The People — They Love Thunderbird

Remember Thunderbird?

It was an email client from Mozilla that was… pretty good? If you were a Firefox fan, perhaps you’d use Thunderbird for email too, as you had proclivity toward that vein of software. Perhaps you remember it from the olden email days like with Eudora and all that.

I’m just trolling you with “remember” and the past tense stuff though. Thunderbird is still around and has a perfect domain name.

But is it still actively developed and thriving? Yes, actually! I saw on Changelog news the blog post from Thunderbird about what a successful last year they’ve had. Six and a half million dollars, which were nearly entirely small donations from individual people. That’s absolutely fantastic. That’s a ton of people who absolutely love the software and want to support it.

I can tell you from experience, you can run a pretty large successful software organization with that budget. And it’s way more than I see open source web software getting usually. I think of Vue as a project that does pretty well with sponsorship and from what you can see publicly, they are way under that. Open Collective lists a annual budget more like 200k, so even if they double that with GitHub Sponsors, it’s less than a tenth of that Thunderbird is pulling in.

I was curious about how bold their Call-To-Action stuff is on donating, so I installed it myself. Just this screen after downloading:

Then one little link at the bottom after opening it.

But that would just be brand new users. I’d think most users that are willing to donate are long time users, and I haven’t seen that Call To Action.

Anyway, good on ’em. It’s a real feel-good to me to know that long-time free software can have such a dedicated user base that they can help it thrive in the long-term. I’d love to know what their userbase (and contributing user base) is across Windows, macOS, and Linux.

2 responses to “The People — They Love Thunderbird”

  1. I use Thunderbird at work: I’m a Linux-on-the-desktop nerd, and TBird interfaces (mostly) pretty seamlessly with our Exchange/Outlook server. Even the calendar works. I only wish I could find an extension to rewrite Teams meeting URLs from https:// to msteams:// .

  2. I donated to Thunderbird a few days ago. Every time you update the app it re-opens the donation screen, which must be an effective strategy! Clever way of subtly saying “you’re getting more value now, want to give back?”

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