS Outlook when corporations started adopting Ex. Server. We resisted the change, but the integration with calendar, corporate address, conf. rooms etc. forced us to be compliant.

  66. t r a c y .

    ————————————–

    DEAR DAVID ASCHER,
    Greetings.
    I may want a lot of things in an E-mail client, but the one which stands out and is not available, as best I can tell, is the ability to “tell” it where to store Folders.
    WITH ENTHUSIASM,
    t r a c y .

    P. S. FYI: Regarding your comment: ” . . .somewhat flippantly, that “email is broken”., commas and periods always “go” inside closing quotation marks.

    ————————————–

  67. t r a c y .

    ————————————–

    DEAR DAVID ASCHER,
    Greetings.
    I may want a lot of things in an E-mail client, but the one which stands out and is not available, as best I can tell, is the ability to “tell” it where to store Folders.
    WITH ENTHUSIASM,
    t r a c y .

    P. S. FYI: Regarding your comment: ” . . .somewhat flippantly, that “email is broken”., commas and periods always “go” inside closing quotation marks.

    ————————————–

  68. t r a c y .

    ———————————-

    2008 0304 1853 TUE
    DEAR DAVID ASCHER,
    Greetings.
    If TBird had tabs for Read, Compose and Addresses like juno’s offline client does it would be way nicer than the difficult-to-deal-with, separate windows in T-2.
    WITH ENTHUSIASM,
    t r a c y .

    ———————————-

  69. t r a c y .

    ———————————-

    2008 0304 1853 TUE
    DEAR DAVID ASCHER,
    Greetings.
    If TBird had tabs for Read, Compose and Addresses like juno’s offline client does it would be way nicer than the difficult-to-deal-with, separate windows in T-2.
    WITH ENTHUSIASM,
    t r a c y .

    ———————————-

  70. Ixca Cienfuegos

    I have been using Mosaic, Netscape, Mozilla, Firefox and Thunderbird
    since… their creation… And Sunbird… for the last two years…

    But recently, I bought a new Symbian Nokia phone… the already old
    6086… which syncs easily, through the Nokia PC Suite, with…
    Microsoft Outlook (sic).

    Since I didn’t found any simple way to sync my phone with Sunbird, I
    exported my agenda to an .ics file… First, I was not able to
    import the agenda into Outlook directly from Sunbird… But, then, I
    was able to do it with the help of Google Calendar (importing the
    .ics from Sunbird and exporting it from Google to an new .ics,
    readable by Outlook). A fact that, in itself, resumes all the
    paradoxes of the different interpretations of a standard (iCal), as
    viewed from Microsoft, Google, and Mozilla.

    Now, I am using Outlook, and I will continue using it until the
    versions of Sunbird or Lightning are mature enough to bluetooth-sync
    with my phone… which, I suppose, will at least take one year or
    two!

    This situation seems sad… but also seems unavoidable…

    On the one hand, Nokia has already signed with Microsoft several
    deals that make it clear that they are willing to work together…
    So I don’t think that future versions of the Nokia PC Suite will
    provide any help to sync with Mozilla apps!

    On the other hand, the calendar projects at mozilla evolve quite
    slowly… And it is clear (since the Mozilla Foundation decided to
    split its development into a Firefox and an everything-else branch)
    that the calendar project is not the top priority.

    But the Mozilla Foundation is wrong. What they have in front of them
    is a suite (called Microsoft Office) and not just an Internet
    browser… And the only way to counter this suite is to provide
    another suite (Open Office+Firefox/Thunderbird/Lightning). If one
    element of the suite is weak, the whole system gets weak.

    So please, you big shots from the Mozilla Foundation and Sun
    Microsystems: Please, put a little bit more of money into the
    weakest link of the chain, the one that allows us to manage the most
    precious thing in our lives… time.

  71. Ditto the request for the ability to sync a PDA/Treo/Blackberry. This is the ONLY think keeping me from migrating back to Linux. Microcrash Winbloze Vista has been a nightmare. I’m stuck in Outlook land until this happens.

  72. Julien Coubronne

    Very good news !

    It’s really appreciable that a vision will be given to that very important project.

    I suggest that a wiki/whatever place should be created, so that users could post/vote for their wishes.

