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Originally launched as Minotaur shortly after Phoenix (the original name for Mozilla Firefox), the project failed to gain momentum. With the success of the Mozilla Firefox, however, demand increased for a mail client to go with it, and the work on Minotaur was revived under the new name of Thunderbird, and migrated to the new toolkit developed by the Firefox team.

Contents

Early beginnings: A simple email and news client

Various logos used during the development of Thunderbird

Significant work on Thunderbird restarted with the announcement that from version 1.5 onwards, the main Mozilla suite would be designed around separate applications using this new toolkit. This contrasts with the previous all-in-one approach, and will hopefully lead to more efficient and maintainable code, as well as allowing users to mix and match the Mozilla applications with alternatives.

The original Thunderbird logo was just a modified Firebird logo: with a simple shifting of hue value from red to blue. In 2004, together with the change of Firefox's visual identity by Jon Hicks, a more professional logo that is currently in use was introduced.

Release history

Parts of this table are based on the Thunderbird roadmap.

Key:
Old Version Current Version Future Version
Gecko version Version Release date Significant changes
1.5 0.1 July 28, 2003  
0.2 September 3, 2003  
0.3 October 15, 2003  
1.6 0.4 December 5, 2003  
0.5 February 9, 2004  
1.7 0.6 May 3, 2004 Pinstripe theme for Mac OS X, Windows installer, better junk mail handling, IMAP IDLE and LDAP version 3 support.
0.7 June 16, 2004 Smaller download size, improved IMAP support, updated extension and theme managers
0.7.1 June 28, 2004 Bugfix release.
0.7.2 July 8, 2004 Vulnerability patch (Windows only).
0.7.3 August 4, 2004 Vulnerability patch.
0.8 September 14, 2004 Improved Privacy Controls, Global Inbox, RSS/Atom Integration, Improved data migration. Improved spell checker support.
0.9 November 3, 2004 More RSS integration. Favorite folders. Menu and dialog polish. Message list groups. Virtual folders.
1.0 RC1 December 1, 2004 Bug fixing. Improved theme. Polish work.
1.0 December 7, 2004 Official Version 1.0 release.
1.0.2 1 March 21, 2005 Stability and security improvements.
1.0.5 2 July 13, 2005 Vulnerability patch.
1.0.6 July 19, 2005 Fix for extension API regression.
1.0.7 September 29, 2005 Vulnerability patch and regression fix.
1.0.8 April 21, 2006 Vulnerability patch and regression fix. End-of-life of 1.0.x product line.
1.8 1.1 Alpha 1 June 2, 2005 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.1 Alpha 2 July 15, 2005 The second alpha (intended for testers) for upcoming 1.5 release.
1.5 Beta 1 September 9, 2005 New update system (binary patch).
1.5 Beta 2 October 7, 2005 Improvements to automated update system, website rendering and performance. Several security fixes.
1.5 RC1 November 5, 2005 First release candidate.
1.5 RC2 December 21, 2005 Second release candidate.
1.5 January 11, 2006 Official Version 1.5 release. Identical to 1.5 RC2.
1.5.0.2 April 21, 2006 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.4 3 June 1, 2006 Native support for Intel-based Macintosh computers, aka universal binary. Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.5 July 27, 2006 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.7 4 September 14, 2006 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.8 November 8, 2006 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.9 December 19, 2006 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.10 March 1, 2007 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.12 May 30, 2007 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.13 August 23, 2007 Stability improvement and security fixes.
1.5.0.14 December 19, 2007 Stability improvement and security fixes. End-of-life of 1.5.0.x product line.
1.8.1 2.0 Alpha 1 July 28, 2006 Message Tags. Folder Views including favorite folders. Improved new mail notification alerts. New Windows installer based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System. Find As You Type in the message pane. New combined and improved Add-ons manager for extensions and themes. Updates to the extension system to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions.
2.0 Beta 1 December 12, 2006 Improved theme. Session history navigation. Improved offline management. Folder summary popups. Improved performance in saved search folders. Improved filing tools.
2.0 Beta 2 January 23, 2007 Feature complete beta
2.0 RC1 April 6, 2007 Release Candidate (informally available since March 27, see Developers' announcement)

2.0

April 18, 2007 Windows Vista support, message tags, new visual theme, improved extension support, improved new email notifications, folder summary pop-ups, find text in messages search tool, new Windows installer, easy access to popular email services, advanced folder views, session history navigation, and saved search folder performance. (Identical to 2.0 RC 1, and corresponding zipped nightly is dated 2007032620)

2.0.0.4 5

June 14, 2007 Korean locale was added, along with stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.5

July 19, 2007 Stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.6

August 1, 2007 Stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.9 6

November 14, 2007 Hebrew locale was added, along with stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.12 7

February 26, 2008 Afrikaans and Ukrainian locales were added, along with stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.14 8

May 1, 2008 Stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.16 9

July 23, 2008 Stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.17

September 25, 2008 Security fixes.

