Thunderbird’s Devs: Rust Is Coming

Exclusive insights into Thunderbird's 2024 roadmaps - major update on the Global Message Database and Exchange support via Rust.

In an exciting new initiative to foster transparency and engagement with its community, Thunderbird has launched a monthly development digest. The first edition is already bringing thrilling news. Let’s dive into what’s in store.

Revamping the Global Message Database

Thunderbird’s significant focus in 2024 will be overhauling its Global Message Database, which is currently based on the outdated Mork framework. This is crucial for eliminating existing limitations and paving the way for modern functionalities, such as genuine threaded conversation views.

The team is deep into replacing this core component, which is pivotal in Thunderbird’s message and folder interaction.

Rust and Exchange Support

Finally! After many, many, many years of anticipation, there’s a thrilling development that could propel Thunderbird to new heights and attract countless new users, rejuvenating its well-deserved reputation as a top-tier email client.

Get ready for it: Thunderbird is on the verge of introducing native support for Microsoft Exchange! This is a game-changer and a much-awaited feature that’s sure to delight many. But even more interesting is how it will be achieved.

In a landmark development, Thunderbird has enabled the use of Rust, facilitating the native support for the Exchange protocol. This major leap involves building and vendoring a Rust crate, which, upon completion and stabilization, will be shared publicly on GitHub.

This is a large-scale project, and detailed updates are expected to be shared soon on the tb-planning and tb-developers mailing lists.

The Final Sprint for Cards View

Users of Thunderbird’s Daily or Beta versions may have noticed significant changes in the Cards View. The development team is now in the final sprint, focusing on polishing this feature and integrating additional functionalities.

For more information, check out the official announcement. If you’re curious about what Thunderbird has in store for 2024, you can find detailed information about the desktop client here. The roadmap for the Android version can be found here.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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  1. Thunderbird has remained pretty much the same in UX in over 20 years. Unfortunately for them people’s expectations have greatly moved on.
    When I switched back to Linux last year after a decade away, one of the first things I did was install Thunderbird (and tried again with the latest releases that they were screaming about) and it’s such a disappointing experience. It feels like I’m back in a windows 95 environment. It’s clunky, restrictive and grey, very very grey! Geary is currently better and that isn’t a good thing since geary has stupid issues like not being able to resize panes.
    I think the lack of high quality standalone email clients for Linux demonstrates just how messed up the Linux environment is. It’s not like there is a lack of devs out there. Maybe everyone just uses web-based email services ?

    But I do look forward to seeing Thunderbird get a much needed upgrade both to features and UX. But I won’t hold my breath waiting, could be a very long time given their development speed.

  2. The release of Thunderbird 115 was the last straw for me. I am still using Ver. 68 on my Thinkpad laptops. With its completely new interface I really don’t want to have to keep “re-inventing the wheel” and learning new interfaces everytime developers want to take me on a new trip. Mozilla and Firefox keeps developers busy with a very unreliable bloated browser which still hasn’t improved in many years. That’s the main problem with the entire software world landscape. Linux and software in general have been in a development and quality malaise for many years. Being a computer analyst both professionally and a home PC user since about 1980 (with the TRS-80 Model 1 and IBM-AT), I don’t foresee any major improvements coming forward anytime soon.

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