Eric Moore emoore at fastmail.fm
Wed Nov 14 20:38:15 UTC 2012

I've been trying to follow the discussion about SwanFox and I didn't get 
the arguments why adding enterprise support and support for other types 
of accounts is critical. I get a really uneasy feeling when somebody 
suggests "Partner certification" and "integrating paid support options 
provided by SwanFox".

Nobody seemed to want to talk about whether anybody who would continue 
to contribute a significant amount of time providing free support or bug 
fixes for Thunderbird would feel like they're a sucker. It would also 
seem to marginalize user communities such as GeckoZone and MozillaZine.

My impression was that in the past the needs of ordinary users were 
explicitly chosen over the needs of the enterprise, due to potential 
conflicts of interest and limited development resources. Swanfox seems 
to be either saying that logic doesn't apply anymore, or that while 
ordinary users would get the short end of the stick they'd still be 
better off than the alternatives.

I always got the impression that one of the problems with Thunderbird 
was that the project was essentially herding cats. You accepted the fact 
that caused some puzzling features to be added or other new features 
never to be finished. It seems it would be even worse (for ordinary 
users) if what gets fixed or what new features are added is driven by 
the needs of specific enterprises.

Then I read:

> "dedicated to enhancing Mozilla Thunderbird" is not how I would describe
> the core mission of Swanfox. Rather, Swanfox is a community that is
> dedicated to providing income to its members, using means that are
> consistent with Mozilla values, and working within the general area of
> internet communications clients beginning with the Mozilla codebase.


> I like the way that you expressed this question, Gerv - "does Swanfox
> have a privileged relationship with Mozilla"? The short answer is
> ideally yes.

None of the Thunderbird forks (PostBox, Spicebird etc.) seem to be a 
success. Giving SwanFix a privileged relationship with Mozilla might 
significantly harm Thunderbird's future, and all for nothing. I'd like 
to hear why that risk is worthwhile.

I had assumed that SwanFox was basically a way of funding improvements 
for Thunderbird by providing some paid services, mainly for the 
enterprise. Now it appears that is not its main goal. Will SwanFix be 
free to ordinary users?

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