Mozilla

Thunderbird — Why Change Things?

July 28th, 2007

One large them of responses to the Thunderbird post is the question: Why can’t Thunderbird and Firefox both prosper in the same development organization? Since there is money, what’s the problem?

The problem is trying to do two different types of things exceptionally well at the same time. This is extraordinarily difficult. (I’ll describe why we’ve found Thunderbird and Firefox are different enough to make this so in a separate post.) Trying to do two different things requires a constant balancing of the needs of each. In many cases it results in an inability to optimize for either one and both projects suffering. In our case it also results in a constant need to prioritize between the two. And in this prioritization Firefox is getting and will continue to get the vast bulk of resources.

This is because the impact of the two products is wildly different. Thunderbird is a solid product that provides an open source alternative in an important area for a set of users. That’s important and worthy of attention.

Firefox is important in moving an entire segment of the Internet industry towards a more open, more innovative place. We’re not the only factor of course, there are lots of other critical people and organizations involved. But modern, innovative browsing and web development as displayed through Firefox is part of what moves the Web landscape now.

Firefox effects are felt by people who use other products. Its effects are felt by people using other browsers (even IE has a development team again!). Its effects are felt in the standards world, where Firefox’s footprint strengthens our efforts to move web standards forward. Its effects are felt by web developers who have made Firefox their development tool of choice. The effects of Firefox go far beyond the daily user experience of its userbase.

This difference between Thunderbird and Firefox is profound. Each day the development team can work on Thunderbird, which serves its users well. Or they can work on Firefox, which affects a giant swath of the web industry, and serves a userbase that is at least an order of magnitude larger.

In this setting it does not make sense for a development group to give Thunderbird equal focus. Counting just the userbase, Firefox is 10 or 20 times bigger, so maybe one would say it should get 10 or 20 times the attention. If one adds in Firefox’s effect on the web industry the focus on browsing related activities goes way, way up until it dwarfs Thunderbird even more completely. One might then adjust these numbers in favor of Thunderbird because of a desire for diversity, a desire to continue to serve Thunderbird users, because we’ve always had mail, or for any number of other reasons.

But the point is that this is not a good setting for Thunderbird to get sustained attention and focus. Hiring more people doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t change the equation for determining relative attention.

This is our setting. This is why I say that I do not see the existing Mozilla development organization increasing its focus on Thunderbird in the forseeable future. Every time we look at it we are convinced that the current prioritization is correct.

We want Thunderbird to thrive as an open alternative for email. Thus the current effort to find a structure where Thunderbird and email can be the focus. We can imagine this happening within the Mozilla umbrella if there are separate development organizations — thus Option 2. We can imagine other possibilities — thus the other options. But the current setting needs change.

36 comments for “Thunderbird — Why Change Things?”

  1. 1

    Jasper said on July 28th, 2007 at 10:02 am:

    So you mean that we should stop using Firefox in order to increase the development focus on Thunderbird?

  2. 2

    Mohamed Samy said on July 28th, 2007 at 10:27 am:

    Hi,
    There is something that confuses me a bit. Please correct me if I’m wrong:

    The original post that started all the discussions was entitled “Email Call to Action” and raised some points about innovation and something beyond Thunderbird. Then the rest of the posts up to this one dealt mostly with the reasons behind splitting the Thunderbird team. does that mean there is more than one email project in Mozilla’s plans?

    If my understanding is right,I assume the big picture is like this:

    a) The Thunderbird team wants to continue developing Thunderbird as a standard email program to be most useful to its current user base.

    b) Meanwhile, there’s an experimental mysterious new project that the Mozilla organization is thinking about. Perhaps something web based or related to Eudora. And that’s the reason behind the call to action.

    If that’s true, then it would be quite interesting. And something I’d like much to contribute to. Can you please clarify the situation further?

