Change of release and governance model for Thunderbird

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Jb Piacentino

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Jul 7, 2012, 5:39:07 AM7/7/12
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Hi,

Yesterday Mitchell Baker posted on the future of Thunderbird: http://blog.lizardwrangler.com/
In summary, we've been focusing efforts towards important web and mobile projects, such as FirefoxOS, while Thunderbird remains a pure desktop-only email client. We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational goals.  The most critical needs for the product are on-going security and stability for our 20+ millions users, either individuals, SMEs or large corporate/institutions.

However, Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open source multi-platform email applications available today and we want to defend these values.  We're not "stopping" Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the product. 

We are opening the proposed plan for public discussion to individuals and organizations interested in maintaining and advancing Thunderbird in the future. We are looking for your feedback, comments and suggestions to refine and adapt the plan in the best possible way throughout the summer so we can share a final plan of action in early September 2012. The tb-planning mailing list is the preferred forum to have this conversation. I look forward to reading you there.

Thanks,

Jb

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 8, 2012, 4:12:14 PM7/8/12
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Hello all,

this is what I posted to Michell Baker and JB. I'm reposting just for public reference.

I am glad to recognize the critical importance that Thunderbird has.

"Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open source multi-platform email application available today and we want to defend these values."
This is true. In fact, this is totally in like with the Mozilla mission, to defend the open Internet. Internet, as you well know, is more than just the Web. Thunderbird is our client which is covering most of the non-Web Internet protocols: email, chat, calendaring.

Email is one of the primary and most useful uses of the Internet for many people, both professionals working online and grandmas. Protecting it is vitally important. If Thunderbird were removed as a competitive choice, most businesses are left with no alternative to Outlook. This, in turn, locks them to Windows. There are several huge organizations that use the Linux desktop, and from what I know, they all chose Thunderbird and they would be left high and dry, if it was no longer a competitive choice. What's worse, Linux would have no chance to gain more foothold on the desktop, the last area where Linux is *not* yet dominating (it's already dominating servers, cellphones, supercomputers, home routers, and even TomToms).

Web clients are not an option for some users, be it speed or privacy. Also, I expect webmail clients to degrade in terms of adding more and more advertizing and promotions. The automatic account setup wizard I created was directly targetted at helping users, who couldn't set up Thunderbird before and thus were forced to use webmail, to get set up quickly and painlessly.

What we're still lacking in professional setups is a calendar. Lighting is almost there. We just need to ship it and then polish it.

However, if you are honest, you cannot expect Thunderbird to take off, if you hide it on the mozilla.org website. I could barely find the Thunderbird page even though I was actively looking for it, much less can you expect usage numbers to raise this way. If this is the reason for this latest org change, please be honest and admit that you never gave Thunderbird a fair chance by really marketing it with strong force, as you marketed Firefox in the beginning and now. Despite this, Thunderbird usage remains to be fairly high, being one of the biggest open-source projects in terms of usage, so obviously people like it. Please give it a fair chance.

We must not allow Outlook and web clients to be the only realistic choices.

From what I understand of your message, you intend to pull all full time contributors from Thunderbird, and stop making 6-week releases. However, Thunderbird cannot live with some core people:
  • David Bienvenu for the protocol implementations
  • Mark Banner for the organization and being the "good weasel" (driver, build system, oiling the system, picking up tasks needed to be done but nobody caring for it)
  • Kewisch for Calendar

Thunderbird and Lightning needs these people. Bienvenu has been on Thunderbird since Netscape 3.x in 1996, I think. Please let him see the 20 year anniversary :).

Mozilla Corporation really has sufficient money. While it may not be your focus, Thunderbird by itself is incredibly important for the world as a whole and for the open innovation on the Internet (Mozilla mission). Keeping 5-10 people on Thunderbird does a lot of good for the Internet. It costs you, let's say 2-3 millions per year, that's 1% of Mozilla's income, but they really make a difference for the world.

So, I ask for 2 things, please:
  • Do not pull the core staff.
  • Market Thunderbird. Put it on the frontpage, make news about it, push news articles. Give it a fair chance.

Alternatively, I think that a complete re-implementation is also a viable option, if and only if:
  • It remains a desktop-only client with no server needed, so that I can install it and just point it at an IMAP, POP3, calendar, XMPP server
  • The basic philosophy of privacy, independence (no web pings) and efficiency in mail processing stays


But we really really need a competitive, efficient desktop email client.

Thank you,

Ben

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 8, 2012, 4:22:00 PM7/8/12
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I can't understand this decision.

1. Mail/news has always been part of Mozilla, since Netscape 2
2. Email is the most important internet usage and protocol, after the
web. More importantly, Email is a standard while Facebook and G+ are a
proprietary silos.
3. A desktop email client is completely fitting the Mozilla manifesto.
4. 20 million people (more than Sweden and Finland combined) are
depending on Thunderbird for their email. Many of them spend many hours
every day with it, it's the second most important application after the
browser. These people are critically depending on Thunderbird for their
work.
5. We need a desktop client to innovate in email. We (e.g. me, by
posting patches) cannot innovate on webmail, because we don't run the
servers - even if we would make webmail software, still the operator
would have the last word. It's a clear step back.

