As reported a couple of months ago, Mozilla has been looking for ways to empower the Thunderbird development process and give the development team to get the focus and resources it needs to reach its full potential. Among the options considered, finally it has been decided that the Mozilla Foundation will create a new subsidiary similar to the Mozilla Corporation that will focus on Thunderbird and other Internet communication technologies including RSS, SMS, VoIP and instant messaging.
The Mozilla Foundation will provide $3 million in seed funding for the new entity, vaguely nicknamed MailCo at the moment.
The new subsidiary will be led by David Ascher, a long time Mozilla contributor, former CTO of ActiveState (developer of recently open sourced Komodo) and member of the board of directors of the Python Foundation.
So far it seems the impact for users will be pretty close to none in the short term as the team of three developers will keep working on the upcoming Thunderbird 3 and delivering security and stability patches to the current Thunderbird 2 branch.
In the long term, this opens a wide range of possibilities on what may come as a result of applying the Mozilla platform, process, organization and security to other technology areas.
An important point that is yet to be announced is how the new MailCo will attain financial sustainability. As you may know, the Mozilla Corporation and hence, the Mozilla Foundation financially relies pretty much on partnerships with search engine and other web content providers.
It is important for businesses and individuals, and consequently for MailCo’s products adoption and success, to know that there’s a plan in place that guarantees it will survive as a strong software provider with support and growth in the years to come.