Mozilla will cease adding new features to Thunderbird, the open source email client.
According to Mitchell Baker, Thunderbird is not very important to the Mozilla Foundation anymore. A desktop email client in a cloud connected world is not worth developing for. Web based email is the future and we will use our cell phones and tablets to stay connected.
While I find my Android phone and tablet rather nice devices to surf the web and check my messages away from home, I cherish the fact that my home desktop is running Thunderbird to archive my communications.
When I started working in IT, all we had were green screens hooked to a refrigerator sized mini computer hidden away under lock and key in an air conditioned room. When the mini was down for system updates or repairs, we twiddled our thumbs or held meaningless meetings.
When the personal computer came about, I was first in line to buy a Compaq Portable Plus. Though I worked all day on dumb terminals, I couldn’t wait to get home and power up my own computer. There was something about having my own piece of hardware, running an operating system I controlled and installing whatever applications I desired.
Thirty years later you’re asking me to go back to the green screen, the dumb terminal age, where we have to rely on the cloud for all our software and data. Maybe kids getting into computing these days or adults with 12:00 flashing on their digital devices are content with just a smart phone or a tablet, I’m definitely not. There’s no way you can convince me of a cloud based future, just so you can sell me new devices every year and reap subscription fees to services I didn’t need in the first place.
Thunderbird will live on, it’s open source after all, and I’ll continue to use it on my desktop for many years to come. From an old Netscape Communicator user, my thanks goes out to the Mozilla Foundation for keeping Firefox and Thunderbird development active all these years.
I don’t care how much money I gotta spend
Got to get back to my baby again
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home
‘Cause my baby just a-wrote me a letter