thunderbird email client
Thunderbird is the default email app on Ubuntu

The future of Thunderbird is looking a little more certain today.

It’s been announced that the Mozilla Foundation will (continue to) serve as Thunderbird’s “future home” — at least for now — and the email client will migrate off of Mozilla Corp. infrastructure.

The decision brings an end to several years of uncertainty for the open-source email client. Mozilla Corp announced back in 2012 that “continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.” 

While development did not cease Mozilla effectively left the project to the community, arguing in 2015 that “Thunderbird would thrive best by separating itself from reliance on Mozilla development systems and in some cases, Mozilla technology.”

Several potential foster parents for the project were evaluated, including the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and the Document Foundation (TDF).

But a new deal has been struck with the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit organisation that oversees the Mozilla project.

The Thunderbird Council, who steer work on the app, need to “maintain a good working relationship and make decisions in a timely manner” and make “meaningful progress in short order on operational and technical independence from Mozilla Corporation” for the deal to stick.

‘Optimistic about the future of Thunderbird’

The Thunderbird Council say they are “optimistic” about the future.

“With the organizational question settled, we can focus on the technical challenges ahead,” Thunderbird’s Philipp Kewisch writes in a blog post.

“Thunderbird will remain a Gecko-based application at least in the midterm, but many of the technologies Thunderbird relies upon in that platform will one day no longer be supported. The long term plan is to migrate our code to web technologies, but this will take time, staff, and planning.

“We are looking for highly skilled volunteer developers who can help us with this endeavor, to make sure the world continues to have a high-performance open-source secure email client it can rely upon.”

Up to the challenge? You can learn more about how to get involved in the development of Thunderbird via this link. Alternative you can make a donation towards its continued development, or, if you’re looking for a career change, apply for a job as Thunderbird build manager at Mozilla.

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