Thunderbird++ for each of the four major components

The Wanderer wanderer at
Wed Apr 19 14:54:59 UTC 2017

On 2017-04-19 at 09:51, Gervase Markham wrote:

> On 19/04/17 14:38, The Wanderer wrote:
>> 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".
> There would be precisely that - a unidirectional migration (although
> I'd say even a migrator is doubtful as part of an MVP - people can
> just set up their email accounts again; it's easy with the DB).

Setting up the account again will not bring in the gigabytes of data I
have under Local Folders. Without a migrator, switching is a nonstarter.

A Thunderbird++ without a functioning migrator might well be viable as
an E-mail client for new users. It would not be viable as an upgrade
from, or replacement for, Thunderbird - in part because without a
migrator, you can't *upgrade*, you have to start from scratch.

> One day, using an existing profile without data loss might be
> possible. But to say you couldn't try Thunderbird++ until that was
> possible is surely not true.

Try it with a throw-away E-mail account (or even maybe with my live one,
as long as I do nothing that will affect the mail state in a way that
can't propagate back to my live Thunderbird profile), maybe. Try it for
production use, no.

>> 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.
> Sure. But not everyone will need to migrate.

True. I rather suspect, however, that the mindsets and behavior patterns
which lead one to already use Thunderbird are correlated with the
behavior patterns which will result in needing to migrate.

> I want to focus on the word "Minimum" in MVP. Minimum does not mean
> "works for me", it means "works for some large enough set of people
> that we actually have a userbase".


I think my question is about what it means to say that it "works" -
which puts the focus back on the definition of "viable".

There's also a distinction between "viable as an E-mail client" and
"viable as an upgrade from / replacement for Thunderbird", even assuming
that there's no need for all features to be present right away in a
Thunderbird replacement.

You seem to be targeting the former, whereas I am looking at the latter.

I think the latter is important when considering an audience who use
existing Thunderbird and will be looking at upgrading ("existing
users"), and the former is important when considering an audience who
use another mail client or Webmail or even haven't previously used
E-mail at all ("new users").

The minimum that "works" for one of these audiences is very different
from the minimum that "works" for the other.

That would mean that the question is: which of these two audiences is
more important to target for the initial product build?

The "new users" are certainly the larger potential audience, but it is
also the harder audience to engage, and there is no guarantee that
Another Potential Mail Client will get their attention at all.

The "existing users" are the audience which is more likely to notice the
existence of Thunderbird++ in the first place, and more likely to
consider switching to it in the absence of further updates to existing

Particularly given that the stated goals of the from-scratch rewrite
include "to be close to the existing Thunderbird, in UI and features, as
a drop-in replacement for end users, without baffling them", and that
"They should immediately recognize the replacement as the Thunderbird
they love". it seems clear to me that we should be focusing on the
"existing users" as the first priority; the "new users" are important,
but if we lose the existing ones, Thunderbird is pretty much dead

   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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