list of TB contributors and governance

Gervase Markham gerv at
Tue Oct 23 08:45:49 UTC 2012

On 23/10/12 06:38, Kent James wrote:
> On 10/22/2012 9:32 PM, David Ascher wrote:
>> I guess I don't understand why you called out the module ownership
>> module owners as the people who need to make that strategic choice.
> Perhaps because it is in their job description as I read it (the module
> structure strategic choice)? It is clear though that we both believe
> they are not going to take the initiative to fill vacant roles, or
> create and staff new modules for Thunderbird.

No indeed; that's not their job. It's the Thunderbird module owner's. If 
they aren't doing it, that's a problem, but I've not seen them veto 
proposed (sub-)module creation requests yet...

> They will review and
> approve when others do that, but I don't see who those "others" are.

As David says, proposals can come from anyone, although they might not 
be looked on favourably by the MO group if the existing leadership of 
Thunderbird didn't like them! :-) That would be rather like a coup...

> Without a stronger Thunderbird community governance model, that role
> (and other strategic issues) defaults to Standard8 and JB, and I don't
> think either of them really want that job or responsibility.

At the moment, Standard8 and bienvenu have that overall responsibility. 
(This does not, of course, prevent their being sub-modules; many of the 
tasks which you list as requiring ownership seem like good candidates 
for the creation of such.) There are two ways the overall responsibility 
can pass to others. Firstly, those two can choose to initiate a 
transition to other module owners, or another form of governance. 
Secondly, enough Thunderbird community members could complain to the MO 
group that they were doing a bad enough job that the MO group would need 
to step in. But I'm not detecting a strong feeling of that across the 

> The group that defacto will decide the future of Thunderbird is the
> "significant contributor" community.

Yes; to a large extent, this is already true. What gets done, happens. 
Or are there patches which are being blocked or new initiatives being 
stifled by 'higher ups'?

> That group, in addition to being
> asked to do most of the work, should have real collective authority over
> the direction that the product will go. The way I am proposing to
> achieve that is to have a recognized, managed list of significant
> contributors who have the opportunity to vote on significant issues that
> affect product direction, such as project governance.

I would suggest (to the Thunderbird community as a whole) that a 
governance model with regular voting is an unwise choice. The reasons 
for this are well set out by Karl Fogel in his excellent book "Producing 
Open Source Software" (parts of which are IMO a must-read for anyone 
involved in the leadership of a significant open source project).


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