Mozilla to speed up Thunderbird development
Mozilla reportedly plans to step up development of its Thunderbird email client in the coming years. David Ascher, head of Mozilla Messaging, told The Register that he hopes for several releases in 2010 and in subsequent years. Even before releasing the final version of Thunderbird 3.0 (the second release candidate of which was released last week), he is already thinking about version 3.1.
Ascher does not say what new functions Thunderbird 3.1 is likely to contain, but does say that it's conceivable that new functions will, as in Firefox, be offered as add-ons before being incorporated into the software proper. Ideas developed for Mozilla's new Raindrop project, announced in October, could also be adopted in Thunderbird. Raindrop is planned as a "communications centre" product, not just for email, but also for RSS feeds and social networking content, which will be aggregated and filtered using open web technologies. It is currently available in source code form only.
Mozilla released Thunderbird 1.0 in December 2004. What was planned as version 1.1 was eventually released as version 1.5 in November 2005. Further major version number updates failed to appear though; the last "major update" was version 2.0 which was released in April 2007. The successor to the current version 18.104.22.168 released in August this year, is set to be version 3.0.
Mozilla spun off development of Thunderbird in autumn 2007 and named David Ascher as head of the project. According to Ascher, Mozilla has taken inspiration for Thunderbird 3 from the best functionality in other email clients. The feature he is most proud of is the new search function.