“Why does Thunderbird look so previous?”
That is one of the vital continuously requested questions on Thunderbird, in keeping with Thunderbird Challenge Design Supervisor Alessandro Castellani (together with “Is Thunderbird useless?”). And it is one he seeks to reply definitively in a new blog post about Thunderbird’s deliberate 2023 launch, codenamed Supernova.
The Supernova launch will embody an overhaul of Thunderbird’s person interface. Castellani did not share screenshots, however he indicated that the brand new UI could be “easy and clear” and focused principally at new customers. For “veteran customers,” the interface will 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 will even embody a number of different large adjustments, together with a redesigned calendar and help for Firefox Sync.
Past information in regards to the redesign, the weblog publish is price a learn when you’re interested by 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 improvement strikes so slowly (the builders spend a number of their time merely maintaining with upstream adjustments from Firefox because the browser nonetheless serves as the muse for Thunderbird’s e-mail rendering). The publish can be useful when you 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 fashionable period, it hasn’t all the time been clear who’s liable for it. Mozilla executives had needed to spin Thunderbird off as early as 2007, and it moved to a extra community-driven improvement mannequin in 2012.
That call, in keeping with Castellani, was “a blessing and a curse” that put Thunderbird within the place it is in right now. Group contributions to Thunderbird stored the venture alive, however an absence of centralized oversight “resulted in an inconsistent person interface and not using a coherent person expertise” and led to lengthy stretches the place the app wasn’t being up to date in any respect.
In the present day, Thunderbird improvement continues to be partially pushed by neighborhood builders, and the venture is closely reliant on person donations. But it surely’s additionally considerably again in-house at Mozilla by way of “a rising group of paid staff” at an entirely owned Mozilla subsidiary known as MZLA Technologies. It is these staff who’re at present defining Thunderbird’s roadmap, working to assist it shed its technical debt, and hoping to broaden its person base with a new Android client based on the K-9 Mail app.
The redesigned Thunderbird person interface is at present slated for Thunderbird 115, which is because of be launched in July.