Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

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Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

Pascal Mages
Dear all

We are a startup providing worry free IT services for Micro and Small
Enterprises. We are looking into replacing Outlook clients by
Thunderbird/Lightning and Exchange by Kolab.

While the basics work pretty well we would like to add some usability
improvements and groupware functions. Therefore we are looking for
developers able to help us.

Features we would like to have
* Calendar autodiscovery
* Calendar grouping
* Free Busy for event scheduling (the existing add-on is broken)
* Address book groups sync (with Kolab)
* and more

We are very much at the beginning of this project. Nothing is yet fixed.
We are currently looking into possible partners and ways to finance the
development (crowd funding being one option).

Is there anyone on this list interested in joining this journey? Please
contact us. We are very much looking forward to contribute to
Thunderbird/Lightning.

Regards,
Pascal


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Re: Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

Philipp Kewisch-2
On 7/14/16 1:55 PM, Pascal Mages wrote:
> We are a startup providing worry free IT services for Micro and Small
> Enterprises. We are looking into replacing Outlook clients by
> Thunderbird/Lightning and Exchange by Kolab.

Hi Pascal,

please contact me for anything related to Lightning. I have the
autodiscovery implementation basically done, I just need to finish some
UI work and possibly some migration code.

I'd appreciate if you could find (or file) bugs for the further issues
you are having and let us know, this makes it easier to discuss possible
implementation details and find solutions.

When you are a step further with possible ways to finance your operation
it would probably be a good idea to discuss plans with the Thunderbird
Council.

Thanks,
Philipp
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Re: Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

Pascal Mages
Hi Philipp

Thanks for your message!

Am 14.07.2016 um 16:56 schrieb Philipp Kewisch:
> please contact me for anything related to Lightning. I have the
> autodiscovery implementation basically done, I just need to finish some
> UI work and possibly some migration code.
Great! Is there a way we could already test it?

> I'd appreciate if you could find (or file) bugs for the further issues
> you are having and let us know, this makes it easier to discuss possible
> implementation details and find solutions.
I'll try to do that in the coming week.

> When you are a step further with possible ways to finance your operation
> it would probably be a good idea to discuss plans with the Thunderbird
> Council.
To get a step further on this we definitely need the support of someone
closer to the community. What we could contribute, is i.e. to take
communication lead if we start a crowd funding project. But to actually
set up the project we are not knowledgeable enough. Questions which
arise to my mind:
* how "expensive" is feature A?
* who is the best person to implement feature B?
* what is the community reaction to payed development? (Though I hope
this is not an issue within Mozilla, I have seen to much to ignore it)
* etc

Together we could probably do it. And maybe there is already someone
with crowed funding experience in this community.

What do you think? How would we best proceed to get this moving?

Best regards,
Pascal


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Re: Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

Philipp Kewisch-2
In reply to this post by Philipp Kewisch-2
On 7/14/16 5:22 PM, Pascal Mages wrote:
> Hi Philipp
>
> Thanks for your message!
>
> Am 14.07.2016 um 16:56 schrieb Philipp Kewisch:
>> please contact me for anything related to Lightning. I have the
>> autodiscovery implementation basically done, I just need to finish some
>> UI work and possibly some migration code.
> Great! Is there a way we could already test it?
I would have to dig out the patch and build an xpi. What OS would you
want to test on (please say mac) ?

>> I'd appreciate if you could find (or file) bugs for the further issues
>> you are having and let us know, this makes it easier to discuss possible
>> implementation details and find solutions.
> I'll try to do that in the coming week.
Thanks!


>> When you are a step further with possible ways to finance your operation
>> it would probably be a good idea to discuss plans with the Thunderbird
>> Council.
> To get a step further on this we definitely need the support of someone
> closer to the community. What we could contribute, is i.e. to take
> communication lead if we start a crowd funding project. But to actually
> set up the project we are not knowledgeable enough. Questions which
> arise to my mind:
> * how "expensive" is feature A?
> * who is the best person to implement feature B?
> * what is the community reaction to payed development? (Though I hope
> this is not an issue within Mozilla, I have seen to much to ignore it)
> * etc
>
> Together we could probably do it. And maybe there is already someone
> with crowed funding experience in this community.

Before setting up a crowd funding campaign on behalf of Thunderbird I
think we should discuss this with the council. If you estimate the cost
for a feature using standard market developer rates, each of the
mentioned features could quickly become a costly investment.

The current direction we are heading is collecting donations in general.
Once we have assessed how much money we can raise with this model, we
can make decisions on how it is spent. I don't believe specific features
like you mentioned would be on the top of the list, instead we need to
invest into the core components and get rid of some technical debt.
There is much more to the picture than I can effectively summarize in
this email, there is more information on the tb-planning list.

The most precious thing in voluntary open source development is having a
knowledgeable developer that has time to implement the feature. The core
Thunderbird team is not being paid by Mozilla to work on Thunderbird, we
do this in our free time next to our regular day jobs.

Therefore I think a more viable path forward is for potential partners
to fund a developer on their own payroll that could work on the features
you are proposing. The advantage is that we are not burdened with the HR
process required to get someone to work on the project. A few companies
have tried this in the past with the developers ending up being pulled
off to other projects, so even with this approach I am a bit skeptical.
I don't have any feedback on if this is unhappiness with the process, or
just an internal company decision to no longer support Thunderbird.

If you would like to help the Thunderbird team nonetheless, I think we
could definitely use some help in communication strategies, marketing or
if you have such capacities also developers. Please send me private
email if you are interested and I will get you in touch with the right
people.


