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For six years, the Internet Nexus served as my technology blog, but I've since started blogging at the SuperSite Blog instead. If you're looking for the blog, please head there. --Paul

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Email Call to Action

Mitchell Baker:
Mozilla has been supporting Thunderbird as a product since the beginning of the Foundation. The result is a good, solid product that provides an open alternative for desktop mail. However, the Thunderbird effort is dwarfed by the enormous energy and community focused on the web, Firefox and the ecosystem around it. As a result, Mozilla doesn't focus on Thunderbird as much as we do browsing and Firefox and we don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future. We are convinced that our current focus - delivering the web, mostly through browsing and related services - is the correct priority. At the same time, the Thunderbird team is extremely dedicated and competent, and we all want to see them do as much as possible with Thunderbird.

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.
The Mozilla CEO is coming around to something I've been wrestling with lately, and I suspect it's a growing issue for a number of users: Email applications just aren't that great. Unfortunately for her and her company, however, the solution most likely isn't a local application but rather a Web-based service like Gmail. I don't see any reason to install and manage a local email application anymore. Increasingly, I suspect that's true for many others as well.

So. Her comments about Firefox are correct. Mozilla should focus on the browser, because that application, increasingly, is the front end for most of the time that people spend computing. (Please fix the memory leak issue on Windows while you're at it, Mozilla.) Trying to make a run with Thunderbird, however, is silly: It will just whither and die. Thunderbird, as she notes, is "solid," but ... so what? It's unnecessary. I'd rather see Mozilla contribute some of its email expertise towards making Web mail better. Not another Web mail client, no, we have plenty of those. Instead, they should work with the market leaders to see what they could contribute. Or maybe Google could simply hire the Thunderbird team and just put an end to this silliness.

The email application is dead. So, too, is the local calendar application. Look to the Gmail Notifier on the Mac (which provides both Gmail and Google Calendar notifications) as an example of all you really need on the desktop, if that.

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[ Posted at 8:41 AM | Permalink ]


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