Mitch Kapor Leaves Chandler

Chandler is the attempt by OSAF to create a PIM. Several years later, it’s still not ready for prime time. Now Mitch Kapor is leaving, and his funding will follow.

He also sits on the board of directors for the Mozilla Foundation. Parent of the Mozilla Corporation and the yet-to-be-named mail corporation which will continue Thunderbird’s development.

I think this quote from the article is really something to pay attention to:

The best communal open-source projects are run like Mozilla (strong core development team with easy pluggability from the outside), Eclipse (cohesive corporate involvement to create a common core while competing at the edges–come to think of it, Linux is like this too), or Apache (strong technology brand that allows for a wide range of experimentation).

Some more interesting reflections on the news can be found on Why does everything suck. Chandler always sounded very interesting, but it never really found it’s way.

Things to keep in mind as Thunderbird develops wings of it’s own.

Thunderbird In Crisis? No

There’s some FUD going around that Thunderbird is in crisis (is Slashdot going to morph into a tabloid?). This is a bit over the top. Yes it’s true Scott and David announced they are leaving and moving on to something else. It’s a slightly different setup than was used for Firefox, but it’s just as promising. I’ve got confidence to say things will continue. There will be a transition period (just like there was when the Mozilla Foundation was formed). Different doesn’t mean something is dead. Remember the Netscape layoffs and the Death of Mozilla? Didn’t really harm the project. I’d say it helped. I won’t say anything more on the topic for the moment.

Mac Email Showdown

ComputerWorld has a rather good showdown of email clients on Mac OS X. The best breakdown of features I’ve seen on the Mac side in some time.

That said, I think they were slightly unfair to Thunderbird. For example, Thunderbird does have calendar support via Lightning which wasn’t mentioned (though it does indicate webmail support via extension). I’ve been using it with Google Calendar and it’s been working very well for me. It also says that Thunderbird can’t read from the Mac OS X Address book, though it should be noted that’s now fixed for the next release. It does however in another part of the breakdown briefly discuss Apple’s upcoming Mail release.

Another interesting note is that there doesn’t seem to be any mention of Entourage still not being available as a Universal Binary, meaning it’s very slow on Intel based Mac’s as I’ve mentioned before. We won’t see it as a Universal Binary until 2008. As someone who uses it daily at work, I’m counting down the days. IMHO this problem alone makes Thunderbird a much better mail client (minus the lack of Exchange support).

Does anyone know if Mail supports exchange? The review seems to think so (see the chart), though I thought that was only over IMAP. Apple seems to agree with me (emphasis mine):

Mail works with the following account types: POP, IMAP, .Mac, and Exchange (only if configured as an IMAP server). You can’t log in directly to Hotmail, AOL, or any service that does not support POP or IMAP access, and retrieve email using Mail.

I wouldn’t really call that support.

Other than those things which I believe aren’t quite accurate, I actually liked the review. I though it was a decent breakdown on a level I haven’t seen before. It exposes features that few really look at (search for example), but really matter in terms of user experience.

MoFo’s MailCo To Coincide With MoCo

Did you catch that title? Thunderbird has a new home, but it’s not moving far. I mentioned this a few weeks ago. The most interesting bit is this:

The new organization doesn’t have a name yet, so I’ll call it MailCo here. MailCo will be part of the Mozilla Foundation and will serve the public benefit mission of the Mozilla Foundation. (Technically, it will be a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, just like the Mozilla Corporation.)

Awesome! And other minor details…

Mozilla will provide an initial $3 million dollars in seed funding to launch MailCo…. Mozilla may well invest additional funds; we also hope that there are other paths for sustainability.

It’s great to see it’s going to be well taken care of. Keeping it in the family is also good for XULRunner and the Mozilla platform since it ensures everyone will continue to work as closely as they have in the past. Also insures that the new organization will keep the same principles at heart that made Firefox what it is today.

The Rumbling Edge has a good list of media coverage.

In other news, Yahoo acquired Zimbra for a cool $350 Million. This has been the biggest week for email since Gmail launched.

The Future Of Thunderbird

Mitchell today announced that the Mozilla Foundation is now looking for a new home for Thunderbird since it doesn’t directly meet the mission of the foundation, which is putting most of it’s efforts into Firefox. Three options have been initially proposed (though there seems to be room for more options).

Continue reading

David Bienvenu Blogs

It took a few years of occasional pestering, but finally we have a core Thunderbird developer blogging. Next step is to get another. Planet is a bit Firefox centric because of Firefox having a much larger team and user base, but I feel Thunderbird is still way underrepresented.

Blogging has become part of community building, and interacting with users. It’s great to see more and more developers coming out and directly interacting with the community.

mozPod 0.2a1

mozPod 0.2a1 is available. It’s alpha because it hasn’t been as well tested as of yet. I wanted to get it out before Thunderbird 2.0 ships, and I’ve been getting a fair number of requests for it lately.

I’ve released MozPod 0.2a1 as an interim release for Thunderbird 2.0 users who want to use mozPod and see some new features. I decided to not support mozPod 0.1 on Thunderbird 2.0 to keep things easier to manage.

This is an alpha release and likely has some bugs. I wanted to get it out for those who want to start testing. This would be an ideal time as people want to move to Thunderbird 2.0.

Here’s the changes that matter:

  • Feature – Preliminary support for Lightning (if installed).
  • Enhancement – Thunderbird 2.0 support.
  • Enhancement – Some performance tweaks.
  • Fix – Sync all available AB’s.
  • Fix – Correctly handle notes that are more than one line.
  • Fix – Skip over LDAP servers in Address Book without failing.
  • Fix – Try to not hold lock on disks.

As usual, if you like it and want to encourage me to spend a little more time on it, feel free to do so. I do request some feedback. Let me know how it works for you.

I’ve got more extension goodness on the way. I’m planning to get to a real mozPod 0.2 release in the next few weeks. There may be a new extension on the way as well…

You download it from this link: mozPod 0.2

Open Source Corporate Email

According to ZDNet a Yankee Group report to be released next month found that of 1,000 IT managers and C-level executives, “23% of the survey respondents indicated they intend to migrate away from Exchange Server.” That’s a rather impressive number. Quite a few of those could go to Zimbra or Hula/NetMail, which could make great companions for Thunderbird, who buy the way is rapidly developing a calendar, which is starting to look pretty good.

It could be interesting to see what happens.

The Crushing Junk Folder

Since 9/19/2006 when I last emptied my Junk folder, my personal email address has 1.65GB (yes, gigabytes) of Spam/Viruses in it. That is in my opinion a sign of a serious problem.

Oh yea, a few weeks ago, we began auto-rejecting email from certain blacklisted servers, which drastically cut down on spam. And still it almost hit the 2GB mark.

Imagine how much wasted electricity spam filtering costs due to consuming CPU cycles and hard drive I/O. Not to mention the financial cost.

On a side note, for Thunderbird users:

I like to keep a mail archive, I do so using the trash. I just don’t empty. But I don’t want my “Junk” in there. So what I do is periodically delete it.

Edit: See comment #1 for a better way, or for my way, read on.

First close Thunderbird. In your profile, find your Mail folder, then your mail server, and you’ll see a file called Junk. Delete it and create a blank. Or in any Unix OS:

rm -r Junk
touch Junk

Then open up Thunderbird, right click on the Junk folder (will still show # of items, though none exist), select “Compact”. It will soon reset to 0. Done. Nothing mixed in your trash. Perhaps a nice extension would be a hard delete, one that didn’t go to the trash, but just wiped the contents away.