As a long time Netscape (now SeaMonkey, a community maintained project) user, having an E-mail client that was integrated into a suite came as a big help as an all in one solution.
Then a relatively new browser came along by the name of Mozilla Firebird, shortly afterwards because of a trademark dispute it changed to Fire Phoenix. Then, finally, it changed again in February 2004 to Firefox. Back in 2003 the (newly established) Mozilla Foundation announced they were to begin working exclusively on Firefox and Thunderbird as part of the Mozilla Project.
Late in 2004 (August/September), I switched over to Firefox. Then shortly afterwards, Thunderbird. They both – in my opinion fitted in with the Unix philosophy:
Do one thing but do it really well
Firefox had its web standards (HTTP/SSL) and Thunderbird had its E-mail standards (IMAP/SMTP/POP3) and both accomplished their tasks admirably. The interfaces were simple and not cluttered; they loaded quickly and ran smoothly. They are both modular programs – developers can at their discretion add theme’s/extensions much like the latest Sun Microsystems (and now IBM) backed OpenOffice.org release. In short, they complimented each other perfectly.
Now Thunderbird is moving to its own stable for the Mozilla Foundation/Corporation to focus its efforts on Firefox but, will still remain with the Mozilla Project and under the Foundation’s guidance.
The decision was announced by CEO/Chief Lizard Wrangler Mitchell Baker late Monday to go with Mozilla’s second option – to make a taxable entity – MailCo – under the Mozilla Foundation whose sole focus was Thunderbird thereby keeping it in the Mozilla Project and still within the Foundation.
The news comes in addition to Eudora releasing their binaries of the Penelope project (http://wiki.mozilla.org/Penelope) – collaboration between Mozilla developers and Qualcomm developers to port the Eudora E-mail client over to the open-source Thunderbird framework with Penelope available as an extension to provide all the additional functionality.
If Mozilla commits even a fraction of the resources it has available for Firefox to the Penelope project, then I can see it becoming a very useful client in the same vain as Thunderbird and Firefox.
I am fully aware of the move to webmail that most people use; case in point – Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Etc…. But, I still firmly believe that there will always be a need for an E-mail client (I prefer to use an IMAP/SMTP E-mail server) and still praise Mozilla with making Firefox a better browser and improving Thunderbird and the Penelope Project.
Posted by Si Howard – Si Is currently studying for a Bachelors in Computer Science and turned to Firefox and Thunderbird after many years as a Netscape user. He maintains a personal blog at devastator.wordpress.com