Mozilla, the developers of popular open source software have moved the release of their email product, Thunderbird to coincide with rapid-release-cycle of its most popular browser, Firefox. The final release of Thunderbird 7 is scheduled for September 27 and will release simultaneously with Firefox 7.
The first beta of Thunderbird 7.0 is just released for testing. The latest Stable Version is the mid-August release Thunderbird 6.0.
What is new with Thunderbird 7 First Beta?
With the release of the first beta, seasoned developers will be happy to find almost four variations of Thunderbird, available for testing and use. The final and stable versions will offer typical users of Thunderbird a satisfying user experience. While, the pre-release flavors are what will interest the experienced users and developers to test-note-fix-bugs.
The First Beta release of Thunderbird is the closet to the final release of Thunderbird 7, in September, but looks like a lot of work is required yet.
Significant new features include the much improved user interface. This has made it faster and makes it a more stable build with greater support standards.
Extensive fixes for several Gecko platforms are included. The Beta release includes changes that allow printing summary of chosen messages and an update to the attachment-handling features.
At the same time, some of the older add-ons are not working with First Beta Thunderbird 7. However, these issues are likely to be fixed by the time of final release in late September.
Email attachment feature is already available on version 6 but certain issues need fixing and the new features in beta will most likely overcome them.
Some of the existing issues with Thunderbird Beta
There are some known bugs, such as, not being able to view content in Wide View Layout. This is easy to fix – by disabling the Lightning Calendar add-on. Alternatively, you could choose to go back to Classic View and restart Thunderbird to overcome the issue.
Developers testing the beta can report bugs here following these guidelines.
Some of the main reasons for issues with earlier versions were compatibility with add-ons. Therefore, rapid release cycle for Thunderbird with Firefox was chosen to overcome these issues.
Further driven by the philosophy of enabling Firefox to interface with the internet in real time, the Chair of Mozilla Foundation, Mitchell Baker justifies the move to an accelerated schedule.
The goal is to ensure smoother and better user experience for users. With the old release cycle, developers could add new features to the browser only on an yearly basis and in turn web developers could not enhance their applications. This new format of browser interface delivery, is to speed up the entire internet delivery vehicle. This in turn will enable better and improved email products like the present Thunderbird 7.
Beta Source Code
The Thunderbird Beta source code tarball is available for download.
At Mercurial you will be able to find the latest development code.
A detailed look around the Thunderbird 7 developers will further help developers interested in the project. The Thunderbird Knowledge Base is another great resource for developers keen on testing and contributing to the project.