Donation Link: Formal Proposal

Tanstaafl tanstaafl at
Tue Dec 3 11:43:49 UTC 2013

On 2013-12-02 6:07 PM, Kent James <kent at> wrote:
> We are asking the user to make a decision about donating each major
> release. So I would agree that this proposal moves Thunderbird away from
> being "free as in beer" software to being "free as in freedom"
> donationware. We need to think hard whether that is what we want.
> Obviously my personal opinion is that we should move that direction.
> Mitchell herself claimed to me that Mozilla does not want to subsidize
> free software for businesses. Neither do I. I am not willing to donate
> my time to the cause of free-as-in-beer software for businesses, and
> because of that I think that Thunderbird should try to recover costs
> from users in ways that still promote "free as in freedom". Donations
> are one such option, and I do not think we should be ashamed to ask for
> them. With freedom comes responsibility, and we are providing structures
> for our users to meet their responsibilities.

This comment confuses me.

Free software is free software. You cannot distinguish between 
'subsidizing free software' for commercial and non commercial use... 
*all* use is free.

Also - you seem to be saying that in order to combat (probably not the 
right word but couldn't think of a better one) your aversion to 
'subsidizing free software for businesses', you are proposing a nag/beg 
screen to beg for money from NON-commercial (end) users. That makes no 

If I was a developer, I would be *proud* if my work was so good that 
even large commercial enterprises wanted to use my software.

This whole aversion to 'subsidizing free software for businesses' turns 
me off in a big way.

If you (and other Mozillians) really feel this strongly, then the proper 
- imnsho - course should be to change the license to 'free for personal 
use', and charge for corporate/commercial use (note: I would be 
*strongly against* such a move).

Of course, if you did that, you would then be in a position where you 
would *have* to listen to your (now paying) customers and implement 
features they wanted - or lose their business.

Personally, I like the suggestions to add the Donationware information 
to the 'About' window/screen, and on the 'Welcome' screen that shows up 
for new major releases, I don't see this as being too intrusive, and 
corps can disable it easy enough (at least the welcome screen part).

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