  3. 3

    Orrin said on July 28th, 2007 at 10:39 am:

    If the Mozilla Organization wants to focus on Firefox alone, then do whatever you want to do, you’re gonna do it anyway.

    I would guess that most organization solve this by delegating teams to work on their various projects. I don’t see why this couldn’t be done if the right resources were available. I don’t make the decisions so maybe the resources aren’t.

    Many software organizations for-profit or not release more then one product and with Mozilla’s talent, I think it is possible to keep Thunderbird close within Mozilla. But if the organization as a whole would rather focus on Firefox, call it like it is and do it.

  4. 4

    Adam said on July 28th, 2007 at 11:26 am:

    Here’s the problem-

    What you are saying sounds like a flakeout to most of the people answering your “question” as to how best you can flakeout.

    The Mozilla org was supposed to be about furthering the great products that we all loved (and have finally gotten best in class good) and opening up the internet (not just the www space).

    The current organization has really failed to leverage any of Firefoxes success into success for Thunderbird. Why not better encourage downloads in the installer? You have a direct line to Google but you don’t have a direct line to your own product Thunderbird? Why not find a partner besides Gmail? Someone that wants a reasonable subscription for IMAP + Lightning calendaring for cheap…with an easy subscription in the accounts/installer?

    Pickup Lightning and OWN it. Pay money to help it get finished and working great… maybe it’s hard to find lead developers but you have some you could support with junior paid developers and QA.

    Lot’s of companies can produce more than one product successfully, If the executives at Firefox corp don’t feel capable then you should reconsider whether you are doing the best job you can be.

  5. 5

    LC said on July 28th, 2007 at 11:30 am:

    Reasons are pretty obvious.
    But there is another point.
    Do we need Mozilla now that we know it is just another company?
    Do we need Firefox now that we know it is just another software?

  6. 6

    Mitchell Baker said on July 28th, 2007 at 12:55 pm:

    Mohamed

    I’d say your summary of the big picture is very close. We hear regularly that people would like to see big changes in mail, either to make it more web-based, or to deal with new ways of communicating, to include social networking aspects, etc. These are generally bigger changes than we are likely to see in Thunderbird. So your (a) is right on the mark.

    The only thing I’d disagree with in (b) is the word “mysterious.” I understand things may seem mysterious, but there is not any particular plan we’re thinking about. We’re thinking:

    (a) lots of people say they want changes in mail; (b) mail and communications are a big part of internet and web life;
    (c) if we can find the right people who have the capability, interest and desire to lead such an project, then Mozilla would be interested in doing something.

    This is different from seeking suggestions as to what mail could be. Great projects are built by people with have a vision, have or make time to get involved and are driven to create something interesting. Without that we’re unlikely to see much happen.

  7. 7

    Iang said on July 28th, 2007 at 2:06 pm:

    I don’t see these reasons as useful. Corporations run different products, and dealing the priorities is simply what management does. You’ve set the priorities, so there doesn’t seem to be much left to do.

    Spinning off Tbird because Firefox takes up too much attention doesn’t make sense. What happens if some other product becomes as popular, is it time to spin off Firefox, then, too? If anything, it seems as though there is a problem with the championing of the products (all of them except Firefox) … which is a management issue, not a sell-off opportunity.

    This is standard strategy … how about phoning the profs at Stanford b-school and asking to borrow a couple of students for a few weeks?

  8. 8

    Rafael said on July 28th, 2007 at 2:26 pm:

    Should you address the enterprise aspect as well. Thunderbird is more in line with enterprise customers and an enterprise business versus Firefox which is clearly going after the consumer market.

    A corporation can’t really serve both sets of customers.

    Further, you need to be commended for opening up this management topic to the community. It’s another instance where Mozilla unique. No other company would do this. In other words, with all these stones being thrown at you, we should all pitch in to you buy you some flowers. Seriously.

