Thunderbird Future

OK, I guess it’s time for me to break my silence and offer my humble opinion on what’s going on:

Firstly, I looked over Mitchell’s (over 100 comments!), Scott’s, Asa’s and even the usual mozillaZine forums. I’m not in a position to say how Mozilla operates as I don’t fully understand their structure, and that’s not the main aim here.

Basically from what I gather is that Thunderbird requires a new focus, whether within Mozilla, or outside of it. And Scott and David are still going to be full-time lead developers of Thunderbird “tomorrow, the day after, and into the foreseeable future“, as Asa goes. So, be rest assured, Thunderbird is not going to be abandoned any time soon.

My personal opinion is that I don’t really care about the organisational structure of Thunderbird, I just want to see development progress. There’s no point in having an optimum organisation but yet nothing gets done. Yes, the way the developers communicate with each other, discuss the priorities, or even criticise each other’s work is important, and that’s true for every office or workplace out there in the world today. However, ultimately what end-users care about is the final product, no matter whether they are home users or corporations.

If something has to be done about the structure, please go ahead and do so, and do so quickly before development is slowed in one way or another. Eventually, it should not have a negative impact on the development of Thunderbird. We should not be in a position where progress is stalled for a long extended period of time because some restructuring is halting everything up.

There are many users who acknowledge the hard work that the full-time developers, Scott and David, put in, as well as many volunteers around the world. I personally have exchanged correspondence with Scott, both regarding The Rumbling Edge as well as Thunderbird matters, and I can say that he (as well as David) is definitely one devoted to the Thunderbird cause.

Yes, Thunderbird’s impact on the web today is considerably less than Firefox, but we should not let that affect us. No matter whether it remains under the main Mozilla umbrella or not, I’m sure there will be people willing to pick up the slack. I personally would like to do so, but besides my changelogs, weekly posts and the occasional bug report, I have been technically unable to provide anything else until I complete the computing course that I will be starting soon (and ending four years later). Honestly, I have learnt many things by starting early, from writing documentation for software to using Bugzilla to query database. It will be an interesting educational experience for all aspiring computer programmers (or engineers or whatsoever).

I am confident that the Thunderbird community will step up and prove its worth in these difficult times. It is true that it will be no match for the might of the “Firefox empire”, but being small doesn’t mean that nothing will get done. If there’s something within my capability to help Thunderbird through, I’ll definitely “throw my hat in the ring”. This community has taught me enough for me to contribute back to itself. And just like the many volunteers who don’t want to see Thunderbird die, I will do my very best to see it through.

Gary Kwong