Thunderbird Architecture Analysis SOW

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at
Thu Mar 17 12:48:00 UTC 2016

While sadly my own plans for a Thunderbird Server version are on
indefinite hold having taken a new job a while back (I did get it
reading and safely displaying remote RSS feeds), three to six months of
full-time funding for someone could go a long way to creating a locally
running Thunderbird web server POC that provided all the services
Thunderbird Desktop does and uses Firefox as a front end and which then
has enough momentum to move forward as a community project. That would
be one way to address the technical debt of the current close coupling
between the Firefox codebase and Thunderbird (which is otherwise
problematical and costly to maintain and above all not fun to deal with
as a volunteer).

Investing in a new Thunderbird would be a far wiser move for Mozilla
than moving from the Firefox OS fiasco into a new IoT fiasco.

See for example many comments in reply to this Slashdot article like
this one I quote by "paugq" (not me):
"Mozilla Jumps On IoT Bandwagon"
"I think their strategy towards Thunderbird is absolutely wrong.
  What they did: abandon Thunderbird. "Sorry pals, now you are on your own"
  What I would have done: create a service, competing
with GMail and Plus provide Thunderbird as a
desktop/offline client, like Microsoft does with Outlook. THAT would
have been a logical step: further develop one of your products, provide
a cloud version, take a % of a successful existing market (e-mail
outsourcing) which provides recurrent income, etc
  They can still do that but as some other people have already said,
they are too busy meddling in unrelated fields where everybody knows
they cannot succeed, such as Firefox OS, Rust and now IoT."

Or, to stay more general, instead of focusing on IoT, Mozilla could
focus on supporting for distributed communications:
"Matrix is an open standard for decentralised communication, providing
simple HTTP APIs and open source reference implementations for securely
distributing and persisting JSON over an open federation of servers."

In fact, Mozilla could even now spin the "IoT" effort into supporting and a future Thunderbird to save face. :-)

As in, "People are also things, so let's help them communicate with
other people and all their devices." :-)

So, in that sense, while the proposed SOW looks sensible as far as it
goes, the proposed SOW also completely misses the big picture.

--Paul Fernhout
The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies
of abundance in the hands of those still thinking in terms of scarcity.

On 3/15/16 1:53 PM, Gervase Markham wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> One of the ways Mozilla is trying to help Thunderbird is with the
> numerous upcoming technical challenges it faces. The way that help is
> being provided is by offering to hire an architect who can take the time
> to analyse all of the problems together, talk to the community, and then
> propose a way forward which is achievable (if one exists). As the
> Thunderbird community is made up of volunteers, no one person has the
> time and bandwidth to take this on. There would be no obligation to take
> the architect's advice, but we hope the report would be a useful and
> helpful contribution.
> To this end, we have written a Schedule of Work (SOW) for a contract
> position to do this. You can find it here:
> The document is not complete in that it needs additional framing at the
> beginning to lay out the origins of the technical relationship between
> Firefox and Thunderbird and why it needs to change. But the other three
> sections ("Problem", "Experience Required" and "Deliverables and
> Milestones") are ready for review.
> Please can members of the Thunderbird community have a look at this
> document, and give their comments on this list as to what could be
> changed or improved?
> Thanks,
> Gerv
> _______________________________________________
> tb-planning mailing list
> tb-planning at

More information about the tb-planning mailing list