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Mozilla Opens Thunderbird Email Subsidiary 186

alphadogg is one of several readers to note the opening of the Mozilla Foundation's new subsidiary, Mozilla Messaging, charged with developing the free, open source Thunderbird email software. Mozilla Messaging will initially focus on Thunderbird 3, which aims at improving several aspects of the software, including integrated calendaring and better search. ZDNet UK's coverage leads with the interest the new organization has in developing instant-messaging software.
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Mozilla Opens Thunderbird Email Subsidiary

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  • Exchange Server? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Will the calendar work with exchange?
    • by Sorthum ( 123064 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:36PM (#22481350) Homepage
      Lord I hope so. Right now we're approaching it from the other end; using Zimbra to support Outlook users. I'd love to offer a complete groupware solution that worked cross-platform...
      • Re:Exchange Server? (Score:5, Informative)

        by EvilRyry ( 1025309 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:53PM (#22481584) Journal
        With the openchange project working on libmapi, I could certainly see this as a possibility. The SOAP calls that were previously relied by Evolution and Apple Mail on are far too slow and unstable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DraconPern ( 521756 )
          Our LUG thought about writing a mail client using libmapi to talk to Exchange. Unfortunatly, libmapi is not enough to make it work. The RPC over HTTP piece is still missing. So at this point, an outlook replacement is still not possible.
    • by an.echte.trilingue ( 1063180 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @07:47PM (#22482288) Homepage
      A lot of people use the example of Exchange Server as a reason that open source will not displace MS in the business world. They like to point out that no open source program interfaces properly with its calendaring function, damning all these clients to hobbyist hell. It has become an obsession.

      However, I think that in trying to emulate outlook in this respect, open source projects such as thunderbird have lost the innovative edge that other OSS projects have. I am convinced that Exchange Server is as good as dead and google docs is going to kill it. Google docs does everything that Exchange Server does, and it is in many respects better. It is innovative (labeling, for example), and most importantly, you don't need a client of any kind to use it. Just a web browser and there is no client side configuration at all. From an IT side, it is certainly easier to deploy and manage than Exchange server. Google already offers domain accounts for free, I think at least in part to prevent small and growing businesses from getting hooked on Exchange in the first place.

      I bet that in the near future google is going to start selling the software that runs google docs for clients to run on their own servers. I would also bet that they will develop Exchange Server migration tools soon.

      However, there is no reason why an open source project could not have done this. In the arena of website content management systems, open source projects such as TYPO3, Joomla! and phpwebsite are the leaders because instead of trying to emulate Microsoft Frontpage, they came up with good, innovative solutions oriented toward real people. Similarly, SugarCRM and phpBMS are leaders in small to medium business client management systems for the same reason: instead of emulating Microsoft Access, they are innovative, powerful, easily managed web-based solutions. None of these projects are less ambitious than google docs.

      In getting so hung up on the question you just posed, we are going to see yet another generation of Outlook clones that will never be as good as Outlook because the open source developers cannot take the Exchange Server apart like Outlook developers can. We should stop asking that question and start asking what we can do to make that question irrelevant.
      • Currently the only reason I need to run Windows on my work laptop is MS Office, especially Outlook working with Exchange. I have a Linux workstation that I use for almost everything, the only reason I have to have to take my laptop out of the bag is for mail and calender. I have tried Evolution, and I find it to be very clunky and jerky.
      • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @10:57PM (#22483910)

        Google docs does everything that Exchange Server does

        Including sit physically secure in my server room? I hate Exchange too, and also think email clients should stick to email instead of adding the kitchen sink, but Google isn't going to kill MS until people can have control over the hardware it runs on.
        • I know it was a bit long, but if you're going to reply you could at least read the whole post.

          I bet that in the near future google is going to start selling the software that runs google docs for clients to run on their own servers.

          Even if they don't do this, a lot of users (especially smaller businesses without dedicated IT staff) would prefer not to be responsible for the hardware, anyway. Larger ones not so much.

