Adding instant messaging features to Thunderbird

Patrick Cloke clokep at
Fri Sep 23 12:25:47 UTC 2011

Hey Florian,

This is kind of an ordered reply to your wiki page, but also some overall
thoughts I've had after reading it again, let me know if things are unclear
or vague.

So personally I see instant messaging as a different work flow from email so
I would prefer that it takes place in a different program (and I frequently
want to only IM or only email, I don't always have both open). Of course
you'd need a program to integrate into and you can't assume it would work
with many/every/existing IM programs.  This might of course require the
establishment of a standard for email/PIM/IM information exchange, which
might not be a bad thing, but standards don't get followed and you need some
implementation time before they're really used.  This might be a preferred
path forward though (i.e. someway that any install email provider could find
any installed IM provider, instead of specifically Thunderbird + Instantbird
or what have you).

I would think IMs should go in separate Windows, let the OS level window
manager handle this for you, there's no reason to mess around with something
operating systems have spent 20 years working on.

In terms of research for which networks to support, if you'd like to support
a mixed enterprise (i.e. users on Linux where the network runs Windows),
you'd probably need some support for Office Communicate/GroupWise/Sametime.
But also with this is not just support for email...but also for calendar
(e.g. the instant messaging automatically changes status busy when I have a
meeting and available when I don't, this may seem very strange in a
non-corporate environment, but is very useful in one).

Open standards are good, but it'd be nice to know what percentage of chat
takes place on each network and what users would eventually expect to be
supported. Unfortunately tracking IM usage is very hard to do, perhaps a
survey the Mozilla community about what IM networks are used (as well as
technical skill and location) would be in order to get some further
information?  (Also, XMPP might allow support for basic MSN usage as
Microsoft has announced...)

In a lot of ways, I think Microsoft has great basic integration between
Outlook and Office Communicator, your suggestion of searching IM logs +
emails together would be a great improvement upon this, however.

Good luck!  This is very exciting. :)

On Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 11:38 AM, Florian Quèze <florian at> wrote:

> Hi,
> I'm currently investigating the possibilities of adding instant
> messaging features to Thunderbird.
> At this point, I'm trying to identify how instant messaging features
> could bring additional value for Thunderbird users.
> The questions I've been asking myself and others during the last few
> days and a summary of the points to answer them that I've already
> collected during discussions are visible on this wiki page:
> (Note: the "Functional specification" section is currently a draft of
> a possible way forward, it doesn't reflect a decision or commitment to
> implement something in any way).
> I would appreciate any feedback/comments/ideas on this topic.
> Especially if you see a way in which adding IM features to Thunderbird
> could make it more useful *for you*, I would like to know about it
> :-). If you disagree with something written on this page, also feel
> free to let me know! :-)
> --
> Florian Quèze
> _______________________________________________
> tb-enterprise mailing list
> tb-enterprise at
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