    I recently discovered a mail app called siMail, which use a database to store informations. As a result, you can “browse” your emails with different kind of views : organised by date, by contact, by category/tag, etc…
    This way of orgasing email is very productive, as you can sometime look for an email through the date, the sender, whatever tag you applied to it… this fonction + the “search box” that already exist in Tb would be a very productive way to find back emails.

  73. A descriptivist pedant

    Re #89: “commas and periods always “go” inside closing quotation marks.”

    I believe this is standard in US style-guides, but in the UK it’s exactly the opposite.

    Which makes sense to me, because the punctuation’s not part of the quote, it’s part of the sentence containing the quote.

    But each to their own…

  74. I would like to echo a couple things others have posted in the comments and throw my hat in to the suggestion pool if I may.

    Having a truly lightweight mail client that can be expanded via extensions seems like the holy grail to me. Outlook is an awful piece of bloatware because it tries to do everything and many only use it for e-mail. Don’t fall in to the ‘it must be like Outlook’ trap. It must be *better* than Outlook. Make calendar/tasks a freaking amazing plugin or a standalone app. I love how Lightning and Sunbird are the same but different. If I want to run it inside of my mail I can, or I can run it as a separate app. Build upon Thunderbird, but do it in a modular fashion so it is scary fast and incredibly expandable (but that has to be easy too).

    Another wee bit of a gripe that I have is IMAP support. Simple things like a global inbox for IMAP (see Mail.app for a great implementation) proper IMAP Idle support and easy folder mapping seem to be missing from Thunderbird 2.0.

    In my humble opinion it is critically important to first develop a world class e-mail client. This means a compose screen that doesn’t look like it is fresh out of the early 90′s. Extreme system stability. Instant e-mail searching. An amazing contact/address book. Once you have that down (and frankly Thunderbird doesn’t cut it quite yet, although it is close) then it would be prudent to move on to calendar, tasks, webmail integration, etc. It’s not just features in a bullet list that will make the difference, it is fit and finish.

    Outlook is the beast to beat and while Outlook has it fair share of extremely large issues, it does have a polish that Thunderbird is sorely missing.

    Just my $3.50.

  75. Darrell

    Will this program eventually evolve so you can synchronize through the computer with a blackberry. I am stuck with outlook which I truly dislike. I have found Thunderbird to be a far superior product but have not been able to synchronize with my blackberry.
    Darrell

  76. David McGillivray

    I feel the current rout od development for Thunderbird certainly sounds logical, and exciting for htat matter. Although I suppose the only concern is that in reality, the vital aspects of software which a previous poster (Benjamin Higginbotham) pointed out, won’t be further developed in favor of the new added features taking presedence. Don’t get me wrong, Thunderbird is great, I find it an absolute pleasure to use, I would just much rather see current basic features enhanced first and foremost, and although that sounds logical, too amny software releases seem to have skipped the basics in light of some radical exciting new feature, only to then loose credibility and a large following of users, and although I can’t exactly invisage that happening, you catch my drift. Having said all that, I am certainly looking forward to the new methods of communication integration in furutre releases of Thuderbird. Keep up the great work!

  77. Matěj Cepl

    I have only one wish which would enable me to use TB at all — bug 243075. Please, please, please.

  78. I need to find the right spot to give this feedback, but anyway, one great way to re-vitalize email would be to integrate it into calendaring by establishing an open standard for email command messages. Something like what IWantSandy does, only open so that any mail provider (or stand-alone calendaring service) could handle it. In fact, Thunderbird could parse these messages on the client side.

    Email is actually the most logical and humane yet devised for human-computer interaction — we should build on that fundamental strength when thinking about scheduling and other automated activities.

  79. If I can add my two cents…

    I’ve been working in the computer industry for over twenty years and I’ve seen email grow from a niche tool, used only by the I.T. staff, to something used by school children. As ubiquitous as it has become, there is really no one size fits all solution that will satisfy everyone, and problems still remain.

    For my part, I like the flexibility of having my own domain, but would rather leave the day to day operations of the servers to someone else. So, I pay a hosting company to maintain the servers. Because we have the current standards that we have, I can be pretty sure that my family members, whether using PC, Mac, or other system will be able to access their email accounts, either through POP or IMAP.

