Thunderbird releases and COVID-19

Wayne Mery vseerror at lehigh.edu
Thu Mar 26 12:35:53 UTC 2020


I sent the following to Thunderbird drivers earlier this week. For now, 
this is the Thunderbird plan going forward...


In an email titled "COVID-19 and the Firefox Release Schedule" to the 
Firefox drivers list, it was stated that Firefox release management will 
be proceeding with greater caution in shipping updates, to reduce 
avoidable risk to users, some of whom are doubtless in unusually 
stressful situations.  Chrome also posted plans 
<https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/2020/03/upcoming-chrome-and-chrome-os-releases.html>, 
stricter than Firefox, in "pausing upcoming Chrome and Chrome OS 
releases" (modulo security issues).  These are wise approaches.

I'm not suggesting we suspend Thunderbird updates at this time or slow 
development of new features. But given the current world situation it 
will be wise for us to give even greater scrutiny to our patch uplifts 
to ESR and beta, in both timing and content. Greater scrutiny is 
important because every update involves some level of risk, even for our 
main release which is a "stable" ESR, with fairly limited and targeted 
patch uplifts.

So regular Thunderbird ESR releases will continue on a four week cycle.  
Beta also is on a four week cycle, with typically two to three beta 
shipments per cycle.

Additional thoughts are welcome about how the current times might affect 
us and our users, and on reducing risk and increasing release quality.

Regards,

Wayne, for the release team

Footnote: Our daily download numbers have recently doubled according to 
Andre.  Our support volume seems relatively flat and unchanged 
<https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/dashboard/metrics?category=&product=thunderbird>.

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