back to article Mozilla: Five... Four... Three... Two... One... Thunderbirds are – gone

Seeking to shift its full attention to Firefox, Mozilla is planning to throw its Thunderbird email client under a bus – er, offload it to the community to develop and support. The open-source software house said it will begin exploring ways to separate the development of Thunderbird from other Mozilla projects, allowing …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Coupling?

    "At the same time, build, Firefox, and platform engineers continue to pay a tax to support Thunderbird."

    Really? It sounds like they really don't have a sane project structure in that case.

    FFS just how much HTML or web rendering should be possible in any web client? Or is this really a case of their sponsors wanting people to move to web-mail so they can whore them more effectively to advertisers?

    1. RIBrsiq

      Re: Coupling?

      "FFS just how much HTML or web rendering should be possible in any web client?"

      Quite a lot, I would imagine.

      If you meant to write "email client", on the other hand, then I wholeheartedly agree.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Coupling?

      Would Mozilla's developers like to pay a tax (work) to do anything or does it interfere with quality ping-pong and sitting-on-beanbag time?

      They're jettisoning features left, right, and centre yet they expect people to want to use their software. Not sure how that works.

    3. sisk Silver badge

      Re: Coupling?

      FFS just how much HTML or web rendering should be possible in any web client?

      At least as much as is possible on El Reg forums. HTML email has been a standard for quite some time after all. Should it support full fledged HTML5? No, absolutely not. Nor should it support script tags or iframes or anything else that could potentially pull in malicious content from the web, but that still leaves quite a lot of HTML that you could make the argument for email clients supporting.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Coupling?

        "HTML email has been a standard for quite some time after all."

        True, which is too bad. HTML email is a plague, and I always disable HTML rendering in email.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Coupling?

          I always disable HTML rendering in email.

          Same here. Unfortunately sometimes my mail client is unable to pull useful text out. Thankfully it's rare and generally seems to be the less important emails.

        2. Ian Watkinson

          Re: Coupling?

          I used to.

          You know back in 1990, when dial speeds meant that it looked horrible and took ages to load.

          Now we want in line pictures, the odd table etc, I just leave it on.

          Too few years in a life to worry about rich text vs html, vs plain text browsers.

          You'll be worrying about "-- " signature lines in corporate emails not being followed next...

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Coupling?

      Am I alone in dreading updates for Firefox?

      Firstly Australis

      Secondly messing up the search box

      Thirdly timing out extensions

      If it wasn't for Classic Theme Restorer I would have dumped Firefox a couple of years ago.

      Now what do I replace TB with?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watch the GNOME devs grab the project and ruin it in 4...3...2..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >Watch the GNOME devs grab the project

      Usually the vocal ones all seem to have an uncanny connection to a certain company named after head wear. Also for those demanding 1990s style mail there is always SeaMonkey.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        > Also for those demanding 1990s style mail there is always SeaMonkey.

        Wait, I always thought it was the vision of the GNOME/Freedesktop people to create a 1990s style world where everything requires some complex IPC mechanism and nothing is just plain text anymore. I thought that with Unix and PCs and Linux this time was past.

      2. boltar Silver badge

        " Also for those demanding 1990s style mail "

        That would be the style of mail where you have a powerful client with the added ability to read email offline would it? I'll stay in the 90s then thanks. Enjoy gmail and being treated like a data commodity sheep. Baaaa....

    2. John Sanders
      Holmes

      I just hope...

      That the LibreOffice guys take it and make it part of their suite.

      Thunderbird would then receive the attention it requires and LO would have a lightweight multi-platform capable email client.

      1. John Hughes

        Re: I just hope...

        Thunderbird light weight?

        WTF.

    3. John Hughes

      Huh?

      They already have Evolution, why would they want Thunderbird?

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        They already have Evolution, why would they want Thunderbird?

        Bleagh. You don't have Evolution, you suffer it. I'm not sure where the problem sits but I have never been impressed by Evolution.

        Thunderbird, on the other hand, has always worked reasonably well so I'm sad that again the one product that IS really useful and that has, let's face it, not that much competition anywhere other than from Outlook is again under threat. FF seems to have attracted a lot of bloat.

    4. Mark 65

      Maybe it could be folded into Systemd

      1. Chika
        Linux

        Maybe it could be folded into Systemd

        May you roast in the depths of hell for even thinking that!

  3. Tannin

    Escape from Lemming Mode

    Given that the Firefox developers have been operating entirely in Lemming Mode for the past few years, this must count as very good news for anyone who uses Thunderbird.

    Thunderbird is clunky and full of weird usability gotchas, but it is still the benchmark email client.* Castrating the chaotic current Thunderbird UI by applying Australis-style "fixes" could only make things worse. Under new, non-suicidal management, perhaps we will see a Thunderbird renaisance. At very worst, we will see nothing much happen, which is non-ideal but at least a lot better than letting the Australis morons wreck it.

    * Footnote: the fact that clunky old Thunderbird is the unquestioned benchmark email client says a very great deal about all the other email clients, and none of it good.

    1. Steve Crook

      Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

      "Under new, non-suicidal management, perhaps we will see a Thunderbird renaisance"

      LibreMail?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

        "LibreMail?"

        Let's hope so.

    2. Paul Woodhouse

      Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

      I thought emClient had promise when I first saw it and now it appears to have disappeared, I do quite like Evolution, but still prefer t/bird...

      1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

        Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

        Not been to impressed with emclient. It looks good, it smells good, but behaves buggily.

        There's a new version out "soon" (v7).

