Gerry T. on the Libreoffice-marketing e-mail list wrote, of the decision to deemphasize thunderbird:
“After that decision, the uptake of Thunderbird installations will go down in the long run (and even now IT staff will have hard time to convince management to migrate to a “dying” – exaggerated of course – platform). The result is that LibreOffice misses a competitive PIM programme vs. MS Office. This will unevitably reduce LibreOffice uptake. In bigger and cross-platform installations, there are no real Open Source alternatives to Thunderbird/Lightning. In my opinion, it will have quite some negative impact on LibreOffice.”
I don’t agree with this much. Folks who use Gmail, for instance, have little need for a local e-mail client and there are many other choices than Thunderbird.
“apt-cache search mail\ client|sort|less
alpine – Text-based email client, friendly for novices but powerful
balsa – e-mail client for GNOME
claws-mail – Fast, lightweight and user-friendly GTK2 based email client
dimp1 – dynamic webmail component for horde framework
evolution – groupware suite with mail client and organizer
icedove – mail/news client with RSS and integrated spam filter support
kmail – full featured graphical email client
mu4e – e-mail client for Emacs based on mu (maildir-utils)
opera – Fast and secure web browser and Internet suite
roundcube – skinnable AJAX based webmail solution for IMAP servers – metapackage
squirrelmail – Webmail for nuts
sylpheed – Light weight e-mail client with GTK+”
I think the move not to emphasize Thunderbird does not mean that it is deprecated but that it is perfected. There is no great effort needed to maintain something that works that well. As such, I don’t agree that uptake of LibreOffice is likely to be affected one way or another by Mozilla’s move.
If anything, this could be a catalyst to add an e-mail client to the LibreOffice suite. To the extent that e-mail is an essential element of most office environments, the office suite should have e-mail built in. Calendaring/organizing/management might also be considered to make LibreOffice more a one-stop shopping experience for desktop IT.