Philipp
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Re: Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

R Kent James
In reply to this post by Pascal Mages
Hi Pascal,

I wish I had time to work with you, but I am at a point in my life where
I am more interested in finding extra time to spend with grandchildren
rather than looking for additional income.

But two general comments.

First, as someone who has thought hard about the future of Thunderbird,
it is clear that to succeed and prosper we need more commercial
organizations that work cooperatively with the Thunderbird community.
Unfortunately, with very few exceptions, organizations that use
Thunderbird in commercial ways tend to be purely parasitic. That is,
they take the Thunderbird code, but never contribute anything back. If
that is your intention, then please go away. But if your intention is to
develop a commercial partnership with the open-source community (like
Michael Meeks of Collabora has with Libre Office) then you are not only
welcome, but critical to Thunderbird.

Unfortunately, expect some skepticism, as the typical path of proposals
such as yours is initial offers of wonderful cooperation, with reality
being that you disappear from the community once you get what you want.
I see no bugzilla account for [hidden email] for example, which make me
immediately skeptical of your intentions. If your plans are to base a
commercial organization on the infinite resources of free software
development by the community, you are likely to be disappointed, as
Thunderbird really needs cooperative commercial partnerships to survive
at all. Bad "partnerships" tend to discourage good partnerships, so you
could easily hasten the demise of Thunderbird. But with a decent
partnership, particularly if you could work out an in-product promotion
of your offering within Thunderbird to our 25,000,000 users, we could
have a win-win here.

Second, though there will be anti-commercial bias by certain open source
advocates (see my post
http://mesquilla.com/2013/10/17/the-proxy-debate-over-paid-addons/) my
personal experience is that plenty of people are willing to pay for
decent email software, so there is a real market there. If you don't
succeed at this, I hope somebody else does.


----
R. Kent James
Chair, Thunderbird Council
Donate to Thunderbird: https://donate.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/about/
@rkentjames
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Re: Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

Pascal Mages
Hi Kent

Thanks for your comments.
Let me reassure you that we are here with good intentions. I have been
around in open source communities long enough and have also seen too
many company involvements fail miserably. We do not plan to repeat that.

It was also the reason why I contacted this list first of all. To get in
contact with the TB community and see how we could make it work for both.
I have never been active in the TB community even though I have been
using TB probably for over 10 years. I do actually have a bugzilla
account attached to my private mail. But you won't find any post there yet.

Back to our potential involvement. We have no intention (neither the
resources) to create a fork or our own add-on. We would like to promote
and support the inclusion of improved groupware functionalities
important to business users into the standard TB. But we do not have the
money or developers to do that just by ourselves.
What we could do, is to take on some coordination, provide the business
users point of view, try to get some funding from business users to
finance developer from the community to work on business features, etc.

I'm totally on your side regarding cooperative business partnerships. We
will do our best to make it work this way. But we need the support and
guidance from the community for that.

As already mentioned I'll start by be putting some features request and
bug reports into bugzilla in the comming days/weeks.

For us the question remains, how can we best work on this together? If
there is anyone from within the community interested in making it work
for both sides, we would be glad to continue this discussion and start
planing more concrete steps.

I'd be glad to provide more information if needed.

Best regards,
Pascal


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Re: Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

Matěj Cepl-2
In reply to this post by R Kent James
On 2016-07-20, 08:04 GMT, Pascal Mages wrote:
> Back to our potential involvement. We have no intention
> (neither the resources) to create a fork or our own add-on. We
> would like to promote and support the inclusion of improved
> groupware functionalities important to business users into the
> standard TB. But we do not have the money or developers to do
> that just by ourselves.  What we could do, is to take on some
> coordination, provide the business users point of view, try to
> get some funding from business users to finance developer from
> the community to work on business features, etc.

Do you expect your result be open source or not? If yes, then
you should just work around the current bugs in bugzilla,
shouldn't you? Or do you want to make a proprietary extension?  
You should be more clear in your message on this.

Best,

Matěj

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Re: Looking for Thunderbird/Lightning savvy developers

Pascal Mages
Hi Matěj

Thanks for your message. To be even more specific...
Everything which would come out of such a project must be open source,
and part of the regular TB/Lightning distribution.
We are not interested in making anything proprietary, neither fork TB
nor create our own add-on.

We are currently working around existing bugs. But we do not want to
stop there. We want to help to make TB perform better in the business
environment. Help fix those bugs and adding missing features. With the
resources we currently have.
And this in our very own interest so that we can use it for our
customers as well!

I hope this clarifies the picture. Else let me know.

All the best,
Pascal


Am 20.07.2016 um 13:00 schrieb Matěj Cepl:

> On 2016-07-20, 08:04 GMT, Pascal Mages wrote:
>> Back to our potential involvement. We have no intention
>> (neither the resources) to create a fork or our own add-on. We
>> would like to promote and support the inclusion of improved
>> groupware functionalities important to business users into the
>> standard TB. But we do not have the money or developers to do
>> that just by ourselves.  What we could do, is to take on some
>> coordination, provide the business users point of view, try to
>> get some funding from business users to finance developer from
>> the community to work on business features, etc.
>
> Do you expect your result be open source or not? If yes, then
> you should just work around the current bugs in bugzilla,
> shouldn't you? Or do you want to make a proprietary extension?  
> You should be more clear in your message on this.
>
> Best,
>
> Matěj
>

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