Thunderbird is a popular open source email client. Its current version is a single-process app, but this will change in the near future. Its pre-release builds already use a multi-process architecture, similar to what Firefox has in order to improve the app performance.
The multi-process architecture that Mozilla had been working on for a number of years brought advantages for the performance and stability to Firefox. Also, it is more secure. However, the Thunderbird email client uses the same base, but only uses one process."Daily" Thunderbird builds (the counterpart to Firefox Nightly) already use more than one process.
What has changed
- When Thunderbird loads a web page in the message pane (such as the home page), or in a tab, or in a window, that will be done by a secondary "child" process, not the main Thunderbird process as was previously the case.
- Transitioning from a web page to a message, or vice versa, has become more complicated, but this is handled automatically.
- Extensions are now loaded in child processes.
Yet another advantage of the multi-process architecture is that there should be fewer issues with the shared code for Firefox and Thunderbird.
Uses will see this change in Thunderbird 91 stable, which will be released this summer.
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