        We nearly lost a customer because emclient didn't behave like they liked. Partly that was due to customer stupidity. They wanted it to look and work just like outlook/exchange did but they had decided to get rid of their exchange 2003 server, so are now on IMAP. There were other factors too.

        Having said that we have customers who absolutely love emclient.

        And we have customers who won't touch tbird because "it's unfriendly" or some such shit

      2. remyj

        Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

        emClient is still around and alive and well. I use it daily, runs like a champ. emClient is the email client I'd like to see melded into LO. That would make a kick ass Office suite.

    3. Novex

      Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

      I prefer to use a proper email client that can handle offline as well. I changed to Thunderbird from Outlook and found it better for working with SOGo (which also has a web interface) and the Lightning Calendar add-in has proved useful too. I have used Thunderbird for IMAP (with my own mail server) and POP3, and found it workable for both.

      I sincerely hope Thunderbird finds a stable new home, and keeps going. I shudder at the thought at having no choice for a rich email client other than Outlook...

      1. Paul Woodhouse

        Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

        Deliver us from evil (activesync)

        Amen...

        1. P. Lee

          Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

          >deliver us from evil

          imap/rpc/http?

          What could possibly be wrong with that?

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

        Thunderbird user here... Even though Thunderbird has been ignored for at least the last three years, it remains one of the better email clients around (which is a very sad commentary on the state of email readers these days). Mozilla cutting it loose is a good thing, not a bad thing. It will allow Thunderbird to avoid being destroyed like Mozilla is destroying Firefox.

        Thunderbird isn't going away. That Mozilla is heading down this path makes its survival much more likely.

        1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

          "Even though Thunderbird has been ignored for at least the last three years, it remains one of the better email clients around (which is a very sad commentary on the state of email readers these days)."

          This isn't at all surprising. The relevant RFCs have hardly changed in years, so Thunderbird is still good enough even though it has been abandoned since (at least) 2012, except for pointless tweaks to the shiny bits. It's also free and runs on everything, which means you have a *real* barrier to entry for any new rivals.

          Much the same was true of web browsers for most of the period 2000-2010. Two things broke the log-jam. Firstly, Firefox finally made enough progress on standards that even normal people could see the benefits. That "revealed" the changes that had accumulated in the relevant standards. Secondly, Google decided that they'd like all our browser data. Their huge cash pile meant not only that the cost of development was unimportant but also that they could pay to have it bundled with loads of unrelated third-party products, so they were able to buy an installed base fairly quickly.

          This won't happen for email. There is no evidence of new standards getting ordinary punters excited and no megacorp with loads of money wants to promote an offline email client.

    4. Stuart 22

      Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

      "* Footnote: the fact that clunky old Thunderbird is the unquestioned benchmark email client"

      Who would junk the benchmark 'best in class' product to help prop up a failing product that once was a benchmark but will never be again.

      Oh, Mozilla? Explains a lot.

    5. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Escape from Lemming Mode

      Webmail, just not possible at home.

      When we check mail it goes through 2 addresses on one server, 3 on another, then one other, on OE, and one on TB.

      The logging in would be a nightmare.

      Proper email clients will always be needed by someone.

  4. zero2dash

    Somebody's already taken the reigns

    No real surprise here; Thunderbird fans are better off with FossaMail, just like Firefox fans are better off with PaleMoon now anyways. My my my how Mozilla has fallen.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

      >Firefox fans are better off with PaleMoon now

      Yeah who wants all their addons to work all the time. I especially enjoy the significant lag time for security fixes as well. Its a neat project on paper but lack of resources in a web browser project is a show stopper for me. Mozilla is a whore but not a broke one and Pale Moon is going to get left behind ala Gnome 2.

      1. tin 2

        Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

        Well I still use vanilla Firefox and my addons don't work all the time anyway!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

          We've got TB and Outlook and I have to say Outlook doesn't get used that much... to my surprise. It doesn't feel very pretty but it does what our users want and works without complaint.

          I hope it ends up in safe hands.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

        > Pale Moon is going to get left behind ala Gnome 2.

        Gnome 2, now part of Mint, the most popular Linux by a longshot? 2-3 years ago it was just an upstart like PaleMoon.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

      For those of us who just use TB and FF* as an alternative to the greedy grasp of Outlook/IE or webmail/Gmail/Chrome/Opera and don't follow the antics of the foundation this seems a bit confusing ( well it is to me anyway).

      What makes FF so special to Mozilla that TB is seen as a poor relation to be shut away like this?

      Despite the floods of spam email remains the routine communication system of choice.

      I know there are commentards here who have been reciting its obituary for years, but it's not actually going to go away.

      So what is it about FF that makes it so precious for Mozilla? What makes a browser special that an email client (or even better an integrated email and calendar client like Outlook) isn't?

      Or to put it another way, why does the foundation want to be so specifically a Browser developer rather than an internet tools developer?

      *TBH I actually switched to Pale Moon a while back, but we do still use TB for email.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

        You ask...

        What makes FF so special to Mozilla that TB is seen as a poor relation to be shut away like this?

        simple really.

        Mozilla has new masters that will increasingly call the tune since it broke its ties to Google last year

        http://www.cnet.com/news/firefox-maker-mozilla-we-dont-need-googles-money-anymore/

        Perhaps one of them has a vested interest so the TB devs are being pink slipped and had better be on the """"Lookout"""" for a new job. (Hint,Hint)

        For me, TB is not Outlook. That is all I need to know. It runs on the three platforms that I use. Like most people I probably only use 10% of its features but it does the job I want it to.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

        "What makes FF so special to Mozilla that TB is seen as a poor relation to be shut away like this?"

