Soo!… Instantbird has had its first official release

After a lot of hard work, the impossible has been done. Instantbird got its release and the great people that make up the developer community got their rewards. I am a great fan of Instantbird and it’s community so this is me taking the opportunity to thank them for their hard work and hope that it may long continue.

I remember the first time I heard of Instantbird, it was back in the early days of me being a regular to Planet Mozilla. I used to see it mentioned, click on it, see the page, think urghh (I didn’t like the colour scheme or what I felt was a low budget visual presence i.e. logo) and click away. So imagine my surprise when some time later in a fit of frustration with Pidgin I happened to find my way back. I think at the time I had kind of really decided what it meant for me to be into the Mozilla community and believing in the prospects it could unfold. I was delighted to find an Instant Messenger built ont he frame work and eager to try and help it gather steam. I still am and still recommend it to be honest.

Instantbird however suffers from one glaring problems. It’s a lack of developers. With a lack of developers, patches are coming from very few individuals and in an ecosystem where you pick and choose what you want to work on, it means some other things won’t be worked on. Instantbird has the potential to be the Jackie Chan of Western Cinema. If Trillian didn’t manage to do it the first time round, it most certainly stole the title of the Bruce Lee of Western Cinema with the release of Trillian 5; seamlessly integrated on to all of its operating systems, synchronised chats across clients and a good notification UI. Instantbird can take these things and improve of them providing a different flavour.

There are most certainly things I’d like to change about Instantbird. I’m on record as such, I’d change the logo and the fundamental feel of the theme as well as integrate some missing features while consolidating others. Of course that’s so much easier said than done, but with time, Instantbird can do that. Perhaps the most important thing that Instantbird has going on is the fact that the devs have toyed around with the idea of changing the backend library from libpurple (what Pidgin use and maintain) to Javascript. This would be absolutely huge. The best thing is that if they made some progress with this it would attract more devs to the project too as it’s so exciting. We’re talking about something that would make Instantbird instantly cross-platform on platforms it hasn’t thought about before like for example what Trillian has done, a web interface. This would also make it easier to create apps for things like Android devices, iPhones, iPods, iPads, webOS devices and Meego devices. Work has begun on it but time is limited for the main dev of that and even then its a question of whether they’ll indeed pursue it for more protocols. I sit in excited anticipation on the matter.

If Instantbird can deliver at the very least cloud-synchronised conversations and logs along with the new backend, there’s nothing to tie that bird down any longer, it’ll fly free and soar to take over the sky.


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