The Case for Thunderbird in Mozilla

Patrick Cloke patrick at cloke.us
Wed Sep 16 15:03:35 UTC 2015


Joshua,

You've made some great points! (All of which I agree with and have been
unable to put as eloquently as you did.)

On 9/15/15 10:07 PM, Joshua Cranmer 🐧 wrote:
> On 9/15/2015 3:30 PM, R Kent James wrote:
>> What I would appreciate at this point are comments on what are the
>> reasons that Mozilla should accept Thunderbird as an official
>> project, presumably under the Mozilla Foundation, that provides us
>> with the structure that we need to succeed. Please help me make The
>> Case for Thunderbird in Mozilla.
>
> Thunderbird remains the largest open-source email project in
> existence, with a total userbase that is larger than some of the
> projects that Mozilla considers part of its core mission.
I think rkent has access to some of these numbers, we should cite that
here (i.e. we're not just making up numbers). Comparing directly to
other Mozilla projects might be a bit aggressive, however.

> This userbase size makes it uniquely positioned to champion the goals
> of the Open Web in the wider email and messaging standardization
> community, a factor which cannot be guaranteed for other, smaller
> projects within Mozilla's umbrella. A good recent example is that
> Thunderbird's objections to the SASL OAuth specification as
> then-proposed did result in a strong impetus for dynamic client
> registration, with Thunderbird cited as an explicit use case.
Do we have any newsgroup / mailing list / whatever threads to back up
this claim?

> It should be noted that the messaging world is at great risk of moving
> to closed, proprietary silos. Thunderbird's large userbase and ability
> to cooperate with the open alternatives in this area gives it more
> bargaining power to help pry open some of these silos. 
Mozilla manifesto #6 (and maybe #2?).

> Finally, it is worth noting that Thunderbird is a popular program
> among the wider tech community, and many in that community believe the
> discontinuation of paid staff on the project to have been a mistake on
> the part of Mozilla. 
Wasn't there a slew of articles written praising Thunderbird for v38?
Maybe linking to some of those might be good.

I don't have much else to add, besides reinforcing that the statements
being made are true for not just email, but instant messaging in
general. (Frankly, they're probably more true as Google and Facebook
continue to tighten their leash on IM and are slowly removing
interoperability with open protocols while refusing to even document
their new protocols.) The trend here brings me back to the 90s where
everyone was in a walled garden.

It could be interesting to take the 10 points of the Manifesto and show
how TB greatly contributes to all of them.

--Patrick



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