Thunderbird and Seamonkey to be kicked out of Mozilla AMO?

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 26, 2013
Updated • Jun 26, 2017
Firefox, Thunderbird

Both the Thunderbird email client as well as the SeaMonkey Internet browser have taken a backseat when it comes to development resource distribution over at Mozilla. The products are clearly not as popular as Firefox, and since resources are limited, Firefox is clearly the one product that is getting the most love at Mozilla.

Development resources were moved from Thunderbird last year, which  had the result that all releases for the email client afterwards were more or less limited to security and stability fixes.

Seamonkey users on the other hand may have noticed that their product has vanished from Mozilla's product page recently whereas Thunderbird is still listed on the page.

Add-ons on the other hand are still accessible on Mozilla Add-ons, so that Thunderbird and Seamonkey users can download and install extensions from the official website for their product.

If you are following the development over at Mozilla you may know that the organization plans to merge AMO, that is Mozilla Add-ons, with the Firefox Marketplace.

A very likely consequence of this is that Thunderbird and Seamonkey won't be supported anymore on Mozilla Add-ons. A recent conversation between Philip Chee and Mike Conley, Seamonkey and Thunderbird leads, indicates this in clear terms:

(Philip Chee) Well the reason I ask is that once amo gets merged into marketplace, TB and SM extensions are going to get the boot

This stance is confirmed in a conversation between Philip Chee and Jorge Villalobos, Mozilla Add-ons Developer Relations Lead.

(Jorge Villalobos) It's likely that when marketplace and AMO and consolidated (whenever that is), applications that aren't Firefox will be dropped entirely.

What we know

We know that Mozilla will merge AMO and the Firefox Marketplace in the future. There is no data for that yet, and it may very well be in 2015 the earliest.

A very likely consequence of the new AMO is that Mozilla products that are not Firefox related won't be supported by it.

This means that both Thunderbird and Seamonkey will have to find alternatives that they can use to provide users with extensions for the products.

Closing Words

A likely outcome is that Thunderbird and Seamonkey extensions will be moved to another domain, or two domains, from where they are offered to users. It is highly unlikely that this means the end of extensions for the products, but a solution still has to be found. In regards to that, a solution for existing add-ons needs to be found in the same context.

What is irritating is that both product leads have not been notified by Mozilla about the upcoming changes. (via Sören)

Thunderbird and Seamonkey to be kicked out of Mozilla AMO?
Article Name
Thunderbird and Seamonkey to be kicked out of Mozilla AMO?
The article discusses the rumor that Mozilla plans to kick extensions for the Thunderbird email client and the Seamonkey web browser from Mozilla AMO.
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  1. Gregg DesElms said on October 29, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I gave-up on Mozilla — specifically Firefox — a long time ago. I have a copy on my machine that I keep for the same reason I keep a copy of all the top browsers: Chrome, IE, Firefox and Opera, at minimum… for testing, for accessing a troublesome site, or one that stupidly only allows one browser, etc. I use Chrome (or, more accurately, SR Ware’s Iron Portable) and launch each of the others once per month to do whatever updates they want.

    Other than that, I cannot stand Firefox, and haven’t been able to for quite some time, now. Perhaps it was all the Mozilla bravado about small elegant code in the early days, and then Firefox eventually becoming the behemoth it is today.

    So this eventuality, while sad (because both Thunderbird and Sea Monkey were perfectly fine little products, upon which many people rely. But that’s how Mozilla plays. Instead of retiring a product and leaving the last stable version available for download forever, it just takes it all away, with no warning, no discussion… nothing.

    Organizations like that are self-interested at the expense of all others. It’s sociopathological. And I’ll have no part of it.

    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

    1. Glenn said on October 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      I think every version/release of Mozilla’s applications can still be found on their ftp site, though I use the portable versions from PortableApps which can be found on the Sourceforge site–all the way back to the very first release. But, yeah, I’m tired of Mozilla’s current attitude/direction. Tb3.1 is still the best release of Thunderbird, so I don’t mind using it while they release whatever other new stuff they come up with–I’ll just go on ignoring them.

  2. Sergey said on October 28, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I will miss Thunderbird
    For me, there are no alternatives for this great app.
    This article is really bad news for me.

  3. Orhin said on October 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Looks like another try from Mozilla to intentionally get everything in trouble what is based on Gecko but not in common with their Chrome similiar Australis Firefox line….

    Hopefully there is a solution for Thunderbird/Seamonkey add-ons!

  4. Rolothomasi said on October 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks Zeus, very helpful. I’ve been wondering about eM and might give it a shot.

  5. Kola said on October 27, 2013 at 10:32 am

    For those who are wandering about SeaMonkey, it has its own project team (the SeaMonkey Council), independently from (since but legally backed and hosting provided by the Mozilla Foundation. I think there’s still some hope for a third-party marketplace for Thunderbird and SeaMonkey extensions.

