Webmail clients have pretty much advanced to the point now where we aren’t wishing for much more. Outlook still plays an important role in the Enterprise helping to tie together contacts, calendar, and mail into one application, and for everyone else with offline needs, there is Thunderbird. Thunderbird as an open source project has always been the gold standard on the PC as a free alternative to Outlook, even though it has never enjoyed anywhere near the same market share as Mozilla’s other open source baby. You may have heard of Firefox perhaps?
Today however, Mozilla announced that key resources from Thunderbird project are being moved to other areas , and aside from bug fixes and security updates, no new improvements are being planned going forward.
The market for offline email capabilities may be on the decline, however it’s still unfortunate to see another high profile player bite the dust. Thunderbird will continue to be available for the foreseeable future, but without any improvements being planned, it might be prudent for users to start investigating alternatives. The beauty of open source is that improvements are still possible from community driven fork projects, but we will have to wait and see if these ever materialize.
Mozilla claims that nothing is set in stone, and a final plan should be released sometime in early September. Those looking for immediate alternatives should check out Postbox , Seamonkey , or even the fairly competent Windows Live Mail.