Mozilla Confirms Thunderbird Email Client Move

Thunderbird is go. Thunderbird email client has this week moved to a new wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation

The future of the Thunderbird email client may be a bit more secure after the Mozilla Foundation confirmed it is moving.

The Thunderbird project has been moved a new, wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, called MZLA Technologies Corporation.

While some may worry this will allow Mozilla to monetise the project, Mozilla has said that the move will mean that “Thunderbird will still remain free and open source.”

New home

News of the move was confirmed this week in a blog post by Philipp Kewisch, chair of the Thunderbird Council.

“This move has been in the works for a while as Thunderbird has grown in donations, staff, and aspirations,” wrote Kewisch. “This will not impact Thunderbird’s day-to-day activities or mission: Thunderbird will still remain free and open source, with the same release schedule and people driving the project.”

Thunderbird’s future had been in doubt for a number of years now. In 2012 for example, the Mozilla Foundation announced it would cut back on development of the Thunderbird email client, to focus more on Firefox.

Three years later in 2015 Mozilla did just that, when it dropped development on the email client, saying that it would only deliver security and maintenance updates in the future.

Kewisch acknowledged the uncertain status of Thunderbird in his blog.

“There was a time when Thunderbird’s future was uncertain, and it was unclear what was going to happen to the project after it was decided Mozilla Corporation would no longer support it,” Kewisch wrote.

“But in recent years donations from Thunderbird users have allowed the project to grow and flourish organically within the Mozilla Foundation,” he wrote.

“Now, to ensure future operational success, following months of planning, we are forging a new path forward. Moving to MZLA Technologies Corporation will not only allow the Thunderbird project more flexibility and agility, but will also allow us to explore offering our users products and services that were not possible under the Mozilla Foundation.”

Revenue collection

He explained the move will allow the project to collect revenue through partnerships and non-charitable donations, which in turn can be used to cover the costs of new products and services.

“Thunderbird’s focus isn’t going to change,” Kewisch pledged. “We remain committed to creating amazing, open source technology focused on open standards, user privacy, and productive communication. The Thunderbird Council continues to steward the project, and the team guiding Thunderbird’s development remains the same.”

“Ultimately, this move to MZLA Technologies Corporation allows the Thunderbird project to hire more easily, act more swiftly, and pursue ideas that were previously not possible,” he concluded.

Hopefully the move will help gain Thunderbird some more users.

Litmus Email Analytics has indicated that the Mozilla email client accounted for just 0.5 percent of all email opened in Q1 2019.

Outlook on the other hand accounts 9.2 percent.

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