2.0.0.18

November 19, 2008 Stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.19

December 30, 2008 Stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.21 10

March 18, 2009 Stability improvement and security fixes.

2.0.0.22

June 22, 2009 Stability improvement and security fixes.
2.0.0.23 August 20, 2009 Stability improvement and security fixes.
2.0.0.24 March 15, 2010
1.9 3.0 Alpha 1 May 13, 2008 First Alpha of Mozilla Thunderbird 3, also known as Shredder Alpha 1.
3.0 Alpha 2 August 12, 2008 Second Alpha of Mozilla Thunderbird 3, also known as Shredder Alpha 2.
1.9.1 3.0 Alpha 3 October 14, 2008 Third Alpha of Mozilla Thunderbird 3, also known as Shredder Alpha 3.
3.0 Beta 1 December 9, 2008 First Beta of Mozilla Thunderbird 3.
3.0 Beta 2 February 26, 2009 Second Beta of Mozilla Thunderbird 3.
3.0 Beta 3 July 21, 2009 Third Beta of Mozilla Thunderbird 3, major features added, theme redesigns.
3.0 Beta 4 September 22, 2009 Fourth Beta of Mozilla Thunderbird 3, new Gloda search functionality enabled.
3.0 RC1 November 24, 2009 First Release Candidate.
3.0 RC2 December 1, 2009 Second Release Candidate.
3.0 December 8, 2009
3.0.1 January 20, 2010 Off-cycle stability update.
3.0.2 February 25, 2010 Off-cycle stability update.
3.0.3 March 1, 2010 Off-cycle stability update.
3.0.4 March 30, 2010 Off-cycle stability update.
1.9.2 3.1 Alpha 1 February 3, 2010 First Alpha of Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1 (Lanikai Alpha 1).
3.1 Beta 1 March 10, 2010 First Beta of Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1.
3.1 Beta 2 Second Beta of Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1.
3.1 est. June 2010 Final Version of Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1.

Note (1): Version 1.0.1 was planned but not shipped due to delay and discovery of issues that needed fixing in all three of Mozilla Foundation's products.

Note (2): There were no version 1.0.3 and 1.0.4 since the bugs/issues affected Firefox only.

Note (3): There was no version 1.5.0.3.

Note (4): There was no version 1.5.0.6.

Note (5): There were no versions 2.0.0.1, 2.0.0.2 and 2.0.0.3.

Note (6): There were no versions 2.0.0.7 and 2.0.0.8.

Note (7): There were no versions 2.0.0.10 and 2.0.0.11.

Note (8): There was no version 2.0.0.13.

Note (9): There was no version 2.0.0.15.

Note (10): There was no version 2.0.0.20.

System Requirements

Thunderbird 2: [1]

  • Windows 98 - Vista; 64 MB RAM
  • Mac OS X 10.2.x and later; 128 MB RAM
  • Linux kernel - 2.2.14; 64 MB RAM

Thunderbird 3 no longer supports versions of Windows prior to Windows 2000 (e.g., Windows 95, 98, ME and NT) and Mac OS X versions prior to 10.4 Tiger. Linux requirements have also changed. [2]

Future development

On December 23, 2004, the Project Lightning was announced for tightly integrating calendar functionality (scheduling, tasks, etc.) into Thunderbird. Lightning is just a project name, but not a product name. Lightning 0.1 was released on March 14, 2006. The current version is 0.9, which was released on September 23, 2008.

Also on October 11, 2006, Qualcomm and the Mozilla Foundation announced that "future versions of Eudora will be based upon the same technology platform as the open source Mozilla Thunderbird email program." The project is code-named Penelope. An unofficial Eudora/Penelope forum is accessible via web or newsreader.

On July 26, 2007, the Mozilla Foundation announced that Thunderbird would be developed by an independent organization, because the Mozilla Corporation (the for profit portion of Mozilla) is focusing on Mozilla Firefox development. This change is being done in order to stimulate development in Thunderbird, which has been neglected during the Mozilla focus on Firefox.[1]

On September 17, 2007, the Mozilla Foundation announced the funding of a new internet communications initiative with Dr. David Ascher of ActiveState. The purpose of this initiative is "to develop Internet communications software based on the Thunderbird product, code and brand".

On February 19, 2008, Mozilla Messaging started operations as a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation responsible for the development of email and similar communications. Its initial focus was on the next major version, Thunderbird 3.0, which was released on December 8, 2009.

See also

References

  1. ^ Claburn, Thomas (27 July 2007). "Mozilla Gives Thunderbird E-Mail The Boot". Internet section (InformationWeek). http://www.informationweek.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201201609. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 

External links

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