Version number changes for Thunderbird

Rafael Ebron rebron at
Wed Jun 1 23:10:19 UTC 2011

Hey Ben,

We'll be communicating with reporters the changes and features in 
Thunderbird and it'll be feature driven rather than using versions to 
drive news.  We'll continue to take care of our relationship with the 
press and bloggers regarding new releases.

Using versioning in marketing has run its course.  From a practical 
standpoint, Thunderbird + version number is a sub-brand that we have to 
market which takes away from focusing on "Thunderbird".  And users care 
that they're using the latest Thunderbird, not Thunderbird 3.1.10.

We do need to save users from version marketing.  Android, Mac OS X, 
Windows, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, iTunes, Ubuntu.  Should I 
really know that I'm running Android 2.3.4 Cupcake, Gingerbread, Ice 
Cream Sandwich; Mac OS X 10.6.7 Lion, Snow Leopard, Hedgehog; Windows 
Vista, 7, 8? Ugh!

Our users don't care about version numbers, they care about using 
"Thunderbird" and using the latest.  And I don't think we should make 
them care about software + version numbers.


On 6/1/11 3:36 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> On 01.06.2011 23:59, Mark Banner wrote:
>> didn't change the numbering system, and continued developing 
>> Thunderbird for the next 25 years?
> In the new system, we'd be at Thunderbird 221. That's not comparable 
> with reaching "TB 25" in 2 years - in the current system, we'd be at 
> "TB 4.0" or "5.0".
>> Like Rafael has already said, we're not going to be marketing TB x is 
>> released. We'll be marketing that an update to Thunderbird is released.
> Yes, but if that happens every 6 weeks, do you think you'll get a 
> headline each time?
> If you have a release that's bigger than the others, it will be hard 
> to communicate that "this one is significant" to reporters who get a 
> 1000 news items a day and spend 3 seconds or less before deciding 
> whether it's newsworthy.
>> The news is there's something new/different, not the fact the version 
>> number has changed.
> From the news items I've read, few reporters go to that length. Most 
> just report "there's a new version", and maybe reword parts of your 
> press / public material of what's new. In the case of 26 -> 27, that 
> whole headline of "there's a new version" is lacking. You need a 
> reporter who actually understands the changes, and very few go to that 
> length.
> I'm not saying it's impossible to market that, but that it's *harder* 
> in the new system to do PR and get news items. So, I'm saying that 
> even from a marketing perspective, this is worse.
> And techies also surely don't like it. So, I don't get it.
> Ben
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