Mozilla is about to disown Thunderbird, its stand-alone e-mail client, the company’s CEO disclosed on the 25th.
In a posting to her blog Wednesday, CEO Mitchell Baker said that Mozilla’s first priority is, and will continue to be, its open-source browser, Firefox. “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,” said Baker.
Thunderbird’s community, which includes a large number of unpaid programmers, should be cut loose “to determine its own destiny,” she said.
Baker laid out three possible fates for Thunderbird, including creating a new nonprofit organization similar to the Mozilla Foundation to focus on the e-mail program; building a new subsidiary of the foundation just for Thunderbird; and releasing Thunderbird into the wild as a community-only project.
Mitchell did not hint at a timetable for making a decision about the e-mail program or when internal Thunderbird development and support would stop. Likewise, Mozilla did not comment on those issues or what, if any, impact Baker’s message will have on Thunderbird 3.0, a major update that until today presumably was still in the works.