Softmaker Office

Martin Kotulla (SoftMaker) martin-k at softmaker.de
Tue Mar 17 18:34:28 UTC 2015


Group,

I planned to post here yesterday, but we were too busy yesterday pushing 
out the press release, answering questions from the press, sending out 
the information to our customer base... and then drowning in replies 
from customers congratulating us on our decision to participate in the 
Thunderbird project. :-)

Here is the story:

SoftMaker develops and markets an office suite called SoftMaker Office 
which is available for Windows, Linux, Android, Windows CE, and Windows 
Mobile (all sharing most of the same source code):

http://www.softmaker.com/english/of_en.htm

In SoftMaker Office 2012 we added the eM Client solution for e-mail and 
calendaring from the company of the same name. We were not really 
satisfied with the way the partnership went, so about one year ago we 
made the decision to dump eM Client and replace it with Thunderbird. 
Thunderbird is in fact the e-mail client that most people here at 
SoftMaker have been using for many years.

During the last 12 months, we have written code that integrates 
Thunderbird better with SoftMaker Office visually, adds filing and 
navigation features, and undoes some design changes made over the years 
by the Thunderbird developers – our version does have a regular menu bar 
and a regular title bar for the application window.

Plus, we have written an import filter that converts eM Client databases 
(serialized .NET objects inside SQlite, ugh...) to Thunderbird e-mails 
and contacts, and Lightning calendars and tasks.

Early on during the development, mainly due to Kent's input, we made the 
decision to not fork Thunderbird, but to add functionality through 
extensions. This was a good decision because our users can continue 
updating Thunderbird through the official mechanism and because they can 
decide on their own if they want our added functionality and changed 
visuals or not.

The developer who wrote the SoftMaker extensions is now nearly done with 
his initial set of tasks and has gained valuable experience in writing 
extensions and in some of the internals of Thunderbird. Since we want to 
see Thunderbird grow and prosper, I have made the decision that he 
should start to work full-time on the Thunderbird project, under Kent's 
direction. CardDav integration is the first tasks he's going to grind 
his teeth on. He'll post here soon, but right now he has caught the 
flu... ;-)

You can find more about our effort at 
http://www.softmaker.com/english/ofwtb_en.htm

The international press release is here: 
http://www.bloomberg.com/research/markets/news/article.asp?docKey=600-201503160602M2______EUPR_____20890000012675b7_3600-1

Press and blogger reactions (mainly in German-speaking countries) have 
been favorable so far. An excerpt:

http://www.heise.de/open/meldung/SoftMaker-will-Thunderbird-als-Mail-Client-in-Office-integrieren-2576766.html
http://www.pro-linux.de/news/1/22123/softmaker-office-2016-fuer-windows-integriert-thunderbird-und-lightning.html
http://www.itespresso.de/2015/03/17/softmaker-integriert-thunderbird-in-office-2016/
http://www.gizmodo.de/2015/03/16/softmaker-engagiert-sich-beim-thunderbird-projekt.html
https://www.soeren-hentzschel.at/mozilla/thunderbird/2015/03/16/softmaker-liefert-office-2016-mit-thunderbird-aus-und-unterstuetzt-entwicklung-von-thunderbird/
http://stadt-bremerhaven.de/softmaker-unterstuetzt-thunderbird-projekt/
http://www.pctipp.ch/news/firmen/artikel/thunderbird-erhaelt-prominente-hilfe-82023/

But the story is now starting to be picked up internationally as well:

http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=98197&sid=f05924ebaaf84318b493361e75ab3338
http://www.opennet.ru/opennews/art.shtml?num=41861
http://planetadiego.com/2015/03/17/softmaker-se-suma-al-desarrollo-de-thunderbird/

Feel free to ask me any questions.

Martin Kotulla
SoftMaker Software GmbH




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