Axel axel.grude at
Mon Jul 9 10:57:48 UTC 2012

> This decision is a clear loss, if not even violation, of most principles in the 
> manifesto (which happen to capture the Mozilla spirit fairly well):
>>  1. The Internet is an integral part of modern life--a key component in education,
>>     communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
> All true for "Email is an ...", and email is a core part of "Internet"
>>  1. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
> Webmail is definitely not open. You're totally dependent on the features and 
> limitations the provider offers.
>>  1. The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.
> Being reduced to webmail as choice surely isn't an enrichment for individuals, only 
> an enrichment for Google.
or msn, yahoo ... etc.
>>  1. Individuals' security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as
>>     optional.
> Privacy goes out the door with webmail.
> Even integrity: The ISP can even alter the message contents years after the fact, 
> and I have no way to verify or prove this. (see e.g. scandals)
*loss of privacy and fidelity*: these are the parts I am most scared about.

*Fidelity: *One thing is that html mail with css is relatively new thing and it seems 
now that the html compatibility of email is ignored and scrapped by things like 
webmail views, even new unified conversation views (within Thunderbird) etc. which all 
feels like a giant step backwards. Turning the mail application into a Kiosk certainly 
doesn't work for  people  who have a need for advanced email features. The choice 
should not be Kiosk vs. Outlook.

*Privacy: *the argument is tricky as email is necessarily server based and with IMAP 
you also depend on an external server to archive & manage your mail (and quotas!). But 
generally webmail does not allow backing up to local storage (and cleaning up on the 
server without loosing data) so IMO that is the biggest drawback.

> If everybody has webmail, there's not even a reason for the ISP to offer IMAP or POP3.
there is a trend with ISPs not to offer SMTP servers anymore, so again people are 
forced to use gmail. For an average user it is actually hard to find free SMTP 

>>  1. Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.
> Most definitely a loss here. This is one of the reasons that get at me most with 
> this decision.
>>  1. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon
>>     interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and
>>     decentralized participation worldwide.
> ~20% of the world's users (and raising quickly) all being on gmail is a scary 
> centralization. With centralization, no need for interoperability - old story.
> Where do you think Thunderbird users will go now? Eudora? No, Gmail. Definitely loss 
> here.
>>  1. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a
>>     public resource.
> I can't modify gmail webmail.
> Even in the remote chance that we would build the world leading webmail software, it 
> would still be the ISP rolling out and controlling it, and probably modifying it. Loss.
not necessarily this is about browserId (or persona), so I believe the plan is to 
build some encrypted data stores with data access fully controlled by the users, and 
this could well be extended to email.


*Axel Grude*
Software Developer
Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders, quickFilters, QuickPasswords, Zombie 
Keys, SmartTemplate4)
AMO Editor
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