          Personally I think it's more likely they'll sell hardware which runs their software, similar to the Google Mini search appliance. Or perhaps even add the functionality to Google Mini: a box that costs a few grand that can inde

      • by halycon404 ( 1101109 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:12PM (#22483988)
        Exchange isn't going to die anytime soon. No matter how good Google Aps is, no one with half a brain and a medium to large buisness.. is going to give Google power over their email severs. Too many sensitive documents go out and come in, through email. No one wants someone else to have power over their business by controlling access to those documents. Sure, we geeks can tout it as a triumph of innovation or whatever the buzz word is this week, but you'll never see google aps as a replacement for Exchange and Outlook. And those two products really should be called one product, because its not till you put them together that either really shines. Its a symbiotic relationship. You can't build a better open source exchange server and have it succeed without a better open source version of outlook. Want to see Exchange die? Lock the writers of Qmail and Thunderbird in a room for a few months, and keep delivering them beer and pizza through a mail slot.
      • The PC is the mainframe... The people worrying about MS Exchange are like mainframe developers predicting or worrying about some obscure business application. It's irrelevant. You're 3, 5 years behind the times already. [] [] []

        This is the now, not the future, Microsoft have already lost, and they have admitted it. All their Windows mobile devices? []
      • Quote: "A lot of people use the example of Exchange Server as a reason that open source will not displace MS in the business world."

        The reason it isn't working is because there are too many open-source exchange like projects. Therefore, none of them gets all of the features which are needed.
        To succeed, they should bundle all forces and create ONE solution.

        When we were looking for a Groupware solution, I have tried several open source solutions.
        They all failed in one of the following:
        - Open source Outlook co
  • The real story (Score:5, Informative)

    by savala ( 874118 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @05:57PM (#22480818)

    The CEO of this new Mozilla Messaging company writes the most insightful blog post containing the most hopeful look at the future of messaging [] and how Thunderbird could make a difference there... and slashdot links to mostly useless informationweek and zdnet stories?? Bleh...

    David Ascher really gives me hope for where things are going - but he can't do it alone. And he can't get the people who'd help to do so if he's being ignored!

    • of life.
      He'll still get attention - and you get bucket loads of slashdot karma. It's a win ... something.
    • Re:The real story (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Otter ( 3800 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:31PM (#22481260) Journal
      The CEO of this new Mozilla Messaging company writes the most insightful blog post containing the most hopeful look at the future of messaging ...

      Out of curiosity, what do you think is so insightful about it? Ascher seems enthusiastic, and a pleasant guy to work for, but I didn't see any specific novel ideas in there, just a lot of "Email is for improvement...add useful features...listen to our users" boilerplate.

      It also struck me as odd that a decade after Netscape stuck email into the web browser and few years after Firefox stripped it back out, he's proposing to put it back in!

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )
        Lots of people didn't agree with ripping out the mail client, which is why we also have Seamonkey.
    • Re:The real story (Score:4, Insightful)

      by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:34PM (#22481290) Homepage Journal
      That's all very interesting, and a lot of Ascher's ideas sound really good. But before they start converting Thunderbird into the Collaboration Platform for the 21st Century[TM], I wish they'd spend a little time polishing up its rough edges. Nothing major, just irritating stuff like there not being keyboard shortcuts for all the editing commands.

      Another thing: does Mozilla spinning off Thunderbird mean that it will get even a smaller share of their revenue for R&D? Tbird has not exactly been growing and improving by leaps and bound, and the Mozilla foundation seems to have little interest in it. Spinning it off into a separate organization sounds suspiciously like they're just plain cutting it loose. And if the new TBird org can't find it's own funding, the mail client's future is anything but bright.
      • Re:The real story (Score:5, Interesting)

        by savala ( 874118 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:49PM (#22481538)

        Polishing the current Thunderbird is (at least from the impression I get) actually one of the main goals for Thunderbird 3. It's not all that exciting to talk about, so it only got the "a set of other user interface improvements" line in davida's article, but it's definitely known that making the program just a little bit better in many small ways (my personal pet peeve on this plane is not being able to search across all accounts) would make it hugely more useful for many people, and just good enough for a whole bunch of new potential users.

        And no, spinning Mozilla Messaging off actually means it has the chance to finally get the attention it deserves. The Mozilla Corporation has been totally focussed on Firefox (since that's their big cashcow, and it's hard to do two things well), and the Mozilla Foundation is mostly just an oversight and broad planning organization, so a separate organization was needed to let email stand on its own. The Mozilla Foundation hopes that Mozilla Messaging will find its own source of income fairly soon, but they're heavily investing in it right now, and I suspect that if Mozilla Messaging is successful in furthering the goals from the Mozilla Manifesto [], but without attracting a lot of income of its own, that funding will just keep on coming (bankrolled by the money Firefox earns). That's pure speculation on my part, and obviously MoFo won't say anything like that, because that would remove much of the incentive for Mozilla Messaging to find its own sources of funding - but it'd make sense.

        • I went trolling Mozilla.Com for Thunderbird development info (roadmaps, release date projections) recently and found it startlingly bare in terms of Thunderbird related material.