If we didn't have Thunderbird, we'd need to invent it, or something like
it. It makes no sense to axe it, without direct replacement.

We *need* a competitive desktop email client.

Ben
_______________________________________________
tb-planning mailing list
tb-pl...@mozilla.org
https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-planning

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 8, 2012, 4:29:13 PM7/8/12
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There's one question which is critically important and hasn't been answered yet:

How long will Mozilla, using paid staff, maintain Thunderbird? "maintain" meaning:
  • Releases: security updates, and every few months a release from trunk (new features)
  • Fix breakage caused by Mozilla platform changes
  • Fix important bugs

? How many years? As long as there are more than half a million users? *

* (And please don't hide Thunderbird project and download links or similar - as mozilla.org already does, unfortunately).

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 8, 2012, 4:41:41 PM7/8/12
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On 08.07.2012 22:22, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> I can't understand this decision.
> 1. Mail/news has always been part of Mozilla, since Netscape 2
> 2. Email is the most important internet usage and protocol, after the
> web....
> 3. A desktop email client is completely fitting the Mozilla manifesto.
> 4. 20 million [users]
> 5. We need a desktop client to innovate in email.

Given how minimal the cost is for Mozilla compared to the income, and
the importance of email...

There's only one way how this decision makes sense to me. It's a
conspiracy theory, so I intentionally post it in a separate email.

Google provides Mozilla 90%+ of the income. Mozilla plays copycat of
Google, imitating Google strategy 1:1: Google Chrome has minimal UI, so
we do that. Google makes Gears, so standardize it and put it in Firefox.
Google makes Android and Chrome OS, we make "Firefox OS". This is not
just a little coincidental.
Google has GMail, and quickly eats up the market. By now, some 15-18% of
all email users are on GMail, currently raising almost 1% per month. It
doesn't take highschool math to see where this is leading.... And the
power that means.

Thunderbird doesn't fit in there. Google wants their users to use
webmail, not IMAP.

We heard that this Thunderbird organizational change which is published
now already started in January 2012 (in secret). Mozilla and Google made
a new contract in November 2011, terms are secret, but the negotiations
were definitely hard. And the result definitely very good for Mozilla.

It is too far fetched to make a wild guess that Google wanted
Thunderbird to be stopped, and Mozilla gave in as part of the
negotiations? Given that Thunderbird always was the step-child at
Mozilla, that decision probably was painful, but eventually "necessary
for survival" etc.pp. blabla.

Again, just a theory, I have no material basis, but it seems logical,
and it's the only logical reason I can find.

Tanstaafl

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Jul 8, 2012, 12:30:12 PM7/8/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
I thought I'd post my response to this announcement here after posting
the same thing to Mike Conleys blog...

Having reserved judgement until after I actually read the entire
posting, I, for one – as someone who has been very vocal (and often
critical – so much so in a few cases that I got booted off of one or
more developer lists) – am actually very excited about this.

On more than one occasion, I have made the statement that ‘Mozilla
should focus on stability and fixing many of the long standing bugs,
rather than pushing shiny new features that it is questionable that many
users want or will use.

So, if this means that certain long standing issues – like the buggy
HTML editor, buggy IMAP behavior, the new Address Book, maildir vs mbox
for local storage, full integration of the Calendar (Lightning
extension), as just a few examples – will finally get some much needed
attention and may even actually finally be permanently *fixed*, then I
say that this is a very *good* thing for Thunderbird.

For me, Thunderbird is my EMAIL client. I don't want to browse the web
inside it, or chat - I use it for email. I have many different email
addresses (dozens, in fact) all configured as IMAP, and being able to
work with all of them in one excellent UI (heavily customized from the
default UI, another big reason I love Mozilla products), from multiple
computers on disparate platforms (like my Moms Mac, and my Linux box at
home), all with the same Profile which can be backed up from and
restored to any of these different platforms (using MozBackup) - well,
it is simply an incredibly powerful and convenient tool that I would
find it very difficult to work without, and I am so thankful for and
grateful to the Mozilla developers (both Moz employees and Community
members) for providing this tool for all these years (I too started
using Thunderbird a long time ago, back at about version 0.8)…

So, to those proclaiming the death of Thunderbird as a result of this
announcement, I say…

Thunderbird is dead. Long Live Thunderbird!

p.s. one thing I don't understand - Mozilla supposedly got *NINE hundred
million dollars* (over 3 years) in their latest new deal with Google -
why they don't seem to be willing or able to allocate a million or 3 to
Thunderbird per year is beyond me. A million should pay for what - at
least 5 or 10 full time developers for a year?

Anyone at Mozilla care to answer that one?

