Proposal to start a new implementation of Thunderbird based on web technologies

R Kent James kent at
Tue Apr 11 03:26:59 UTC 2017

On 4/10/2017 7:57 PM, Joshua Cranmer 🐧 wrote:
> It matters much less to me who is being paid to do what as long as we 
> agree that those acts deserve paid developers.

You can look at Nylas N1, with its exciting mix of hot technologies 
(Node on Electron, React) which tend to attract volunteers, and see that 
the vast majority of commits are from paid developers 
( top 4 are Nylas 
staff). So I think that we can agree that the hope that there are armies 
of qualified, volunteer programmers just waiting to work on Thunderbird 
or related projects is so 20th Century (and unlikely). While we have 
some amazing volunteers that have kept the project alive, yet email is 
serious business and it is not reasonable to believe we will have a 
serious product done mostly by volunteers (and I say that as someone 
actively recruiting about 10 volunteer students to work on aspects of this).

The problem is, I have had a very, very hard time getting anyone to 
seriously discuss the question of how to fund this. I have been 
disappointed that my suggestions to the Council to devote some resources 
to financial development are not received well. Elsewhere, I have 
suggested a coop model but got very little traction with that. Yes we 
have donations, really more than we expected, but keeping the existing 
product alive for 2-3 years is going to take most of those resources.

We cannot compete technologically if we do not have a business model 
that can compete with models such as the Postbox paid user, or the Nylas 
paid server services. What is the plan here?


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