RealTime IT News

Mozilla Millions go to Thunderbird

Mozilla's Thunderbird e-mail client has yet to enjoy the same degree of success as the Firefox Web browser, which has become one of the most successful open source projects ever with over 400 million downloads.

Mozilla is aiming to improve Thunderbird's fortunes with a new organization that will spearhead development and grow the e-mail client's developer ecosystem. Thunderbird won't be starting its new organization penniless, either. Mozilla has stated that it will seed the new e-mail entity with $3 million in funding.

"We will increase our investment and focus on our current e-mail client -- Thunderbird -- and on innovations in the e-mail and communications areas," Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation, wrote in a blog post. "We are doing so by creating a new organization with this as its sole focus and committing resources to this organization."

To lead the new e-mail focus in the organization, Mozilla has hired David Ascher, currently CTO and vice president of engineering of ActiveState, developer of the Mozilla Framework-based Komodo IDE.

Baker noted in her blog post that among the goals for the new e-mail organization is for it to spark the same kind of excitement and energy level and innovation in the e-mail communications space as Firefox has done in the Web browsing space.

"And when we do, Internet life will get much, much better and much more interesting," Baker wrote.

The Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail project was originally known as Minotaur but renamed Thunderbird in 2003; at the same time Phoenix was renamed Firefox.

The most recent branch of Thunderbird development is the 2.x series, which first appeared earlier this year. Thunderbird has also been chosen as the base for the new version of Qualcomm's once popular Eudora e-mail client.