  9. 9

    Eddy Nigg said on July 28th, 2007 at 4:26 pm:

    This post is certainly interesting and offers a more direct and understandable view. I also agree with your analysis about the impact of Firefox. Important also your confirmation, that currently there is a lack of a plan for Thunderbird, which might be the reason why it doesn’t have the same impact!

    Maybe somewhat premature, but mail is about communication and this might be the direction Thunderbird should go. Communication and sharing of data is perhaps the second most important thing next to browsing (and its related services) on the Internet, which is true for home and enterprise.

    Thinking about it, the current situation in this field reminds one of the same state Firefox and Internet Explorer were just a few years ago. With one ruler and lack of innovation!

  10. 10

    john.doe said on July 28th, 2007 at 5:44 pm:

    Hey Mitchell,

    Will the MozCorp MUA be Gmail centric or Gmail centric ? Unless it’ll be Gmail centric, or eventually Gmail centric. :p

    What a pitty the MozCorp has been corrupted by Larry & Sergey…

  11. 11

    Martin said on July 29th, 2007 at 2:55 am:

    Hey,

    e-mail is heading to walled gardens. Many people use Facebook, Myspace, Orkut, LJ… (add whatever social web 2.0 service) for messaging.

    Pros

    * It’s easy to use
    * It’s nearly spam free (depending on the service)
    * You do not need an e-mail-adress

    Cons

    * You have to check many accounts
    * It’s sometimes hard to send messages to more than one people
    * You can not save your messages (depending on the service)
    * You have limited online storing possiblities
    * It’s proprietary

    Thunderbird could integrate the diferent messaging systems in the same way Evolution (Gnome PIM and Groupware client) uses Exchange Web access to connect to Exchange servers. All but the last Cons would be solved. It would be a killer feature, in particular for power users

    It shoulding be to complicated to integrate this kind of messaging into Thunderbird (need to done for each Web 2.0 service). It’s just http. The tricky part would be sending messages to people who are not your friends since some services (e.g. Facebook) use real names as identifiers (not unique) and long unique menber numbers nobody knows and nobody wants to type.

  12. 12

    Mohamed Samy said on July 29th, 2007 at 5:04 am:

    Mitchell,

    Thanks for clarifying things!
    So as I understand it, you’re now looking for leaders and/or contributors for the new project, which is still in brainstorming stages.

    Some more questions:

    a) So how does one exactly contribute? Is the “future of mail” wiki the official channel or is there some other place?

    b) Must all people who participate right now take leadership roles? Speaking of myself, I’m an experienced programmer who’s very interested in knowledge organization and HCI and who likes to experiment with new ideas a lot , so I might be able to participate in the ‘passion’ and ‘innovation’ parts.

    However, I have not managed large projects before so I can’t help much with the ‘leadership’ right now.

    Should such a person offer to participate now or wait until the project has started and taken some direction before seeing how he may join?

  13. 13

    JB said on July 29th, 2007 at 7:16 am:

    This is a very unsatisfying situation we have here. The product Thunderbird is a very good piece of software but you (Mozilla Corp.) what to throw it away. It doesn’t make any sense at all. You can come on here and tell us that it is standard corporation practice and tell us about all the Stanford business students backing you all you want, but the finner point is this doesn’t make any sense. Instead of listening to your wallet like always, try listening to the people that love and support Thunderbird. Are you a corporation or a foundation? Because lately I have a very hard time making a distinction between the two in your case.

    Stop thinking about the money you’ll save, start thinking about the money you could be making if you pushed Thunderbird and backed it just like Firefox. Thunderbird flicks anyone?

    That is just my $0.02

  14. 14

    sunnysardine said on July 29th, 2007 at 9:28 am:

    After few blogs made by Mitchell Baker, now I start to know WHY she wrote Email Call to Action, it is all about public relation. We as www users are too concentrate on so call Firefox effects, and perhaps they developers do the same too. Now, she is calling for a more equal focus on both Mozilla products (Firefox & Thunderbird), but not yet for seamonkey and others now. Mozilla Foundation is still on development stage, not like Sun & MS, so keep it up.

