Skip to comments.Mozilla Ponders Separate Organization for Thunderbird
Posted on 07/27/2007 8:06:32 AM PDT by N3WBI3
The Mozilla Foundation is thinking about creating a separate organization to take control of its Thunderbird e-mail application, allowing it to concentrate on development of the Firefox Web browser.
In a blog posting Wednesday, Mitchell Baker, CEO of Mozilla Corp., a subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, called for a new structure to allow "the Thunderbird community to determine its own destiny" and asked the open-source community for input.
Baker said Mozilla's Thunderbird effort "is dwarfed" by the energy it spends on the Firebox browser and the ecosystem around it.
"Mozilla doesn't focus on Thunderbird as much as we do... on Firefox and we don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future," she wrote. A separate organization focused on the maintenance and further development of the e-mail client, she added, would be able to move independently and thus deepen the user community.
There is more than organizational structure at stake, however. As Web-based e-mail services such as Google Inc.'s Gmail, accessible from anywhere through a browser, gain in sophistication and numbers of users, stand-alone applications such as Thunderbird that tie access to an e-mail account to a single computer must offer more to compete. In her blog, Baker alluded to the need to create and implement "a new vision of mail."
The Mozilla executive offered three options for a new Thunderbird structure. One could be a new nonprofit organization similar to the Mozilla Foundation. While providing the maximum amount of independence this model is also the most organizationally complex, requiring good board members to be found and recreating the administrative load.
A second option is to create a new Mozilla Foundation subsidiary to house Thunderbird. In this model, the foundation's board and personnel would remain involved in the management of the product but, as a result, the Thunderbird effort could still suffer from less focus and flexibility.
A third option is to release Thunderbird as a community project, like the SeaMonkey suite of Internet applications, with a small services company set up to support users. "Many open-source projects use this model," Baker wrote. "It could be simpler and more effective than a Mozilla Foundation subsidiary."
But Baker warned that establishing a services company as a nonprofit entity "would be extremely difficult," unlike a taxable company, which would be "the simplest operational answer."
In a separate blog posting, Scott MacGregor, a codeveloper of Thunderbird, wrote that he and fellow cofounder David Bienvenu support the third option-- to release Thunderbird as a community project and create an independent production company.
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They might generate a little more interest and support if they would avoid using stupidly inappropriate terminology such as "the ecosystem around it"...
That’s their sacred “community” they’re talking about. Their motto is “give to the code and the code will give to you”.
Meh, I have seen experienced MCSE’s use that term when talking about a Microsoft environment its pretty common usage in many fields..
I think if they really wanted to generate interest they would have an extension contest for Thunderbird right now its pathetically light on extensions which are one of the things that have helped propel Firefox to it present position as the #2 browser in the world.
Indeed. The only extension for Thunderbird I use is the calendar.
I would not like to see Thunderbird separated from Mozilla. I'd like to see cleaner integration between them.
I don't doubt that, but it's still pretty sloppy language and a poor analogy. There are far better words which would more accurately convey the concepts they're trying to explain. /grin
The term "ecosystem" carries an inescapable connotation of interaction between natural biological and geophysical components. IT deals with artificially constructed or manufactured components . Thus, the reference to "a larger enterprise IT ecosystem" would be more accurately and correctly stated as "a larger enterprise IT infrastructure". But then, that wouldn't give them the same emotional satisfaction as ecosystem seems to provide... /grin
Firefox is awesome, but Thunderbird does not even come close to Outlook.
There are good and bad aspects about this. Less involvement with the Mozilla people will likely mean less integration with Firefox too. I don’t view that as a good thing.
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