Will Mozilla fill Open Office product holes?

Integrating Sunbird with Thunderbird would be cool. Integrating Sunbird with Open Office would be cooler.

Mozilla Sunbird logo
Yesterday, Paula laid the smackdown on IBM for not going after Microsoft Outlook with its Symphony announcements.

Before Big Blue could even rise from the mat, however, the Mozilla Foundation tagged me with news it was expanding its Thunderbird initiative with $3 million seed funding and David Ascher, formerly of ActiveState, as CEO of the new unit, dubbed Mailco.

Ascher, who is and will remain based in Vancouver, blogged that while the new firm will technically be for-profit its main aim will be "to serve the public benefit." It will start with significant assets, including the Eudora open source code which is in the process of being folded-into Thunderbird. (I'm using it right now.)

Mitchell Baker of Mozilla blogged that this came out a series of discussions within the Foundation. He wrote that the development charter will include Thunderbird's integration with RSS, VOIP, IM, and other technologies.

As to the calendar, Mozilla has an open source calendar program called Sunbird in its toolkit. (The cute birdie above is its logo.) Integrating Sunbird with Thunderbird would be cool. Integrating Sunbird with Open Office would be cooler.

And it's simple to do, thanks to open source.

There remain areas of speculation, of course:

  • How closely are the folks at Open Office and Mozilla communicating?
  • How much can they cooperate, from a development perspective, without considering a merger?
  • Would IBM perhaps provide the dowry, in the form of development funds?
  • Can you sue an open source project for antitrust?

All this, and more, is yours free to speculate upon, all day, while Paula and I seek more information.

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