  15. 15

    Eddy Nigg said on July 29th, 2007 at 10:00 am:

    Mohamed, please join the mailing list at https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-apps-thunderbird which you can also access on http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.tech.crypto/topics

  16. 16

    Eddy Nigg said on July 29th, 2007 at 10:02 am:

    I meant http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.apps.thunderbird/topics

    Sorry!

  17. 17

    guanxi said on July 29th, 2007 at 10:11 am:

    I appreciate the attempt to clarify, but a couple things are still unclear:

    1) As many posted above, many organizations manage multiple products of varying popularity. The ‘future of mail’ project will be even less popular than TB. Could you provide a concrete example of the problems TB faces, which would be solved with this change?

    2) An elephant in the room is the that the ‘future of mail’ will divert resources — including innovative ideas and developers — from TB. How do you see TB in the long run — essentially a maintained legacy product?

    guanxi

  18. 18

    Bob said on July 29th, 2007 at 10:25 am:

    Or … hire two new people dedicated to Thunderbird so that they can focus on something that’s not Firefox.

  19. 19

    Robert Ray said on July 29th, 2007 at 10:27 am:

    Hi,

    I just wanted to throw my $0.02 into the ring here.

    It seems to me that what you are saying is that Firefox is outshining Thunderbird in every measurable category, and that any additional resources that Mozilla brings in are going to be sucked up by Firefox, because Firefox has a significantly larger userbase, and thus has precedence.

    As I see it, the best answer for Mozilla is to bring Thunderbird back into the Mozilla Organization and start duplicating some of the infrastructure of the Mozilla Corporation that is somewhat monopolized by Firefox (I’m thinking of Asa Dotzler’s comments on Gervase Markham’s blog here).

    To simplify, the way I see things, it may be in the best interests of the Mozilla Organization to start hiring and maintaining technical people and some equipment for the use of the Mozilla Projects, since it is apparent that Firefox will consume any resources that it has access to.

    Since it has been stated previously that there are funds available that could be used for Thunderbird, I think this makes the most sense, as having some people in the Mozilla Organization to do some techie stuff (and who explicitly will not be pulled off their projects to work on Firefox as a release date, bug fix, or new feature comes up), will benefit the lesser used (but still loved by many many people) pieces of software Mozilla owns.

    I guess the bottom line is, Mozilla has a lot of software that is very good, and I don’t want to see it die, and even if somebody picks it up, it’s not necessarily “Mozilla” software (I see a large difference between NVU and Seamonkey, for example. NVU being done independently and Seamonkey still being done pretty much in house).

    It is the nature of human beings to focus on the “biggest” thing, and especially in the Mozilla Corporation, Firefox is what is bringing home the bacon, so it’s easy to see how Thunderbird could get the shaft.

    I am but an end user, but Thunderbird is as important part of my web experience as Firefox. The pieces of the Mozilla Suite other than Navigator are not necessarily relics of the past, they’re just not as central to the experience as Firefox has become, nor as easy to use. I hope that an accommodation can be found to allow Thunderbird to flourish without losing all of its ties to Mozilla, as that would surely be a tragedy.

  20. 20

    PeterInMN said on July 29th, 2007 at 12:29 pm:

    Hi all.
    There is some good stuff here. Also at this site:
    http://scott-macgregor.org/blog/?p=4#comment-124

    What I take away from this stuff is the following:
    1. People want to keep Thunderbird.
    2. People want to improve thunderbird.
    3. People want flexibility to either download email, or to use “web” email, so that one can move to different machines, or use different machines to access their email.
    4. People do not trust a “for-profit” corporation to make an email client that is wholly in the users’ best interest.

    I hope this helps. These are exciting days. We could be on the verge of Great Mail!

