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Thunderbird continues to idle rather than drive

A few years back, when Mozilla spun Firefox out from the Mozilla Internet Suite, Thunderbird, its e-mail client got almost as much press and attention as the Web browser. Now, Thunderbird appears to be a neglected stepchild.

While Firefox is the most important open-source Web browser and is now at version 3.0.3, Thunderbird is still at version 2.0.0.17 and now its first 3.0 upgrade has been delayed. Rather than release the Thunderbird 3.0 Beta, as had been the plan, Mozilla Messaging, the division of Mozilla developing Thunderbird, has decided instead to release it as Alpha 3.

Mozilla Messaging is doing this because, Dan Mosedale a Thunderbird developer, said in his blog, “Calling something a beta is likely to trigger a bunch of extra press attention that we’re not yet in a position to deal with. Some number [of] reviews will be inappropriately pre-judging [Thunderbird 3.0] based on its current state. In the best case, this would be a distraction.”

In other words, it’s not close to being ready. Mosedale went on, “While we’ve been pretty clear for a while that calling something a beta doesn’t mean that we’re feature complete, what we’ve got now feels like it’s pretty far from being representative (from a user-experience and user-visible-change point of view) of what Thunderbird 3 is going to feel like.” In other words, really, really not close to being ready.

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