          Basic functionality works pretty well, but the editor is braindead, especially when it comes to switching back and forth between HTML/Plain Text edits.

          And there needs to be some more options/tuning of the IMAP engine. First off, 5 connections as the default is broken, and I'd like to see IMAP locks get broken and stay broken by oth
        • Re:The real story (Score:5, Interesting)

          by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:59PM (#22484278)
          And no, spinning Mozilla Messaging off actually means it has the chance to finally get the attention it deserves.


          As far as I see, this is their chance to quietly get rid of Thunderbird without making it look like they are ditching it.

          Who is the big funder of the mozilla (firefox) project now? Google. Why? So they have a nice browser to use their search engine and show their ads that MS can't set with MSN as the default search engine/ad-shower. They want everyone to have that firefox instead of IE, since Google doesn't make a browser of their own.

          Now what about email? Google has gmail. They'd like you to use it so they can mine all your data, show you ads, etc. Why would they want to provide you with an email client that would get set to other mail servers as much or more often then their own? They have no interest in such an email client, and definitely no interest in funding it. Therefore, it's being pushed out of the next on it's own to find it's own funding or wither and die.
          • Thunderbird has no revenue source. Without help from the profit generated by Firefox (primarily from Google), Thunderbird is doomed, at least in terms of centrally paying people to develop it.

            It's been cast off to fend for itself. I'd expected a more altruistic attitude from an organization calling itself "The Mozilla Foundation," and am rather disappointed by this change.

          • Re:The real story (Score:5, Informative)

            by mashade ( 912744 ) <> on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @01:21AM (#22484652) Homepage
            I think that's a lot of conjecture (but aren't all slashdot comments?), but keep in mind that Google recently added IMAP functionality to its Gmail service. This has been paramount to getting lots of organizations, including my own, to switch to Google Apps for email.

            And that's hardly hostile towards Thunderbird, the sister of their preferred browser.
        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )
          I think it needs more than just polishing. It isn't just minor features that are missing, it's major ones. For example, there are no default new mail or reply templates. Every other mail client ever can at least put "Hi ," and "Regards, " into your replies for you. The message editor needs an overhaul too, especially for people wanting to write email in non-English languages (e.g. I use Japanese).

          There are some real show-stopper bugs too, like occasional message database corruption.

          TB needs a lot of work, t
      • "Another thing: does Mozilla spinning off Thunderbird mean that it will get even a smaller share of their revenue for R&D? Tbird has not exactly been growing and improving by leaps and bound, and the Mozilla foundation seems to have little interest in it. Spinning it off into a separate organization sounds suspiciously like they're just plain cutting it loose. And if the new TBird org can't find it's own funding, the mail client's future is anything but bright."

        As a Thunderbird user I consider that to b
        • Re:The real story (Score:4, Interesting)

          by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @02:37AM (#22484966) Homepage Journal

          If the Mozilla foundation isn't interested in it's development then I would rather see it fall into the hands of people who are.
          You need more than interest to make software grow. You need programmers. Programmers generally need to get paid. Mozilla has lots of money to pay programmers, due to their business relationship with Google. Thunderbird currently gets very little of Mozilla's R&D budget. Now that Thunderbird is a separate organization, "very little" will probably become "zero".

          So basically, Mozilla is telling Thunderbird people, "go find your own sugar daddy, we're not sharing ours." All this talk of a new messaging platform is obviously a way of attracting funding. But I'm not optimistic that it will be forthcoming.

          Hopefully I'm wrong. Because if I'm not, Thunderbird's progress, already slow, will cease altogether. And then it won't matter who's humming the show.

          And if no one is (which I think unlikely) then eventually I will just have to stop using Thunderbird and find something that is under active development.
          Like? All the other OS email clients are even more stagnant.
      • I'm figuring they end up getting shoved to the corner just like Seamonkey.Which is really sad,as all they seem to care about anymore is Firefox.I've personally converted more people to Seamonkey(and I wish they'd change the stupid name!) than I ever could to Firefox.You'd be surprised how many folks are still using Win9x or Win2K(I even have a customer that refuses to let go of his WinME,yuck!) and are still using an unsupported IE with OE.And while it would be too difficult to talk them into learning two s
      • by zsau ( 266209 )
        What I wish is that Thunderbird behaved like a normal program on my computer. Compared to Evolution or Balsa, Thunderbird is a lot more polished and useful. But I have given up trying to use it, because it has silly problems like not mixing in completely with my current theme (it seems to be adapting it somehow, treating my computer like it's running Windows and then converting the current theme along those lines, instead of just using my theme), and not obeying my system settings (for instance, for most pr
  • by Eggplant62 ( 120514 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:08PM (#22480958)
    Rofl, like the folks concerned would see them. Anyway, what would be nice would be an effective filtering mechanism for Usenet groups. I try to use the current filtering system in Thunderbird and it just sucks all kinds of ass. I'd also love to see a way to rescind filtering and accidentally killed threads.