        Only one thing: Mozilla has lost its collective mind.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

      Unless FossaMail has de-Morkified the address book and other profile files and added built-in Dav support, it's just window dressing.

      1. nijam

        Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

        What on earth does DAV have to do with email? It's not part of IMAP or SMTP, after all.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

          It's got a lot to do with calendar and contacts.

          Lightning somewhat manages calendar but I'd like a syncable addressbook please, one with enough fields to cope with what most mobiles use these days.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

          "What on earth does DAV have to do with email?"

          DAV? DAV's not here, man! (inhales deeply)

        3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

          What on earth does DAV have to do with email?

          Microsoft Exchange. Though frankly, that has already been solved. There is an excellent DAV to to IMAP/SMTP/iCalendar proxy called davmail. I have been using it for 7 years (and 3 jobs) now.

    4. Kamal Hashmi

      Re: Somebody's already taken the reins

      Aaaaarrrgghhh!!! 13 posts with the very annoying very WRONG title!!!

      THERE I've fixed it for you. Now KEEP it fixed on any further replies....

      I'll just calm down now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Somebody's already taken the reigns

        Ah, da temptasjion.. We a Gramar nazi has found.

        Your lucky its hard work for me to mess English up so I cant be bothered. At least today.

  5. Chris King Silver badge

    This cannot end well...

    Look what happened with Penelope - sorry, Eudora OSE.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mozilla awash with money IIRC

    So, as a T'bird user I am disappointed with their decision.

    Surely enough money to develop T'bird instead of wasting resources on FF features such as Pocket integration. Seriously, T'bird generally just works, so only security/bug-fixes need doing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mozilla awash with money IIRC

      Thank you. Now get back T'work down T'pit.

    2. brainout
      Pint

      Re: Mozilla awash with money IIRC

      Actually, this could be a great thing for Thunderbird. It's always been nearly impossible to get bugs fixed. I reported bugs in TB 24 three YEARS ago and only late last year did anyone even reply: the reply acknowledged that what I reported was a 'serious flaw'.. but by then I'd forgotten what I reported!

      With the horror of the current Mozilla management thinking they should abandon what had been a good browser to instead imitate the FAR INFERIOR Chrome and the DEAD TOMBSTONE erm 'Edge' in Win10, who wants TB to go that same route?

      If only they'd offload Firefox too, before they wreck it entirely...

      1. Nolveys Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Mozilla awash with money IIRC

        It's always been nearly impossible to get bugs fixed.

        There are quite a few weird bugs in the IMAP implementation on top of the general slowness. One really nice one I ran into a few months ago happens when moving messages from IMAP to local, TB will create a zero-length record at the destination and then will delete the source. It turns out that bug has been around for years and years.

        I've never really liked TB, but it's always seemed like the best of a set of exceptionally bad options. Why are email clients all such bags of rot?

      2. DropBear Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Mozilla awash with money IIRC

        "nearly impossible to get bugs fixed"

        *sigh*... show me ONE open source project that doesn't drag behind itself at least one serious and massively reported / requested (and often near-trivial to implement) bugfix / feature request in a state of eternal limbo for 3 / 5 / 10 years or more. Many dozens of them more likely. These days I rarely even bother to report / request any - pretty much every time I try, it turns out the report already exists slowly rotting away without as much as being closed with a belligerent "wontfix". It's just the reality of the day - apparently we can't resist throwing out existing code for brand new shiny fast enough (and reimplementing the wheel yet again in the process), bugs be damned. Who needs software that actually works...

  7. John Tserkezis

    Translation to english:

    In-app advertising in Firefox seems to be going somewhere. Never bothered with Thunderbird because we just don't care anymore.

  8. Herbert Fruchtl
    Thumb Down

    They got it the wrong way round

    Firefox is just another browser. We have FF and Chromium on our PC, so that my wife and I can keep our bookmarks and login names separate, but 99% of the time there is no difference. Even IE is pretty much the same nowadays.

    Thunderbird, on the other hand, is our mail client of choice. Platform-independent (Windows and Linux; I'm told it also works on a Mac), in feature freeze for years now (which is GREAT!; I want a consistent mailer, not a completely different UI every two years, or something that wants to control my complete computer). If the open-sourcers keep up the security updates, I'm happy keeping TB and letting FF go the way of Netscape. If they don't, there is no obvious alternative I can think of.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: They got it the wrong way round

      > have FF and Chromium on our PC, so that my wife and I can keep our bookmarks and login names separate

      Really? Have you not heard of profiles? Both Thunderbird and Firefox have them and I use them to separate work and home. They have their own prefs too, so my Firefox work profile knows about the proxy and has necessary work plugins, and the home one doesn't.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: They got it the wrong way round

        You can also put several of the portable version on your machine, just chuck each in its own folder. Run .exe from folder or put shortcuts on the desktop, renaming tem so you can tell them apart. You can run only one at a time, obviously - but you can fine-tune every one of them for a specific user or a specific task (different plug-ins, different add-ons, different settings for ad blockers or NoScript, and so on).

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: They got it the wrong way round

          Portability and easy backup are the *big* pluses TB has for me.

          I use it daily, and have done for years.

    2. IvyKing

      Re: They got it the wrong way round

      @Herbert Thunderbird on the Mac works very nicely, also worked nicely on Solaris as well. Porting it to several platforms can be a pain, but it also brings out a lot of bus that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.

      One of the things that I like about T-bird over Outlook is that the local folders are stored as separate files without any binary conversion.

