July 6, 2012

Mozilla Axes Thunderbird - Opens A Great Opportunity For KDE PIM

With this evening's breaking news that Mozilla is kicking Thunderbird out of the nest, it seemed logical to write about the rare opportunity for both Kontact and KDE PIM in general that has currently presented itself due to these developing circumstances. Opportunity is knocking, in other words. For an update on the current Mozilla announcement, see:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/258920/mozilla_clipping_thunderbirds_wings.html
http://techcrunch.com/2012/07/06/so-thats-it-for-thunderbird/
http://gizmodo.com/5924070/is-thunderbird-dying

If you are new to the KDE Personal Information Management suite, check out their website. Basically it is the equivalent (albeit much more robust) to Mozilla's Thunderbird email client and it's accompanying Lightning calendar extension, in addition to doing things that Mozilla's offerings could never do, at least without adding many add-ons. Things like handle RSS feeds, provide sticky-notes, manage to-do lists, and so much more. As Kubuntu and KDE users this should be seen as an opportunity to showcase KDE PIM and Kontact in all of it's glory. But is it...?

Kontact in KDE 4 (courtesy of Kubuntu.org)

Much has been done by KDE PIM's dedicated team over the last few years to get Kontact into real-world game-day shape. However, as we know, there are many bugs still that remain throughout the suite of applications managed and developed by this understaffed group of dedicated individuals. Many of these bugs go back at least a few years. KMail2 in particular seems to draw the ire of many people, though I have had other elements of Kontact crash as well (both Akregator and KMail have crashed on me tonight alone, for example, in 4.9 Beta 2...). 

The point of this post is not to turn into a rant against KDE PIM, but rather to discuss what can be done to get KDE PIM in rock-solid shape so as to be a worthy contender for both new Linux converts as well as Evolution and Thunderbird refugees. Because in a nutshell Kontact rocks. What it needs is bug triaging and subsequent code fixing in order to make it a viable everyday replacement for users old and new to enjoy the benefits of using a fully-integrated contact suite. Can Kontact gain new champions and users from Thunderbird's unfortunate fate? Time will tell.

If you are a developer or an aspiring one and want to see how you can help out with KDE PIM, you can join and follow their mailing list or check them out via IRC on channel #kontact on the Freenode network.



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