More on Thunderbird in France

I had a great day in Mountain View today. It was the day after the Firefox 3b3 code freeze, so there were a lot of very tired, bleary-eyed engineers walking around, but the tree was green, regressions seemed under control, and great features had landed (I’m particularly looking forward to integrating the new Add-ons manager in Thunderbird, it’ll help solve a real pain point for users of extensions). I also got to meet some of the Toronto UX folks, and generally talk blue-sky Thunderbird UI ideas, which is always fun.

There were only two negatives about the day: the fact that I hit yet-another-KQED pledge drive, and that even after several rounds of triage during the day, I came home to an inbox with 454 emails to process.

A couple of interesting links as part of that mailstorm came from home:

The AFP (France’s largest news agency) reports that “French police deal blow to Microsoft“, referring to the Gendarmerie Nationale’s decision to move to an open source stack for their 70,000 seats, using Ubuntu, OpenOffice, Firefox, and Thunderbird. (I like the cute picture in the left of that story)

Equally impressive, Tristan Nitot reports (in French) on his conversation with a representative of the French Defense Ministry, who indicates that they’re recommending Postfix as the mail server and Thunderbird as the recommended mail client for most users, reaching up to 200,000 users (this doesn’t include the 70,000 mentioned above).

Both of those organizations use Thunderbird in truly mission-critical situations, and have build significant extensions to support their particular requirements regarding delivery notification, acknowledgement processes, etc. Not something everyone needs, but if you need it, you really need it, and Thunderbird’s extension model can let these kinds of sophisticated users help themselves, which is the way software should be.

1 Comment

  1. Security may be a big factor in their choice, although that may not be stressed in public. It is generally the policy of all government security departments to purchase own-country products, because of the propensity for info to leak to the developer country. That gets a bit problematic with globalised things like PC hardware, OS software, and popular applications. Open source presents a viable model in that it may not be any more secure or more bug-free, but at least open source evens the playing field between foreign aggressor and local sysadm defender.


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