Spicebird brings Mozilla-based collaboration

Synovel, a startup based on Hyderabad, India founded by a group of International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) graduates, has released a preview of Spicebird, a Mozilla-based collaboration suite.

Spicebird is built on Thunderbird and Lightning, the powerful extension that adds calendaring functions to Thunderbird. Additionally it seems to integrate SamePlace, a Firefox extension that provides instant messaging capabilities based on the Jabber protocol.


After watching the Spicebird presentation I was left greatly impressed and wishing it was available now.

To begin with, it provides a helpful dashboard that shows recent messages, web feed items, an agenda, a calendar and a couple of clocks showing local and foreign times. Other tabs provide a complete email inbox, contacts list, and calendar.

Spicebird adds a few new tricks on top of the foundation products base: it autodetects events and their dates so you can quickly add an emailed event to your calendar, and it provides a single email and instant messaging contact list so you can see if a sender is connected and IM him or her in a snap.

According to the product description page it will also allow to post to your blog and edit wiki pages for a complete collaborative and enterprise-oriented solution but this is not shown in the presentation.

More details at Synovel Spicebird page.

Via David Ascher’s blog.

27 thoughts on “Spicebird brings Mozilla-based collaboration”

  1. Hi Percy,

    Thanks for your article on Spicebird. We are even more eager to release the alpha version. Apart from the development, release management does need a huge effort. Nevertheless we are working with ambitious deadlines!

    The upcoming alpha release will not contain “post to your blog and edit wiki pages” features, but we are planning to include them in the next release.

    Apart from this, it will be nice if the “Spynovel Spicebird” is changed to “Synovel Spicebird” :-)

  2. Siva, thanks for adding your comments and letting us know a bit more on what’s next. I’ll definitely keep an eye on the project.

    I corrected the typo, sorry about it.

  3. I was really excited about this project when I saw that it used indutry standard protocols like IMAP, SMTP, Jabber, and iCal. Jabber can even be extended with Jingle to get video/audio chat. Then my heart fell when I saw:

    “Supports iCal, but uses a custom protocol for server interaction.”

    I guess this is how they plan to tie people to their services. Oh well, I’m much less interested in the project now.

  4. If it works with Exchange, great … otherwise, its a disappointment. Close but no cigar.

    We use Firefox and Thunderbird. But we are searching an Outlook open source alternative. And we haven’t found one.

  5. Sadly Thunderbird is downloaded default without and extension installer button thus no changes or extensions can be installed. Moreover one hour the program may funtion another it may not, for numerous variable reasons, NOT THE LEAST OF WHICH IT CAN DISABLE THE SEND LINK IN ALL PROFILES. I HAVE ON OCCASION TRIED IT OUT FOR FOUR YEARS WITHOUT SuCCESS, I hear from others the same experience. It has at this time no bragging rights as splashed online. I suspect the problem is outside the program or Mozilla.

  6. What a great job! This looks fantastic and “After watching the Spicebird presentation I was left greatly impressed and wishing it was available now” says it all. I will certainly be watching for Spicebird to be released.

    A couple of things that would make my New Year and make Spicebird absolutely unbeatable for me would be (a) the ability to backup/archive emails to my hard drive (I really don’t want to store emails online) and to associate email(s) with contact(s) so I know who wrote asking for what and what I replied. Now that’s a PIM.

  7. Does this work with Exchange? The only way to really kill outlook is to pull from MS playbook and “Embrace and extend” (and extinguish). From there it becomes easy to sell this product. Until then, it is nice. But good luck selling it to anyone other than startups and consumers.

    It is nice that it can work on other collaboration systems but the only way to kill exchange is from within so to speak. I know if it had Exchange connection capability I would certainly use it as would most of the company I work in. (FYI I make the software recommendations which often get implemented in a large Fortune 500 environment) Outlook/Exchange is not something I enjoy having to deal with since it was put up well before I joined the company.

    But add that feature into the product and you have the corporate killer app of the decade.

  8. Looks nice, I just hope it’s not bloated the way Firefox is. I’m just not going to run an email client that uses up 50 megabytes of ram. I’m simply not doing it. Evolution is not perfect by any stretch, but it’s
    “good enough” and only uses 10mb. I’d switch to something better but not if it’s extremely bulky. I don’t have an old computer but i still covet my ram and don’t hand it out lightly ;)

  9. This is prety cool, but I am already popping my mail through GMail, so I don’t know how useful this would be for me.

  10. Just a little clarification: as far as I remember from a brief chat with Siva (developer from Spicebird’s team), only xmpp4moz (the communication layer) is included, not SamePlace.

  11. Downloaded and using Both Firefox 3 and Spicebird 0.4 LOVE THEM… Only one thing, Spicebird does not become my default mail client… Thunderbird still is, even after repeatedly asking Spicebird to make sure that it is the default…


  12. spicebird 0.4 does not import any messages from outlook express. it locks up.

    it shows folders but not content.

  13. Converted from long-standing Thunderbird with 15 add-ons to support quasi-Outlook functionality (crashed at the time repeatedly, because too heavy), to the first 0.4 or 0.5 spicebird. I now use the 0.7.

    It is great and light and has almost all the functionality of outlook.

    Since I use it at home, I cannot say if it accomplishes scheduling/busy times for groups.
    I can say that it has some issues still with accepting outlook meeting invitations.

    I DO however work with 4 different (color-code customized) calendars symultaneously, for meetings birthdays and holidays, etc..

    I like the task pane better than outlook’s. It looks like a Gantt. However, I would appreciate being able to us it as a collaboration tool, meaning a full project management tool (maybe can incorporate the open source ‘openproj’ suite into it).

    Also, and on the same subject can use apache as a sharepoint to manage both email/calendar exchange and project management, so it can work on any OS, x86 or x64.

    Hope this helps. I’m not a software engineer, so I have no idea if this can be achieved as I suggested, but I am an optimist.

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