Discontinuation rumors are nothing new, but some are more substantiated than others. On that note, Mozilla has reportedly sent out a letter announcing that its open-source email and news client Thunderbird is not being discontinued but people are being pulled off the project.
According to TechCrunch, a letter was sent out (before an official announcement, which will come on Monday) that stated Mozilla has decided that "continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals."
More details should be posted on Monday, but here are the contents of that letter, as reported by TechCrunch.
On Monday Mitchell Baker will be posting on the future of Thunderbird.
We'd like you to be aware of it before it goes public. However, this is *confidential* until the post is pushed live Monday afternoon PDT. Please don't tweet, blog or discuss on public mailing lists before then.
In summary, we've been focusing efforts towards important web and mobile projects, such as B2G, while Thunderbird remains a pure desktop-only email client. We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals. The most critical needs for the product are on-going security and stability for our 20+ million users.
However, Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open source multi-platform email applications available today and we want to defend these values. We're not "stopping" Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the product. This will mean an eventual shift in how we staff Thunderbird at Mozilla Corporation - we are still working out details, but some people will likely end up on other Mozilla projects.
We are going to open this plan for public discussion to individuals and organizations interested in maintaining and advancing Thunderbird in the future on Monday. We are looking for your feedback, comments and suggestions to refine and adapt the plan in the best possible way throughout the summer so we can share a final plan of action in early September 2012.
If you have any questions prior to Monday please reach out to me [firstname.lastname@example.org] or Mitchell [email@example.com]. Again, this information is for Mozillians-only until Mitchell's post goes live.
Jb Piacentino Thunderbird Managing Director
New release and governance model for Thunderbird will be available here concurrently to Mitchell's post: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Proposal:_New_Release_and_Governance_Model
Info on Modules and Thunderbird owners: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Modules
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