What happened to hiring an architect?

R Kent James kent at caspia.com
Thu Sep 29 17:13:19 UTC 2016

I made an argument to Mozilla, that I believe was largely accepted, that
said that consulting on a future platform for Thunderbird is not really
what we need. Regardless of the recommendations, the reality is that
there is no practical way that we could muster the 30 person-years of
effort likely needed for a platform change without major innovation in
either funding or staffing. In contrast, issues of infrastructure
support are looming urgently on us (particularly for build and release
engineering) so that is where we could use the consulting help. The
funding originally devoted to platform consulting will likely be
diverted to infrastructure consulting.

As to the platform, the current plan A is to remain a XUL/XPCOM/Gecko
application keeping sync with mozilla-central as long as is reasonably
possible. So far, that has not been an insurmountable burden, in spite
of dire warnings a year ago that XUL would be dead Real Soon Now.
Eventually the day will come where we cannot keep up on a daily/weekly
basis, and we will be forced to resync at intervals. When those
intervals get sufficiently long, we have de facto forked.

Long before that time, infrastructure issues will become serious. FF
seems determined to disable XUL addons in 2017, and it is not reasonable
to expect that the Mozilla addon team will continue to support review
and distribution of XUL addons for Thunderbird (though we have no
current plans to drop them). Each new Thunderbird release reveals new
surprises in build and release, and we are on notice that they will not
support us there indefinitely. Those are much more urgent issues than

At the same time, we are taking small steps to slowly convert
Thunderbird to web technologies, switching to JS in the backend (JSMime
and JSAccount) and HTML in the front end (Lightning work on events in a
tab, New Zealand student group on address book). As our organization
redesign gets moving, and we are able to muster development resources,
we might be able to start a serious platform conversion effort in the
not too distant future.


On 9/29/2016 9:37 AM, Eric Moore wrote:
> Did an architect ever get hired to help plan Thunderbird's future? The
> ad for the contract position posted in April is gone, but there has
> been no news.
> If one didn't get hired, what is plan B? My impression was that many
> strategic decisions were on hold, waiting for the architects
> recommendations.
> _______________________________________________
> tb-planning mailing list
> tb-planning at mozilla.org
> https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-planning

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