Adding instant messaging features to Thunderbird

Martin Jungowski martin at
Wed Sep 28 06:56:17 UTC 2011

Personally, I really don't see a need for instant messaging features in 
an email client. I use my email client for reading and writing emails, 
aka asynchronous conversation. Synchronous conversation, aka instant 
messaging, is a completely different approach to interacting with other 
people. But maybe that's just me, I already feel like one of them 
obsolete online dinosaurs ;)

But, hypothetically speaking, if that feature would become part of 
Thunderbird I would say the following things need to be considered for 
corporations (this is, after all, the enterprise mailing list):

* Needs a possibility to get disabled globally for all users.
   Not all corporations will be happy about an instant messenger for
   their employees. Infact, most would probably want to disable it to
   dispose of this distraction. An email client with instant messaging
   features that cannot be disabled would force us to choose a different
* Needs archiving
   Some countries, such as most of the European Union for example, have
   very strict laws about archiving all business-relevant documents. This
   obviously includes all written conversation, both internal and
   external, and as such every email, written and received, internal and
   external. Instant messaging would be a way to easily avoid archiving
   and thus breaking the law, both knowingly and, more likely,

These two would be my two biggest concerns. There may be users happy to 
use Thunderbird as instant messenging client but I'm certainly not one 
of them. Whether it's because I don't use instant messenging at all 
anymore (I still have a seven digit ICQ# but haven't logged on in years) 
or whether I don't see why asynchronous and synchronous conversation 
should be mixed in one application I don't know. Don't let this 
discourage you though, every new feature is welcome and will certainly 
help boost its popularity.


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