  21. 21

    John G said on July 29th, 2007 at 1:46 pm:

    I doubt that this “question”/”problem” would have even come up if there had been more priority given to developing and finalizing XULRunner (1.9 or 2.0?) as the basis of Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird, etc. and other “Non-Mozilla Corp” projects. I suggest the whole topic be abeyanced and reviewed again after Firefox 4.

  22. 22

    Jason said on July 29th, 2007 at 5:16 pm:

    I don’t understand why Thunderbird would be for a “set of users”. I understand why Seamonkey is for a subset of users; only a few people are really going to care that there is a difference between one app for mail and web and two apps. But Thunderbird is a email program. AFAIK, almost every web user uses email. Right?

    Now, I know the counter arguement is that only some people need a desktop mail client; most people can use the web client. I disagree; I find the current crop of we based email clients hard to use, even gmail. Also, the obvious issues of email backup, security are not adequately addressed by web based clients. I would imagine the vast majority of corporate users can’t use web base email clients. They are all using Outlook.

    *Why isn’t there a focus on making Thunderbird a real competitor to Outlook?*

    Also, the idea that one organization can’t accomplish two tasks is really ridiculous. Microsoft, for all its faults, manages to focus their efforts on both Office and Windows, not too mention 1800 other things. I still don’t understand the logic behind this decision making process.

    Jason

  23. 23

    Xyz said on July 30th, 2007 at 3:20 am:

    *Why isn’t there a focus on making Thunderbird a real competitor to Outlook?*
    You don’t put advertisement on email with Thunderbird, so what is the business model behind Thunderbird? You just give it away for free.

  24. 24

    Thomas said on July 30th, 2007 at 5:36 am:

    Please don’t split Thunderbird from Mozilla. First, the name Mozilla stands for quality and openness – and solid development. For advertising it is a disaster to cut Thunderbird and set up a new company. Mozilla Firefox has a good reputation; Thunderbird will be have more good reputation too, but it needs more time, more development in combination with Sunbird/Lightning under the hat of Mozilla. With Sunbird it can compete with other similar products in the market.

    Second, a new small company for Thunderbird is a risk in the future. NVU for example wasn’t improved for some years. Its further development is still written in the stars. Please don’t let Thunderbird alone with its two fulltime developers today (but what’s in two years?).

  25. 25

    Oren Sreebny’s Weblog said on July 30th, 2007 at 6:41 am:

    Mozilla, Thunderbird, and the future of email

    There’s been a lot of discussion (much of it of the hand-wringing variety) of Mitchell Baker’s Email Call To Action blog post where she talks about Mozilla splitting off the development of the Thunderbird email client software to a new organization. In…

  26. 26

    Stefan said on July 30th, 2007 at 7:01 am:

    I use Thunderbird since version 1.0 and I LOVE IT. I appreciate to use a real Outlook alternative and I don’t really care if it lacks some of these “but-outlook-can-do-this” features. Thunderbird is a stable comfortable mail client that absolutely satisfies my (and not only my) needs. Please don’t stop this project as the world would be a bit darker without it ­čÖü

  27. 27

    Magnus Wedberg said on July 30th, 2007 at 7:38 am:

    Thunderbird clearly needs to be refocused.

    Webmail and “social networking” is not an option for company email. It’s an additional feature, but a strong email client is an absolute must, and trusting sensitive corporate data to huge megacorporations — however noble their motives may be — is not an option. For one thing, we absolutely must be in control of our filtering and able to do fine-grained logging, as well as reliably storing potentially tens of gigabytes of data per user. Thus, the need for our own mail server, IMAP being the logical choice, and a good IMAP client on top of that server. Now the funny part: Thunderbird is already one of the best IMAP clients there are, and it also has a very user-acceptable interface. There really is no serious Windows alternative (I’ve tried them all).

    Webmail is only an option for the hip 20-30-something who doesn’t store lots of data, don’t need trackability, and trust Google with their online life.

