Spicebird introduction

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 5, 2008
Updated • Mar 22, 2014
Email, Windows software

You might have heard of Spicebird if you are following tech blogs or are a regular on Digg,  Del.icio.us or another news aggregating website.

Spicebird is an open-source platform for collaboration.It features an integrated email client, calendar and instant messenger in the first stage but will have additional features that are planned for Spicebird 1.0.

The creators recently published a demonstration video that is showing some of the features that are currently implemented in Spicebird.

The application itself looks pretty stable considering that the next public release will be 0.3 alpha. This release version includes an RSS reader as well. What is missing, or has not been shown in the video is the Wiki which would add tremendous value to the software.

Spicebird is based on Mozilla and uses several modules like Thunderbird and Lightning. A customizable homepage is the starting point whenever you run Spicebird. You can add all sorts of widgets, modules and the likes to it just like you would do on personal startpage websites like Netvibes.

It is possible to add upcoming events, Rss feeds or a mail folder to get a quick overview. I think this is wonderful but they have to think of a solution where someone would want to add lots of RSS feeds to the application. I'm not sure how Spicebird would handle this.

They did add at least one unique feature to the mail client. Mails are automatically scanned for events and if one is found Spicebird will ask if you want to add the event to your calendar. the Instant Messenger is based on Jabber and integrates perfectly into Spicebird.

You do see the online status of your contacts in your address book / contacts list and can send them a message instantly that way.

I hope they do provide easy ways of importing data from Thunderbird, Mozilla and RSS readers into the application which would probably help in gaining users.

Update: Please note that Spicebird has been discontinued. The makers suggest you use Mozilla Thunderbird, and install extensions such as the calendar add-on Lightning to add the missing functionality to Thunderbird.


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  1. tim said on January 14, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    Great. That sounds like an alternative to Evolution. I liked Evolution because of its speed but it was experiencing a very slow development. I’ve just tested SpiceBird and I’m really impressed. There are some things that are missing or not done yet like synchronizing my contacts and appointments with a server. The even bigger problem is that it does not integrate well in Gnome in some cases. For instance, you can access your tasks from the clock applet in Evolution. I haven’t found out yet how to do this with SpiceBird. It’s not possible to minimize SpiceBird to tray but I hope there will be an extension for this. The reason why I switched to Evolution were speed, memory usage, features (integrated organizer, integration in Gnome, etc.). Evolution has a very low memory usage in comparison with Mozilla Thunderbird (I was having about 200 feeds and 5 e-mail accounts) and it’s much faster. I’ve tested SpiceBird with a local IMAP server (which is just being used for testing purposes) with a folder containing about 3000 e-mails (feed items). The speed was very incredible. Even faster than Evolution took getting the headers. Another big problem of SpiceBird is that it loads many features the user might not be use. There’s only one feature (the instant messenger) which can be disabled. The instant messenger is very useful but at the moment I still prefer Pidgin because of its features, extendability and support for multiple protocols. I don’t need the integrated feed reader as I’ll read the feeds over my IMAP server. It’s also very nice that Spicebird is OpenSource (otherwise I wouldn’t have tested it)
    Anyway, all in all SpiceBird is a great application and I will use it as soon as it’s in a usable status and I’ve figured out how to import all the data from Evolution.

    By the way, thank you very much for your interesting review!

  2. jbarr said on January 13, 2008 at 6:12 am

    Looks like the beta 4 version of Spicebird is finally available for public testing. Here’s the download webpage:


    Curious to hear some feedback from those willing to test it out.

  3. Daggity said on January 6, 2008 at 12:46 am

    Do you know if it integrates with Google services well?

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