Donation link: next step

Kent James kent at
Mon Nov 25 19:22:16 UTC 2013

On 11/25/2013 9:29 AM, John Crisp wrote:
> Your 'Council' needs to be made up of a reasonable balance of developers
> and business, not just devs. As I have oft moaned in many places that
> developers are phenomenal, but don't always take into account their
> users needs and desires (you might like tabs but I hate them with a passion)
One of the weaknesses of open source models in general is that the main 
way that you accumulate cred is to be a developer, and spend years 
contributing development "for free". I've often bemoaned to my wife that 
I feel like I need to keep cranking out code to keep my voice relevant 
in the Thunderbird community, when the more pressing need where I could 
contribute is on the business side. Nevertheless I feel like I have 
managed to develop some cred, though when I see my bug landing count go 
down I feel like it is slipping away. Very few business-focused people 
can operate successfully in this environment. Yet I have no solution to 

In addition, Mozilla maintains an open attitude only about code, not 
about business. I've conducted a one-year unsuccessful campaign to get 
Mozilla to publicly reveal the income for the Thunderbird project, but 
apparently that is an area which they choose to keep secret. This in 
spite of the fact that the project is now supposed to be run by 
volunteers, and I as a module peer am supposed to be one of the people 
at least in theory with some say on how these funds are supposed to be 

As to the Council, I would view it as a large group that includes most 
people who actively contribute to the project, or have a significant 
stake in it, and likely to have few people with a business focus. That 
Council would probably appoint a much smaller group that would have 
operational responsibility. Only the smaller group needs to have a 
significant business representation.

> If you are asking for donations, then make sure they go into a separate
> NfP with it's own account and governance. I am sure there will be many
> who are happy to contribute to say TB, but not to the Mozilla whole.
> Donations links are all very well (I never use the 'home' panel or
> whatever and always go straight to Inbox so would be unlikely to see
> this), but life would be much easier if you could mail every customer
> and say 'send us some cash please'. So some form of registration has to
> be looked at somehow.
One way we are different that you is that tabs provide a mechanism to 
insert an in-product communication with the customer without relying on 
registration. I don't see the need for registration, as long as we plan 
in advance (which is what this thread is doing).
> I am sure that with the current size of the TB user base, you have some
> time on your side, and knowledge available from Mozilla. But you need to
> get this moving in a hurry before you start to see users slip and slide
> away. Does anyone have any recent users stats and year on year
> increase/decrease in usage ?
In addition to my unsuccessful attempt to get Mozilla to reveal income 
figures, I have also been on an unsuccessful year-long campaign to get 
Mozilla to publicly release daily usage figures for Thunderbird. This 
failure does not seem to be policy related, it seems to be more a matter 
that the powers-that-be don't care enough to take the request seriously. 
I've been occasionally sent emails from Mozilla staffers that contain 
the information (though not in a long time), so I know that the 
information exists. But nobody seems to know or care who has the power 
to declare that the information in these emails be made public, yet 
nobody with official access to the information seems willing to take the 
risk to post it publicly for fear of offending those same unknown 

I would welcome any additional voices to bug Mozilla staff to publicly 
release income and usage figures for Thunderbird. It has been a lonely 
quest so far. Very frustrating.

> I think the premise of paying for bugs to be fixed (unless it is a
> private contractual basis between a customer and a developer) is never
> going to work. Much better to advertise the skills and contact details
> of developers who are prepared to offer to work 'freelance' on say a TB
> website.
Thanks for the advise, it seems to be coming from multiple sources.
> Well done for grabbing the poison chalice, and keep up the good work:-)
Thanks for the words of encouragement.


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