Luis pointed out, the name born from MailCo is Mozilla Messaging, a change that I believe brings the correct focus to the coming efforts.
Since the launch I’ve been reading lots of different articles about the launch and the related comments following peoples opinions.
- lifehacker: What Do You Want to See in Thunderbird?
- slashdot: Mozilla Opens Thunderbird Email Subsidiary
- ars: Mozilla Messaging reveals plans for Thunderbird 3
- lwn: Mozilla Messaging Starts up Operations
- More Links at: Mozilla Messaging Launches
Here’s a mix of common threads I’m seeing from the comments.
- Calendar Integration
- Better Search
- Shared Calendars
- Better LDAP
- Conversation View (gmail mail)
- Archiving Support
- Encryption (make it easy and by default)
- Phone Sync (Address Book, Text Messages, Phone Logs)
- Better OS Integration (Windows, OSX, GNOME, KDE, etc.)
- Better Address Book
- Import Outlook PST, .DAT files
- Exchange Server Support
- Better vCard Support
- Taggging (ala gmail)
- Sync contacts w/ GMail, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yahoo, etc.
- New Mail / Reply Templates
And a very common theme is for making Thunderbird FAST AND LEAN!!
All excellent directions to look into. But that is a big list of tough items to handle all at once. I’d like to take the approach of focusing on our core goal and iterating many of these pieces as they align and become defined by our progress.
Email… and Calendaring?
David Ascher wrote an excellent entry launching Mozilla Messaging which unveiled the current plans for Thunderbird. Many comments in his blog and other articles relayed a feeling that these new Thunderbird plans would lose sight of improvements that are sorely needed to bring regular email up to speed. When actually there is a short and medium term set of fixes that need to be done in order to get the regular email experience up to speed.
In parallel to those email fixes we’ll be working on a plan of improving personal communication. There’s no secret agenda in this communications plan we’re going to be very open, honest, and looking for lots of feedback. But it includes improving calendar support inside Thunderbird, not as an additional tool to download but as another way to help people Communicate Effectively and Get Things Done.
Getting Things Done
I’ve got to make a run to the used bookstores in Central Square and look for a copy of Getting Things Done. If that doesn’t work out I’ve added that to my wishlist just in case. But email is usually a thorn in my side, I get so much of it everyday like so many other people and yet I feel like I’m fighting the tide of emails instead of sailing the seas. I like the set of mental tools that the GTD book provides for not languishing in the meta and instead diving into the guts of things and I want to see that inside my email. I want to feel a sense of control over my email again, like I used to have when I first started using email so long ago.
Extensions and innovating beyond ourselves
Since there are so many ideas out there on how to improve communication, organize email, handle attachments, integrate calendaring, and more there is no way a small team will be able to prototype all these ideas; much less implement them all. This is where extensions have to come into play. The Thunderbird extension system has fallen far behind that of Firefox and it’s constraining our communities ability to innovate in an area where so much innovation is possible. Extensions allow everyone to try to fix this problem with email and communication and it creates a vibrant feedback loop where we can all benefit; but I’ll talk more about this later.
My starry eyed view of the future of Thunderbird is a fast and lightweight platform for wrangling all my electronic communication, a supported, active, and vibrant extensions community building cool new ideas on top of an extensible platform can be tried, tested, and rolled into future releases. The future is bright.