[Council Meeting] Technical Future, Partnerships and Hiring

Tanstaafl tanstaafl at libertytrek.org
Mon Apr 3 14:14:45 UTC 2017

On 4/3/17 1:39 PM, Mihovil Stanić wrote:
> Great work with updates Philipp! I for one feel for enthusiastic when
> I see Thundebird is moving in some direction.
> In my opinion, from organizational point of view TB Council should
> make three decisions fast (in next 30 days).
>  1. Gradual rewrite or new code base?
>  2. Forking Mozilla Gecko as it is now (implement only patches for
>     high risk security bugs which affect TB) or continue as it is now?
>  3. Choosing new home for TB.
> Those 3 questions need to be answered as soon as possible so
> Thunderbird can end it's status quo.
> My non technical opinion, based solely on what's more effective, go
> with rewrite and fork Gecko.
> It will give you more manpower to do rewrite if Gecko isn't dragging
> you into mud every release cycle. :)

1. I agree with Philip that the question of a new home should be decided
first, as it will affect many other aspects.

2. I would say is the question of forking Gecko - which should include
backporting of security fixes that both affect Thunderbird, and are
feasible to achieve given the fact it is 'frozen'.

Inquiries should be pursued to determine if there are others who would
be willing and able to help - ie, the developers of all/any current
variations of both Firefox (ie Cyberfox and Waterfox) and Thunderbird
(ie SeaMonkey, FossaMail, Postbox, etc).

3. Last is the question of incremental changes vs rewrite.

Personally, I think the idea of a total rewrite from scratch is both the
best long term solution, but also the riskiest. What I would truly hate
to see is for Thunderbird to be basically frozen where it is (bugfixes
and minor updates aside) while the total rewrite is undertaken, expend a
huge amount of resources (dev time and money), then have it fall apart
and never see the light if day. I would much, MUCH rather we take the
incremental rewrite route than see this happen.

So, I would say that choosing the latter would require some kind of
minimal 'partnerships' formerly discussed being negotiated, that entail
some level of financial commitment. And I don't mean just some promises,
I mean money deposited into a special account created just this endeavor.

Just my .02 clad coins worth...

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