My comment on Exchange Calendar as it applies to financial issues of Thunderbird
R Kent James
kent at caspia.com
Mon May 1 14:40:46 UTC 2017
Some of you might be interested in this exchange about the nature of
finances for Thunderbird, in a comment I made in a long thread about the
problems affecting the critical Exchange Calendar addon with TB 52.
*fthommen <https://github.com/fthommen> * commented 21 hours ago
Maybe someone with more technical knowhow on Thunderbird software
development could also comment on
*rkent <https://github.com/rkent> * commented 16 hours ago
In response to fthommen:
Adding EWS as a "supported" protocol to core Thunderbird does not
magically make the resources appear to maintain it. This particular
addon, Exchange Calendar, is a really good example of the problems. The
work required is substantial, a free-as-in-beer developer can enjoy
working on it for awhile, but then there is the inevitable burnout
followed by periods of poor support, which we seem to be in the third
phase of now. Personally, I believe that something mission-critical like
Thunderbird (and critical addons such as this one) deserve better than
that if people are going to rely on them to get real work done.
But this gets at the core of what people mean by "open source" and "free
software". There is always that hope that there are lots of potentially
motivated volunteers that could be attracted, if somehow we just do
Personally I don't believe in that, but I am in a minority - and I get
plenty of flak for charging for ExQuilla. (Note I am the ExQuilla author
as well as a member of the Thunderbird Council). The solution that I
think makes sense is something like a non-profit user coop, where there
would be enough benefits to the users to pay for membership, the code
could continue open source, but somebody would be paid to keep the
lights on. We're collecting substantial donations now, and that is
helping alot, but not enough to imagine that EWS could be added to core
Calendar and supported.
Looking ahead a few years, I tend to agree with probably most of you
that EWS support should be a critical part of the maintained core. I've
got a group of volunteers I am working with (http://caspia.org) that
will work on the rewrite of both Contacts and Calendar as a part of a
next-generation Thunderbird project, and I intend to make EWS core to
that. But that does not solve the long-term financial issues.
*fthommen <https://github.com/fthommen> * commented 15 hours ago
@rkent <https://github.com/rkent> : I fully agree and I also want to
add, that I have no problem paying for software I critically rely on.
This plugin (even TB itself) would be an example of software that I
would be willing to pay for, as I don't want to live w/o them any more :-)
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