It appears that Mozilla may be setting the Thunderbird project free so it can develop more rapidly on its own.
Mozilla has been supporting Thunderbird since its inception. That effort has delivered some promising results, but Mozilla is mostly focused on Firefox.
In a blog post, Mozilla chairman Mitchell Baker said:
The Thunderbird effort is dwarfed by the enormous energy and community focused on the web, Firefox and the ecosystem around it. As a result, Mozilla doesn't focus on Thunderbird as much as we do browsing and Firefox and we don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future. We are convinced that our current focus - delivering the web, mostly through browsing and related services - is the correct priority. At the same time, the Thunderbird team is extremely dedicated and competent, and we all want to see them do as much as possible with Thunderbird.
Baker's conclusion: Thunderbird needs a new home so it can develop its own community. Among the options Baker tossed out there:
- Create a new non-profit entity just for Thunderbird. This would be modeled after Mozilla.
- Create a Thunderbird subsidiary within Mozilla. The benefit to this would be less overhead.
- Release Thunderbird into a community project like SeaMonkey.
Baker noted that Mozilla doesn't have the answers yet. She's looking for feedback. Scott MacGregor has more.