Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Fri Nov 16 13:29:50 UTC 2012

On 14/11/12 20:38, Eric Moore wrote:
> 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.

I don't think that's so. There are users out there (e.g. businesses or 
governments) who need guaranteed support, who need it to be the case 
that someone will drop everything else until their problem is sorted. 
It's not reasonable to ask volunteers to provide such support, 
particularly without payment. So I think it's not necessarily the case 
that volunteers will be upset if someone else provides it.

> 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.

"Conflict of interest" isn't quite the right word, I think. You perhaps 
mean "conflict of requirements".

> 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.

The Mozilla module owners would still be tasked with making sure the 
Thunderbird codebase went in the best direction. That wouldn't change. 
(Which is why I think that Swanfox, for safety reasons, would need to 
have the ability to make and ship their own releases.)

> 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.

Why is developing the product in response to user needs necessarily a 
bad thing? All products develop this way.

> 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?

That's up to its proponents; but Mozilla has no problem with people 
taking Mozilla code and putting it into products that they charge for. 
It's explicitly permitted by our license, and we work to make sure that 
ability is retained.


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