Thus far, my public comments about MailCo have been quite high-level, and spanning big fuzzy concepts like communication, organizational structure, etc. Here I’d like to touch on Thunderbird specifically.
Both Scott McGregor and David Bienvenu have posted that they are leaving Mozilla Corp. My understanding from chats with them weeks ago (I hope I’m not divulging anything that I shouldn’t) is that they have decided to start a new venture. They’ve worked on Thunderbird and its predecessors within Mozilla and Nestcape for a long time, and I can certainly understand their desire to do something different. After all, I’m doing something different myself. At the same time, I know from talking to Scott and David that they care very deeply about Thunderbird, and I look forward to working with them in the future.
That’s all I know about Scott and David’s plans, so I’ll talk instead about what we’re doing with the still-being-formed mail-focused subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, regarding Thunderbird planning in particular. While Scott and David will I’m sure be forthcoming with advice and opinions, I’m hoping to solicit input from other Thunderbird community members.
The bulk of the MailCo budget is expected to be spent on staff (as with all small software companies, and especially small open source software companies!), with most of that going to Thunderbird-focused staff for a while, I expect. We’re recruiting experienced developers now to focus specifically on Thunderbird and more broadly on improving mail and communications in general. Everyone involved full-time in the development of Thunderbird has been offered a role and we’re moving forward as quickly as possible to hire additional developers.
I’m also going to be looking for non-developers to help in every other aspect of maintaining and evolving Thunderbird. If you’re interested in such a job, or know someone who I should talk to, please don’t hesitate to let me know. People who care about the project and who want to make a different in the world of email will be key to Thunderbird’s continued success. One of my tasks next week is to get a better picture of exactly which jobs I should fill — I’ll share the job descriptions as soon as they’re settled, but you don’t have to wait for that if you’re interested.
More broadly speaking, the intent of the new subsidiary is to gather together the Thunderbird community (including you) in a single “virtual” location, so that what happens or doesn’t happen in Firefox-land isn’t so relevant to Thunderbird anymore. I’ll have more to say about the new community “hangouts” soon. I’m (obviously!) convinced that Thunderbird is great, and can become even greater. There’s so much pent-up energy around the project, it feels as though it’s about to take over the world. There’s of course a lot of work ahead to coordinate everyone’s enthusiasm, but I’m looking forward to it. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been gathering feedback and opinions from lots of directions. The opinions of the core Thunderbird community are more important than many, so if you care about Thunderbird, please let me know what you think. Now is a great time to influence the future of Thunderbird.