Intent to de-support: traditional add-ons

Ryan Sipes ryan at
Sun Nov 3 00:41:57 UTC 2019

Hey all,

I think it's good to bring down the temperature on this conversation a
little bit. We are not going to stop supporting add-ons - and there is
probably a case to be made for putting additional resources into helping
add-on authors while they transition to a MailExtension/WebExtension world.

One thing I would like to remind everyone who participates in these
discussions is that our community participation guidelines
state that while we can disagree vehemently - we should do so whilst
*being respectful* of the people we disagree with. Having spoken with a
ton of add-on authors and the people tasked with supporting add-ons
working on Thunderbird core, both sides have a really hard time
appreciating the burden on the other.

I'm pledging, and I know other folks in the project have voiced their
support for finding a way to provide more resources for add-on
developers. We will get this done, in the meantime we should refrain
from attacking each other and come up with where we can work together to
do the most good.

Ryan Sipes
Community and Business Development Manager
Thunderbird <>

On 11/1/19 5:41 PM, Andrei Hajdukewycz wrote:
> On 11/1/2019 4:29 PM, Eyal Rozenberg wrote:
>> Also, I suspect there's quite a bit of under-counting going on. It
>> seems strange that so many extension authors continue to update their
>> extensions despite supposedly having no users. And that numerous
>> extensions have dozens of daily downloads despite having no users at
>> all, or a number of users under half an order of magnitude of the
>> daily downloads. I wonder whether some of it isn't a
>> "use-and-disable-when-done" pattern.
> Downloads aren't counted, there is no download data on ATN. But sure,
> suspect all you like. You haven't done any work to support any of your
> assertions or assumptions.
>> These two sentences are an example of the myopia I was talking about.
>> Take my less-popular extension for example: BiDi Mail UI. It is all
>> but necessary if you want to read or write email in a right-to-left
>> language. But - it's only the 103'rd most popular extension. Why?
>> Because the vast majority of people in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and
>> Hebrew-speaking countries simply do not know about Thunderbird. They
>> haven't tried it, haven't heard of it. (And yes, computer use is
>> significantly lower in those countries on average than in Europe and
>> the US, but not as low as some might think.)
>> So add-ons do and will drive user base growth in countries using
>> these languages. Which means among 400 Million people or so. That is,
>> when growth is not prevented by other factors.
>> Now, mine is just one example - I'm sure there are others.
> Um, this doesn't make any sense. Your add-on hasn't driven any growth,
> and it's not likely to in the future. Sure, it might be a feature that
> users from those areas would want, if they started using Thunderbird,
> but that's got nothing at all to do with the add-on driving growth.
> Honestly, the fact that you call this 'myopic' leads me to believe
> that I am wasting my breath here.
>> That's an unacceptable argument.
>> If that's true, then stop wasting your time and ours with this wild
>> goose chase of extension maintenance.
> OK, you've convinced me. It is not worth engaging with you or other
> add-on authors with your type of attitude anymore. That is my
> (personal) stance going forward. Sorry. It's simply not worth the time.
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