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Mozilla Sheds Light on Calendar Effort

Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail client has made relatively small inroads in the market versus Microsoft's Outlook e-mail program.

The company hopes to flip that switch as Mozilla this week launched Lightning 0.5 and Sunbird 0.5 to provide the complete calendaring system that its been missing.

Lightning and Sunbird are essentially two different sides of the same coin. Both are part of the Mozilla Calendar effort. Lightning is an extension for the Thunderbird e-mail application while Sunbird is a standalone calendaring application.

Neither application is considered by Mozilla developers to be production-ready at this point, though with each release the software is getting closer.

Among the new features in the 0.5 releases of Sunbird and Lightning is supportfor display of Outlook meeting requests and appointments. Support for GoogleCalendar has also been included, enabling Sunbird and Lightning to read andwrite events to a Google Calendar.

With both Sunbird and Lightning still in development, the new release is loaded with nearly 200 bug fixes to the previous development version, making the 0.5 release more stable and usable.

Among the various fixes are simple items like the ability to print the weekly view of the calendar and a mechanism to convert a task into an event.

Developers have also cleaned up the user interface and overall usability ofthe two calendar apps. It's all part of the evolution of Sunbird and Lightning as Mozilla continues to push toward its big milestone release nextyear.

"About two months after our initial scheduled release date, Lightning 0.5 and Sunbird 0.5 bring us a huge step closer to our 1.0 release, which is scheduled for the first half of 2008," said Mozilla developer Simon Paquet in a mailing list posting.

Sunbird and Lighting are available for Windows, Mac OS X (universal builds) and Linux in 22 different languages.