[kde-community] [Kde-pim] A new home for Mozilla Thunderbird at KDE?

Jaroslaw Staniek staniek at kde.org
Wed Apr 27 15:07:02 BST 2016

On 27 April 2016 at 15:13, Jos van den Oever <jos at vandenoever.info> wrote:
> On Wednesday 27 April 2016 21:42:12 Eike Hein wrote:
>> On 04/27/2016 06:36 PM, Daniel Vrátil wrote:
>> > I like the idea of having Thunderbird in KDE. It shows that we are an open
>> > community and welcoming towards "outside" projects and of course it would
>> > be also a good PR for both sides.
>> No, it wouldn't. The message wouldn't be "KDE community is open to the
>> outside", it would be "KDE offers shelter to legacy project, hoping to
>> salvage some attention from it".
>> Make no mistake, Thunderbird is a dead project. It's built on a toolkit
>> that's EOL, and hardly has enough of a development community to sustain
>> the app, much less the stack beneath it. That it has users (like me)
>> that still use it despite the mounting bitrot and deteriorating
>> performance doesn't change that outlook. Many people who use Thunderbird
>> want to switch away from Thunderbird.
>> KDEPIM does face some similar challenges, but is actually much further
>> along on componentizing its codebase to where e.g. moving from QWidget
>> tovother toolkits is feasible, and QtCore is far from dead. As a
>> developer, if I wanted to work on email stuff, I'd rather go there than
>> invest my hours into Thunderbird. And that's part of the problem, too.
>> If we were to incubate Thunderbird, it would need to supply really
>> really strong answers for how it's going to pull its own weight to
>> offset the resource and PR cost.
> Years ago, LibreOffice split off from OpenOffice. Apache OpenOffice is now barely
> alive. They hardly manage to release security fixes. And yet, still more people
> know about OpenOffice than about LibreOffice. Most of these people are on Windows.
> LibreOffice is working hard to change this but it takes very long.
> Thunderbird is a very familiar program to many. It is a strong brand. If
> Thunderbird deteriorates, it will leave many to give in and go to webmail
> hosted by an advertising company. That way the number of people using real
> mail clients might be halved.
> If the Thunderbird team were to decide to update their codebase and perhaps
> move to use Qt components, they might retain their userbase. Subsurface and
> Gcompris went this way too, to technical success. Any such decisions should be
> made by the Thunderbird developers and there are quite a few of those.
> Looking at the commit logs of Thunderbird, the programs certainly does not
> seem dead at all. Last month there were on average two commits per day by 18
> authors. [1] Sure they might have technical debt, but so did OpenOffice. Moving
> away from the link to the Firefox release schedule, might even give breathing
> room for more fundamental work.

If I could be more practical, my advice would be as radical as:

- legally get the Thunderbird brand while it's *still* known and positive
- rename KDE PIM to Thunderbird
- make the Windows port shine
- grab the userbase
- ...
- profit?

No offense. It's win-win. For Thunderbird it's escape from the
technical debt (using Mozilla's own words).

regards, Jaroslaw Staniek

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