Donation Link: Formal Proposal

Kent James kent at
Wed Dec 4 20:16:23 UTC 2013

I'm travelling Tuesday 12/3 - Sunday 12/8 so responses to this thread 
may be delayed or brief the rest of this week.

On 12/3/2013 6:42 PM, John Allen wrote:
>>> - " Support for ongoing expenses of possible server-based
>>> innovations" - I think this may be better described as "Support for
>>> external projects directly related to Thunderbird innovation". As
>>> really I think what you describe would be external projects, and so
>>> we should just be up front about that.
>> This is not important to the overall plan, and since BenB also flagged
>> this perhaps I should just remove it, unless there are lingering
>> doubts about whether Thunderbird can profitably use additional
>> resources. "Support for external projects directly related to
>> Thunderbird innovation" is not really what I had in mind, but it is
>> not worth the effort to clarify.
> I am not sure what the argument is here. Surely the primary focus of 
> any funding is the development of Thunderbird in toto. A secondary 
> objective, should there be sufficient money available, might be the 
> promotion of TB, by what ever means seem appropriate.
I'm trying to avoid discussing this, since it seems to lead to 
confusion, and is not really important to the current proposal. All I 
was trying to say is that, if I look at competitors like Google and 
Microsoft, they have server-based initiatives that are intimately linked 
to their innovation in communications technology, and I think that 
Thunderbird should be open to those directions as well (if there is 
sufficient funding). But that is another whole discussion we should 
have, and not important to the donation link proposal, so I would prefer 
to discuss it in a different context, and drop it completely from the 
current proposal.
>> The other part of a broader plan is to have a parallel commercial team
>> that follows a "Freemium" strategy with the community-driven
>> Thunderbird as the free part, and a commercial product that wraps the
>> core Thunderbird with addons and support as the premium piece. That is
>> not part of this proposal however.
> I am not sure about this idea. Would an non-paying user be able to 
> install apps/extensions (for example Lightning, cloud connectivity) or 
> would these only be available to the paid user. My concern here is 
> that such a move might drive users away.
> I wonder if one way of funding might be that paying users get 
> "professional" support, while unpaid would have to rely on community 
> support.
I mentioned the so-called SwanFox commercial product initiative in the 
interest of full disclosure, so that people who might not have 
participated in the discussions last year would not be surprised if it 
surfaces again in another thread. One thing that I learned last year is 
that there is no reasonable chance that Mozilla and/or the Thunderbird 
Community would be able to initiate something like that, so any efforts 
in that direction would be a private initiative (though hopefully 
cooperative with the community version of Thunderbird).

But to answer your specific question, existing FOSS licensed addons such 
as Lightning would continue to be a part of the community-run 
Thunderbird under all currently foreseeable futures.

I'm happy to discuss SwanFox and its possibilities, I have nothing to 
hide, but I don't want to overload the community either.


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