Wiki page for Thunderbird 2014 Fundraising Appeal (the addon community)

Kent James kent at
Mon Sep 15 18:29:21 UTC 2014

On 9/11/2014 1:45 PM, R Kent James wrote:
> I've collected some random thoughts on the proposed direct appeal to 
> users on a wiki page:
> ...
Tanstaafl had some great comments on this at  I am going 
to reply here because I want to encourage larger discussions of these 
issues. I would encourage folks to read his full comments there. This 
message will only deal with one of the issues raised.

"I didn't notice anything about supporting the add-on community. ... 
this plan only targets Thunderbird developers. "

You've only mentioned addon authors, there are code reviewers, QA, 
support, Mozilla infrastructure, and marketing as well that could easily 
justify funding. That last time that we had a discussion about possibly 
trying to raise funds for development, aceman and I put together a list 
of existing Thunderbird contributors. That is here 
<>. Preparing that 
was quite sobering. We had about 70 people on that list who contribute 
in significant ways to the success of Thunderbird. There is no way that 
we could reasonably raise enough money to reward all of those people at 
market rates for their contributions, and it would fundamentally change 
the nature of Thunderbird if we tried. For the current plan, all that we 
are hoping to achieve is to identify key areas that are either 
threatening the continuing existence of Thunderbird (keeping up with the 
rapid changes in m-c) or glaring weaknesses that we need to fix to be 
competitive (some bugs and address book). There is really no reasonable 
expectation that there can be any "spreading of the wealth" beyond those 
bare essentials.

Yet as someone who is primarily an addon author, I certainly understand 
the issue. What I think is the answer, that I have promoted on and off 
over the years, is some sort of "Thunderbird Professional" that would 
try to combine a number of extras into a product that would require 
annual licensing. That would include proprietary addons such as 
ExQuilla, perhaps maintained versions of free addons,  along with 
support and enterprise packaging.

Yet when I have raised the issue, the only person who regularly supports 
this is Axel. I'd like to discuss it again at the Summit, yet at the 
moment Axel and I have largely developed our own methods of 
accomplishing our goals. A Thunderbird Professional would require 
significant buy-in from people (as you will certainly get plenty of 
pushback) which has yet to materialize. We can discuss this perhaps at 
the Summit to see if there are additional supporters of this.


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