Mozilla discontinuing Thunderbird, calling it “not a priority for Mozilla”

Some say 13 is an unlucky number. For Mozilla Thunderbird, the organization’s open-source email client, it certainly is: just over a month ago, version 13.0 was released, and now its rapid development has come to an end.

According to the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation Mitchell Baker, Mozilla will release one more major version on November 20th of this year, and then release just security updates for another year. He says that much of Mozilla, including the Thunderbird Team, have concluded “on-going stability is the most important thing, and that continued innovation in Thunderbird is not a priority for Mozilla’s product efforts”.

He also explains that “most Thunderbird users seem happy with the basic email feature set” and most other email users are now using web-based interfaces such as Gmail and Hotmail. Are you a fervent Thunderbird user, or have you moved onto the wonderful wonderful world of webmail?

[Mitchell’s Blog via The Verge]

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  • willyneu

    EM CLIENT might not work for me since allows more then two emails addresses, which I take full use of!

  • Angry Black Man

    yeah, apparently “postbox” is now making thunderbird “premium”.

    EM CLIENT is FAR SUPERIOR to thunderbird.

    ESPECIALLY if you need support. thunderbird’s bugzilla is a waste of your time.

  • I’m really disappointed in this, they’re basically tossing the market to outlook which is a terrible mail client. This was really the only other alternative to outlook :(

  • zebra148

    They can take their fancy web mail and put it where the sun does not shine. I hate fancy and complex. I love Outlook Express, and thanks to W7 that went out the door. Hotmail use to be nice now it is stupid…

    All the e-mails programs are getting too fancy, too many bell and whistles. Tried a couple other than TB, and would not be bad if had a toggle between simple and advanced. So far TB you at least can delete or not use all the add-ons, so have a little control over it.
    Couple little things would like to see…..with last update, but will not hold my breath, so will live with what we have now.
    Thanks Fayazdo for the links will take a look…..but probably stuck where I am :-)

  • Robert

    @Lance: Thank you for the heads up on the extension. I didn’t know such a beast was available since I’m more up to speed with Firefox extension than Thunderbird so this will be valuable for me.

    @Fayazdo: I had no idea how many other email options there were. Thank you very much for this information, and I’ll be sure to check them all out since I am such a download junkie.

    I think I should be the chairperson to a support group called Downloads Anonymous. :)

  • Kernow

    Thunderbird came to my rescue quite some time ago and continues to be invaluable in my communications and its various filtering abilities – particularly when dealing with multiple accounts. I for one shall continue to use it for as long as possible.

  • Allen H

    I have been using Thunderbird for a few years now and find it excellent. I hate web mail

  • Fayazdo

    There are multiple freeware or open source programs that will provide you with functions similar to Thunderbird (Gmail and Hotmail, POP3 and SMTP accounts ).

    The following are worth looking into:

    Roundcube –
    Ymail2 –
    DreamMail –
    MultiMi –

    You can also use an add-on for Firefox since, after all, there is a logical reason why FF and TB new editions are released at the same moment.

    Add: Simple Mail –

    Add: the extension WiseStamp Email signatures
    …for custom made e-mail signatures that include sharing your your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Blog post, Pinterest etc

    All aforementioned solutions are free-of-cost and prove your e-mail experience will be able to find a new home after Thunderbird. I am convinced with the departure of Thunderbird being on the horizon others will fill in the open space. With or without using the Thunderbird sources.

  • Lance


    There is a Thunderbird extension that might work for you, Thunderbird Conversations, currently at 2.4.1. I use it with some success, although I do have some issues with it.

  • Robert

    Although I admit I have used Thunderbird in the past, and I do still have it as a portable app rather than an install. The problem is that I have gotten used to Gmail’s grouping of a subject like it is a conversation, and any email program that I am aware of doesn’t do that. If they could figure out a way to do that with Thunderbird then it probably could continue, but it does seem like client based email programs are going away like the dodo.

    I don’t think this would affect the Eudora Open Source Edition which is using Thunderbird’s source code with the tweaks to make it look like Eudora so there might be some hope yet for other email client programs out there.

  • joel

    Sounds like Postbox will continue development using the Thunderbird codebase… but Postbox is a paid/commercial program.

  • doug

    I also love Thunderbird. Use it everyday. I read all my gmail and roadrunner emails through Thunderbird.