On 2012-07-07 5:39 AM, Jb Piacentino <j...@mozilla.com> wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Yesterday Mitchell Baker posted on the future of Thunderbird:
> http://blog.lizardwrangler.com/
> In summary, we've been focusing efforts towards important web and mobile
> projects, such as FirefoxOS, while Thunderbird remains a pure
> desktop-only email client. We have come to the conclusion that continued
> innovation on Thunderbird is not the best use of our resources given our
> ambitious organizational goals. The most critical needs for the product
> are on-going security and stability for our 20+millions users, either
> individuals, SMEs or large corporate/institutions.
>
> However, Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open source
> multi-platform email applications available today and we want to defend
> these values. We're not "stopping" Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt
> the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both
> ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven
> innovation and development for the product.
>
> We are opening the proposed
> <https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Proposal:_New_Release_and_Governance_Model>plan
> for public discussion to individuals and organizations interested in
> maintaining and advancing Thunderbird in the future. We are looking for
> your feedback, comments and suggestions to refine and adapt the plan in
> the best possible way throughout the summer so we can share a final plan
> of action in early September 2012. The tb-planning mailing list
> <https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/tb-planning> is the preferred forum
> to have this conversation. I look forward to reading you there.

Blake Winton

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Jul 8, 2012, 6:48:07 PM7/8/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 08-07-12 16:22 , Ben Bucksch wrote:
I can't understand this decision.

1. Mail/news has always been part of Mozilla, since Netscape 2
So, following that logic, you think Mozilla should put all the Firefox resources behind SeaMonkey?  ;)

2. Email is the most important internet usage and protocol, after the web. More importantly, Email is a standard while Facebook and G+ are a proprietary silos.
3. A desktop email client is completely fitting the Mozilla manifesto.
Possibly, but it's not a good fit for the mission. (" … to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the web.")
4. 20 million people (more than Sweden and Finland combined) are depending on Thunderbird for their email. Many of them spend many hours every day with it, it's the second most important application after the browser. These people are critically depending on Thunderbird for their work.
And Mozilla isn't going to stop supporting it.  I'ld bet that none of those people are depending on any unimplemented innovations (almost by definition ;).

5. We need a desktop client to innovate in email. We (e.g. me, by posting patches) cannot innovate on webmail, because we don't run the servers -  even if we would make webmail software, still the operator would have the last word. It's a clear step back.
Sure, but why does Mozilla need to be the ones to innovate in email?

If we didn't have Thunderbird, we'd need to invent it, or something like it. It makes no sense to axe it, without direct replacement.

We *need* a competitive desktop email client.
I agree, but I don't think that means that Mozilla needs to be the one who provides it.

(Also, Mozilla isn't axing it, they're not just pushing innovations down the community's throat.  If people want to innovate, I'll be more than happy to help them get their ideas in, as will the rest of the Thunderbird team!)

Later,
Blake.
-- 
Blake Winton   Thunderbird User Experience Lead
bwi...@mozilla.com

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 8, 2012, 10:16:47 PM7/8/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
This decision is a clear loss, if not even violation, of most principles in the manifesto (which happen to capture the Mozilla spirit fairly well):
http://www.mozilla.org/about/manifesto.en.html

  1. The Internet is an integral part of modern life–a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.

All true for "Email is an ...", and email is a core part of "Internet"

  1. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.

Webmail is definitely not open. You're totally dependent on the features and limitations the provider offers.

  1. The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.

Being reduced to webmail as choice surely isn't an enrichment for individuals, only an enrichment for Google.

  1. Individuals' security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.

Privacy goes out the door with webmail.
Even integrity: The ISP can even alter the message contents years after the fact, and I have no way to verify or prove this. (see e.g. scandals)

If everybody has webmail, there's not even a reason for the ISP to offer IMAP or POP3.

  1. Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.

Most definitely a loss here. This is one of the reasons that get at me most with this decision.

  1. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.

~20% of the world's users (and raising quickly) all being on gmail is a scary centralization. With centralization, no need for interoperability - old story.

Where do you think Thunderbird users will go now? Eudora? No, Gmail. Definitely loss here.

  1. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.

I can't modify gmail webmail.

Even in the remote chance that we would build the world leading webmail software, it would still be the ISP rolling out and controlling it, and probably modifying it.

Loss.

  1. Transparent community-based processes promote participation, accountability, and trust.

Transparency in this decision? Participation? None. We were merely *informed* many months after this has been decided, a week before the public release. Perfect way to destroy all remaining trust I had.

(As for the press leakage, I think that was Mozillians, not one of the contributors.)

This isn't HP here.

  1. Commercial involvement in the development of the Internet brings many benefits; a balance between commercial goals and public benefit is critical.

Gain. This decision surely helps commerce.

  1. Magnifying the public benefit aspects of the Internet is an important goal, worthy of time, attention and commitment.

-

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 9, 2012, 7:37:42 AM7/9/12
to Axel, tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09.07.2012 12:57, Axel wrote:
> *Privacy: *the argument is tricky as email is necessarily server based

The transfer, yes. Storage, no. For a data thief (whoever it may be, big
or small), it makes a huge difference whether he can access only current
mail or all mail from the last 5 years. All the hacked MSN accounts from
friends that are spamming me are just the most visible proof of that.

> But generally webmail does not allow backing up to local storage (and
> cleaning up on the server without loosing data) so IMO that is the
> biggest drawback.

That's what I meant with integrity and verification, yes.

>> If everybody has webmail, there's not even a reason for the ISP to
>> offer IMAP or POP3.
> there is a trend with ISPs not to offer SMTP servers anymore

Oh? I don't know about that, we have SMTP servers for all the big ISPs
in the world in our ISP database. Which ISPs are you thinking of?

