Change of release and governance model for Thunderbird

Tanstaafl tanstaafl at
Sun Jul 8 16:30:12 UTC 2012

I thought I'd post my response to this announcement here after posting 
the same thing to Mike Conleys blog...

Having reserved judgement until after I actually read the entire 
posting, I, for one – as someone who has been very vocal (and often 
critical – so much so in a few cases that I got booted off of one or 
more developer lists) – am actually very excited about this.

On more than one occasion, I have made the statement that ‘Mozilla 
should focus on stability and fixing many of the long standing bugs, 
rather than pushing shiny new features that it is questionable that many 
users want or will use.

So, if this means that certain long standing issues – like the buggy 
HTML editor, buggy IMAP behavior, the new Address Book, maildir vs mbox 
for local storage, full integration of the Calendar (Lightning 
extension), as just a few examples – will finally get some much needed 
attention and may even actually finally be permanently *fixed*, then I 
say that this is a very *good* thing for Thunderbird.

For me, Thunderbird is my EMAIL client. I don't want to browse the web 
inside it, or chat - I use it for email. I have many different email 
addresses (dozens, in fact) all configured as IMAP, and being able to 
work with all of them in one excellent UI (heavily customized from the 
default UI, another big reason I love Mozilla products), from multiple 
computers on disparate platforms (like my Moms Mac, and my Linux box at 
home), all with the same Profile which can be backed up from and 
restored to any of these different platforms (using MozBackup) - well, 
it is simply an incredibly powerful and convenient tool that I would 
find it very difficult to work without, and I am so thankful for and 
grateful to the Mozilla developers (both Moz employees and Community 
members) for providing this tool for all these years (I too started 
using Thunderbird a long time ago, back at about version 0.8)…

So, to those proclaiming the death of Thunderbird as a result of this 
announcement, I say…

Thunderbird is dead. Long Live Thunderbird!

p.s. one thing I don't understand - Mozilla supposedly got *NINE hundred 
million dollars* (over 3 years) in their latest new deal with Google - 
why they don't seem to be willing or able to allocate a million or 3 to 
Thunderbird per year is beyond me. A million should pay for what - at 
least 5 or 10 full time developers for a year?

Anyone at Mozilla care to answer that one?

On 2012-07-07 5:39 AM, Jb Piacentino <jb at> wrote:
> Hi,
> Yesterday Mitchell Baker posted on the future of Thunderbird:
> In summary, we've been focusing efforts towards important web and mobile
> projects, such as FirefoxOS, while Thunderbird remains a pure
> desktop-only email client. We have come to the conclusion that continued
> innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our
> ambitious organizational goals. The most critical needs for the product
> are on-going security and stability for our 20+millions users, either
> individuals, SMEs or large corporate/institutions.
> However, Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open source
> multi-platform email applications available today and we want to defend
> these values. We're not "stopping" Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt
> the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both
> ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven
> innovation and development for the product.
> We are opening the proposed
> <>plan
> for public discussion to individuals and organizations interested in
> maintaining and advancing Thunderbird in the future. We are looking for
> your feedback, comments and suggestions to refine and adapt the plan in
> the best possible way throughout the summer so we can share a final plan
> of action in early September 2012. The tb-planning mailing list
> <> is the preferred forum
> to have this conversation. I look forward to reading you there.

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