“Why does Thunderbird look so previous?”
That is probably the most steadily requested questions on Thunderbird, based on Thunderbird Undertaking Design Supervisor Alessandro Castellani (together with “Is Thunderbird useless?”). And it is one he seeks to reply definitively in a brand new weblog put up about Thunderbird’s deliberate 2023 launch, codenamed Supernova.
The Supernova launch will embrace an overhaul of Thunderbird’s consumer interface. Castellani did not share screenshots, however he indicated that the brand new UI can be “easy and clear” and focused largely at new customers. For “veteran customers,” the interface may even be “versatile and adaptable” in order that individuals who desire the way in which Thunderbird seems now can “keep that familiarity they love.”
Supernova may even embrace a number of different massive adjustments, together with a redesigned calendar and help for Firefox Sync.
Past information concerning the redesign, the weblog put up is price a learn if you happen to’re interested in what the group is doing to battle the software program’s technical debt or if you wish to know why it looks like the app’s growth strikes so slowly (the builders spend lots of their time merely maintaining with upstream adjustments from Firefox because the browser nonetheless serves as the inspiration for Thunderbird’s electronic mail rendering). The put up can be useful if you happen to want a refresher on the lengthy and sophisticated relationship between Thunderbird and Mozilla.
Thunderbird was maintained by Mozilla alongside the Firefox browser, however within the trendy period, it hasn’t all the time been clear who’s chargeable for it. Mozilla executives had needed to spin Thunderbird off as early as 2007, and it moved to a extra community-driven growth mannequin in 2012.
That call, based on Castellani, was “a blessing and a curse” that put Thunderbird within the place it is in at this time. Group contributions to Thunderbird saved the challenge alive, however an absence of centralized oversight “resulted in an inconsistent consumer interface and not using a coherent consumer expertise” and led to lengthy stretches the place the app wasn’t being up to date in any respect.
Right this moment, Thunderbird growth continues to be partially pushed by group builders, and the challenge is closely reliant on consumer donations. However it’s additionally considerably again in-house at Mozilla through “a rising group of paid workers” at a completely owned Mozilla subsidiary referred to as MZLA Applied sciences. It is these workers who’re presently defining Thunderbird’s roadmap, working to assist it shed its technical debt, and hoping to broaden its consumer base with a brand new Android consumer based mostly on the Okay-9 Mail app.
The redesigned Thunderbird consumer interface is presently slated for Thunderbird 115, which is because of be launched in July.
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