Governance and Release Model updates

Kent James kent at
Tue Nov 13 16:50:32 UTC 2012

On 11/13/2012 3:21 AM, Jb Piacentino wrote:
> Kent,
> "We need a not-Mozilla organization"... but you still want to be able 
> to enjoy the 'Mozilla Thunderbird' brand? Can you please explain how 
> you see this happening?
> Jb
I think we can agree that the Thunderbird brand is one of the most 
important assets that exists right now in our quest to improve the 
product. And we can also agree that monetization is very difficult. Even 
with the brand, you and David Ascher struggled to achieve levels 
sufficient to sustain development. That will be even more difficult if 
the brand is not available in any shape or form to the not-Mozilla 
organization. So I think a lot of how to leverage the brand in ways that 
would not be threatening to Mozilla, or that Mozilla would view as 
contributing to their overall mission.

I'm getting tired of calling this the "not-Mozilla organization". I'll 
be using the name "Swanfox" for this nascent entity in the future, so 
let me just start using that here as well. (swanfox.con,, 
@swanfox are all names I have reserved).

Let me just give a few examples of possible cooperative arrangements 
that could exist.

1) In support: If a paid support option existed managed by Swanfox, then 
the free support pages offered by Mozilla could point to the paid 
support options provided by Swanfox. Even more extreme, they could be 
integrated, so that paid support answers are also visible to the free 
users, and free users who find their questions unanswered, or who need 
more sophisticated support, would see clear choices to switch to a pay 
support model.

2) Donations: Mozilla does not appear to have any interest in managing a 
donation process surrounding Thunderbird. SwanFox could manage the 
process, doing the front-end work to prepare the in-product 
communications, and managing the developers that would be hired with the 
donations to work on the core product.

3) Mobile: If Swanfox wanted to develop a mobile app that was designed 
to work seamlessly with Thunderbird, then Mozilla could license the 
trademark to Swanfox.

4) Addons: If Swanfox wanted to publish paid addons, then those addons 
could be promoted directly within the Thunderbird product.

I don't see Swanfox as a traditional investor owned organization, but 
closer to a coop of Thunderbird key contributors.


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