Thunderbird’s Future: the TL;DR Version

Kent James kent at
Mon Aug 11 19:42:25 UTC 2014

On 8/11/2014 12:02 PM, Benjamin Kerensa wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 1:20 PM, Kent James <kent at> wrote:
>> Thunderbird usage is growing, we have a strong core team, and expect to
>> remain relevant to the internet for the foreseeable future.
> Do we have metrics to show that it is growing? Data from the Metrics
> Team perhaps?

<rant>I have been trying for 2 years to get permission to publish the 
available data on Thunderbird usage without success. Yes we have data, 
yes Thunderbird usage is growing, but these numbers are only available 
to staff, and when shared with me privately they are always stated as 
unshareable except in broad statements. Nobody seems to be able to 
figure out who has permission to release these numbers publicly. </rant>

>> How We Get There
>> Three full-time developers are needed to ensure a stable core base, and
>> allow forward progress on the minimum feature set expected of us.
>> We cannot reasonably expect Firefox and MoCo to subsidize our operations, so
>> we need to raise income independently, through donations directly from our
>> users.
> How do we accomplish this? I do not see Mozilla allowing a third party
> to raise money on Mozilla Thunderbird's behalf and for that money to
> be kept by a separate entity. I think we need to figure out how to
> work with Mozilla to sort out access to Thunderbird's revenue and have
> a SOP around requesting funds. I do not think TB has ever generated
> enough revenue to even hire a part-time developer.

Perhaps it was not clear from my post, but the current structure that I 
am proposing is that Thunderbird continue to be under the Mozilla 
umbrella, but with governance that is community-based rather than 
staff-based.  "I think we need to figure out how to
work with Mozilla to sort out access to Thunderbird's revenue and have a 
SOP around requesting funds" is exactly the next step. I am determined 
though to try to get that SOP ("Standard Operating Procedure") to rely 
on a community-based management structure, though the community itself 
needs to be better organized before we need to be talking SOP with 
Mozilla. There is no proposal on the table for a third party to raise 
money. Donations raised through the in-product promotion would 
presumably be run through MoFo, and managed by a community-based 
governance structure. "Community-based governance structure" does not 
mean third-party, it means a more formal structure within the Mozilla 
umbrella that empowers rather than dis-empowers the community.


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