Mozilla Thunderbird has been an interesting, free alternative to Microsoft Outlook and an important replacement for those people who were using Microsoft Outlook Express. The Mozilla Foundation has announced that they are no longer going to develop the project.
I’ve struggled to like Thunderbird. In part, it’s because it’s interface has never really appealed to me. It has many powerful features. For example, you can create a search and save it as a perpetual folder, so that it will auto update with matching e-mails anywhere in your folders. You can theme it extensively too, to make it look however you like. For me, it was often just easier to go to the specific e-mail account I was going to use than to open up Thunderbird. When I needed to manage e-mail or switch e-mail servers or ensure I had a backup, Thunderbird was my go to program.
It will be interesting to see what happens with Thunderbird going forward, and with any other e-mail related endeavors from the Mozilla Foundation. Google is obviously looking at mobile mail with its acquisition of the Sparrow team. Postbox continues going from strength to strength, although I believe it is built on the Thunderbird code. While not free, it has some very compelling features. But as they indicate, there may be some trouble in the desktop e-mail client world.
Unless you’re using Microsoft Outlook.