    The open internet absolutely needs a high quality “corporate alternative” mail client on the desktop, or Exchange/Outlook will take over that whole market, and we all know that MS /will/ then enforce their own formats on us. They are already making it purposefully hard to use IMAP with their products. This will affect the whole net.

    In fact, Thunderbird has the potential to unify several open protocols (IMAP, Web/CalDav, LDAP) and build the front end of a solid OSS corporate messaging solution. That may not be “Firefox on every consumer desktop”, but there sure are lesser goals worth pursuing, too.

  28. 28

    OSZine said on July 30th, 2007 at 1:23 pm:

    Thunderbird wird nicht sterben

    Die Pl├Ąne den EMail-Clienten Thunderbird aus der Mozilla Foundation auszugliedern haben f├╝r viel Gespr├Ąchsstoff gesorgt. Infolgedessen kamen sogar Ger├╝chte auf, Mozilla w├╝rde den Thunderbird sterben lassen. Dem widersprachen nun Mitchell Baker und As

  29. 29

    Majken said on July 30th, 2007 at 2:48 pm:

    Firefox wasn’t born with the power and appeal that you attribute to it. It was nurtured by people who cared about the cause and who wanted to make a difference because a difference needed to be made, not because they would change the world.

    I always thought that this was the point of the Mozilla foundation, but maybe this is what always sticks out to me when I meet people who have been involved since Netscape vs. those who have had the privilege of helping Firefox while it was on its way. Wanting to make a difference vs wanting to change the world.

    Your reasoning seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. How can Thunderbird reach world changing success if there isn’t a group of people behind it that care about making a difference because a difference can be made? But you’re saying that people won’t care and give it that attention cuz they can ride Firefox’ coat tails instead of putting in the work, and since people want to work on Firefox, that’s what’s getting resources.

    I know this is supposed to be explaining why Thunderbird can’t exist in the same Corp as Firefox, but you give such passionate reasons why it just wouldn’t get attention. I don’t see how you can credibly turn around and say “oh no, the *foundation* doesn’t feel that way, a subsidiary for Thunderbird would be a *completely* different story.”

    FWIW I always understood it that work on open source, and such new products (relatively) as these two are just very resource intensive. As Firefox grows, it needs more resources, and it’s difficult to keep up with the resources Firefox needs as it is. People who are hired for marketing or build for example do not have time to work on both products effectively. TB needs to have its own structure rather than sharing resources so that those resources don’t get overloaded. This could in theory be done as a division within the Mozilla Corp. I never thought it was because people just don’t *want* to work on Thunderbird.

  30. 30

    Jason said on July 30th, 2007 at 3:43 pm:

    Mozilla has what most corporations would die for — a product (Firefox) that is not only gaining in marketshare, but mindshare. Thunderbird is not at the level of Firefox, because it is not getting the attention of Firefox. Nurture it along a bit and put some muscle behind it. Firefox did not happen overnight, nor will Thunderbird or Sunbird. They both need a lot of tlc to bring them up to a level that will successfully take on corporate mindshare.

    I could say the exact same thing as everyone else commenting here, because they are all right. The reason it is not where it needs to be is on you, not the program. You are the leader and good leadership starts at the top. I am not saying you are not a good leader, but this is your time to really put on the shine and listen to those that put you where you are today. Without the support of those like you see here, you would not have Firefox being at the level it is. Trust us when we ask you to do something, because when you do, you find that we will go to the ends of the Earth to use it, promote it, develop solutions around it, and make it a name to be reckoned with. Every time you see that newspaper ad, remember that there is no reason why you cannot do that again, and again.

    Give it some belief, some time, some focus and some energy and watch the magic happen.

