Thunderbird Reorganization Plan - the motivation

Benjamin Kerensa bkerensa at
Wed Sep 10 06:55:38 UTC 2014

Should we ask the Module Owner and Peers to weigh in? Technically they
steer some of these decisions while they remain in those roles regardless
of our consensus.

On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 1:19 PM, R Kent James <kent at> wrote:

>  I'd like to see if we can reach consensus on the general outline of a
> reorganization plan for Thunderbird. I hope it is clear to anyone that has
> been observing our efforts recently that there are issues with our current
> direction. Some symptoms:
> 1) The decision to confirm that we could spend Thunderbird income on a
> gathering of contributors, as promised to the community at the last
> reorganization, required intervention from the highest levels of Mozilla.
> 2) Thunderbird 31 released with very few new features.
> 3) comm-central has been closed now for about six weeks due to various
> breakages. This is really bad for engaging contributors, as well as slows
> down development. Collapse of Thunderbird as a product will start with long
> periods of time where we are unbuildable, so this is the first hints of
> collapse.
> 4) We have been unsuccessful so far at negotiating a resolution to the
> issues of repository structure that are needed for reducing our sensitivity
> to changes in the build system.
> 5) The process to confirm that we can publicly release information on our
> growing daily user count (which we sorely need to counter market perception
> that Thunderbird is dying) has taken over a year and is still not complete
> (though all indications are that we will have that approval soon).
> 6) The last entry on the Thunderbird blog was about one year ago, on
> September 13, 2013. Other aspects of public communication, such as release
> notes for Thunderbird 31, have also been inadequate recently.
> At the same time, our user base is growing, and we have a strong core team
> with good internal dynamics. Our product is strong, and we are part of a
> proud brand and organization. We have everything that we need to be
> successful, we just need to get behind a plan and execute.
> I'm going to post the minimal outline of what I think is needed in a
> separate communication, as I don't want to clutter that with the long list
> of problems that I have presented here. That communication will lay out key
> features of the reorganization plan, without too many details. I hope that
> we can reach a general consensus on the minimum plan in that document, and
> proceed to implement any negotiations that are needed to move it forward.
> Details are purposely omitted to try to get a list of the bare essentials
> of what we need to agree to.
> One reason that we need to do this now, rather than wait for the Summit,
> is that we hope to take the opportunity at the Summit to prepare a
> marketing video that would be a key part of the strategy moving forward. So
> we need to agree on pieces of the plan, particularly the piece about
> approaching our users directly for funding, so that we can do the video as
> part of the Summit.
> In the absence of a working governance model, one way that we can proceed
> with a reorganization is to have stakeholders add their name to a plan as a
> co-sponsor. What I will suggest is that I present my document, we have some
> discussions, and then I will modify the plan incorporating the input. Those
> who support the plan will be listed as co-sponsors. When you read the plan
> and comment, consider that you will be asked to be a co-sponsor of whatever
> we agree to.
> If in the end you cannot agree to the plan after discussion, then I would
> strongly encourage you to offer an alternate plan. The plan that I present
> may not be the perfect plan, or the only possible plan, but we need SOME
> plan. If not mine, please present your own. Or state clearly why you think
> that the status quo is working fine.
> Actual summary plan to follow.
> --
>  R. Kent James
> Personal: kent at
> Business: rkent at
>  Web:
> Twitter: @rkentjames
> Mozilla IRC: :rkent
> _______________________________________________
> tb-planning mailing list
> tb-planning at

Benjamin Kerensa
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