Two weeks ago, we had a great face-2-face meeting, which only now I am able to post about. Among the many interesting talks and discussions particular question we’ve discussed was “How do we proceed with Thunderbird 3 and trunk?”. I’ll try to sum up the outcome of this discussion here.
There are a ton of good reasons to move on to the trunk ASAP and help Thunderbird 3 get into shape: calendar will be a core feature of it, trunk has a couple of platform improvements that make our live easier and it will lessen the load on developers and localizers, that we no longer have to think about both the 1.8 branch and the trunk.
On the other hand, we have existing users on Thunderbird 2 waiting for fixes and features. Looking at our resource situation, it was pretty clear to everyone that we can’t support and develop both branch and trunk longer term in a reasonable fashion. So where and when do we make the cut?
We’ve agreed to do one further release on branch in the coming 4 months, namely 0.9. We will focus on the following topics:
- Usability (our UI gurus have a lot of ideas here)</li
- Performance (we will put more focus on improving our story with large remote calendars)</li
- Interoperability (better iMIP/iTIP support comes to my mind here)
More details can be found on http://wiki.mozilla.org/Calendar:Lightning09.
We hope that this release will be sufficient to be used for a longer period of time until the next Thunderbird releaseis out. There will definitely be usable betas (perhaps even alphas) of Thunderbird with integrated calendar, but we also know that some users reject to use those and stay on Thunderbird 2.
We had some further discussion about whether the naming of this last branch release shouldn’t be 1.0, rounding up our development for Thunderbird 2. This seems obvious from a marketing POV, but doesn’t fit into the mozilla way of promoting major releases. So we agreed that we have a thorough look at what we’ve reached both w.r.t. features and quality when 0.9 is almost done, postponing that decision.
To answer some obvious questions:
- Does this imply changes on Sunbird’s development?
No, we will do parallel releases of Sunbird with the Lightning releases. So Sunbird 0.9 will come out at the same time as Lightning 0.9 and we’ll move Sunbird development over to the trunk after that, too. This means we will be doing a Sunbird 1.0 release in parallel to the Thunderbird 3 release.
- What happens if Thunderbird 3 gets delayed?
We certainly do not hope that this will be the case, but we can react flexibly to that. This means that we might put out another release between 0.9 and TB3 (probably called something like 0.9.5) if it turns out that TB3 will take significantly longer (more than 3-4 months) than anticipated.
- When are you planning to release 0.9? What is the release date of TB3?
We are currently planning to release Lightning and Sunbird 0.9 in August 2008. As with all release dates, this release date is subject to change, if it turns out that we need additional time to put out a great release.
TB3 is currently slated for December 2008/early 2009. The same caveats as said above apply here.