Vision for Thunderbird

Ben Bucksch ben.bucksch at
Wed Jan 31 21:42:34 UTC 2018

Here's my personal vision for Thunderbird:

1. What specific qualities do you like about Thunderbird?

  * Decentralized
      o No single entity should control the communication, or even be
        able to stop or watch it.
      o I want to run my own servers and use only them.
      o Compare Privacy above
  * Standards
      o Human communication needs to stay free. Free from control of any
        particular party.
      o Everybody must be able to use their own software or hardware as
        they please.
      o Allows innovation
      o Allows to adapt to uncommon needs
      o E.g. IMAP, POP3, SMTP, MIME

  * Open-source - for all its qualities of free software:
      o allowing anybody to improve it, or alter it to their needs
      o allowing me to inspect the code that I'm running, for security
      o being the owner of it, I can change it, and I can keep it forever.
  * Privacy
      o I do not want my personal data communication in the hands of
        anybody else, including companies like Google. I want them on my
        computer, only, with the computer physically next to me.
      o My software and services must not collect information about it.
        I am a human, not a cow that can be tagged and tracked.
  * Security
      o I.e. absence of security holes. A security hole means the
        attacker can access all files on my computer, even those outside
        of emails - that must not happen.
      o All my files and data are on my computer. Nobody - absolutely
        nobody - has the right to access it without my permission.
      o See open-source
  * Flexibility
      o Email is - apart from the browser - my primary work tool and
        organizes my day. I spend many hours every day in my email client.
      o I need to be able to configure and use the email client as I wish.
      o I need features like filters and multiple identities to handle
        all the email.
  * Performance
      o I get hundreds of emails per day. I need to quickly open, read,
        close, delete or move them.
      o I want mouse usage, drag&drop, keyboard shortcuts
      o I have folders with 20000 emails (and some with 300000 emails),
        they need to open and scroll fast.
  * UI
      o I want the UI to be efficient, not waste screen space
      o UI should be lean, get out of the way, but still have the
        commonly used features available quickly.
      o Too little means I need extra work to do what I need. Too much
        means I have mental overload and can't find anything. Needs the
        right balance.
  * Works on Linux (and Windows)

2. Where do you see Thunderbird in 10 years?

  * Code revamp
      o Based on web technologies (but *not* a website, but a desktop app)
      o Clear, minimal, stable APIs, using observers
      o Easier to adapt, e.g. phone integration
      o UI is a very slim layer, allows to be replaced with alternative
        UIs without much effort, and maintainable.
  * Version for smartphones (Android. If possible also iPhone.) with a
    different UI that's adapted to the screen size and touchscreen.
    Slightly different UI (e.g. with folder list, or more msg list
    columns) for tablets.
  * Address book synchronizes between desktop Thunderbird and Android
    system address book. I can add a contact in TB address book on
    desktop, and see the contact on my phone's dialer, and vise versa.
  * Virtual folders, e.g. combined inbox, or filtered for tags, or
    several criteria at the same time. Unlike current implementation,
    but in real-time (instant updates in all cases) and light-weight (in
    RAM only).
  * Automatic filters
  * Picture sharing
      o Interact with file sharing servers of major email providers,
        without any manual setup
      o up/download with TB UI
      o Gallery UI
      o Share with others
  * WhatsApp protocol support

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