Talk:Thunderbird:Future of Thunderbird

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David and I have expressed some of our thoughts here:

I blogged about this , primarily because I hack on and would love to see Thunderbird really take advantage of some of the stuff our server can/could do. Primarily, I think Tbird has to become relevant to business users, even if just small business people, and it seems to me the obvious way to create a product which might generate revenue.

  • So I agree with lots what you posted, I wouldn't suggest to tie it to one server product, but use existing standards if possible. Eddyn 13:01, 29 July 2007 (PDT)

Roadmap suggestion: Focus on the backend

I would like to suggest an outlook (sorry about the pun) which is almost diametrically opposed to what I've been reading people say on talkbacks, forums, etc.

Most people's suggestions seem to be about 2 things: Fix their personally-favorite UI bug :-) and add new features - calendaring, instant messaging, etc. I believe that as long as you are just two full-time developers, this is not a good idea. I find that the current Thunderbird development community is overstretched as it is. With more resources, feature-set expansion is more reasonable.

The alternative, in my view, is to focus on improving Thunderbird's back end:

  1. Disentangle back-end API from the front-end, e.g. folder operations which for some reason require msgwindows and require 'selecting' folders, or the address book, in which AFAICR you have to interact with the address book window to add/remove/manipulate entries
  2. Allow for more non-UI work to be done outside of the main thread
  3. Add support for more mail storage formats (maildir, databases, maybe even other mail clients' formats),
  4. Support situations in which multiple processes (or threads) are working on the same mail folders / mail db / etc. at the same time
  5. Rework some older and cruftier parts of the code (like libmime)
  6. Allow for real manipulation of messages in code (i.e. have message objects rather than just message header objects)
  7. Expand the concept of a message to accommodate future work with instant messaging or forums-via-mail-client and other such modes of communication and interaction
  8. Create a more powerful and more versatile filtering framework
  9. Improve the documentation and the readability of backend code and of the innumerable cryptic interfaces and methods.

I think the focus on 'enabling' work - backend improvement work - should allow more people to get involved with Thunderbird development in general, expand the possibilities of what can be done with extensions, and perhaps even lure people who are now only extension developers to get involved with core development. These last few goals are what I wish to stress the most - even if you disagree with some of the foci I listed in the previous paragraph. --Eyalroz 01:53, 4 August 2007 (PDT)

A new vision and roadmap for Thunderbird.

  1. adding sunbird lightning calendar to Thunderbird installer by default
  2. Integrating serverless Instant Messenger to Thunderbird
  3. Creating a adress book in Thunderbird, which has: emailadress, retroshare-key fields for each contact (copy out line).
  4. creating the online-contact box in the left menue as a contact list for Thunderbird email, users are offline or online and can be messaged or emailed. So there is no need for a buddylist, it is just the contacts adressbook of Thunderbird, which appears in the write Window and under teh folders in the main window left.
  5. Make a Thunderbird wizard, which picks up email-pop, retroshare cert_user.pem file OR creates an account for retroshare serverless IM.

These five steps to a new Thunderbird future combine both:

  • online and offline communication
  • Instant Messaging and Email
  • serverless (new jabber-retroshare) and serverbased protocols (email)
  • a new general interface to internet communication on the desktop.

If no new roadmap is done for Mozilla, let´s do it for openoffice. A team could performed with all the developers of Thunderbird, sunbird, and retroshare and maybe openoffice-developers. BTW, there was an announcement, that 50 chinese developers invest in OOo, so why no getting support here as well.

No organizational change for now

I suggest to hold off any organizational change (and talks about) for now and focus currently on the results your post might bring. I also suggest to start a discussion on a mailing list for brain storming in order to bring ideas together and see who/where/when can make which commitments. Results from the mailing list should be posted back here including proposals, road map, commitments etc. (See mailing list entry) Once a clear road map and direction is decided, it will be much easier to choose how to proceed and what would be best for the project.

(I feel that the wiki isn't the right place for discussions and might discourage people from joining forces. The wiki is an excellent place to nail things down once something serious can be posted)

Eddyn 16:17, 27 July 2007 (PDT)

Better Backups

I think Thunderbird needs a better backup something that is easier then the current 3rd party programs out there to back it up.


I think that looking at what makes Microsoft Outlook a popular mailing system might give some clues as to what users consider the basics for their mailing systems. I am currently an Outlook user, I installed Thunderbird a month ago but got the impression I was going back to Outlook express.

Really the functionalities, I think, that make the success of Outlook are :

     - Classified Information (Mails, Calendar and reminders, Contacts)
     - Search options (Search for contacts, and through emails)

I think if by opening Thunderbird, I had a clear impression that the software was going to deliver those, I would have swapped over. Some of the features I wish I could find a mailing application had :

     - Integrated Mail server to email reminders (for a meeting to multiple users for example)
     - Webversion of the standard client. Similar to Microsoft Outlook Web access but integrated into a client version. 

Hope this helps...