Mozilla caused a minor controversy with the announcement that it's dropping Thunderbird development. It clarified some of the details later, saying that this is a long-term decision and that several more Thunderbird releases and new features are in the works.
Well, true to its word, we have a new Thunderbird release, but there's not much on the "new features" front. Actually, there's nothing on the new features front, there's nothing new in Thunderbird 14, Mozilla is just fixing some bugs and some security issues.
If anyone needed an example of how things are going to go down from now on, look no further, this is how most, probably all future Thunderbird releases are going to look like.
That's not necessarily a bad thing; the people that still use desktop email clients and will do so next year or two years from now don't need anything on top of what's already in Thunderbird.
Still, Mozilla is trumpeting the community card, saying that people are really getting involved with the project. Which may very well be true, though there's a long way from people "expressing interest" to big new features for Thunderbird, down the line.
"Some of our most loyal and long-standing contributors started talking about how the community might take on a development project (nicknamed 'papercuts') that we’ve long wanted to do. How they might organize around that project. How they might engage new contributors around that project," Mozilla's Anne-Marie Bourcier wrote. "There were commitments, ideas and a bubbly sense of enthusiasm and creativity."
"Something all the doom-sayers seem to have forgotten is that Thunderbird is an open source project. And that means that Thunderbird is only as good as it’s community. Mozilla is not abandoning Thunderbird... But it’s the Thunderbird community who are going to drive improvements and innovation. Thunderbird has a very bright future," she said.
Nowadays, open-sourcing a project actually means abandoning it. That's not true of large open source outfits of course, and Mozilla counts as one of the largest, but that's the thing – Mozilla is a large organization that generates a very healthy amount of money each year to pay for engineers to work full-time on its projects. And those engineers aren't going to be working on Thunderbird.