Thunderbird Reorganization: Summary Plan

Benjamin Kerensa bkerensa at
Thu Sep 11 08:41:01 UTC 2014

On Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM, Kent James <kent at> wrote:
> 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.

Would we need consensus from the Thunderbird Module Owners and Peers
since they have organizational ownership over Thunderbird? My
understanding is even after the transition to it being a community
project that the Module Owner and Peers were still the overall
governance for Thunderbird.

I have yet to see comments from the Module Owner.

> 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.

But the manifesto calls for promoting the web as a platform so if we
follow the Mozilla Manifesto we could not depart from that Mission.
> 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.

Why replace the Module System? This is what all Mozilla projects use.

> 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.

I agree that staffing is essential to Thunderbird continuing to be a
viable product.

> 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.

Do you think Mozilla allow this for legal reasons surrounding Mozilla
as an organization that being raising funds autonomously? Also who
would hold these funds and disburse them?

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