I'm just surprised that this is already starting, but this is fairly
sure to happen once desktop email clients are going down in popularity.
Once this happens, we're in big trouble. To access mail from my mobile,
I'll have to install the app from the provider (while currently I can
use the email application), and Facebook is showing right now what the
results of that will be: Self-service for data shopping, outrageous
privacy violations, and people can only watch and complain, but not do
anything.

(FWIW, Microsoft is pushing their own cloud services, too, so we can't
depend on Outlook.)

> For an average user it is actually hard to find free SMTP alternatives.

If it's free and open to everybody, spammers will jump at it.

Tanstaafl

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Jul 9, 2012, 6:09:51 AM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 2012-07-08 6:48 PM, Blake Winton <bwi...@mozilla.com> wrote:
> On 08-07-12 16:22 , Ben Bucksch wrote:
>> 2. Email is the most important internet usage and protocol, after the
>> web. More importantly, Email is a standard while Facebook and G+ are a
>> proprietary silos.
>> 3. A desktop email client is completely fitting the Mozilla manifesto.

> Possibly, but it's not a good fit for the mission
> <http://www.mozilla.org/about/mission.html>. (" … to promote openness,
> innovation and opportunity on the web.")

I disagree, I see it as a perfect fit. Email (especially IMAP) is 'on
the web', and Thunderbird is the best damned (desktop) email (especially
IMAP) client around, bar none, for many reasons...

>> We *need* a competitive desktop email client.

> I agree, but I don't think that means that Mozilla needs to be the one
> who provides it.

If this was simply a discussion of whether or not to *start producing*
an email client from scratch, your point would more substance. The fact
is, Thunderbird already exists as a (relatively) stable and mature Email
Client, which makes your comment pretty much without (substance).

> (Also, Mozilla isn't axing it, they're not just pushing innovations down
> the community's throat. If people want to innovate, I'll be more than
> happy to help them get their ideas in, as will the rest of the
> Thunderbird team!)

As I said in my last email, if this means that the core devs will simply
be refocused on *stability* (I'm taking the announcement on its face),
this could be a very good thing for Thunderbird. I'm hopeful, but I'm
also very freaked - because if I'm wrong, then this probably is the end
of Thunderbird, unless some other large Corporate benefactor comes along
and forks it.

Makes me really wish I was independently wealthy, because that is
exactly what I would do.

Tanstaafl

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Jul 9, 2012, 6:22:42 AM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 2012-07-08 10:16 PM, Ben Bucksch <ben.b...@beonex.com> wrote:

<snip>

I agree with all of Ben's points here - and Ben you did a fine job of
outlining all of the reasons why I said I disagreed with Blake's comment
that Thunderbird doesn't fit Mozilla's 'Mission' - but I wanted to add
to just one thing:

>> 1. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends
>> upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content),
>> innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.

> ~20% of the world's users (and raising quickly) all being on gmail is
> a scary centralization. With centralization, no need for
> interoperability - old story.
>
> Where do you think Thunderbird users will go now? Eudora? No, Gmail.
> Definitely loss here.

Actually, there is at least one alternative - I'm now looking at Claws
Mail... I've played with it in the past.

That said, I *much* prefer Thunderbird (and will keep using it until it
becomes obvious that a change is needed), but I'm also a realist, and am
now actively looking at/for potential alternatives so I won't be caught
with my pants down should this turn out to really be the death of
Thunderbird <shudder>.

Hmmm... I just had a thought...

I can't tell you how many times I've seen question on the OpenOffice
(now LibreOffice) lists asking about an Outlook 'component' - maybe now
is the time to start discussions with them about some kind of
collaboration under the Document Foundation umbrella? At best,
Thunderbird gets a bit more exposure - at worst, Thunderbird has a home
ready and waiting (and a fighting chance at survival) should Ben's
Conspiracy Theory turn out to be fact.

Axel

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Jul 9, 2012, 6:57:48 AM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org

This decision is a clear loss, if not even violation, of most principles in the manifesto (which happen to capture the Mozilla spirit fairly well):
http://www.mozilla.org/about/manifesto.en.html
  1. The Internet is an integral part of modern life–a key component in education, communication, collaboration, business, entertainment and society as a whole.
All true for "Email is an ...", and email is a core part of "Internet"
Agree.


  1. The Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible.
Webmail is definitely not open. You're totally dependent on the features and limitations the provider offers.
true.

  1. The Internet should enrich the lives of individual human beings.
Being reduced to webmail as choice surely isn't an enrichment for individuals, only an enrichment for Google.
or msn, yahoo ... etc.

  1. Individuals' security on the Internet is fundamental and cannot be treated as optional.
Privacy goes out the door with webmail.
Even integrity: The ISP can even alter the message contents years after the fact, and I have no way to verify or prove this. (see e.g. scandals)
loss of privacy and fidelity: these are the parts I am most scared about.

Fidelity: One thing is that html mail with css is relatively new thing and it seems now that the html compatibility of email is ignored and scrapped by things like webmail views, even new unified conversation views (within Thunderbird) etc. which all feels like a giant step backwards. Turning the mail application into a Kiosk certainly doesn't work for  people  who have a need for advanced email features. The choice should not be Kiosk vs. Outlook.

