Change of release and governance model for Thunderbird

Ludovic Hirlimann ludovic at
Wed Jul 11 10:36:13 UTC 2012

On 7/11/12 5:40 AM, Joshua Cranmer wrote:
> On 7/10/2012 8:34 PM, Axel wrote:
>> For an outsider it is sometimes hard to determine who works on what, 
>> and it might help if there was some feature/module-centric 
>> (team)focus... what do you think?
> As Kent mentioned, I decided to put up a tb-roadmap etherpad detailing 
> the kinds of major projects that I think would be useful for 
> Thunderbird, and am happy to solicit feedback from anyone else. I'm 
> also currently preparing a proposal-via-blog-post about the missing 
> parts of our automated testing regime.

Can you share the etherpad ?

I believe we can build a community nowish as we are having momentum - we 
probably need to communicate things we decide and do a bit more widely 
to this mailing list - because not everyone is reading it.

Now let's see if I was currently 'just' a Thunderbird user and figured 
out that I need to do something to make sure that my favorite email 
client is going to have a viable future what would I be faced with.

I would need to find a clear and easily findable entry point - a place 
where I can come quickly read some text or watch a quick video, which 
would let me then decide how I can help. As a user I can decide where to 
help based on two major point and on a minor one :

 1. How much time can I invest every week for the project
 2. What are my technical skills
 3. and the minor one is more around how much do I want to learn so I
    can do 'more'

I've tried but I'm not sure I succeeded when I changed the way read and look.

I think starting with a roadmap is a very good idea and that will let us 
figure out where do we go from here. Having documents like the state of 
unit and automated testing is really helpful even for me to understand 
what's missing and where should work be allocated if anybody showed up 
with time to add more tests. So I think rkent's idea of building a list 
of bugs and saying these are the ones we would like to fix is a great 
idea to start a good roadmap.

We'll also need a better way to communicate - and I think we should 
rethink the way the weekly meetings are held. I think the format of the 
meetings these days is more like, the paid staff is communicating to the 
world in a very formal way on the progress and doings around 
Thunderbird. I'd like these meetings to be way more discussion based and 
not just here is what we've done. A Long time ago (back in 2009), we had 
a format of meeting that felt a lot more collaborative, where people 
would do a stand up and say, this week I've worked on and next week I'll 
be working on - to me it felt like we were more acting with and within 
the very small Thunderbird community.

A lot of what I wrote here is what we did with Camino back in 2003 - 
when AOL reaffected all the resources. We started having a irc channel 
different then #developers, we created a website etc etc .. What we had 
that we don't have right now is a strong leader that all users knew. I'm 
not saying we need a leader, we just need a leader's communication 
channel (ie what happens to the Thunderbird blog, and twitter accounts 
?) that make it easier to attract people.

>> I think
>> is a really good starting, and I would like to see more names and 
>> more modules here - I would like to get involved in the Filter Piece 
>> :) . Also for those of us who cannot spare daily IRC time, it would 
>> be cool if weekly (or fortnightly) timeslots for module discussions 
>> could be organized. One could then put out calls to the community for 
>> participation if we need more manpower.
> I have been informed that the modules page is currently in the process 
> of being updated, but I do not know what the final result would be.

So even when the modules page gets updated, let's see how module 
ownership has worked over the last few years.  But do we really want to 
drive Thunderbird by modules ? or is it not what you guys are proposing ?

>> If we had small teams of people who could cluster around certain 
>> areas of expertise and we had some known leaders for these who can 
>> make the final decisions or are the go-to guys for asking before 
>> somebody attempts to patch something it also might make work more 
>> efficient. (this might already be organized this way, I do not know 
>> the process well enough at the moment, but some transparency would 
>> sure be nice).
> I think we have people who are leaders for the modules and are willing 
> to be consulted on patch approaches beforehand (I know I often discuss 
> my major projects with important stakeholders before writing the first 
> line of code), but the problem is that either no one knows who they 
> are or the fora available to us are inconvenient. Part of my idea 
> behind the etherpad was just to start putting down thoughts about 
> high-level goals; perhaps adopting an additional mentoring approach 
> like Firefox would be worthwhile.

Won't that depend on time constraint  from the module owners ?
> Another, kind of related issue that I have as a module owner is I feel 
> the basic tracking tools I have are rather lousy, since bugzilla just 
> isn't cutting it. Unfortunately, I'm also at the time of night where 
> being able to articulate anything is impossible, so I'll shut up now...

We might also take a look at how Camino and Seamonkey have managed 
themselves over the few years. Kairo care to shim in ?

Smokey want to shim in too ?

@lhirlimann on twitter

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