Thunderbird Reorganization: Summary Plan

Kent James kent at
Tue Sep 9 17:25:27 UTC 2014

While Thunderbird remains a strong product with a growing user base, 
it's become apparent that we need to rework some basic ways that we 
operate if we are to successfully meet our user's expectations in the 
future. Here I present in brief summary the key features of a plan that 
I believe are necessary to move us forward. Let's discuss this and see 
if we can reach a consensus so that we can begin the process of 
implementing any needed changes in conjunction with our upcoming 
Thunderbird Summit.

Thunderbird Reorganization: Summary Plan

1) Thunderbird to remain an independent project under the Mozilla 
umbrella, but with a large degree of autonomy. Thunderbird to be subject 
to the Mozilla Manifesto and brand, but may depart from the current 
Mozilla Mission of promoting the web as a platform.

2) Overall authority for the Thunderbird project to be held by a group 
of people representing various stakeholders, including representation 
from both the community and Mozilla staff, as well as representation 
from developers, support, marketing, qc, and users. The name and 
structure of this group are yet to be determined, but initially call it 
by the neutral name of the "Oversight Group" or OG.

3) The OG has primary responsibility to manage Thunderbird expenditures, 
staffing, releases, income sources, code, support, quality control, 
marketing, user and public communications, or any other issues that may 
arise associated with the Thunderbird email client. Mozilla to retain 
veto rights over OG decisions, but need not approve each decision 
through existing departmental channels except for certain exceptions 
that may be specified by Mozilla. Reasonably the OG would delegate much 
of that authority to module owners, or use existing Mozilla infrastructure.

4)  The existing volunteers and staff are struggling to maintain a 
viable Thunderbird, let alone move forward, within the complex, rapidly 
changing Mozilla environment in which Thunderbird exists. A dedicated 
staff of approximately three people is needed to meet the minimum 
reasonable expectations of our users as a major product under the 
Mozilla brand.

5) Thunderbird to raise income through a direct appeal for donations to 
our existing base of approximately ten million daily users, using 
in-product means such as the start page. A reasonable target for annual 
income is $500,000 per year.

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