The operation has its own CEO, David Ascher of ActiveState, who thinks “e-mail is broken,” its own board including MySQL CEO Marten Mickos – soon to be working for Sun – Ascher and Mozilla Messaging general manager Christopher Beard, its own core engineering team and start-up funds of around $3 million.
The plan is to integrate calendaring, improve search and graph a nicer UI on to the existing Thunderbird 2 as well as start a multi-year march to improve Thunderbird’s back-end architecture.
The calendaring will come from the Mozilla Calendar team and its Lightning add-on replete with significant contributions from Sun. What exactly the new UI is gonna look like is still undecided. Thunderbird may tap the old Eudora program that’s being move to a Thunderbird base.
The tentative release date for Thunderbird 3 is late this year.
The name Mozilla Messaging is supposed to indicate that it’s focusing on the Internet messaging and communications space as a whole, not just e-mail.
There is already an outreach to institutional users and potential industrial partners.
Last year the total cumulative number of Thunderbird downloads since 1.0 was said to be 50 million. It runs on Windows, Linux and Mac.