While Mozilla's Firefox continues to make massive marketshare gains and is (un)arguably the best web browser currently doing the rounds it's Thunderbird email client hasn't received the same love and attention... and the company knows it.
Consequently the future of the software has come up for debate by Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker in her (oops - thanks Jack!) latest blog post entitled 'Email Call to Action'. In it he admits "We have concluded that we should find a new, separate organizational setting for Thunderbird; one that allows the Thunderbird community to determine its own destiny."
Three options are mooted:
* Create a new non-profit organization analogous to the Mozilla Foundation
* Create a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation for Thunderbird
* Thunderbird is released as a community project (like SeaMonkey)
Baker calls on readers to contact Mozilla with their suggestions, but – rather surprisingly – doesn't seem particularly enamoured with any of her own proposals admitting "We don't know the best answer yet. And we don't expect to without a broad public discussion and involvement, which we hope this message will trigger."
Ultimately however it is clear Thunderbird no longer holds interest for Mozilla long term as it plans to (perhaps wisely) focus more on Firefox and its ambitious attempts to overhaul Internet Explorer.
However sadly this may be to many it ultimately makes good business sense. Firefox is a valuable and much loved thoroughbred while Thunderbird is its likeable yet unremarkable stable mate and I know if I have to ride one of them for a long time it would certainly be Mozilla I'd rather straddle... (metaphor, too much? Thought so).