Privacy: the argument is tricky as email is necessarily server based and with IMAP you also depend on an external server to archive & manage your mail (and quotas!). But generally webmail does not allow backing up to local storage (and cleaning up on the server without loosing data) so IMO that is the biggest drawback.


If everybody has webmail, there's not even a reason for the ISP to offer IMAP or POP3.
there is a trend with ISPs not to offer SMTP servers anymore, so again people are forced to use gmail. For an average user it is actually hard to find free SMTP alternatives.



  1. Individuals must have the ability to shape their own experiences on the Internet.

Most definitely a loss here. This is one of the reasons that get at me most with this decision.

  1. The effectiveness of the Internet as a public resource depends upon interoperability (protocols, data formats, content), innovation and decentralized participation worldwide.

~20% of the world's users (and raising quickly) all being on gmail is a scary centralization. With centralization, no need for interoperability - old story.

Where do you think Thunderbird users will go now? Eudora? No, Gmail. Definitely loss here.

  1. Free and open source software promotes the development of the Internet as a public resource.

I can't modify gmail webmail.

Even in the remote chance that we would build the world leading webmail software, it would still be the ISP rolling out and controlling it, and probably modifying it. Loss.
not necessarily this is about browserId (or persona), so I believe the plan is to build some encrypted data stores with data access fully controlled by the users, and this could well be extended to email.

cheers
  Axel


Axel Grude
Software Developer
Thunderbird Add-ons Developer (QuickFolders, quickFilters, QuickPasswords, Zombie Keys, SmartTemplate4)
AMO Editor

Axel

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Jul 9, 2012, 7:54:38 AM7/9/12
to Ben Bucksch, tb-pl...@mozilla.org

On 09.07.2012 12:57, Axel wrote:
*Privacy: *the argument is tricky as email is necessarily server based

The transfer, yes. Storage, no. For a data thief (whoever it may be, big or small), it makes a huge difference whether he can access only current mail or all mail from the last 5 years. All the hacked MSN accounts from friends that are spamming me are just the most visible proof of that.
but if you are using IMAP, one of the advantages of that is the server storage. right?


But generally webmail does not allow backing up to local storage (and cleaning up on the server without loosing data) so IMO that is the biggest drawback.

That's what I meant with integrity and verification, yes.

If everybody has webmail, there's not even a reason for the ISP to offer IMAP or POP3.
there is a trend with ISPs not to offer SMTP servers anymore

Oh? I don't know about that, we have SMTP servers for all the big ISPs in the world in our ISP database. Which ISPs are you thinking of?
my latest mobile broadband supplier (meteor.ie a daughter of eircom) has discontinued and in fact shut down any and all mail servers (they do not supply mail addresses anymore) - I believe they reckon mail is dead, "if you want email you can get that from google." I remember a few discussions with their (absymally bad) support team, some of them didn't even know what a mail server is, let alone smtp.

So I had to switch to google for smtp relaying, which was messing with my "from" headers for a while.

It might be an exception but as it is a real cost saver for ISPs in terms of support I am afraid they are setting the trend here. (In case you are wondering why I use mobile broadband, our land lines are simply not good enough for DSL on the Irish countryside)



I'm just surprised that this is already starting, but this is fairly sure to happen once desktop email clients are going down in popularity. Once this happens, we're in big trouble. To access mail from my mobile, I'll have to install the app from the provider (while currently I can use the email application), and Facebook is showing right now what the results of that will be: Self-service for data shopping, outrageous privacy violations, and people can only watch and complain, but not do anything.
Yep - I think the only safe way forward might be commercial email: a paid service, guaranteed to be private and advertisement free.


(FWIW, Microsoft is pushing their own cloud services, too, so we can't depend on Outlook.)
Well with outlook for the corporate sector it is slightly different as there are privately owned Exchange Servers.

For an average user it is actually hard to find free SMTP alternatives.

If it's free and open to everybody, spammers will jump at it.
that's why  I am so pissed off with meteor and their decision to drop support for that altogether.


Andreas Nilsson

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Jul 9, 2012, 10:46:11 AM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 07/08/2012 10:41 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
>
> Thunderbird doesn't fit in there. Google wants their users to use
> webmail, not IMAP.
I don't really think they care that much what their users are using as
long as they can mine the data. ;)
- Andreas

Tanstaafl

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Jul 9, 2012, 11:21:54 AM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 2012-07-09 7:54 AM, Axel <axel....@googlemail.com> wrote:
> my latest mobile broadband supplier (meteor.ie a daughter of eircom) has
> discontinued and in fact shut down any and all mail servers (they do not
> supply mail addresses anymore) - I believe they reckon mail is dead,

<snip>

> It might be an exception but as it is a real cost saver for ISPs

I think that is the main point... it isn't that they think that email is
dead, it just isn't cost effective for them to provide email service
when most users won't even use it anyway (since they already have a
freemail email address that they don't have to every worry about
changing if they move or change ISPs)...

