What happened to hiring an architect?

R Kent James kent at caspia.com
Fri Dec 16 00:02:25 UTC 2016

On 12/15/2016 12:10 PM, Magnus Melin wrote:
> A forked Gecko is not really a choice. If would be a final resort if
> all else failed.

We've had this discussion a zillion times, but let's repeat it since it
is always so much fun ;)

Postbox's new release is on Gecko 7.0.1, which is now over 5 years old.
I have not heard any great outcry about their security issues, and
someone on this list (...cough..  BK...cough..ensa) keeps telling us
what a great product that is, and how popular it is in Mozilla. So
clearly forking Gecko is a CHOICE, and if people at Mozilla are using it
then some people at Mozilla must not care that it is based on old Gecko,

You don't like that choice, and neither do I, but it is clearly an
option. And if we believe what we hear about aggressive plans out of
Firefox, and how they want to separate from Thunderbird to reduce the
pressure to accommodate our needs, then that is the path we are heading
to. Heck we already do it on a file-by-file basis in some cases, moving
things to comm-central. We're going to have to fork the addon directory
fairly soon if they really remove support for XUL extensions, as my
experience with Mozilla tells me we have about a year after they remove
it in FF before we will have no choice in TB.

But there is still great uncertainty. Will we be able to maintain parity
with m-c for the next few years with an effort of one or two full-time
people? Maybe, maybe not, my guess is not but it is only a guess. But
even if "yes" the issue remains that there is a tremendous amount of
work needed to modernize Thunderbird. And I still maintain that the
important question is not "what is the architecture we should be moving
to?" but "how are we going to attract or finance the developers needed
for such an effort?" (which I have estimated is about 30 person-years of

I have my plans, which are 1) a user coop to greatly increase the
conversion of Thunderbird users to paying donors, and 2) unconventional
sources of new develops (my upcoming prison project, aka Caspia).

What are other people's plans? Or is the plan to limp along for the
foreseeable future to sustain a product that is pretty much already what
our users want?


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