The Mozilla Foundation has announced that it will be changing gears with regard to the open-source Thunderbird email client, providing security updates and maintaining mechanisms for the Thunderbird community to continue development, but not pushing Thunderbird forward internally. Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, was candid about how Mozilla has tried and failed for years to innovate with Thunderbird and to engage an active contributor base. Some will no doubt claim that this move portends the death of email; we would suggest it merely indicates that email is a mature and highly entrenched technology that does what most people want. follow link
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Mozilla Backs Off from Thunderbird Email Client
For example, will they support "Windows 9" or "Mac OS XI" (or whatever those next versions are called?) I tend to doubt it.
It's too bad. While I don't use Thunderbird, I still think that desktop software for managing email is pretty essential. All of the web-based ones suck in pretty major ways. One key example of that: The GMail web client cannot do partial-word searches. Let's say I remember an email that had something to do with computing, or computers, or something. I can't enter "comput" in the GMail search box and find it. I have to run multiple distinct searches for "compute," "computer," "computers," and "computing" to try to find it. Kind of shocking for a company whose roots are in search....
Although you are absolutely right about Gmail's lack of partial-word (and header) searching, I've found that it's not actually a concern in my real work, and its speed of searching makes up for a lot. And on the other side of the equation, Gmail is actually innovating, with features like Priority Inbox to bubble important message up to the top.
Also, it, like every other webmail client I've run across, only supports pulling stuff from other accounts via POP, not IMAP, which makes switching to it a non-starter for me.
Admittedly, I'm pretty extreme when it comes to email. Checking just now, I have about 30GB of mail (dating back to 1994) and about 10 IMAP accounts that my desktop client is set up to check and aggregate into a single interface. I have yet to see any web-based client that could handle that!
I tend to prefer forwarding to POP pickup in Gmail, and haven't run into a scenario where IMAP pickup would be useful. But everyone's needs vary.
We do not expect the Mozilla announcement to materially impact Postbox development. We've been innovating on the Mozilla platform for close to five years, and Postbox is now better than ever.
If you're a Thunderbird user looking for a new home, or someone who would like to make a meaningful change in your daily workflow, then now is a great time to try Postbox!