Governance and Release Model updates

Gervase Markham gerv at
Wed Nov 14 10:05:42 UTC 2012

On 13/11/12 16:50, Kent James wrote:
> 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).

Despite the fact that you've reserved the names, I think using something 
with "fox" in the name for a product which is based on the Mozilla 
codebase but is not a browser would be deeply confusing for people.

I also can't imagine a "swan-fox". What does that look like?

> 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.

In Mozilla's early history, there was a paid support option for Mozilla, 
from a 3rd party company who Netscape had engaged, and this possibility 
was integrated. So it's not impossible that Mozilla could offer a 
contract to Swanfox to provide paid support for Thunderbird on a 
per-incident basis. Swanfox would probably have to make its money from 
the customers rather than a fee from Mozilla, though.

> 2) Donations: Mozilla does not appear to have any interest in managing a
> donation process surrounding Thunderbird.

I'm not sure how you draw that conclusion; I have said several times on 
the list that MoFo is indeed happy to do this.

> 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.

I think it's unlikely, although not impossible, that Mozilla would want 
the Thunderbird mark used for on mail clients which shared little code 
with Thunderbird itself, and which were developed by 3rd parties.

> 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.

I guess the question would be: does Swanfox have a privileged 
relationship with Mozilla? Having their addons directly promoted inside 
the Mozilla-shipped product would imply so. I wonder whether Mozilla 
would be ideologically keener on a "level playing field" model, where 
any number of companies could provide services around Thunderbird on an 
equal basis.

Then again, if we don't even have one such company, there's not much 
point planning for 10.


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