Several years ago, Mozilla decided that it wanted to uncouple Thunderbird development from Firefox, explaining that Firefox was paying a tax to support Thunderbird development even though they didn't see it having potential for an industry-wide impact, like Firefox. Following investigations last year, the Mozilla Foundation has agreed to serve as the legal and fiscal home for the Thunderbird project, but that Thunderbird will migrate off Mozilla Corp. infrastructure, thus separating the operational aspects of the project.
Following a report and meetings to determine the most appropriate long term financial and organisational home – some options included the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), The Document Foundation (TDF), and the Mozilla Foundation – the governing body of the Thunderbird project, the Thunderbird Council, decided to arrive at a deal with the Mozilla Foundation, with the latter being a legal, fiscal, and cultural home.
The deal comes with the following conditions:
- The Thunderbird Council and the Mozilla Foundation executive team maintain a good working relationship and make decisions in a timely manner.
- The Thunderbird Council and the team make meaningful progress in short order on operational and technical independence from Mozilla Corp.
- Either side may give the other six months notice if they wish to discontinue the Mozilla Foundation's role as the legal and fiscal host of the Thunderbird project.
If the first and second conditions aren't met, Mozilla would invoke condition three. Following the invocation, Thunderbird would be expected to move to another organisation over the course of six months.