Thunderbird 3 to bring calendar, new search functions

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 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, "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."

The lightning add-on for Thunderbird. Source: Mozilla.

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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