Saturday, July 28, 2007

Mozilla Foundation to spin off Thunderbird ?

A recent post by Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker (mitchell's blog: Email Call to Action) call for a something like a vote on what Mozilla should be doing with Thunderbird:

"Mozilla has been supporting Thunderbird as a product since the beginning of the Foundation. The result is a good, solid product that provides an open alternative for desktop mail. However, the Thunderbird effort is dwarfed by the enormous energy and community focused on the web, Firefox and the ecosystem around it. As a result, Mozilla doesn't focus on Thunderbird as much as we do browsing and Firefox and we don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future. We are convinced that our current focus - delivering the web, mostly through browsing and related services - is the correct priority. At the same time, the Thunderbird team is extremely dedicated and competent, and we all want to see them do as much as possible with Thunderbird.

We have concluded that we should find a new, separate organizational setting for Thunderbird; one that allows the Thunderbird community to determine its own destiny."

And she gives 3 options:
Option 1. Create a new non-profit organization analogous to the Mozilla Foundation [...]
Option 2. Create a new subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation for Thunderbird [...]
Option 3. Thunderbird is released as a community project much like SeaMonkey [...]
(find the details at the original blog post).

Interestingly none of them reads "keep it as it is"... so this looks like they are abandoning their child... I'd hate that. Been a long time Netscape/ Mozilla-Mail / Thunderbird user. Especially now with the progress they made with TB 2.0. And now that SunBird / Lightning is finally (though still slowly) becoming a decent calender.
Forking TB into its on entity would probably weaken Firefox as well (gut feeling, can't really say why, but I think so).

Maybe Option 2 is the one to go to keep Thunderbird and Firefox really close.

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