Thunderbird and Pretty Easy Privacy - current status

R Kent James kent at
Thu Feb 25 20:37:44 UTC 2016

On 2/25/2016 11:35 AM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> The 2 projects should rather approach each other and work together, 
> and in the process build mutual trust, than TB kicking back and 
> waiting for a finished PEP product, and then simply saying yay/nay. 
> That's not likely to be a fruitful process, IMHO. 

I agree 100%, Ben.

But you need to separate PEP from Enigmail, so there are 3 projects here.

Thunderbird has a long history with Enigmail, and there is a lot of 
experience in the PGP community with Enigmail. The issue of 
incorporating Enigmail into Thunderbird is more a matter of convenience 
to our users, as well as increasing the visibility of Enigmail (and PGP) 
as an encryption option. But I've mentioned to Patrick several times, 
including today, that one of the obstacles to incorporating Enigmail 
into Thunderbird is the separation of the Enigmail dev community from 
Thunderbird (the "work together" part), as compared for example to 
calendar or chat. (The other issues are UI effects on users that are not 
using PGP, and licensing issues). These are all solvable issues, and I 
sincerely hope that we can get them solved so that we can ship Enigmail 
in the next major version of Thunderbird. This is independent of any 
cooperation with PEP.

The reason that we keep linking PEP and Enigmail is that, as we 
understand it, PEP is proposing an encryption solution that is based on 
Enigmail, with additional components supplied by PEP. So Enigmail is a 
necessary but not sufficient part of incorporating PEP technology into 

Concerning PEP, I think that we can say there have been some severe 
cultural clashes to working together. Yet Berna is trying hard to figure 
us out, and I am enthusiastic about the possibility of PEP making PGP 
encryption much more straightforward than it is now, and more widely 
adopted. So there is hope, but it will take some time to, as you say, 
"approach each other and work together, and in the process build mutual 
trust".  That's mostly what the recent statement is about. Nobody from 
Thunderbird want to be in a situation where we are "simply saying 
yay/nay" (or even worse, agreeing a priori to say "yay" because we are 
accepting funding from PEP). What would help is someone familiar with TB 
to work with PEP, or someone from PEP to work with Thunderbird.


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