Proposal for donation link in Thunderbird 31

Tanstaafl tanstaafl at
Mon Nov 18 21:57:50 UTC 2013

I for one would be more than happy to donate, probably more than $10 too...

One thing though... what did you have in mind as far as accountability 
(of the uses the money is put to) goes?

In other words, will *everything* that the money is used for be made 
public knowledge? You know, an annual 'accounting', showing all of the 
dollars collected, and where it all went?

If so, and this is made formal/official policy, then I'm all for it.

On 2013-11-18 4:49 PM, Kent James <rkent at> wrote:
> (This is a resend after earlier copies seemed to fail)
> As many of you know, I am a firm believer that Thunderbird needs sources
> of income to ensure its future.
> I would like to propose that for Thunderbird 31, we add a donation user
> interface and mechanism that requests an annual donation of $10 from
> users. This should be something that appears prominently once after the
> upgrade, and users have a choice to act/postpone/or ignore (until next
> major release).
> My own recent experience with ExQuilla is that there are plenty of users
> who are quite happy to pay $10 per year for email functionality. I
> believe that we could design a tasteful donation mechanism to capture
> this willingness from users that would be acceptable to the vast
> majority of users, and generate substantial income. I would guess that
> Thunderbird would earn several hundred thousand dollars per year this way.
> The question will arise, what do we need income for? That deserves a
> separate thread, but here are some quick comments on that.
> 1) I don't think that we can assume that Mozilla will continue to
> subsidize Thunderbird for the foreseeable future, as the nature of
> Thunderbird does not mesh with their core mission of making everything
> an HTML app. Thunderbird operations takes substantial funds to support.
> 2) There are many ways that we could provide more substantial support to
> core contributors that are short of providing income for living. That
> would include providing equipment, or travel expenses to conferences.
> 3) I believe that the major Thunderbird contributors should get together
> at least annually for an event that is part work and part play.
> 4) Certain important but non-development functions are difficult to
> support with volunteers. There might be a role for contractors in some
> of those areas, if there was income available.
> 5) I of course am not opposed to finding mechanisms for core developers
> to earn a living at their Thunderbird work, should the project learn to
> develop enough income that such a mechanism was ever possible. But we
> are far from that now.
> Could I have some comments on this?

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