Why is everyone so pissy about this? They're reducing their paid employee number's to maintenance mode, not killing it off. Nothing about allowing mroe community input. They're tooling up for a rather exciting future for their OS whereby hopefully OSS can penetrate deeper in to the mobile world and not be a closed-hardware-kernel/open software hybrid like Android. As was said previously, TBird hasn't exactly been making huge leaps and bounds with progress of late, and I personally have pretty much migrated to GMail myself. This is what the majority have peoplae have done. I still value a client, but Google have that covered too and allow you to access all your shit through TBird. How nice of them. It also just works with just about everything I know of with numerous email accounts and in low bandwidth modes, too.
One of the stupid things that the desktop people do is trying to reinvent the wheel wasting resources on duplicate projects. And we have evolution Kmail and whatever other pointless app while we have a product like Thunderbird which rules them all. The same on browsers and music players.
There are three problems here:
1. Lots of projects don't want to shut down just because someone new came along. Kmail, for example, had been around for several years at least when thunderbird came out.
2. Different applications have different targets and different goals. Thunderbird is a pure mail application. Kontact and Evolution are general-purpose personal infromation manager/groupware apps, including things like calenders, notes, etc. There were some attempts to extend thunderbird to support this, but it was never able to become a real PIM/groupware suite.
3. It is often useful to have applications that integrate properly with the desktop environment. Not everyone cares about that, but lots of people do.
I think that's not really a bet. If even Google isn't all that successful with Chrome OS why would Mozilla manage to pull it off? We may all be proven wrong though, and it would be a nice surprise
...because HDD is better when you're about to store some data and hammer is better when it comes to dealing with nails. But HDD is quite bad as hammer and hammer is bad as data storage device, too. Something that web 2.0 crazy nuts fail to get all the time. So they offer us to store data with hammers and use HDDs to hit some nails. Kinda bad idea.
Aside from bandwidth reduction, uniformity, and archiving, what exactly is the point of email client programs? I personally find them a little annoying to deal with, especially if you use the same email address on more than one computer.
I couldn't live with only webmail. Being subscribed to several mailing lists, using only dog slow webmail, no thank you.
Personally, I run my own server, but this could easily be replaced by gmail. Firstly, webmail, gmail is well known for that. But using IMAP (as previously mentioned) you can connect your mail client (thunderbird) to gmail. Have all mail in both devices, web and local. IMAP also doesn't care how many clients connect, so you can have it on your phone too (you don't need some special app, any IMAP capable mail client works). Roundcube btw is a nice webmail for your own server.
With addons, you can integrate caldav (lightening) and carddav (Sogo connector). Now your calendar and your contacts are in sync. So on the web, on your laptop and on your phone, you can have all the same info.
Don't get me wrong, webmail has very good merits and has its place. But its an addition to an actual mail client imo.
Sure, kids these days hang on facebook, do all their communicating via iOS/android/facebook/gmail, god forbid even hotmail and I think yahoo might still even be around.
Most are technically inclined however. A real personal e-mail address is only for those literate enough to actually know how to obtain a domain name and set it up/host it somewhere. So I can understand why there's less need for a regular mail client for these people. Though using one with gmail isn't that hard either
All that said, I'm really sad that Mozilla is slowing down development on thunderbird. True, how much development does an e-mail client need? Keep the gecko stuff in sync and you don't need much more, development has been really slow to begin with (carddav native support is being worked on, 'chat' support as well, which are the only missing things imo).
Still, I've always had a warm and cozzy feeling with Mozilla, thinking they where more Open Source Linux folk. I mean, back with the very first firefox releases, Linux was the major platform, it was where the users where, it was like a browser for Linux users. Then the masses got hold of it, which is really good, and it was a great cross-platform browser. But lately it seems Linux users are second rang citizens again (haven't they always been?). Thunderbird is quite an important mail-client for Linux users, which I know doesn't matter for those other OS users, but still.
Bah, well lets hope that there's more community features/patches getting submitted (I highly doubt that, with so few people using it).