Ten years ago, on October 18th 2007, I released Instantbird 0.1. I was soon joined by a team of enthusiastic hackers, and I hoped we could make a better IM client that would replace the painfully broken ones that were dominant at the time.

The Internet has changed a lot since then. Messaging has moved significantly toward mobile apps. The clients we were competing with mostly died themselves. Even the services we were connecting to are closing down (AOL, MSN, ...), or moved away from standard protocols (Facebook).

While we made a pretty good product, we never managed to attract a critical mass of users, and we lost half of them when the Facebook XMPP gateway was closed. Instantbird still has some uses (especially as an IRC client), but its user interface has aged significantly.

I don't think maintaining our infrastructure to support only a few thousand users is a good use of my time, and I've lost motivation to do it. While Instantbird regularly received code contributions from several people and had a nice and friendly community, nobody stood up to replace me and take care of our build infrastructure. This means we haven't been able to produce nightly builds for the last couple months, and are extremely unlikely to be able to ship a new release any time soon. It's time to announce that we are stopping development of Instantbird as a standalone product.

The code base isn't dying though! A large part of it is shared with Thunderbird (since it received chat support in 2012). Thunderbird is actively maintained, and has lots of users.

Instead of working on Instantbird, we'll refocus our energy on improving the chat features in Thunderbird, so that it becomes friendly for users who loved Instantbird and will seek a replacement. This should allow us to focus on features and not worry about infrastructure that was sapping our energy and time. Thunderbird is the spiritual successor to Instantbird!