The news isn’t all bad for users, Mozilla will continue to support the program, but development, on the Mozilla side of the equation, will stop.
Thunderbird managing director Jb Piacintino wrote:
We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.
We’re not ‘stopping’ Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the project.
Where did Thunderbird go wrong? Some would argue that it became a little bloated, but I do not think that it was bloat per se that killed Mozilla’s mail client. In its heyday, Thunderbird was the perfect application for sending and receiving emails, but online communications have come a long way since then – and there is less of a place for a standalone mail client. The problem is the nature of email content – how should a mail client handle a YouTube video? Opening it in a separate browser is annoying; incorporating the functionality to handle it in a mail client adds a lot of bloat – adding mail client functionality to a browser would seem to be the more logical course of action.