    Yeah, I know, wishful thinking, good luck.
  • All these stories about open source software seem to be joining in a symphony that is ringing a death knoll for MS.
    I guess not everything needs to be a MS killer, but where will they be once jabber based instant messaging, calDAV calendaring, and SSL IMAP are commonplace, easily integrated, federated and administered?
    What FireFox did to their web dominance, these open protocols, standards and software will do to the rest of their business. (Embarrass and decimate.)

    What advantages will Exchange have over a s
    • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:21PM (#22481116)
      All these stories about open source software seem to be joining in a symphony that is ringing a death knoll for MS.

      I don't mean to rain on your parade, but I've been hearing that for at least 10 years now, be it with Linux or other non-Microsoft software ventures. Truth is, Microsoft is still there and it still beats the crap out of most of its competition by virtue of its monopolies.

      I love Linux as much as the next guy, I use it professionally, but Microsoft is still the big rabid dog of a bad software company it's always been, and it won't go away anytime soon.
      • I'd just like to add my agreement here...

        Microsoft won't die tomorrow morning. It won't die next year.

        IMHO, it'll take about a decade to push them down to a 33% desktop market share, so long as things keep trending as they are now. After all, it took 8 years just to push them down below 90%, and a lot of that was Apple's doing in the desktop realm. Ubuntu helped a bit, and it didn't hurt that Windows Vista blew chunks. But... even on a favorable curve, it'll still take awhile to dislodge the monopoly to

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          I kind of agree. I think too much is made of beating Windows and replacing it with any alternative, where most users don't want to buy in to that zealotry (or perfect ideal, depending on your viewpoint). What would make a big difference is to let users keep Windows and slowly undermine the applications they run on there - reducing the marketshare of Office would stick MS where it really hurts.

          If thunderbird could beat Outlook and Exchange then that'd be quite something - but it'd need to integrate very easi
      • You're right, in that MS still beats teh crap out of most of its competition by the virtue of its monopolies.
        I do believe, however, that the landscape has changed much in recent years, to the point where people are understanding that adopting open standards, as opposed to proprietary ones (ie. Exchange) is good for the long-term business.
        I don't believe that that used to be one of the concerns in the past, before FFox came on scene and shown that a better product can in fact, be better and open source, than
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:21PM (#22481122)
      That's a nice thought, but if I had a dime for every time someone said a particular piece of technology would be the death of Microsoft, I could buy Microsoft and kill it myself.
      • I could buy Microsoft and kill it myself.

        Somebody in there is having a good try [].

        Windows Vista Sensei comes from a long family line of warriors, the " Windows" family.

        He is highly thought of as one of the most powerful warriors alive. Although he is still young, Windows Vista Sensei is said to possess different strengths and confidence not known to anyone.

        Seriously though, WTF is up with MS marketing? First there was that braindead comic, now there's these monumentally lame Microsoft action figures...

    • by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:30PM (#22481250)
      You're absolutely right. I'm sure that the XBox360's higher install number and sales rate that keeps pace with the PS3 [] are all just a backwards sign of it's utter failure. With the rate that Windows is losing ground to Linux, it'll only be another 30 years before it's no longer the dominant player! Windows Mobile also being the dominant player in that field is a fluke, I'm sure, and it's going to fail soon. When you take those factors into account, they've only got a few decades of ridiculous power and profits! THEY'RE DOOMED!!!!

      That is, unless they break into a new market or do just about anything else that keeps the status quo. Also, since Firefox hasn't cut IE's install rate to below 50%, the terms "embarrass" and "decimate" might be premature, although decimate does technically apply.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Penguinisto ( 415985 )
        Two words concerning Xbox 360: Channel Stuffing. Factor that out (and use a halfway accurate chart this time, Sport [])*. Now couple it with the device's inability (still) to turn any profit at all?

        Suddenly things don't look so good for the 360.

        Even worse news? Compare this little puppy [] for growth rates.

        By the by, Windows Mobile is now being outsold by iPhones in the North American market, and Everyone Else ('cept Palm) in the global markets (ref: Canalys; will dredge up on request).

