Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client is back, and it’s better than ever. In addition to recently releasing a revamp of the desktop version, the Thunderbird team is also working on a mobile version, which will in a future date replace what we currently know as K-9 Mail. One of the features Thunderbird will be getting at a later date is support for Firefox Sync, and the Thunderbird team has just released an update to let us know where things are standing there at the moment.
The Thunderbird team has released a blog post noting the absence of Thunderbird Sync, Thunderbird’s version of Firefox Sync, from Thunderbird 115, and explaining the reasons behind it. Thunderbird 115, codenamed ‘Supernova,’ was another major overhaul for the email app — it has a thoroughly revamped UI that makes it look a lot less late-2000s than the previous version. So what’s the reason why we don’t have Thunderbird Sync just yet? Basically, it’s because the team set itself goals that were a little too ambitious to achieve in too little time.
The initial release faced delays due to technical obstacles. While the basic user interface for Thunderbird Sync is already designed and things are pretty much ready to go, the main hindrance is the need to hire a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) to establish an independent back-end infrastructure, distinct from Firefox Sync. The post doesn’t make it clear if that engineer has already been hired. There is a job listing right now for a Site Reliability Engineer on Mozilla’s careers page, but the listing doesn’t clarify if that position will be for working on Thunderbird. It mentions work on Firefox and other “web properties and upcoming products.”
The Thunderbird team also says that it wants to make sure that the feature is as secure and reliable as possible. Thunderbird Sync will be good for synchronizing basically everything across multiple Thunderbird installations on Windows, macOS, and Linux, as well as the upcoming mobile version. It’s to become a core feature, so it must work well.
When we’ll have Thunderbird Sync is not known yet. But the goal is apparently to have it ready by the next ESR release or shortly after transitioning to a monthly release schedule — something that’s expected to happen by early next year. Once a server and proper back-end infrastructure are established, the feature will be enabled on beta for user testing.