As Firefox 3 nears release, with the third beta already out and a first release candidate on the way, some are turning their attention to Thunderbird. Mozilla's email client may not be as popular as its browser, but it has a considerable following, and News.com reveals that a new version is coming out this year.
Sharing the same version number as the next Firefox milestone, Thunderbird 3 will integrate a calendar tool—courtesy of the Lightning add-on for Thunderbird 2—new and more comprehensive search functionality, and perhaps new anti-phishing capabilities borrowed from Firefox 3. Project head David Ascher told News.com, "What we're trying to do with Thunderbird 3 is make a better, more integrated search experience--search that spans e-mail, calendar, address books (and) maybe someday IM conversations." Ascher says Thunderbird 3 will ship by the end of the year, but testers and enthusiasts can look forward to early public releases "within three months."
Thunderbird 3.0 will be developed by Mozilla's new subsidiary, Mozilla Messaging. The organization currently plays host to "only five or six" staffers, but it receives contributions from a significant number of other developers. Some are on the Firefox project, some are Sun engineers working on Lightning, and some are Qualcomm employees helping transition Eudora to a Thunderbird base. According to Ascher, the total number of contributors is in the dozens, and hundreds of testers will be there to help out, too.
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