        Microsoft has exact

        • you used game sales in your chart, not device sales. You also used a single week of game sales as a metric, which is kinda dumb

          I was using the total install numbers on hardware, which is on the front page. I was also linking to the site in general, so I apologize for the miscommunication.

          That being said, the chart you linked to shows more installed PS3's for the time since they were launched, but it doesn't change the fact that the XBox has more systems sold. Does it look like the XBox may fail in the future? Yes, but that's only a prediction. For right now, it's not a failure, it's doing quite well.

          My point isn't that Micr

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cp.tar ( 871488 )

        Also, since Firefox hasn't cut IE's install rate to below 50%, the terms "embarrass" and "decimate" might be premature, although decimate does technically apply.

        Well, that depends on where you live.
        In certain parts of Europe, Firefox has 40%+ market share. Count in some other alternative browsers and there you have it... IE's dominance is dwindling.
        Of course, nothing Mozilla does will be enough to lower the IE install base, since IE comes bundled with Windows, but OS X and Linux are slowly making inroads there as well.

        It will take time, and MS is still very strong, but things are changing.

      • by dwater ( 72834 )
        > Windows Mobile also being the dominant player in that field is a fluke,

        It isn't the dominant player - that would be Symbian, mainly of the S60 variety.

        Unless, by "that field" you mean mobile devices that run Microsoft Operating Systems.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jdoss ( 802219 )
      I'm far from an MS fanboy but the only real failure I see on your list of "failures" is MSN Search. XBox did well enough, and XBox 360 is a definite win to the extent that it has creamed Sony with this generation of consoles so far. Live is a rebranding of their MSN services just as they've had forever... it can certainly be considered a failure in that it doesn't bring in the money it needs to or should, but I see that set of services as a stop-gap between them in everyone else. No need to give other co
      • by ivan256 ( 17499 )
        In terms of profitability, the only success I see on his list is Windows Mobile. I'm not sure what metric you'd use to call it a failure, unless you're counting "usability"... But that's subjective. Any reasonable business person would call it a success. The 360 is currently in third place in week-to-week sales, so it's still too early to call it a "success". Especially since it's lost such an enormous amount of money, while it's competitors (the Wii and the PS3) are currently selling at a profit.

        You also s
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Toonol ( 1057698 )
          From what I understand, Sony is manufacturing two models of the PS3. The less expensive (presumably more numerous) model has no compatibility, while the more expensive model has software compatibility. The model with 100% hardware compatibility has been discontinued.

          This business of both Sony and Microsoft manufacturing numerous versions of their consoles, with slightly differing capabilities, is terrible. Who wants to do research before buying a game console? Another thing Nintendo did right.
        • Microsoft also has a 16.4% [] failure rate of the 360's that's seriously eating into their possibility of profiting from it. I suppose they'll write the couple billion that they're in the hole on that endeavor off as a marketing expense...
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      Consider their failures:
      -XBox 360 (May be early to call it a complete failure, but now that HD-DVD is dead, sony will ride them like a reverse cowgirl)

      Neither the original nor the 360 can be justifiably called "failures." "Unprofitable" maybe, but not "failures."

      I wouldn't buy a PS3 over a 360 (I have neither) unless the PS3 has at least a 20% price advantage. In fact, I've recommended the 360 to people who have absolutely no interest in playing games, just because it's the easiest media-center-extender to buy.

      MS is burning cash to get market share, and it's working.

      OTOH, if you slap on "Zune" to that list you've got something.

      • And I don't care how many dividends they give out to shareholders, they'll still have cash to burn to buy market share.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by heffrey ( 229704 )
      What's a "death knoll"? Are MS going to be wiped out by some evil killer hillock? Or will it they be put out to graze on a grassy knoll?
    • by slyn ( 1111419 ) <> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:52PM (#22481574)
      *And yet MS still controls an approximate 75% [] of the web browser market, Windows still controls an approximate 90% [] of the OS market, and there has been more than 2x [] as many 360's as there are PS3s sold.

      As much as I might like Linux and OSS ideologies to replace Windows and MS, I honestly believe you would have to be living in dream land to think that MS is all of the sudden going to implode, let alone do it within the next 2-3 years. Just like Firefox has slowly and steadily taken market share from IE6+7, Linux will slowly and steadily take market share from Windows.

      Why won't it happen fast? Firefox is a (if not the) poster child OSS program, and receives a significant amount of word of mouth advertising. It is free (in many ways, but cost is the only one that the vast majority cares about), and is almost 100% of the time rated as better than IE in reviews. And yet despite all these reasons its (albeit growing) market share is around 15%, compared to the vastly worse IE 6's 42ish% and IE 7's 32ish%.

