Papercuts remixed - the bug list

Jb Piacentino jb at
Fri Jul 13 14:55:36 UTC 2012

Kent & all,

I immensely appreciate the motivation and energy everybody is putting 
behind carrying on with Thunderbird development. However, I think that 
it will be very premature and maybe counter productive to make any kind 
of announcement or press release at this point in time. Here are some of 
the reasons why:
- I don't think we have touched on any governance topics yet and those 
will surely need to be discussed and agreed among ourselves, Mozilla 
included. I have proposed a schedule which ends on Sept 8/9, i.e MozCamp 
Europe. Promising for this or that, without knowing how we will be able 
to deliver does not make a lot of sense and can as a matter of fact 
backfire at us.
- I am not sure we have discussed anything about the release process 
yet. Again, promising papervut fixes, new features ... without having an 
idea of what can be done seems premature to me.
- And I could add many more other subjects to this list
- And finally, the press is unlikey to pick-up on the fact that a group 
of 8 volunteers is taking up the gauntlet. Add to this that this is 
already summertime in Germany and France, 2 of the 3 top territories for TB.

My strong advice is to aim higher and hit the press with some really 
substantial and solid news: here is who we are, what are we committing 
to, how are we going to deliver, and when...
I can see two windows of opportunity: Thunderbird 15 launch (or 16, or 
even 17), and MozCamp Europe. Here is why:
- Thunderbird 15, 16 and 17 will have additional features and partners. 
We plan on having a 'big' launch with TB17 on Aug. 28th (which should 
feature Thunderbird Chat for example). I think we could surf on "Look, 
Thunderbird ain't no dead" and describe what is coming up from the 
community at this point in time
- MozCamp Europe: we plan a 'Thunderbird Summit' day on the eve of the 
event where those of you who are invited to MozCamp will hopefully join 
us and refine the plan that is currently being developped. I can see we 
1) can have a wrap-up session with MozCamp attendees to ensure all our 
trusted fellows understand where we're going, 2) possibly have a PR 
describing the conclusions of this conversation.

On 13/07/12 15:19, Kent James wrote:
> On 7/13/2012 3:57 AM, Wayne Mery (d531) wrote:
>> I admire everyone's enthusiasm but I think we are blazing ahead too 
>> quickly, announcing a process and potentially blogging already only a 
>> couple days after discussion started.
> Right now, we are partly battling time. The Thunderbird brand was 
> enormously damaged by the announcement of last Friday (dare I say 
> botched announcement?) that has been interpreted much more negatively 
> than I think was intended. Now we have a small window of time where 
> people are watching Thunderbird a little more closely than usual. It 
> is really critical that a positive statement is given in that window 
> of time, and that statement needs to show hope that there actually is 
> a community effort that will back up Thunderbird.
> With Andreas and atuljangra also signing up, we now have 8 developers 
> who have committed to investing in the Thunderbird project over the 
> next year. It would be good to get that message out, and my target is 
> Sunday night.
> I agree that the rest of the process is not well defined at the 
> moment, and perhaps you are correct that I should be cautious about 
> talking about the specifics of a process that is still in development.
> But there is a second part of this that I'd also like to talk about 
> about, and it is a little more delicate. Part of what is going on with 
> the TB changes is that Mozilla is emphasizing stability over 
> innovation with Thunderbird. That is actually good news for a large 
> part of the Thunderbird user base. The last thing many users want is 
> constant, unnecessary churn in the user interface. (My own pet peeve: 
> removing the folder class selection from the folder pane, forcing 
> someone to write an extension to put it back which is now very 
> popular). I would like to find some positive ways to engage those 
> people. And emphasizing that we are going to be taking more concrete 
> steps than in the past to try to listen to their needs, and respond to 
> them, is a Good News story.
> But this is delicate because it is partly critical of what Mozilla has 
> done in the past - or could easily be interpreted that way. It is also 
> extolling the glories of slower release cycles at a time when Mozilla 
> is already working to respond to recent criticism of rapid release 
> (the "Firefox Update Discussion" email). I'm aware of these 
> sensitivities and want to be careful - but I think that subtle 
> criticism is acceptable and even desirable.
> So I feel strongly that a positive statement of some sort needs to be 
> put out this weekend, but I feel less strongly about the specifics of 
> the paper cut process. But that it exists, and that it is reaching out 
> to users who would prefer stability and quality over innovation, is an 
> important message that needs to be part of that statement.
> Still I welcome further input on what should NOT be said right now.
> rkent
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