A way for users to donate $ to support TB innovation

Advrk Aplmrkt avkaplmkt at gmail.com
Thu Jul 12 21:26:31 UTC 2012

I know you had a question mark for this point, but perhaps a
crowdfunding project would be worthwhile after all?

As many of you might have heard, the Kdenlive video editor project did
a fundraising campaign earlier this year through crowdfunding. The
stated purpose was to use the funds to hire someone full time to
refactor the Kdenlive code. It worked and the effort was well

For Thunderbird, perhaps there could be a Kickstarter (or other
crowdfunding site) project to fix the "top 50 outstanding/showstopping
bugs" or "top 5 requested new features", or something like that.
Perhaps the funds could be divided as "money per bug fixed or feature
added". So for each bug (or feature) a developer fixes (a group of
developers probably need to commit to fixing at least x bugs before
the project starts), they get a pre-determined amount of money. Of
course bugs (or features) come in all shapes and sizes, so perhaps
they can be binned into groups worth different amounts of money. If
you fix a big/hard bug, you would make more $ than fixing, say, a
spelling mistake in the UI.

Part of the excitement of crowdfunding comes from the rewards
participants get. Even a nice t-shirt is sufficient to get some people
to donate. I love my Mozilla Firefox shirt (the one with the Firefox
logo printed on a black shirt), perhaps there can be one for
Thunderbird, too? Crowdfunding also provides great positive publicity
for a project. Recently it sounds like Thunderbird could use some
positive publicity so that we can say "The reports of Thunderbird's
death are greatly exaggerated".

If the crowdfunding campaign reaches just one percent of current
Thunderbird users, and each of them donates just five US dollars -
That would be 20 million times one percent times five, which means
50000 dollars, more than ten times what the Kdenlive project got.
Maybe this will be enough to place fixed price bounties on bugs or
feature requests? Or perhaps it  could be used to hire a full time
intern to work intensively on bugs, etc. for half, or even a whole
year? What if the percentage of users who donate is higher, or if the
average donatio is more than five dollars? That's even better!

I am just one of the 20 million users out there, and I don't even know
how to program. But this is why I would love to donate money (instead
of it going to some proprietary software that I have to buy if
Thunderbird dies!!!), and I am sure there are more people out there
who are willing to do the same...

On 12 July 2012 14:23, Paul Morris <paul at paulwmorris.com> wrote:
> A number of the commenters on the "stability and community innovation" blog
> post indicated a desire to donate $ to support continued innovation in TB.
> (I am one of them.)   But now that donating to Mozilla is no longer a way to
> do that... some other way to make this possible would be a Good Thing.
> Given TB's large user base, even very modest donations from a small
> percentage of users might add up. I know I would rather contribute to
> open-source TB than pay for Outlook or some other proprietary app.  In the
> wake of the bad press, this would be a way that users could express their
> support for TB and counter the mistaken impressions of its demise.
> I don't think we need a kickstarter for "Save Thunderbird Innovation," (do
> we?) but a way for users to contribute to TB development seems like
> something to address in one way or another, sooner or later, if TB is to
> become a thriving community-driven effort.
> Maybe this is a role that Mozilla (or the Document Foundation? or
> Ubuntu/Canonical? or...?) would be interested in playing -- setting up a
> channel to accept donations for TB innovation, and then distributing that to
> community dev-contributors in some kind of basically equitable way based on
> their relative contributions, however that is determined and carried out.
> I'm sure there are all kinds of complications and tricky logistics to this,
> as always, the devil is in the details, but I submit it for consideration.
> My thanks to those who are stepping up to keep innovation in TB going!
> -Paul

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