      Obviously, technical superiority and free-ness are not good enough reasons to get everyone to switch over in one big surge. Over time as Linux and OSS software in general continues to improve, the momentum to change will increase, but this change will not happen overnight. Here's to hoping for a majority market share in the next 3-4 years, but I wouldn't bet money on anything less than 6 years, and I wouldn't be surprised if it took 10 or more.

      I'm not trying to be pessimistic or defeatist, but rather realistic. If it weren't for the fact that I am a tech nerd and encouraged people to switch I think nearly all my friends and family would still be using IE, let alone know what Linux is.

      *Disclaimer: Yes I realize no market share analyzer is 100%, or even 90% accurate, and yes I realize these often have a tendency to under-represent Linux, but these statistics do give at least a general idea of where the majority is at.
      • And yet despite all these reasons its (albeit growing) market share is around 15%, compared to the vastly worse IE 6's 42ish% and IE 7's 32ish%.

        Well, it's kind of hard to supplant the de facto browser installed with every copy of the Windows OS, don't you think? It's not for lack of trying or any fault of Mozilla's that Firefox isn't on top. Add to that the lack of any kind of decent ActiveX script reader for Firefox so that it might work well with all the idiotic corporate IE-only applications, and there's

      • I still know the days we were talking about a 1% market share of firefox.
        Then people started to talk about 5% and later 10%
        Today it's on 15% (perhaps more?) already, which is quite a lot. And virtually any website created today supports firefox correctly.

        Also, back in the days MS had about 99% of the OS market, now I see you mentioning 90%.
        Not even to mention the server market, in which Linux is making some very good progress.

        10+ years ago when I started working with Linux nobody even knew what it was. Tod
    • The reason that Microsoft has such a stronghold in certain markets is they have vendor lock in.

      Office formats in the past weren't easily usable with other office suites.
      Exchange server doesn't work with other email clients without a plug in. (this is for the extra stuff such as calender in outlook)
      MSN messenger would not be easy to bring over to the jabber platform for the simple reason that Microsoft decided it would be a good idea to use users email addresses as users login names. Try explaining to a user
    • by 0racle ( 667029 )
      Thanks dude. I just spent all day trying to find a decent Exchange replacement and I needed a laugh.
    • All these stories about open source software seem to be joining in a symphony that is ringing a death knoll for MS.

      Allow me - again - to propose a moratorium on all "Microsoft is dying" posts until all the following conditions are met:

      1 MS stops reporting 15%-20% growth each quarter.

      2 MS stops reporting 30% growth in "emerging markets," 20% growth in the EU and 15% growth in the U.S.

      3 MS no longer has the energy or the resources to underwrite projects such as the design and launch of a communications

  • by bn0p ( 656911 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:14PM (#22481032)
    I would like to see a search capability like that in the defunct Bloomba e-mail client (now the basis of WordPerfect Mail). The entire text of every piece of mail was indexed which made searches very fast. It was also easy to set up virtual folders (based on search criteria) to associate your e-mail according to several criteria. A given mail could appear in several folders, not just one. The company called it a Personal Content Database []. The Bloomba client also incorporated a calendar and an anti-spam proxy.

    The company producing the software, Stata Labs [], sold the technology to Yahoo in 2004. It has since been resold to Corel for use in their WordPerfect Mail.

    Never let reality temper imagination
  • by sasha328 ( 203458 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:17PM (#22481062) Homepage
    Email is not what people are after. Dopn't get me wrong, people want to send and receive email. That's a no brainer, but, there are a myriad to clients out there that do the job quite well. Some of the clients are stand-alone and some are web based.
    Some of the clients also offer a "calendar" where you can store events.
    However, what the world needs (to avoid Microsoft's dominance) is a shared calendaring system integrated into the same email client. I use Outlook at work. At the end of the day, I care nothing what I use to send emails with, but I do care that I can view others' calendars in Outlook, and that I can send them invites and see if they've got something in the calendar or not. That is what many people are looking for, not another email client.
    This will never happen on the client side if there is no server backend to manage the data and the sharing permissions.
    If you build it, people will come.
    My two cents.
    • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:29PM (#22481234)
      You're right, of course...

