Change of release and governance model for Thunderbird

Wayne Mery vseerror at Lehigh.EDU
Wed Jul 11 15:37:33 UTC 2012

(original posted on tb-enterprise)

Quoting Ben Bucksch <ben.bucksch at>:

> On 10.07.2012 16:35, Jb Piacentino wrote:
>> - base both Thunderbird and Thunderbird ESR on Gecko 17, then 24...
>> - update Thunderbird and Thunderbird ESR with security & stability  
>> fixes every 6 weeks (so far, only Thunderbird ESR was working this  
>> way)
>> - produce a Thunderbird release (maybe one or two per year)  
>> aggregating community contribution so far
>> - then merge with the then current Gecko version at the end of the  
>> ESR cycle, ie Gecko 24 on Sept 2013
>> - base earlybird & beta releases on the most up-to-date Gecko  
>> version (ie 15, 17... 23,24) so that devs have a chance of working  
>> with the latest.
>> Again, this is up for discussion.
> So, essentially Thunderbird and Thunderbird ESR are now the same.  
> The betas are based on the latest Gecko, though, so that we find  
> Gecko regressions early on.
> That makes a lot of sense to me.
> Ben

There is a lot to like about delivering off a long lived Gecko. But I  
do fear that a year long wait may be too long. Two examples.

Effect on Thunderbird 24

Many, many Thunderbird crashes and top crashers aren't identified  
until release. Most of these crashes are core related, and a good  
percentage are not topcrashes for Firefox. The end result is they take  
longer to identify and take longer to fix - sometimes a few  
development cycles.  This presents two problems. 1. Between TB17 and  
TB24 there will probably be an accumulated "pile up" of unfixed core  
crashes affecting TB.

Effect on ESR 24

Partly because of the above, I have serious doubts that the outline we  
have now provides adequate testing to make ESR 24 as stable as it must  
be for public release. It may need 2-3 cycles of beta for the quality  
to be adequate.

Hopefully Mark's update of the process will have addressed these items.

Lastly, are we confident that Thunderbird releases can wait a full  
year for features/changes delivered in the "next" Gecko?  Example  
considerations: editor, spell checker, crash reporter (and changes  
socorro relies upon), session recovery, toolkit components such as  

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