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

Kent James kent at
Fri Oct 5 19:23:04 UTC 2012

On 10/5/2012 8:41 AM, Gervase Markham wrote:
> it does seem to me that this thread has a puzzling undertone of "keep 
> the money away from MoFo because they'll do something bad with it or 
> not spend it on us". We should dismiss that idea.

I think that anyone who has heard me some at Warsaw knows my perspective 
on criticism of Mozilla, but let me risk repeating myself.

There is a particular culture in Mozilla that has grown up around 
Firefox, which has at least two aspects. One is "it's all about the 
web", so that anything that is not either a web app or a browser is 
irrelevant. The second is more subtle, and concerns money. Because 
Firefox has such an incredibly lucrative passive income stream from 
search, they have had the luxury (which very few open source projects 
have) of having a central pot of money that is doled out to projects. 
This allows them to rightly say "it's not about money" and promote 
free-as-in-beer products that prosper with a passive, largely invisible 
income stream, with little concern for other methods of monetization. 
Thunderbird does not have that luxury.

The puzzling undertone I interpret as frustration with that Firefox 
culture, and fear that Thunderbird will be held captive to it, when we 
do not fit there and have in fact been rejected by that culture.

But Mozilla tries to be broader than just the Firefox culture, and tries 
instead to promote a broader set of values in the Mozilla Manifesto - 
though the Firefox culture is so dominant that it leaks a little into 
that Manifesto. Still, I think that the Thunderbird community needs to 
be clear that though we do not fit into Firefox culture, we do fit 
within the broader goals of the Mozilla Manifesto.

I think that most key community members, and that would include me, are 
generally supportive of Mozilla and its mission as outlined in the 
Manifesto, even though we may chafe at our rejection by the Firefox culture.


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