    3. Fatman Silver badge

      Re: They got it the wrong way round

      <quote>We have FF and Chromium on our PC, so that my wife and I can keep our bookmarks and login names separate, but 99% of the time there is no difference. </quote>

      Very easy to solve:

      https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/profiles-where-firefox-stores-user-data

      TL:DR version

      When invoking Firefox (or Thunderbird) use the follwoing:

      <path to Firefox executable> -profile <path to profile folder>

      In the case of my Linux box, it is:

      /opt/stable/28/firefox/firefox -profile /home/fatman/files/profiles/bob/firefox

      FF28 because I am SICK of that Australis CRAP!

    4. MJI Silver badge

      Re: They got it the wrong way round

      I built 2 PCs for my sons. TB email client.

      Boot in Windows 7, check emails, reboot PC into Mint 17 check emails, same email database.

      That is just what you need, same accounts on all OSes on a PC

  9. Barry Rueger

    A Really Good Email Cluent

    Every few months I poke around looking for an email client that might help me escape Gmail.

    The choice always seems to be Thunderbird or.... Nothing else.

    Tbird feels decidedly antique to me, clunky and not particularly good looking.

    Back in the day I was a big fan of Pegasus, and honestly don't see any client that improves significantly on it.

    It's long overdue for someone to build a new, modern email client from scratch.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

      Claws Mail suits me just fine. I looked at Pegasus back when I was using Windows, but ended up with The Bat! I've not looked at that for years so I don't know if it ticks the "modern email client" boxes, whatever they are.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

        Claws Mail suits me just fine.

        Claws is good, but has a couple of missing features. Namely, its calendar plugin is completely useless in a corporate environment because it does not support authentication. Otherwise, the IMAP and SMTP side seem OK.

        It also has fairly extensive perl and python hooks so you can break your own head at will as you see fit - something you cannot do with T-Bird.

    2. VinceH

      Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

      "Tbird feels decidedly antique to me, clunky and not particularly good looking."

      Agreed. I've just installed it on one of my machines, and I really don't like it at all. I've actually been suggesting it to people for donkey's years when they're looking for an email client, because it's the first thing that comes to mind - and I'm now wondering how many of those people are cursing me for that!

    3. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

      The choice always seems to be Thunderbird or.... Nothing else.

      I moved from TB to TheBat! a couple of years ago. Really that just means putting up with a different set of idiosyncrasies but the script language was powerful enough to let me do some things I wanted(*). I've known it crash with certain images and a ridiculously long CC line will also upset it (but then anything at all in a CC line upsets me). But otherwise it does the job.

      (*)When replying I wanted to pull my address out of the original header and use it as the 'reply to' address in the new email. That's because all my contacts get their own address. At the time I couldn't see how to get TB to do that.

      1. VinceH

        Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

        "(*)When replying I wanted to pull my address out of the original header and use it as the 'reply to' address in the new email. That's because all my contacts get their own address."

        That's a handy feature I miss from when I handled my email on RISC OS. The Pluto email client allows you to specify a 'wildcard user' - such as *@example.com. Then, when any email comes in to any address @example.com, if you hit reply, the address from the headers is automatically picked up and used.

        I was pleasantly surprised to discover that very same feature in K9 Mail when I installed it on my phone t'other week. It's a great feature for precisely the reason you state. (I don't do it entirely on a 'per contact' basis, but I do in some cases.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

        (*)When replying I wanted to pull my address out of the original header and use it as the 'reply to' address in the new email. That's because all my contacts get their own address. At the time I couldn't see how to get TB to do that.

        Isn't that in the account settings, "Manage identities?". If you have an alias set for an account there, TB will automatically use the matching reply-to when you respond. If you don't set it, you get the core email address for the account. I use it for generic incoming addresses like "info@".

        It depends a bit how far we get next year, otherwise I may actually get involved in taking TB off Mozilla myself. TB is IMHO *FAR* more important than FF - we're not short of browsers as far as I can tell, but a decent, reliable email client that doesn't hang you out to dry is still hard to find.

        TB may not be as shiny as its alternatives (and no, I don't consider "themes" an UI improvement, but I prefer clunky and brutally functional over flashy and useless any day.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

          'Isn't that in the account settings, "Manage identities?". If you have an alias set for an account there, TB will automatically use the matching reply-to when you respond. If you don't set it, you get the core email address for the account. I use it for generic incoming addresses like "info@".'

          Yup. That works for me. Plus if you have the identities set up you get a drop down list to select the identity to use when sending a new email.

          'I prefer clunky and brutally functional over flashy and useless any day.'

          Agree again. Actually I prefer non-flashy and functional over flashy and functional.

        2. AndrueC Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: A Really Good Email Cluent

          Isn't that in the account settings, "Manage identities?". If you have an alias set for an account there, TB will automatically use the matching reply-to when you respond.

          I'll take a look. One thing that might be an issue though is that I'm not using configured aliases. My server has a wildcard redirect in place. TB would also have to understand aliases as I can't give it a list of addresses because there's effectively an infinite number of them. A quick look at the help suggests it ought to be possible.

  10. thames

    Alternatives

    I've been using Claws Mail on Ubuntu for years now. Before that I used KMail, Thunderbird, and various others. I'm very happy with Claws and I much prefer it to Thunderbird because it's so much simpler and much, much, faster. I am using it strictly for POP/SMTD mail but it does IMAP as well (although I haven't tried that feature).

    It has shed loads of plugins, so check those if you want things like PGP integration or spam filtering.

