Thunderbird logo

Development on the Thunderbird email app has been ramping up over the past year, with a major “Supernova” update on the way. Mozilla has now outlined the future of Thunderbird in a blog post.

Mozilla released Thunderbird 102 back in June 2022, marking the first phase of a multi-year revamp of the popular mail client. It had a few much-needed setup improvements and bug fixes, as well as some design tweaks. There’s also a more significant update planned for later in 2023, named “Supernova,” which was already teased as a major redesign. However, it’s not just a redesign — the app is being rebuilt “from the ground up.”

Mozilla explained in a blog post, “Thunderbird is undergoing a massive rework from the ground up to get rid of all the technical and interface debt accumulated over the past 10 years. This is not an easy task, but it’s necessary to guarantee the sustainability of the project for the next 20 years. Simply ‘adding stuff on top’ of a crumbling architecture is not sustainable, and we can’t keep ignoring it.”

Thunderbird calendar mockup image
Thunderbird “Supernova” mockup Thunderbird

The Thunderbird team says it now has a proper organization and long-term roadmap in place, to ensure the mail client remains sustainable. There’s ongoing work to remove “crusty old code that only creates problems,” and work on the interface will continue for the next two years, at least. Mozilla is quick to point out that long-time Thunderbird users won’t suddenly be forced to use a completely different interface — the app will remain customizable to some degree.

Mozilla also still plans to use the Firefox web browser as the core platform for Thunderbird. That leaves Thunderbird as one of the few cross-platform mail applications that isn’t an Electron app or based on web technologies in some way — even Microsoft is switching Outlook for Windows to a new web-based architecture. The Android version will have a different codebase, as it’s evolving from the K-9 Mail app that Mozilla acquired.

The next few months and years should be exciting for Thunderbird. You can download the current stable version of Thunderbird from the project’s website.

Source: Thunderbird

Profile Photo for Corbin Davenport Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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