Mozilla Thunderbird revamp will bring big UI and Gmail changes

Mozilla has a big update for Thunderbird, its email client, in the pipeline. The company hired more staff dedicated solely to full-time Thunderbird development last year, and the company plans to build upon what it got right with Thunderbird 60, adding better Gmail support and a prettier interface on top of it. The company reassures users that it has listened to their complaints and feedback and will address existing concerns.

Thunderbird is a free, open-source email client that was launched in 2004 and that supports a number of platforms. The client continues to get updates, though some users have brought up issues with the dated interface and some other concerns. Thanks to donations, Mozilla hired new staff for the product, bringing the full-time Thunderbird team to a total of 8.

As well, the company plans to bring up to another half-dozen workers to the Thunderbird project in early 2019, dedicating them to making the changes and improvements users want to see. Speaking about its 2019 plans, Mozilla said that its new hires are working on speeding up the application's interface, making general performance improvements, and "doing a fair bit of plumbing."

That's just the start, with the company planning to make big improvements to Thunderbird's UI, including the experience around encryption, notifications, and Gmail integration. The notifications will be better integrated with each operating system's notification system, for example, Thunderbird will better handle Gmail labels and other features, and more.

This is only part of Mozilla's 2019 Thunderbird roadmap, according to the company, but gives faithful users a good idea of what to expect. The organization notes that the increased staff numbers and workload was made possible by an increase in donations, providing direct incentive for users to consider contributing themselves.