    It's a fairly traditional three-window GUI interface, but I like that in a mail client. It's fast, simple, and lets me get through my mail quickly. There is no feature that I want that it doesn't have. It focuses on one thing - mail, and does it well. It doesn't change much from version to version, and quite frankly I like that as well. It uses the standard mbox mailbox format, so it is compatible with a lot of other standard mail handling tools.

    Overall, I highly recommend it.

    1. Pookietoo

      Re: It focuses on one thing - mail

      Our two weapons are email and newsgroups.

      Our three weapons are email and newsgroups and a calendar plugin.

      Our four weapons are email and newsgroups and a calendar plugin and RSS.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It focuses on one thing - mail

        I use it for email, newsgroups & RSS. Useful integration. Actually I use Seamonkey so I have even more integration but I suppose this move would put paid to that.

    2. GWT

      Re: Alternatives

      "I've been using Claws Mail on Ubuntu for years now. Before that I used KMail, Thunderbird, and various others. I'm very happy with Claws and I much prefer it to Thunderbird because it's so much simpler and much, much, faster. I am using it strictly for POP/SMTD mail but it does IMAP as well (although I haven't tried that feature)."

      So can I import from Thunderbird, multiple email accounts with the minimum of hassle?

      1. Pookietoo

        Re: can I import from Thunderbird

        Probably, they share the same data format.

    3. Whiskers

      Re: Alternatives

      Claws Mail has worked well for me for years too. It's a tolerable usenet client as well, although I prefer slrn for that.

      Wikipedia seems to find no shortage of email clients <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_email_clients>

  11. PT
    FAIL

    I just wish I could have back the Firebird I had five years ago, without the calendar and eventware and all the other bloatware "features" I never use and can do without. About once a week I get an update in the morning that bricks it until another update arrives in the afternoon. Sometimes it locks up for five minutes or more and can neither be killed nor awakened. Seriously, give me a stripped down version and leave it the fuck alone. If it's losing its bug-inserters - sorry, development team - that can only be a good thing.

  12. akeane

    telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

    ...that is all, move along

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

      That's a bit hair shirt for me. I prefer this newfangled "mutt" email program I found...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

        "I prefer this newfangled "mutt" email program I found..."

        Don't forget elm.

        1. P. Lee

          Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

          Luxury!

          nc -l -p25

      2. /dev/null

        Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

        I remember when mutt actually WAS newfangled!

        /usr/ucb/Mail FTW.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

          ...so are we at the "Pine should be enough for everybody!" level yet...? Just asking...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

            ...only if it has an emacs add-on.

            Cue the VIM zealots in 3...2...1...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
              Trollface

              Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

              ...oh, and it needs to run on my Commodore 64, not one of those useless crappy Speccys!

    2. Chika

      Re: telnet pop3.superfrog.com 110

      Hmm... I still have Pluto installed on my Risc PC. Might have to give Miyuki a bit of power to see if she still has any life left!

      -- Chika

      ...Show me a sane man, I'll cure him for you!...

  13. noj

    Tried a bunch of email services and settled on FastMail. No nonsense interface and in my experience (several months now) very fast. Web interface and mobile app. IMO its worth taking a look.

    1. mdubash

      Fastmail

      Agree re Fastmail - been a user for years - but that's an email service (which works perfectly with TB ofc) rather than an email client.

  14. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Pint

    This could be the best thing to happen to email since RFC 822. A new Thunderbird could literally define the beginnings of secure network communications. With the right tweaks over time and encryption baked in (TOR too?) there is an opportunity to alter the basics of email with a user base that has the potential to make things stick. No doubt it would be tricky but with the right direction it could be done.

    You know, there are days when I feel I'm living that Chinese curse about living in interesting times.

    Gentlefolk! Grab your forks and merge.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      " With the right tweaks over time and encryption baked in... there is an opportunity to alter the basics of email with a user base that has the potential to make things stick."

      It would need a new RFC to extend the protocol if you want end-to-end encryption. You'd also need to bring servers or some other means of providing a PK framework and other clients into the fold. I don't see how a new T-bird could achieve that on its own. I'm not saying it's a bad idea; far from it because it's something we need.

      1. John Hughes

        It would need a new RFC to extend the protocol if you want end-to-end encryption.
        S/MIME and PGP don't exist in your universe?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
          Facepalm

          "S/MIME and PGP don't exist in your universe?"

          And you're telling me the mail protocols make provision for a PKI? And do it all invisibly so that Joe Soap would be sending & receiving encrypted & signed emails without even being aware of the fact? Until then encrypted email is more of a monoverse than a universe.

          If you've got PGP & nobody you know doesn't & doesn't know how to set it up then it's no use to you. It has to be the built-in default to be anything more than a fringe interest.

  15. Esme

    Email client of choice?

    I had no idea which was the most popular Linux email client, and am mildly surprised to find that people are saying it's Thunderbird. I've tried it a few times over the years, and didn't like it one bit, mostly because it seemed to be an Outlook clone (shudders). Back when I was still using Windows, me and my t'other half settled on The Bat, which did the job, no fuss, and that was that. Since moving to Linux, Claws has been my email client of choice. I know I used Eudora for a short while, can;t recall the circumstances , but every time I looked at email clients, Thunderbird was plum last choice every time. Somewhat the way Firefox is getting to be now, as it seems to be getting very slow and buggy both at work (on my Win7 PC) and at home (Linux Mint), often 'freezing' for over ten seconds, whether I've got security measures enbled or not.

    Persoally, I think Mozilla have lost the plot. I hope they find it again!