    On the other hand, I wish that standards were a bit more far reaching and widely accepted.

    For example, some of the things that I wish were standardized across hosting companies:

    Server based calendars
    Shared Calendars
    Event Invitations (There is some interoperability between Thunderbird and Mac Mail, but it isn’t perfect…)

    Also, I often set up mail accounts for family members in other states, and I would like to be able to easily script their installations including user and server settings. I could give them their passwords over the phone, but an install script, or equivalent would make my life a lot easier.

    Finally, it would be nice to be able to augment the existing junk mail system by tyeing it into a spam list server(s).

    Best of luck!

    I hope that Mozilla Messaging becomes a springboard for a lot of positive changes.

    Stuart

  80. Fantastic!

    I have been relegated to MS Outlook Hell for years. Thunderbird was a great step forward but lacks the integrated functions of Outlook. Recently we added a calendar to T-Bird and that was great too, but we still lack simple solutions to simple problems like signatures. I am so happy to read this today you can’t get the smile off my face with a belt sander! I want to be a Beta Tester. I see alpha software and so I will wait a bit. GO TEAM!

  81. Rikardo Tinauer

    It would be good if Thunderbird will get some enterprise goodies, I mean the WebDAV support. Is there any vision n that direction?

  82. I recommend looking to Gmail for hints at interface and chat integration. One should be able to log in to Mozilla Messaging and have access to all archived material, extensions, and settings from any computer.

  83. trevor

    Thunderbirds are GO.
    Long ago in Days of DOS I started using ACT! as my contact database and management. I was never happy with the integration with Outlook and actually ran Ver 6 standalone with Thunderbird as my email client. I have wished that Act! would integrate with Thunderbird and have requested them to do so to no avail.
    I’m currently trying to use Outlook 2003 with Act! 10 which is toooo slow, so I’m finding that Outlook with Business Contact Manager 2003 is a better option.
    Integrating the Calender into Thunderbird is a great step however i would prefer a much more sophisticated PIM to be integrated. And I would be quite happy to pay for such an integrated add on if it was provided by a third party.
    Essentially I need to link the emails I send to a client to their Contact details in the address book.
    Any ideas?

  84. Curtis

    I remain extremely skeptical that a client email program developed under a foundation that has been hijacked by Google will ever produce what many of Thunderbird’s many disappointed users are looking for. However, I suppose hope springs eternal and actually creating a new structure with its own vision and interests is better than having to live under the direction of someone who essentially thinks computing is a browser.

    That said, I’m a little disturbed by the focus on “messaging” per se. If you work your way through the comments that have been posted in response to the initial, one suspects, understandable if naive optimism of Mr. Ascher, you hear a recurrent theme.

    A lot of people are looking for a real PIM, tightly integrated email, calendar, addressbook (with some kind of outlining, I would suggest myself), pretty much what the Outlook-challenged ECCO was aiming at doing and never succeeded. If you keep your focus on providing half of what ECCO could accomplish ten years ago, somewhat updated, focus on exportability, and then, for heaven’s sakes, get rid of your static email UI in favor of something that looks like the final versions of Eudora, you might finally pull together a product that is an asset rather than an annoyance to its users.

    The main thing to emphasize is integration and exportability. On the email side, there are so many flaws it’s hard to know where to begin but I’ll name three: 1. filters that work on all accounts and both the Inbox and Sent folders in all folders (i.e., universal filters for those of us who still organize folders and use filters), filtered incoming mail arriving in an opened, free-floating window so you know its there, and then a small but crucial detail: Please find some way to not open every folder every time a user opens the program. This quirk whose functionality one struggles to understand, adds five to ten minutes to a nightly back-up on a day when at most 5 percent of the folders and their files were accessed.

    A pet list of complaints on the email side, I’m sure. But if you want direction, acquaint yourself with the old ECCO and the last version of Eudora and maybe you’ll get somewhere in the end. Neither of these were complete but pulled together, with exportability added, you’d have something. Obviously, brought forward to embrace new forms of messaging. Nothing wrong with that.

    Sorry I can’t be more positive but I just don’t think Thunderbird as we know it today is even nearly a credible program, after all this time.

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