Mozilla Thunderbird

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Software Mozilla Thunderbird is a free, cross-platform email and news client developed by the Mozilla Foundation. The project strategy is modeled after Mozilla Firefox, a project aimed at creating a smaller and faster web browser. Just as Firefox aims to redefine the web browser, Thunderbird is a refinement of the mail and news interface. Users often use them both together. On December 7, 2004, version 1.0 was released, and received over 500,000 ( downloads in its first three days of release (and 1,000,000 ( in 10 days).



Main article: History of Mozilla Thunderbird
Missing image
Various logos used during the development of Thunderbird

Originally launched as Minotaur shortly after Phoenix (the original name for Mozilla Firefox), the project failed to gain momentum. With the success of the latter, however, demand increased for a mail client to go with it, and the work on Minotaur was revived under the new name, and migrated to the new toolkit developed by the Firefox team.

Significant work on Thunderbird restarted with the announcement that from version 1.5 onwards, the main Mozilla suite would be designed around separate applications using this new toolkit. This contrasts with the previous all-in-one approach, and will hopefully lead to more efficient and maintainable code, as well as allowing users to mix and match the Mozilla applications with alternatives. Although this statement has since been retracted, the Mozilla Suite will continue to be released as one application while Firefox and Thunderbird are alternatives, it has continued to grow.

The original Thunderbird logo is just a modified Firebird logo: with a simple shifting of hue value from red to blue. In 2004, together with the change of Firefox's visual identity by Jon Hicks, a more professional logo that is currently in use was introduced in version 0.6.

On December 23, 2004, the Project Lightning was announced for tightly integrating calendar functionality (scheduling, tasks, etc.) into Thunderbird. Lightning is just a project name, but not a product name. A first general-user release is targeted for the middle of 2005.


Thunderbird aims to be a simple email, newsgroup and news feed client. It is not a personal information manager. Additional features, if needed, are often available via extensions.

Message management

Thunderbird can manage multiple e-mail and newsgroup accounts and supports multiple identities within accounts. Features like quick search, saved search folders ("virtual folders"), advanced message filtering, message grouping, and labels can help manage and find messages. On Linux-based systems, system mail (movemail) accounts are supported.

Junk filtering

The built-in Bayesian spam filter can effectively filter out unwanted email spam after a period of training.


Extensions allow the addition of new features such as OpenPGP through the installation of XPInstall modules (Enigmail in this case). Thunderbird also supports a variety of themes for changing its appearance. Themes are simply packages of CSS and image files. Many themes can be downloaded from the Mozilla Update web site.

All extensions and themes available on the Mozilla Update site may be upgraded through the browser interface itself. Mozilla Update also allows users to update Thunderbird without browsing the Mozilla Foundation's website.

Standards support

Thunderbird supports POP and IMAP. It also support LDAP address completion. Both reading and writing of HTML emails are supported. The build-in RSS/Atom reader can also be used as a simple news aggregator.

Cross-platform support

Mozilla Thunderbird runs on a wide variety of platforms. Releases available on the primary distribution site support the following operating systems Template:Ref:

Since the source code is available, it can also be compiled and run on a variety of other architectures and operating systems. Thus, Thunderbird is also available for many other systems.

Internationalization and localization

With contributors all over the world, the client is translated into at least 36 languages/locales, covering some of the least supported locales, such as Chichewa. Because of the use of DTD and property files for storing the string literals, part of the internationalization and localization job can be done easily by anyone without programming background, using simply a text editor.


Thunderbird provides enterprise and government grade security features such as S/MIME, digital signing, message encryption, support for certificates and security devices. Security protections include optionally disabling loading of remote images within messages and optionally disabling javascript which provides increased privacy and security.

As of May 2005, security site Secunia counts 1 unpatched security flaw ( for Mozilla Thunderbird 1.x.

Market adoption

As of April 2005, the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences (which includes both Harvard College and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences) was making ( a customized version of Mozilla Thunderbird available to students and faculty. According to an article posted on May 9, 2005, New York University's Stern School of Business had also started ( using the open source email client. Starting 2005 fall, the Networking Services and Information Technology department of University of Chicago will include both Firefox and Thunderbird in its connectivity package ( for all incoming students.


  1. Template:Note Thunderbird System Requirements (

See also

External links

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