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Email client of choice?

      "mostly because it seemed to be an Outlook clone (shudders)."

      It's not. I loathe Outlook, but Thunderbird is perfectly fine.

  16. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Alternative...

    www.mr2ice.com

    pity no IMAP support...

    1. phuzz Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Alternative...

      An email client that doesn't do IMAP is a bit like a web browser that doesn't do HTTPS.

  17. Chris Daemon

    Barbie says: Leadership is hard!

    Miss Baker is adorable. I like her point list, which sounds to me like 12 Reasons Why I Want a Divorce. Her stance is a fun read, since she could not commit less to it. Oh, she wants a divorce, but not if she is the only one helming it.

    Thunderbird is a good email client. It works on most OSs, even legacy ones, employs encryption like no other, and (mostly) adheres to standards.

    The only thing it needs from Firefox is the Gecko rendering engine. The rest should be overhauled and or fixed. Rip out skins and "Personalities" (aka resource-hogs), change a confusing plugin repository, add comprehensive SMTP management (we could blame Google in part for this).

    I know that I am overly simplifying this, but I don't see why Thunderbird can't stand on its own feet (Open Email Foundation, Apache Email, etc). I get that Miss Baker was CEO and knows a thing or two about a legal thing or two (and China) - well paid for a non-profit, I think they have ideals in mind and not paychecks. Perhaps Google is doing some strong-arming, who knows. Google just doesn't play well with TB, which sharper tongues find unsurprising.

    Mozilla, (perhaps or perhaps not) according to Miss Baker, is not interested in Thunderbird. And I actually tend to agree with her choice to divorce the email client. The company (people get paid, it's a company) makes a second-rate web-browser next to its successful competition (Chrome), which is owned by its biggest bank-roller. You cannot come up with a dumber movie plot. Add to it that the focus is "the web", which is where it's at, according to Miss Baker. Web OS, web APP, web WEB... probably all in the cloud.

    Thunderbird, aka Mozilla's red-headed stepchild, has a brighter future elsewhere.

    In regards to her list ( https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mozilla.governance/kAyVlhfEcXg ) I translated her divorce proposal, thusly:

    1. We have actualized, fully, you are a stick in the mud.

    2. Same point as (1), and we think it's not worth it. We say "not good for either of us", so it sounds balanced.

    3. Using "Competing Demands" a third time should establish the sound byte - we'll do more throughout. I'll fill the rest of this point with manager-speak; essentially, same as (1), and you are too slow.

    4. Having varied interests may be good or bad, I take no actual stance. We could work for a common goal, broad standards (which I may or may not support), like we did in the beginning when we used to have an array of apps, but Google is footing my bill, so there we are.

    5. I will not name names, but I think a significant yet mysteriously unspecified number of people believe you are unable to fully actualize - no disrespec'.

    6. More argument-weighing to imply that I make a considerate point. Essentially, we should have divorced a long time ago, and I blame myself for stringing you along; quite honestly, you had it coming.

    7. And I am not saying you are bad, but you are. Cause X is important, and you just aren't.

    8. We want to set you free. We'll separate, but you may have to leave the car, and the furniture as well. Since you are dumb, we'll need someone to help you. Yes, you are truly a burdon.

    9. My White Knight and I will help dictate what is best for you - we can't just let you go unscathed. I wrote this hastily, and my lack of proofreading will probably confuse you. But that's not important, since you are worthless.

    10. We are your best bet for you, probably, because we are awesome. We don't judge anyone of our people to help you in any way... pinky-swear.

    11. We could work this out, if we weren't separating. And we separate because I think we just won't work out. It's, like, too hard. Maybe someone can skew some numbers for me? Calling all statisticians!

    12. This should be a summary, but 12 Points sounds better than 11. If y'all think separatin' is a bad idea, holler. I am not saying we should, if you're against divorce, and I will be for it if you want it. Grouphugs!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Barbie says: Leadership is hard!

      "Perhaps Google is doing some strong-arming, who knows. Google just doesn't play well with TB, which sharper tongues find unsurprising."

      AIUI Google isn't the sugar-daddy any more. Could TB be competing with someone else's product?

  18. chivo243 Silver badge

    Love the photo

    Great to see The Thunderbirds are not forgotten. I have installed TB for some people and for their extremely rudimentary needs, it did what they wanted. Next time I'm in the market for a mail client, I'll google up what is currently the hot app.

    Who knows, maybe the next custodians of TB will make it better?

  19. Mage Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Conflicted

    I want Thunderbird to be supported. OTH, I wish there was a decent fork of Firefox, because Mozilla big time have lost the plot. Totally annoying & pointless GUI changes that make it HARDER to use. Stupidity like built in PDF viewing. They aren't even properly maintaining, never mind developing Firefox properly. They have made GUI on Thunderbird worse and not added calendar/meetings widget in a way to kill horrid evil outlook.

    They put a nasty wizard for new email accounts which makes it HARDER to add extra POP mailboxes.

    Both products are going backwards.

    I used Eudora before I moved to Thunderbird very many years ago.

    Who is likely to take on Thunderbird and actually improve the GUI and add meetings/calendar and fix the horrid new account wizard to make it optional rather than add the latest GUI fashions?

  20. Scott 53

    Mozilla is finally growing up

    "At the same time, build, Firefox, and platform engineers continue to pay a tax to support Thunderbird."

    Proper tech companies don't pay tax.

  21. le.zap

    They keep trying to spin off Thunderbird

    They've been talking about spinning off Thunderbird for years (since at least 2007, that I recall), and they even did it once... only to bring it back in when that didn't work well.