  6. Zeus said on October 26, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    I’ve been trying several alternates to Thunderbird lately: Claws Mail, eM Client, Postbox, Opera Mail…

    Postbox is a derivative from Thunderbird, a sort of commercial fork. The idea was speed increases and features like conversation view built right in. It also supports Thunderbird add-ons, but they have to be ported over, and therein lies the problem. Lightning is still stuck on a VERY buggy 1,0 release on Postbox. It’s practically unsuable, and Postbox of course offers no support for a third party addon — nor will they consider buckling down and adding their own calendar feature to make things easy on their customers.

    eM Client looks really promising. It has a few quirks. It’ll check my mail every ten minutes, but sometimes when it can’t for some reason (a problem with the program? Or my account? I’m not sure), it’ll throw up all sorts of alarming warning signals. Of course, next ten minutes it’ll check just fine, but it’s an annoyance. The Send & Receive button is also on the far right. Customer support insists it’s on the left, just like every other mail program, but it’s not.

    Opera Mail was recently separated from the web browser. So while work slowly progresses, not only doesn’t Opera Mail seem to support addons for calendars and whatnot, I don’t have much faith in Opera’s continued interest in working with email. Heck, Opera just sold off Fastmail.FM to the original owners.

    Claws Mail is like, a fugly Unix port looking contraption. Only some of the plugins are supported on the Windows port. But it’s very, very lightweight and low on resources. Takes up like, 20MB of ram when the others take close to 100MB. The plugins it does support are good ones, like a minimize to tray option. And there are a few dozen themes.

    The problem with all of these choices is, like Thunderbird, you get the feeling that at any time their project could die. Postbox has all but halted development, and shows no signs of correcting the weird not-support for Thunderbird add-ons, or porting new ones. Claws Mail’s developers could soon tired of porting to Windows, and there’s no sign the rest of the plugins will ever be ported. Weirdly enough, eM Client, a program I’ve never heard of, seems to have the most steam behind development. According to wikipedia they’ve been at it since 2006, there’s a v6 looming on the horizon, and maybe someday they’ll get around to moving the “Send and Receive” check mail button to the left, like Thunderbird, etc.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. Those were just some thoughts.

    Currently, I’m using Thunderbird with a few thematic add-ons that restore some sanity to the current, god-awful interface. But if development continues to lag, I’ll probably just hop over to eM Client. The freeware version has a calendar, and aside from some nitpicks, everything seems to work pretty well.

    1. Brandon Watkins said on October 28, 2013 at 4:10 am

      I use EM client on my windows machine, IMO its just wonderful, definitely my favorite windows email application. Very nice clean interface, its fast, and its stable and has a very good featureset. It reminds me of outlook without all the bloat.

      I have occasionally seen the issue you described where there’s sometimes random connection warnings from em client when I come back to my pc, but the application appears to still be working fine and getting mail fine. It happens to be quite rarely to me though, so I haven’t considered it a big deal.

      There’s a new major version coming out in late fall, so maybe that will fix the issue. The one thing I am really excited about in the upcoming new version is *full exchange/MAPI support*!. This could potentially mean I can finally access exchange public folders (at least I hope so) and such without having to buy MS office or use the crappy owa web interface, I’m really excited to try that new version when it comes out.

      I only wish it was available for osx too (my laptop is a macbook), but on osx the default does a reasonable job for me with my imap and exchange accounts, but can be buggy sometimes.

    2. Glenn said on October 27, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Since neither POP nor IMAP has changed much in many years, I have no problem continuing to use Thunderbird 3 (or even 2 once you disable Java & javascript support) to get my notifications–plain text still works fine, too. Tb3 has a much smaller footprint than recent releases–around 40MB or so, so I can just leave it open all day to get new mail alerts. I like the interface. (I use the portable version from PortableApps.)

      In eM Client just turn off the Operations window to get rid of those [almost always] pointless “warning” [pop-up] messages.

  7. dblevins said on October 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    The recent hated changes in Yahoo mail as well as unliked changes in gmail are why I stay with a PC-based email client. I get to chose whether or not to install changes, not the CEO of Yahoo.

    Long live Thunderbird !!

  8. wsmwk said on October 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    > Can you recommend a good alternative for Thunderbird,just in case?

    Unfortunately this article is based very, very early information. And there is not yet a solid plan. So perhaps the most revealing point in the whole thing is the “?” in the title. Yes indeed things are unclear. But nothing is going to happen in AMO any time soon. And perhaps won’t happen at all.

    > releases for the email client afterwards were more or less limited to security and stability fixes.

    For many months of course there were only security and stability fixes – because that’s exactly what version 17 was designed to be. However, version 24 delivered considerable backend improvements, and several front end improvements.

    > I am curious to see if the community will take it over

    The community is already very much delivering most of the change, and the fixing, which includes Mozilla employees involved and contributing.

  9. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    It’s really amazing at how email clients are becoming less used. It is like either Outlook, an app, or web based, and that’s it. Given that I use to be the type that wouldn’t use email clients except to download and archive messages. If Thunderbird does become dropped or abandoned, I am curious to see if the community will take it over. Maybe something like palemoon will evolve.

  10. GiddyUpGo said on October 26, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Yes my young friend,
    there used to be a company called Mozilla with great programs.
    They insisted on doing things their own way without listening to their customers. Making so many changes in their programs to be like other companies that people got tired of it and went somewhere else.
    So you see, that is the reason you have never heard of that name.

  11. Rolothomasi said on October 26, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Can you recommend a good alternative for Thunderbird,just in case?

    1. Zlip said on October 26, 2013 at 9:24 pm

      Opera Mail Client????

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