Alan Lord (Gmail)

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Jul 9, 2012, 11:30:52 AM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09/07/12 11:22, Tanstaafl wrote:
>
> Hmmm... I just had a thought...
>
> I can't tell you how many times I've seen question on the OpenOffice
> (now LibreOffice) lists asking about an Outlook 'component' - maybe now
> is the time to start discussions with them about some kind of
> collaboration under the Document Foundation umbrella? At best,
> Thunderbird gets a bit more exposure - at worst, Thunderbird has a home
> ready and waiting (and a fighting chance at survival) should Ben's
> Conspiracy Theory turn out to be fact.

That sounds like a great idea to at least have a discussion with Charles
or Florian at TDF to try and give TB users a little protection...

I don't pretend to understand the ins and outs of maintaining TB going
forward but in a way I do agree that TB probably doesn't need new
features; it has a very capable extension API already...

I'd be quite happy if TB just had the long-standing/annoying bugs fixed
and Lighting was finally integrated. Then put it could be put into
"support-mode" for critical bugs/security issues etc.

Al

Alan Lord (Gmail)

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Jul 9, 2012, 11:32:31 AM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09/07/12 11:09, Tanstaafl wrote:
<snip />
> As I said in my last email, if this means that the core devs will simply
> be refocused on *stability* (I'm taking the announcement on its face),
> this could be a very good thing for Thunderbird. I'm hopeful, but I'm
> also very freaked - because if I'm wrong, then this probably is the end
> of Thunderbird, unless some other large Corporate benefactor comes along
> and forks it.
>
> Makes me really wish I was independently wealthy, because that is
> exactly what I would do.

Mr. Shuttleworth (Canonical)???

Al

Blake Winton

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Jul 9, 2012, 12:57:58 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09-07-12 11:32 , Alan Lord (Gmail) wrote:
> On 09/07/12 11:09, Tanstaafl wrote:
> <snip />
>> As I said in my last email, if this means that the core devs will simply
>> be refocused on *stability* (I'm taking the announcement on its face),
>> this could be a very good thing for Thunderbird. I'm hopeful, but I'm
>> also very freaked - because if I'm wrong, then this probably is the end
>> of Thunderbird, unless some other large Corporate benefactor comes along
>> and forks it.
>>
>> Makes me really wish I was independently wealthy, because that is
>> exactly what I would do.
>
> Mr. Shuttleworth (Canonical)???
My guess is that Mr. Shuttleworth doesn't want to spend a whole lot of
money on a cross-platform email client. ;)

Also, I suspect his attention is taken up with bigger things these days,
like the new SecureBoot stuff, and what their Mobile strategy should be…

Later,
Blake.

--
Blake Winton Thunderbird User Experience Lead
bwi...@mozilla.com

Kai Engert

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Jul 9, 2012, 12:57:35 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org, tb-ent...@mozilla.org
The one thing I'm worried about is regressions.

Firefox and Thunderbird share application level code that is responsible
for the correct functioning of security protocols.

If a change is made because it's needed by Firefox, it's easy to forget
that Thunderbird may rely on the previous behaviour, and the change
might cause a regression in
functionality/usability/correctness/completeness for Thunderbird.

This has happened in the past. If Thunderbird becomes even less of a
priority for the Mozilla project, with even fewer people available to
work on cleanup and adjustments to newer Gecko core, then there's the
risk that such regressions might occurr more frequently in the future

I have a very clear opinion how this should be handled. In my opinion,
existing functionality in the core engine should never be removed, if
it's currently being used by important projects such as Thunderbird.
Instead of removing functionality from the core engine, because it
allowed Firefox projects to proceed faster (happened in the past),
developer should take care to implement additional features in addition,
not as a replacement.

Unfortunately I failed in convincing people to use this strategy, and it
had been decided that Firefox is more important, and that the
Thunderbird project has to adopt. With fewer resources devoted to
Thunderbird such adoption will become less likely to happen.

I'm worried there are only two approaches to this dilemma.

(a) Tell developers to do what I suggested above - keep core
functionality - implement new core functionality in addition. This
strategy would be very helpful to allow Thunderbird with the most recent
(and most secure) Mozilla platform code.

or

(b) In order to avoid being broken, accept that Thunderbird might have
to fork portions of the Gecko code, in order to remain compatible. But
as soon as we go that path, we might soon see Thunderbird having to use
a full fork of Gecko and fall behind. I don't think we'd be happy with
this scenario.


I therefore propose that we make it a rule that developers must follow
strategy (a). If developers want to remove or replace a functionality in
core Gecko, they must not do it until someone has contributed a working
adjustment to Thunderbird code.

Regards
Kai

Joshua Cranmer

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Jul 9, 2012, 1:07:19 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 7/7/2012 5:39 AM, Jb Piacentino wrote:
However, Thunderbird is one of the very few truly free and open source multi-platform email applications available today and we want to defend these values.  We're not "stopping" Thunderbird, but proposing we adapt the Thunderbird release and governance model in a way that allows both ongoing security and stability maintenance, as well as community-driven innovation and development for the product. 

We are opening the proposed plan for public discussion to individuals and organizations interested in maintaining and advancing Thunderbird in the future. We are looking for your feedback, comments and suggestions to refine and adapt the plan in the best possible way throughout the summer so we can share a final plan of action in early September 2012. The tb-planning mailing list is the preferred forum to have this conversation. I look forward to reading you there.