    I like Thunderbird. I use it all the time and have installed it for a number of others. I haven't given my e-mail to Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft yet. I appreciate being able to use Thunderbird on multiple platforms, it provides a choice from the dominant platforms of the day, which always seemed to me to be a strong value of the Mozilla project.

    Hmmm. Will stay tuned, but this is not good news.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: They keep trying to spin off Thunderbird

      "We can't quite throw the bag of kitties in the river while y'all are watching - so could y'all please just look away already, nothing to see here, move along folks..."

  22. MrWibble

    Interesting situation, since Thunderbird sems to be very stable, and other than bug fixes, hasn't had any updates for a good 5 years. That "tax" can't be that much, surely?

  23. wolfetone

    Not one person here has mentioned Geary. This is interesting, as it's quite a nice but limited client.

    However, mail clients in general have been neglected over the last decade. I hope that if Thunderbird (which is an alright client, prefer Evolution myself) is respun like OpenOffice was in to LibreOffice, we may get a shining star of a mail client.

  24. Raithmir

    Nylas N1

    Looks like an interesting open-source alternative.

    https://www.nylas.com/N1/

    1. nijam

      Re: Nylas N1

      No SMTP, no IMAP! So, not actually an email client, then.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Nylas N1

      ...you only need to also host the API and sync engine (beside the actual "mail client") and you're all set, huh? Yeah, well, no thanks...

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Nylas N1

      Let's take a look. The site has a documentation tab so let's look at the user documents. WHAT???!!!!

      There isn't any. Just developer documentation. Yet another O/S project that's not interested in users.

  25. no-one in particular

    Ameol2

    but I'm probably the only one still using it...

    1. Paul Webb

      Re: Ameol2

      And I thought I was the only Ameol user in the village...

  26. Lord_Beavis

    Thunderbirds gone?

    Guess I'll switch to chrome then for my browsing since FF won't play Netflix on Linux without a fuckliad of tweaks that every update to Ubuntu breaks.

    If I wanted to reengineer the FF and Netflix connection every damn time I'd just go back to Slackware. I just want my Linux to work...

    The fuck? I sound like a Windows luser...

  27. pmb00cs

    Interesting Timimng

    Until recently I was quite happy with ThunderBird on windows, but I moved away from ThunderBird to use Claws-Mail instead, this being down to thunderbird not liking TLSv1.2 on the IMAPS port.

    I even blogged about the problem (but not moving away from thunderbird) here https://www.craig-james-stewart.co.uk/blog/blog/entry/even-further-adventures-in-ssl

  28. jason 7 Silver badge

    I don't get the thinking at Mozilla.

    Dumping Thunderbird which is my go to software if people demand an email client and currently need to move from Outlook Express...

    Plus the reason people usually use Firefox is that they don't like Chrome. But Mozilla just want to turn Firefox...into Chrome.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: I don't get the thinking at Mozilla.

      > Plus the reason people usually use Firefox is that they don't like Chrome. But Mozilla just want to turn Firefox...into Chrome.

      Yeah, that's part of it. Another *significant* reason is that GoogleChrome tends to bring my system to a standstill (and that's on a Linux box, where applications should never have the ability to kill the OS itself). Chrome must want to be the only app running on a system, because as soon as it starts, nothing else will run. And on MSWin? I found on *multiple* machines (and multiple MSWin versions) that, even if you were to set the home/default page to a *completely blank* local HTML page, the browser would barf on loading that page, or just crash altogether.

      Yeah, TB is significantly more important to me than FF. Maybe the LibreOffice folks can take it and clean it up from all the MozillaSuck it's weighed down with.

  29. P.B. Lecavalier
    Coffee/keyboard

    She owes me a new BS-o-meter

    "Today Thunderbird developers spend much of their time responding to changes made in core Mozilla systems and technologies. At the same time, build, Firefox, and platform engineers continue to pay a tax to support Thunderbird."

    Excuse me, but there ceased to be a full-time developer working on Thunderbird since some time now. That "tax" must be pretty small. So their finances must be really in the gutter. What did they do with millions upon millions upon millions they received from their deal with Google?

    The atrociously high stupidity of matching TB version with FF did not help. Mail clients are like databases: you don't want a new version every five minutes, and if there's a new version, there must be a valid reason to upgrade.

    "I believe Thunderbird would thrive best by separating itself from reliance on Mozilla development systems and in some cases, Mozilla technology."

    That is one gigantic confession of failure. Of course it's hard for Thunderbird to be "synchronized" with Firefox technologies, because just to figure out what's going on with those is in itself a full-time job. Let me reformulate this in another way:

    "Thunderbird would thrive best by separating itself from reliance on" Netscape Communicator 4 technology.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: She owes me a new BS-o-meter

      Here's my 2 cents, as someone who's NOT a native English speaker and has to deal with both Firefox and, to a lesser degree, Thunderbird related development: generally speaking, Mozilla lacks any sense of common sense (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201107/common-sense-is-neither-common-nor-sense) and direction and it's perfectly able to take all kinds of silly decisions just because. In this case however, there are a lot of past silly decisions that kind of forced Mozilla to get to this decision.

      I guess that's it's much easier for them to change plans than execute well on those they have; that's how they ended up with three (soon* to be four**) different extension models - all poorly documented, buggy and incomplete. The stories of e10s (FF multiprocess) and extensions signing are fun on their own and prime examples of poorly though-out plans that did more harm than good with the community.

