Thunderbird++ for each of the four major components

The Wanderer wanderer at
Wed Apr 19 13:38:35 UTC 2017

On 2017-04-18 at 12:45, Gervase Markham wrote:

> On 18/04/17 16:57, The Wanderer wrote:
>> Although I don't use it as heavily as I used to (by a large
>> margin), I do consider the NNTP functionality of Thunderbird to be
>> a key part of its feature set, without which it would not be
>> complete. It may not be part of "minimum viable", but it is still
>> an essential target for a sufficient replacement for "current
>> Thunderbird", IMO.
> Quite possibly. But keeping clear the (massive) difference between
> "minimum viable" and "sufficient replacement" is utterly vital.

True, agreed.

> We can define "sufficient replacement" once we've built "minimum
> viable" - there's no need to define it any earlier than that.

I disagree on this, however. It is important to take the final intended
target into account when designing the foundation on which that target
will be built, and knowing what that target will need to incorporate is
essential to being able to take it into account.

Otherwise, you end up either having to re-engineer the backend later to
support the new features (which is likely to be more work than designing
the backend to allow for them in the first place), or giving up on
implementing those new features at all.

(Or else retrofitting them onto an ill-fitting backend, I suppose, but
that way lie kludges and hard-to-maintain code.)

>> Even for "minimum viable", sufficient Usenet-awareness to be able
>> to open and display imported messages with e.g. a Newsgroups:
>> header but no To: header would seem important. (I have hundreds if
>> not thousands of such, in Local Folders -> Sent and in "manual
>> archive" folders of the same.)
> Are you typical in that regard?

No. But while having hundreds or thousands of such is almost certainly a
considerable outlier, having *some* such messages may not be unusual at

>> Actually, that brings up a potentially important point. Is it
>> intended that people be able to import their existing Thunderbird
>> profiles into this "minimum viable product", and use them
>> seamlessly?
> No.

Then what is the intended migration path?

For myself, if it's not possible to upgrade from Thunderbird to
Thunderbird++ and continue using my existing profile without data loss
(even if not all features are present yet), I would not consider
Thunderbird++ to be "viable".

>> If not, that makes enticing people across from Thunderbird to
>> Thunderbird++ a considerably more difficult proposition.
> It wasn't hard for people to move from the Mozilla Suite to Firefox,
> so I don't see why that should be true.

Because people have a lot of data invested in their Thunderbird
profiles, whereas they had relatively little invested in their Mozilla
Suite profiles.

For the Mozilla Suite -> Firefox move, there was a certain amount of
configuration-preferences data (which may or may not have had an import
/ migration tool, I don't recall at this remove), and there was the
bookmarks file. As far as I recall, that's it.

For Thunderbird, on the one hand there's account configuration
(including server names, usernames, passwords, etc., which the users may
almost never need to remember), which is complex enough to be a pain to
set back up - and on the other hand there's the store of local mail
messages, which is essentially impossible to re-create without importing
it, and which can range in size from "minimal and totally unimportant"
(a few megabytes or less, for someone who never uses Local Folders at
all) to multiple gigabytes of valuable and irreplaceable data (as in my

The more data there is to be potentially lost without migration, and the
harder it is to avoid losing it without migration, the harder it is to
convince people to move without migration.

   The Wanderer

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one
persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all
progress depends on the unreasonable man.         -- George Bernard Shaw

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