Okay, maybe the “not really a bird” thunderbird won’t be taking the place of the Gallic rooster as the avian mascot of France, but as far as the French military is concerned, Thunderbird is number one. Back in 2003 the French military began debating whether it would be wise to continue using a proprietary email client, such as Microsoft’s Outlook, or if it would be of greater benefit to transition to an open source client like Mozilla’s Thunderbird. In 2007 the decision was made, and officials agreed that Thunderbird would help, “seek maximum technological and commercial independence.” Fast forward to today, the French have TrustedBird — the name they’ve given Thunderbird when loaded with their developed extensions — deployed on over 80,000 military machines running a variety of operating systems. Oh, and for those of you wondering, the French are being good open source community members. This week Mozilla released Thunderbird 3, an effort which took nearly two and a half years, and you may (or may not) be happy to know that code located in Thunderbird 3 is a direct result of the TrustedBird project. France’s Col. Bruno Poirier-Coutansais acknowledges that open-source software, “is never completely free,” for large organizations to adopt, however they are quite pleased with the performance, features, and flexibility provided by their Thunderbird iteration. We’re curious, what email client are you using on your desktop/laptop? Viva la Thunderbird!