      I think that the (serious) trouble with Thunderbird started with e10s, the new "Chrome" like extension model and the decision to remove support for XPCOM. None of these things went well with the Thunderbird and Thunderbird extension developers and many were/are thinking about forking Gecko just so they can keep Thunderbird alive with XPCOM and the current extension models.

      Obviously now, Mozilla doesn't feel like maintaining a Gecko branch just for Thunderbird and, most likely, lacks the manpower to quickly bring Thunderbird up to date with the soon* to be released new Gecko changes; the Netscape Communicator 4 part is a "bit" off: Thunderbird wants/needs to stick to Netscape 4 technology while FF wants to move in another direction.

      *soon - in Mozilla's world, soon may mean many things but it's never less than a couple of years.

      ** Chrome alike extensions

  30. SirWired 1

    While external open e-mail clients have a loyal userbase, most business users use Exchange, and most consumers have shifted over to webmail. It makes sense to direct resources away from a project that has lost it's userbase.

    (I know I've been a loyal GMail user since it was released; I enjoy the convenience of having my e-mail everywhere without the limitations of IMAP, and I understand what Google is "charging" (privacy and accountability) and I'm willing to pay it.)

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "most business users use Exchange"

      Well, if you've paid for an enterprise-wide licence for everything Microsoft do, then probably. However, I'd be surprised if most SMEs weren't using just Outlook or Thunderbird with an email server running on a Linux box. There are plenty of howtos for setting that up and for some companies (or, equally, their customers) there may be a legal requirement to avoid routing all your private correspondence through the US.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      > ...most business users use Exchange,...

      Except for those 2 or 3 companies *outside* of IBM still saddled with Blotus Notes...

  31. andrewj

    The $300 million they suck in as revenue each year is not enough to support both ? WTF are they doing with all that money?

  32. RDW

    The imitation game

    Well of course they don't want to support Thunderbird. Chrome doesn't have a separate email client, does it?

  33. x 7

    So...........if Thunderbird gets cut loose, what happens to Eudora? With luck any new owner would bin Thunderbird, but instead go back to the original versions of Eudora and revamp those

  34. Cardinal

    EPIM anyone?

    Anyone else use EPIM (EssentialPIM) - Free or Pro?

    http://www.essentialpim.com/pc-version/features

    I've used the free version for years. It's a bit Outlookish - but you can carry it around on a USB stick as well if you want. Handles all my email needs, notes, calendar. contacts, tasks etc. Synchronizes with Outlook and Exchange Server as well and handles IOS and Android (Pro version). Does cloudy things also.

    Doesn't currently handle Linux at the moment, though.

  35. Fonant

    Opera M2, please!

    I used to be a massive fan of Opera's M2. A tiny bit buggy at times, but very powerful database-driven email storage with "views" instead of folders. Great for people like me who needs lots of different ways to find that all-important email from some time ago.

    Vivaldi is supposed to be getting the successor to M2, called M3, sometime. If it's as good as M2, I'll be transferring from Thunderbird.

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Opera M2, please!

      If it's anything like Vivaldi I'm not interested. Incredibly bloated and dog slow, with the usual chrome-ish tendency to hang around in the background after you've specifically told it to close... quite disappointing really.

  36. Lewis R

    SeaMonkey has flourished since Moz declared it a "project" and not a "product"

    I guess the wheels started coming off the rails at Mozilla even before the rapid release cycle madness kicked into gear, where ratcheting up version numbers took precedence over actually fixing broken things and refining the software (product or project) to make it better.

    FF is becoming (has become?) Chrome (Chromium) from another company, so it's no wonder, considering that that other company doesn't have its own email client (let alone suite), that Mozilla is eager to shed yet another differentiating factor...

    Personally, I've been a SeaMonkey user since Netscape Communicator 4, and have been generally quite pleased with the focus of the Team (except when there's been too much of a rush to "keep up" with/"catch up" to the insane FF release cycle). Hopefully, TB can do as well (for my money, though, scrap the current TB code and fork the mail client off of SM...again).

  37. MJI Silver badge

    Hmmmm

    Well I don't like webmail. Always used a client

    Use Outlook Express and Thunderbird at home.

    At work for newsgroup access I had to use TB because the Windows 7 supplied email client was poo.

    There is always a need for a decent email client.

    TB is good because I was able to set up a PC to use the same email settings and storage for a dual boot PC for both OSes

  38. AvJoe

    No Thunderbird No Mozilla.

    Without Thunderbird I'm off to Google Chrome Full Time. Firefox is getting so freaking buggy it's nearly useless and all the silly changes are pointless without a stable piece of software. *Which Mozilla does not possess!!!!!* And as far as I can see as it's going now *never will* Someone is dreaming and building a crappy piece of software and they really should take a break and rethink their ideas as the dream is becoming a nightmare.

  39. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Libremail?

    If anybody's still following this thread, and bearing in mind the thought that several of have about T'bird linking up with LibreOffice this page is rather encouraging: https://wiki.documentfoundation.org/Ideas_for_the_integration_of_Thunderbird_with_LibreOffice

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Libremail?

      Following ? I've only just found it.

  40. truetalk
    Linux

    Kmail

    Am I the only one that's been using kmail for the last ten years ?

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Kmail

      > Am I the only one that's been using kmail for the last ten years ?

      Oh, was that you?

    2. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Kmail

      I used and loved Kmail from the early KDE 1 days until the Semantic Desktop garbage ruined it :( Sylpheed isn't bad for me, but for people used to (or using) Windows it's nice to have Thunderbird around.

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