Donation link: next step

Kent James kent at
Wed Nov 20 17:57:14 UTC 2013

In an effort to keep moving this forward to resolution, let me summarize 
what I think has been said, and what the next steps are.

I have not heard any objections to the proposal for a donation link, 
most posts agree and then proceed to question or propose details. Those 
details include questions of 1) how money would be spent and managed, 
and 2) how the donation would be structured.

The decision to setup an in-product donation link, along with the 
necessary governance structures to manage those funds and policies, is a 
significant direction for the project. That decision needs to be made in 
stages by the various governance bodies that we are subject to 
currently. Per our discussions last year, the first level of governance 
is the module system. Although it has never been stated formally, I'm 
going to proceed as if the first-level governing body for the 
Thunderbird project, as it now stands, consists of the module owners and 
peers of the mail and mailnews areas. Those are listed here and here  Let me call this group 
the "Thunderbird Council" for now. There are some important people left 
off of those lists who should have a voice, but that is a separate issue 
that I hope we address as part of this whole process. We probably need a 
module that specifically deals with project oversight, but we have to 
move with what we have for now.

The next step then is for me to prepare a document outlining the 
proposal, ask for specific comments and revisions on that document, and 
then try to get a formal consensus from the Thunderbird Council agreeing 
with the proposal. After that, the next step would be negotiations with 
the powers-that-be at Mozilla to get agreement about the concept and 
implementation details.

As an additional note, some people may have the impression that my 
initial post was an attempt to separate Thunderbird from Mozilla. That 
is not the case. However, I think that there are some unhealthy patterns 
in the current Mozilla/Thunderbird relationship that I would  like us to 
address, and this is part of that effort. It's time for us improve our 
capability to act independently and responsibly, but that does not mean 
that we need to leave the Mozilla family to do that. For the record, I 
have every expectation that Thunderbird will continue as an open-source 
project under the Mozilla umbrella for the foreseeable future.

I've also hinted in the past that there is a role for a separate entity 
that would be distinctly commercial in nature, but that would be 
cooperative with the Thunderbird open-source product.  I have discussed 
this under the codename SwanFox. This current donation link effort is 
not related to nor for the benefit of SwanFox, it is for the benefit of 
the open-source Thunderbird project.


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