      However, I can't help but think we'd see double digit percentage productivity gains if such things didn't exist. Shared calendars mean that people can see you're available and book you up solid with meetings, leaving no time to work. There isn't even plausible deniability, because they can see your calendar. You have to schedule fake appointments for yourself to get some time to work.
      • Any good shared-calendar system (including, yes, MS Exchange) will allow you to reject meetings that people propose for your calendar. They will even let you propose alternate dates and times for the meeting so that you can still have the meeting but at a time that's better for you.
    • WebDAV/CalDAV (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:59PM (#22481666)
      Lightning supports both WebDAV [] and CalDAV [], which allow calendar sharing. It plays with google calendar & Apple's iCal. It just doesn't play with Outlook/Exchange.

      Evolution works with exchange, as does MS's Outlook Web Access.
      • by Foresto ( 127767 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @12:29AM (#22484424) Homepage

        Evolution works with exchange, as does MS's Outlook Web Access.
        Evolution works with Exchange about as well as most cell phones work in an elevator shaft three floors below ground level. The connector is so fragile that it will hang or crash the whole app if you so much as breathe on the mail server, and even when it does work, it can't perform all the operations that a full Exchange client can. If it works well for you, consider yourself lucky.

        I happen to be one of the unfortunate masses whose employer insists on MS Exchange for all its scheduling needs. Since I work on a linux box, this is a constant source of frustration. My day job will become noticeably easier if the OpenChange [] project yields a solid and reasonably featured open source Exchange client.
    • by rabiddeity ( 941737 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @08:30PM (#22482756) Homepage
      I agree that calendars are necessary for corporate deployment. But while you mentioned other stand-alone clients, where are they? I need something that doesn't suck security-wise (*cough* Outlook Express), is supported on multiple platforms (sorry KMail), isn't packaged with a bunch of other stuff I don't need (no thanks, Seamonkey), is full-featured and graphical (I love you pine and mutt, but most users won't deal with a CLI), and doesn't have annoying interface bugs (Thunderbird, you are really on the edge here). First and foremost, I want a program that does email perfectly. A stand-alone client like that currently does not exist. (And don't tell me to go to webmail, I'm not going to put up with waiting several seconds between each email, and I need to be able to read my old mail and compose new mail on an airplane.)

      Corporate users should have a "corporate plugin" with all the calendaring and shared address book stuff in there. Have it as an option during install, sure, but if I'm a home user I don't want the clutter of Outlook and I certainly don't want the bloat.
  • I think that the IM market is already quite flooded with competitors (competing protocols and competing unofficial multi-protocol clients). The most intelligent thing for Mozilla to do is perhaps build its own email system (or similar domain) with easy Thunderbird integration and integrate it with an XMPP client/server. XMPP is the way to go these days. In that way, folks who already have XMPP accounts (Livejournal users, Gmail users, and soon AIM users) can contact those using the Mozilla
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nimey ( 114278 )
      That's a stupid, terrible idea. Running an email server, especially one that won't puke under load, is expensive and time-consuming, and would be a distraction. should concentrate on their core stuff, the browser and email.
  • Encryption (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:46PM (#22481482)

    Personally, what I'd like to see is an e-mail client that comes by default with working encryption... that is to say, it tells other e-mail clients what encryption choices it offers and learns from messages it receives and always chooses the best encryption option when sending messages to others. Further, I'd like that choice to handle when I send a message to a CC list of 30 people, such that it will send messages to all users, some encrypted and some not, but still letting all users get the full CC list for responses. Ideally I'd like to see this built upon an open standard that has buy in not only from the Thunderbird team, but also other major vendors (IBM, Sun, Apple, etc.) as well as other types of software (IM, VoIP, video conferencing, etc.)

    Seriously, in this day and age doesn't ist seem idiotic that easy to use encryption is not a built in feature for most e-mail clients? I know why Google hasn't done this (they have a conflict of interest) but what have e-mail software vendors been doing for the last 5 years? How is it possible that someone like Apple hasn't jumped on this and made a snarky advert where the "Mac guy" says, "Oh really, I put my mail in envelopes so random strangers and people at the post office can't read the letters I send to my bank and girlfriend."

    • Thunderbird comes by default with working encryption. Get yourself a private/public key pair and certificate from Thawte and off you go. When people e-mail you with signed messages, it learns their public keys and you can then send them encrypted mail.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Thunderbird comes by default with working encryption.