    -jason

  31. 31

    terry said on July 30th, 2007 at 8:10 pm:

    Yup, I agree with Jason. You, Mitchell, as so-called leader of a large (and essentially quite important) IT company (or Corporation or whatever), is making a huge decision here. do consider the many thousands of volunteers who have been turned off completely by your very comments on the possibility of Mozilla no longer responsible for Thunderbird. Much as Firefox has a large and vocal userbase for the home crowd, there are the others who in the enterprise industry are remaining silent simply because their job is a person to deploy email software in a company.

    these companies possibly control many of the things around us, so imagine how grateful they would be for an excellent email client. but they would not be vocal; they would not go around promoting it; nor will they talk and rave about it on the web. The effects are just “hidden”. I feel that these effects may even be bigger or more significant than the highly visible Firefox ripples that we constantly see.

    Firefox didn’t just happen overnight. With no effort and no roadmap, no increase in interest from the part of the corporation itself, no group of dedicated volunteers, do you really think that Firefox would have gotten to where it would be today?

    Effort, and as what Majken and Jason have mentioned above me, the community and the belief that it can happen, is what definitely counts. It takes time.

    Please do reflect (among yourself(yourselves)) on the many hundreds of comments that have been posted on this blog, as well as the many others in the community that have voiced their opinions.

  32. 32

    Dirk said on July 31st, 2007 at 6:00 am:

    Here are some more considerations.

    Thunderbird is actually very succesfull. I could not find any numbers on market shares, but I found an article (http://www.spreadfirefox.com/node/27909) that says that Thunderbird reached 50 million downloads this july. This happened just two years after Firefox reached that same number(when it had half the current market share). That’s a lot of users. Thunderbird is now at the position where Firefox was two years ago.

    What about the credibility of the Mozilla brand. Most users dont know about open source or the Mozilla Organisation. They just use these products from something called Mozilla. The last couple of years Thunderbird has been prominently promoted on the Mozilla web site front page. It does NOT really show responsibility to your users, when Mozilla would suddenly stop supporting it. Or worse, discontinue it, which is what I think Option 1 amounts to(becauses Thunderbird looses the Mozilla brand).

    It would more sense to me when this change had come a couple of years ago when Mozilla had much less resources. But now when there is a lot more income, this change comes as a really big surprise. In fact I expected that Mozilla would look to broaden it’s application range instead of narrow it, given it’s goal of keeping the *internet* open and accessible.

  33. 33

    Asa Dotzler said on July 31st, 2007 at 9:31 pm:

    Terry said: “Firefox didn’t just happen overnight. With no effort and no roadmap, no increase in interest from the part of the corporation itself, no group of dedicated volunteers, do you really think that Firefox would have gotten to where it would be today?”

    Firefox was a completely volunteer effort for the first year of its life (major contributions from blake, dave, joe, jan, pch, me, bryner, and kerz, none of them paid to work on Firefox.) We had a thriving community of unpaid developers, testers, advocates and evangelists, a clear product roadmap through the first six milestones, a plan for building momentum and a significant user base migrating from IE — all of this before the Mozilla Foundation even existed (and long before the formation of the Corporation).

    So yes, Firefox didn’t just happen overnight. It was a small community project that was able to build amazing momentum among a growing group of dedicated volunteers and users. We had a product roadmap and a large community of supporters turning that document into reality.

    And eventually it saw increased interest from the Mozilla Foundation and much later the Mozilla Corporation.

    So, I guess you’re sort of correct.

    – A

  34. 34

    terry said on August 2nd, 2007 at 1:51 am:

    Asa: Thanks!

    I’ve been a user of Mozilla products since the name change from Phoenix to Firebird, and been through, thick and thin, the struggles the team faced then. And overcame those, we did.

  35. 35

    hatailor said on August 19th, 2007 at 9:05 pm:

    I am still using netscape 7.2 because the browser and the email are linked. I start one, the other starts. How can I click on Firefox and get Thunderbird to start as well? Or send an email from firefox 2.0? only 1.5 allows that.
    Please help

  36. 36

    Jesse said on September 4th, 2007 at 1:33 pm:

    Oh yeah, forgot to mention, doing a great job, keep up the good work. FF rocks hard.

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