Donation link: next step

Dave Koelmeyer dave.koelmeyer at davekoelmeyer.co.nz
Wed Nov 27 14:30:57 UTC 2013


Hi All,

I'm not a developer so I have no real clout in what's being explored 
here, but I'll put my belated grab-bag of thoughts on the table all the 
same.

Referring specifically to deploying Thunderbird in a business 
environment, I don't believe there's any way to deliver a pop-up 
notification to solicit donations in any way that is tasteful and 
non-intrusive. To me it's simply mutually exclusive. Domestic users 
won't care, but I can't recall myself ever using or seeing any popular 
business application (short of second-rate demoware) which presents a 
donation prompt to the end user. At that point, my preference would far 
rather be to simply to pay a one-off fee for a perpetual commercial 
license (with the assurance that all source code is still freely available).

I'd like to think a donation prompt would be an absolute last resort in 
funding options for Thunderbird. Another thought is perhaps LTS releases 
could be spared this, given that LTS releases would be targeted at 
enterprises. If you want to lose enterprise users, then putting a pop-up 
in their face is one sure-fire way to do it. Folks who want to use the 
latest goodies at home or whatever could use the non-LTS release and 
cope with a donations prompt.

On that note it's clear that the social media channels for Thunderbird 
continue to be massively underexploited in this regard. I can appreciate 
the reasons for these languishing, but followers for example on TB's 
Facebook page continue to climb (not fall) even in the absence of any 
real activity. Putting out the occasional call for donations here 
(amongst fresh news articles and tips etc.) is just a no-brainer. It's 
now been a month since any new activity was posted to FB (and close to a 
full year before that) - so I'd like to see what can be done here before 
introducing donation links into the app.

I see rather a few recent articles of large migrations to open source 
productivity suites specifically mention Thunderbird (e.g. 
https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/osor/news/french-interior-ministry-open-source-5-10-times-cheaper). 
Given that these organisations have spent so much effort switching, and 
claim to have saved thousands in the process, then surely it would be 
worth reaching out to them to see what financial or other contributions 
they can make back to Thunderbird to keep the project alive and open - 
and therefore continue to future proof their investment in moving off 
proprietary systems.

Also, (and this is total pie in the sky), would it not be worth 
considering a potential arrangement with The Document Foundation? As far 
back as Sun (and probably earlier) Thunderbird is highlighted in 
official migration whitepapers as filling the gap for (then) OpenOffice 
lacking an MS Outlook equivalent. And as far as I am aware, Thunderbird 
remains the only fully cross-platform, open source email client which 
can therefore be deployed in tandem with LibreOffice on all platforms as 
a full productivity solution. TDF clearly has an existing structure for 
accepting donations, and of course an existing extensions ecosystem. 
There would seem to be quite a few synergies here, and "LibreOffice 
Mail" has a certain ring to it...

For the record I have recently established an SMB IT service 
consultancy, amongst other things providing support and service for 
Thunderbird. I absolutely want to contribute back and see the project 
thrive, in whatever form it may eventually take.

-- 
Dave Koelmeyer
http://blog.davekoelmeyer.co.nz




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