        The last version I tried only supported SMIME which was not on by default and did not generate a key by default. It also was a pain when dealing with any other client since it includes an attachment to the file, which most people assume is a virus. Random chars in your sig are okay, but attachments are not in a normal work environment. It never seemed to learn that those addresses don't have SMIME support and stop sending them and did not handle CC's as I outlined above, making group discussions a mess. B

    • I've wanted to have encryption on email for at least 10 years, but the biggest reason I haven't pursued it is that I don't really trade many messages with people who would go through the trouble to set up current offerings. And without a universal solution, there just aren't enough people who use the same email service/software to make it practical to install something that lets you communicate with only a small number of people (that's probably why Apple hasn't jumped on this yet - Apple fanatics still co
  • by robkill ( 259732 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @06:50PM (#22481560)
    Are the Qualcomm developers who support Penelope [] part of this? Will their work be incorporated into Thunderbird, or is it a separate project?
  • Having just solved an enigmatic Microsoft Exchange problem that even their own support "specialists" could not assist with, I really hope this is the light at the end of the tunnel for a centralized messaging/calendering platform. Keep it simple, keep it safe. My god, my bosses spend thousands of dollars each year for platform licenses, upgrades and my labor, just to keep the ugly monster that is "groupware" running. All for just a synchronized calendering and email program so the managers can share their
  • by tmk ( 712144 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @07:27PM (#22482042)
    The Mozilla Foundation has the money, bit I like the KDE applications better. Kmail beats Thunderbird by far - and the rest of the kde-pim applications are pretty well developed. Could the Mozilla Foundation join forces with KDE? there are many, many challenges. For example there is an urgend need for an appication that synchronizes with your online calendar and your cell phone. KDE applications could use somthing like Linkification and severals other Mozilla addons, Mozilla needs help in evrythin which is not a browser.
  • The two things that keep me using gmail:
      - Grouping related emails into conversations
      - Unobtrusive chat built-in

    I don't use chat enough to remember to start up MSN or AIM or whatever when I'm at the computer. But I'll chat occasionally on gmail because it's always open if I'm at my computer anyway.

    Put those two things into Thunderbird and I'll use it.
  • No mention of Eudora (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Redbaran ( 918344 )
    So with there being no mention of the Eudora code base that Qualcomm gave to the Mozilla folks, does this mean there are no plans for those features in Thunderbird? Does Eudora only have implications for the Penelope [] project?

    I think it would be a shame if all we got out of Qualcomm's Eudora are some very superficial changes (new buttons, etc). Then again, maybe I have an overly rosey memory of Eudora and it really didn't have much to contribute.

    While I have my little soap-box, how come Thunderbird does
  • How about improving the filtering capabilities? I'd like to have what Eudora and Claris Emailer had 10+ years ago. Let me play a different sound file when certain rules are matched. Let me not generate a popup alert when messages match certain rules (ie I want to archive them but I don't care to see them). Even Outlook can do that.

    How about email archiving abilities built into Thunderbird? That would be nice. I use Thunderbird for my mailing list account. I get a couple thousand messages a day and

  • I was an avid Thunderbird user, have been for a long time. But then I transfered all my email to Google apps (GMail). I tried the web interface... and found myself using it more and more often, until eventually I realized I hadn't used Thunderbird for 1-2 months. So I installed the Gmail and Google calendar provider into Thunderbird thinking I might use it more... and I did at first... but then I found myself back in the web interface more often than not. To me the email client is no longer a concern, unles
  • i fear that its being attacked from the wrong end.

    whats needed isnt so much a new client that can integrate 1001 different protocols, but a server that can do so, and that one can connect to using any interface out there.

    as in, a one stop shop online for mail, im, chat and whatsnot. hell, if one could merge mail, im and chat into a single protocol one would be half way there. and with the recent extensions to xmpp it may well happen.
  • I'm old fashioned, and have always used a mail client rather than web mail where possible as I like having a rich editing environment. In recent years I have moved to IMAP mail wherever I can in order to be able to at least read my mail pretty much anywhere. Thunderbird (and Firefox)'s OS portability has made it possible to have a common mail interface on practically any computer, but what is still missing, as has been said elsewhere, is a common environment. This is where Gmail et al (but mostly GMail) has
  • Finally (Score:3, Informative)

    by sherriw ( 794536 ) on Wednesday February 20, 2008 @09:32AM (#22487034)
    Hopefully this will mean that some /actual/ progress will be made on Thunderbird. I've been using it for years and I do like it, but the Lightening calendar add on is terrible, and it lacks some 'nice to have' features.

    As to those who've lost their email due to corrupted files... this happens to Outlook too. Just write a batch script to backup your mail folder once in a while. Problem solved.

    And no, Gmail is not a viable alternative to a desktop mail client. Don't get me wrong, I think Google's services are great and I use Gmail for somethings, but having your entire email universe in Google's hands is foolish.

    Anyway, I hope this announcement will mean some major upgrades to T bird and soon.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton