Joining forces vs. starting from scratch (was Re: Proposal to start a new implementation...)

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at
Tue Apr 11 02:47:28 UTC 2017

Paul D. Fernhout wrote on 09.04.2017 04:44:
> So, another possibility is for this group to pick an existing FLOSS mail
> system (Nylas N1, Mailpile, KMail, Mutt, Claws Mail, Zimbra, or whatever
> especially it used web technologies) and make that into a new blessed
> "Thunderbird" either as a fork or by joining that community.

We should definitely look at existing projects and existing state of the 

However, I think we all agree we want the Thunderbird replacement to be 
a desktop client (plus other platforms like mobile), and based on web 
technologies, most importantly written in JavaScript. So, all webapps 
are not helpful. Solutions that try to combine a server and client are 
fragile and hard to develop in, because you need to create the 
client/server protocol for everything.

We are also very clear that we want to take our users with us, and 
therefore want to keep a UI that is reasonably similar to current 
Thunderbird, at least as transitional option.

Let me quickly go through the list:

Not applicable:

  * Mailpile
      o Looks nice (from the website)
      o It's a webapp written in Python. It runs in a browser.
      o All Python => Not applicable.
  * Mutt
      o You gotta be kidding
      o This is a text-based console client
  * Claws
      o Written in C with GTK => Not applicable
  * KMail
      o Written in C++ with Qt => Not applicable
  * Zimbra
      o Webapp => not applicable
      o Mozilla used it, then stopped, in favor of Gmail.

Interesting are:

  * Nylon N1
      o Desktop app written in JS, but married with a server components.
      o UI applicable
      o Need to look at this
  * Gaia
      o Mobile app written purely in JS (with some Firefox OS APIs)
      o Desktop prototype as asutherlands's glodastrophe
      o Need to look at this
      o Uses libraries
      o Implementations of MIME, IMAP, SMTP
      o Definitely need to look at this, potentially use it.

So, none of the existing projects are directly applicable, but some have 
libraries or code that we might be able to use. Even if not, we might be 
able to get ideas or interesting solutions there.


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