If the goal is to move primarily to community innovation, then I think there ought to be an explicit roadmap that lays out the changes that we agree want to be made for Thunderbird, to give contributors guidance as to what would be most useful to work on?

I also think it would be useful to have some sort of liaison with the people working on the Gaia email app to explore future possibilities of sharing code.
-- 
Joshua Cranmer
News submodule owner
DXR coauthor

Andrew Sutherland

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Jul 9, 2012, 1:21:50 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 07/09/2012 10:07 AM, Joshua Cranmer wrote:
> I also think it would be useful to have some sort of liaison with the
> people working on the Gaia email app to explore future possibilities
> of sharing code.

Were you thinking of any mechanism in particular?

I (:asuth) am working on the Gaia e-mail app. So is Jim Porter
(:squib). We're both on this list and frequently on #maildev. I will
encourage any other contributors that show up to make sure they are on
tb-planning too. (There is a dev-gaia list, but it's very high traffic
and almost entirely not about the e-mail app or the problem domain.)

Andrew

Ehsan Akhgari

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Jul 9, 2012, 1:44:47 PM7/9/12
to Kai Engert, tb-ent...@mozilla.org, tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 12-07-09 12:57 PM, Kai Engert wrote:
> The one thing I'm worried about is regressions.

Yes, this worries me a lot as well.

> I have a very clear opinion how this should be handled. In my opinion,
> existing functionality in the core engine should never be removed, if
> it's currently being used by important projects such as Thunderbird.
> Instead of removing functionality from the core engine, because it
> allowed Firefox projects to proceed faster (happened in the past),
> developer should take care to implement additional features in addition,
> not as a replacement.

That's not really always an option. We sometimes clean up parts of
Gecko, rearchitect other parts and replace yet other parts completely.
It's not always possible to keep all of the existing code. And many
people are cautious of changes which could potentially break
comm-central (and sometimes people just forget, I've definitely been
guilty of that myself.)

But the large problem is this is only part of what we should worry
about. Sometimes people make changes which doesn't really change any
functionality, but it breaks something that Thunderbird users experience
way more than Firefox users. I've definitely seen a number of great bug
reports being filed from Thunderbird users in the editor component,
which we have tried to fix as quickly as possible. If Thunderbird
starts to live on something other than Gecko trunk, fixing these issues
in time would be very hard (especially if Thunderbird decides to live
off of Gecko ESR branches).

Ehsan

Karsten Düsterloh

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Jul 9, 2012, 2:07:40 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
Kai Engert aber hob zu reden an und schrieb:
> Thunderbird might have to fork portions of the Gecko code, in order
> to remain compatible. But as soon as we go that path, we might soon
> see Thunderbird having to use a full fork of Gecko and fall behind. I
> don't think we'd be happy with this scenario.

No, that's a really scary thought.
If you move away from Gecko Core, you're doomed, given the number of
actual developers working on Thunderbird. Especially since no Gecko
person will then care anymore whether something breaks for us or not.


Karsten

Ludovic Hirlimann

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Jul 9, 2012, 2:09:33 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 7/9/12 6:57 PM, Kai Engert wrote:
> The one thing I'm worried about is regressions.
>
> Firefox and Thunderbird share application level code that is responsible
> for the correct functioning of security protocols.
>

The best way to catch these would be to add test that cover both usage
and get run when FF is build; Unit test is the best way to catch these.

Ludo

--
@lhirlimann on twitter
https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Testing

my photos http://www.flickr.com/photos/lhirlimann/collections/


Jeff Grossman

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Jul 9, 2012, 1:27:40 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org, tb-ent...@mozilla.org
I think the plan is to base the Gecko version on the ESR version of Thunderbird.  That means they will not be changing the Gecko version unless they release a new ESR, which if I am not mistaken only happens about once a year.  While the Firefox developers might change Gecko and harm Thunderbird, that should be caught in comm-central which has roughly a year to fix until the next ESR release.  I am sure that if comm-central breaks, somebody will probably fix it rather quickly.

Jeff

Kai Engert

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Jul 9, 2012, 2:09:41 PM7/9/12
to Ehsan Akhgari, tb-ent...@mozilla.org, tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09.07.2012 19:44, Ehsan Akhgari wrote:
>
>> I have a very clear opinion how this should be handled. In my opinion,
>> existing functionality in the core engine should never be removed, if
>> it's currently being used by important projects such as Thunderbird.
>> Instead of removing functionality from the core engine, because it
>> allowed Firefox projects to proceed faster (happened in the past),
>> developer should take care to implement additional features in addition,
>> not as a replacement.
>
> That's not really always an option. We sometimes clean up parts of
> Gecko, rearchitect other parts and replace yet other parts completely.
> It's not always possible to keep all of the existing code.

We have a third option. We could define that the following part of Jb's
announcement ...

"We have come to the conclusion that continued innovation on Thunderbird
is not the best use of our resources given our ambitious organizational
goals. The most critical needs for the product are on-going security
and stability for our 20+ millions users, either individuals, SMEs or
large corporate/institutions."

... means something like:

"New messaging features in Thunderbird are no longer a priority for
Mozilla. However, Mozilla believes it is important that Thunderbird
continues to be able to be based on a the most recent and most secure
core Mozilla platform engine. Therefore Mozilla will continue to adjust
Thunderbird to keep it compatible with the code used by Mozilla Firefox
and will adjust Thunderbird as necessary in order to avoid functional
regressions."

(Maybe the original announcement already had this meaning intended, it
would be great to confirm or consider.)

Thanks and Regards
Kai

Kai Engert

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Jul 9, 2012, 2:13:44 PM7/9/12
to Ludovic Hirlimann, tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09.07.2012 20:09, Ludovic Hirlimann wrote:
> On 7/9/12 6:57 PM, Kai Engert wrote:
>> The one thing I'm worried about is regressions.
>>
>> Firefox and Thunderbird share application level code that is responsible
>> for the correct functioning of security protocols.
>>
> The best way to catch these would be to add test that cover both usage
> and get run when FF is build; Unit test is the best way to catch these.

Knowing about a regression is important, but is not sufficient. Even
known regressions are sometimes being deliberately ignored (or potential
fixing gets postponed to "unknown"). For example, since Thunderbird 10
we have no error feedback for many protocol errors on SSL/TLS
connections. If there's a problem with a connection to a server, it
simply doesn't work, without user feedback.

Kai Engert

unread,
Jul 9, 2012, 2:17:02 PM7/9/12
to Jeff Grossman, tb-ent...@mozilla.org, tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09.07.2012 19:27, Jeff Grossman wrote:
On Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 9:57 AM, Kai Engert <ka...@kuix.de> wrote:

I think the plan is to base the Gecko version on the ESR version of Thunderbird.  That means they will not be changing the Gecko version unless they release a new ESR, which if I am not mistaken only happens about once a year.  While the Firefox developers might change Gecko and harm Thunderbird, that should be caught in comm-central which has roughly a year to fix until the next ESR release.  I am sure that if comm-central breaks, somebody will probably fix it rather quickly.

Not every kind of breakage can automatically be detected by automated tests. There are areas where nobody had had the time/resources to write automated tests yet. Especially error reporting is a difficult area, because you need deliberately broken/misbehaving servers in order to test the correct application behaviour.

Kai

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 9, 2012, 4:04:53 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09.07.2012 12:22, Tanstaafl wrote:
> OpenOffice (now LibreOffice) lists asking about an Outlook 'component'
> - maybe now is the time to start discussions with them about some kind
> of collaboration under the Document Foundation umbrella?

The Document Foundation is - in general - a good umbrella, because it's
specifically designed to prevent any single company from ruling over the
projects. It's designed to be ruled by independent developers. If you
look around, you see how important that is.

That said, I don't think Thunderbird fits there at all. LibreOffice is a
completely different beast technically and would never make "the
like-Outlook component of the LibreOffice suite". Thunderbird is a
Mozilla product and only feels well among the birds.

Ben

Joshua Cranmer

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Jul 9, 2012, 4:06:59 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 7/9/2012 1:27 PM, Jeff Grossman wrote:
> I think the plan is to base the Gecko version on the ESR version of
> Thunderbird. That means they will not be changing the Gecko version
> unless they release a new ESR, which if I am not mistaken only happens
> about once a year. While the Firefox developers might change Gecko
> and harm Thunderbird, that should be caught in comm-central which has
> roughly a year to fix until the next ESR release. I am sure that if
> comm-central breaks, somebody will probably fix it rather quickly.
We only have ~50-60% coverage of our own code by unit tests. Most
problems won't be found except by people using the product (sadly).

--
Joshua Cranmer
News submodule owner
DXR coauthor

Ben Bucksch

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Jul 9, 2012, 4:09:36 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 09.07.2012 18:57, Kai Engert wrote:
> existing functionality in the core engine should never be removed, if
> it's currently being used by important projects such as Thunderbird.
> Instead of removing functionality from the core engine, ...
> developer should take care to implement additional features in addition

> If developers want to remove or replace a functionality in
> core Gecko, they must not do it until someone has contributed a working
> adjustment to Thunderbird code.

+1

Joshua Cranmer

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Jul 9, 2012, 4:09:15 PM7/9/12
to tb-pl...@mozilla.org
On 7/9/2012 1:21 PM, Andrew Sutherland wrote:
> On 07/09/2012 10:07 AM, Joshua Cranmer wrote:
>> I also think it would be useful to have some sort of liaison with the
>> people working on the Gaia email app to explore future possibilities
>> of sharing code.
>
> Were you thinking of any mechanism in particular?
>
> I (:asuth) am working on the Gaia e-mail app. So is Jim Porter
> (:squib). We're both on this list and frequently on #maildev. I will
> encourage any other contributors that show up to make sure they are on
> tb-planning too. (There is a dev-gaia list, but it's very high
> traffic and almost entirely not about the e-mail app or the problem
> domain.)

I was more thinking of some clear two-way communication so that
contributors on either product are well aware about potential to avoid
code duplication, etc. In particular, I might think that there be some
form of "gaia email update" on the TB status meetings and v.v. just so
people are well aware.

It also struck me that I forgot to mention that having a
Thunderbird<->Gaia email sync ought to be a major goal.

--
Joshua Cranmer
News submodule owner
DXR coauthor

Gervase Markham

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Jul 10, 2012, 7:31:07 AM7/10/12