Generating revenue for TB and "What do we need money for"

Gervase Markham gerv at
Thu Oct 4 15:42:40 UTC 2012

On 04/10/12 16:19, Anne-Marie Bourcier wrote:
> The major question stays _"What do we need money for?" _and until we can
> answer this clearly, we will not find any straightforward directions
> amongst revenue sources described below.

The last discussion I heard on this topic, which was predicated on the 
idea that the amounts would be in the tens of thousands of dollars 
rather than any greater, came to the conclusion that funding meetups 
etc. (as opposed to hardware or people) was the right way forward.

> => not that difficult to implement but where the money should go?
> Mozilla Foundation or external organization... Community will have to be
> clear upfront about the usage of this generated revenue in order to
> craft the right crowd-funding message/commitment.

The right thing to do seems to me to send the money via MoFo. There is 
no problem on the MoFo side of setting up a dedicated Thunderbird "pot". 
And it allows US contributors a tax advantage.

> B) Outside funding (revenue or resources): we can address large
> organizations like French Government (leveraging the recent Prime
> Minister commitment to help Open Source initiative) or IBM in Germany
> that have equipped large part of public organizations with Thunderbird...
>   * either we will get $$
>   * or we could get "sponsored manpower"
> => This option might bring significant resources to the Community but
> will require patience and dedication. If contribution is money, the
> question of what will it be used for has to be determined now. If this
> is manpower, we should avoid that it will only be manpower that will
> address specific large organization topics but rather work on Community
> agreed projects.

I think it's unlikely that you will get them to agree to give you 100% 
"you tell them what to do" time. They will want their employees to pay 
attention to their concerns. However, you may well be able to get 
something a bit less than that but still useful.

>   * Get revenue from features development, support or specific QA test
>     tools development: Community could set-up a developers' market place
>     that would be accessible to large organizations.
> => it should be do-able, solutions can be evaluated in a reasonable
> time-frame but the question of "what kind of features should be funded,
> when to release, level of quality required to pass the drivers test...."
> all of this has to be determined asap.

This model has been notoriously difficult for open source projects to 
get right in the past. One developed "ASAP" is unlikely to have the 
right, delicate mix IMO.


More information about the tb-planning mailing list