Proposal for donation link in Thunderbird 31

John Allen john at
Mon Nov 18 23:39:56 UTC 2013

two things,
Will Mozilla allow Thunderbird to become self sufficient (bearing in 
mind point 1 below)? Would they prefer Thunderbird to quietly disappear?
Could Mozilla be persuaded to move Thunderbird to a GPL license.
> (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?
> :rkent
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