    I don’t get it. Thunderbird is free anyway. It’s not like they are losing money. Why not just start to charge a modest fee. See how many people would be willing to pay for Thunderbird. I know I would.

    Most people I know are using “Windows Live Mail”. It does just about the same thing as Thunderbird.

  • Jeff Gale

    It’s open-source, so maybe someone else will pick it up and run with it after their finished with it, one can only hope.

  • Ed

    Such a shame. I absolutely love Thunderbird. I panicked a bit when I first read the title, thinking I would have to stop using it, but realized it would still work even if they stopped supporting it. I am also relieved that they are going to keep it up for a little, though I wish they would reconsider and keep it going.

  • mukhi

    oh no! i was just planning to start using an offline email client so that i can go through my existing emails at any time without the internet, and now this apparently sad news! i do not see any other reliable free email client like thunderbird!
    in my job, i am using lotus notes, which is good but not great. i use whole bunch of web-based email a/cs like gmail, hotmail, yahoomail, AOL…

  • BPNelson

    I have used Thunderbird for a very long time – probably since it was released. It has always been my main email program even though I have a GMail account too. It’s nice to have a main email program and a spare. I use the main program for communicating with friends and for daily downloads of Dottech and others. Gmail is used for programs and services that I don’t want to give my main email address to. You know the kind! Sorry to see Thunderbird go, or at least be unsupported.

  • @wilyneu: There will still be security/stability updates for a year, and people can feel free to continue it under a new moniker.

  • wilyneu

    Sorry to see Thunderbird being dropped after the November update. That is no more updates. at least one can continue to use it with having security updates. I still use Eudora for my main email account with my ISP. It is still more user friendly for keeping old emails which does have usefulness. I use Outlook for downloading my calendar from my pocket PC, which needs to be replaced. I have been using Thunderbird for downloading Gmail for a secondary account. At least it is more user friendly then the basic Gmail. Would like to see at least part of the messages like I can with Thunderbird.

  • Kraal

    Whether it’s discontinued or not, I’ll more than likely continue to use Thunderbird. Being able to have multiple email accounts in one nice program? I’m not willing to give that up.

  • SilenceIsGolden

    Why the glum? They didn’t say they’re going to get rid of it. I actually applaud their decision because they have a very stable product.

    I am still using my 2003 version of The Bat! — the last one without support for creating HTML emails (don’t need such humbug). I have no problems whatsoever with it, POPing & SMTPing about 10 accounts from all over the web.

    Why I’m reading this Thunderbird article? Because it’s my dedicated RSS reader. And I love it! Also still using the discontinued but perfectly functioning Mozilla Sunbird calendar.

  • The cloud continues its slow death march…

  • Sounds like the Chair of Mozilla must be friends with that CEO of HP that said HP wouldn’t build any more computers. I suspect a marketing ploy. If it isn’t, I’d loose my trust in anything Mozilla.

    The integration of Mozilla and Lightning (calendar) has been a lifesaver. Removing Mozilla makes it more difficult to integrate email with applications (such as MS Office, OpenOffice/LibreOffice, etc..). I DO NOT want anything to do with Microsoft Outlook, thus Thunderbird has been the answer and the default mail client install for computers we service and sell.

    I think there is going to be a job opening at Mozilla soon. :-(

  • Zapped Sparky

    Well, with multiple accounts thunderbird is the go-to program to use, at least for me. And now they’re getting rid of it. Terrific, there isn’t much “innovation” you can do for e-mail (they were seriously thinking this?) just receive, write and send. Simple. That’s all I need it to do, and it does it well.

  • Bruce

    I’ve used Mozilla’s SeaMonkey suite for some time now. It’s a combination of browser (pretty much Firefox), email (pretty much Thunderbird), a Web composer, and an address book–all kind of integrated. It does fine for me. I expect that it will continue to plod along, regardless of what might happen to Mozilla’s main attractions.

  • Frank D

    What other PC-based email program is there that will do the job as well as Thunderbird? I would still be an Outlook Express user if it were still available for Windows 7. I use Gmail but I send all my incoming gmail to Thunderbird on my hard drive. I use Gmail only for its spam-catching feature, which is great.

  • You need a good email client to have a backup if your email provider like Gmail is down. an IMAP client is ideal for that. Seems to me like a short sited decision; why not just go to a yearly schedule like before for the Gecko engine and as he said the rest is quite stable…