The open-source Mozilla Foundation is putting up $3 million to fund a new subsidiary to manage the Thunderbird e-mail initiative.
The new company will be led by David Ascher, who joins Mozilla from ActiveState where he last worked as CTO and vice president of engineering.
"Mozilla plans to develop Internet communications software based on the Thunderbird product, code and brand. The new initiative also aims to nurture a robust developer ecosystem in order to drive improvements through open source and community innovation, in the tradition of the Firefox web browser," the Foundation said in a statement.
[ SEE: Will Mozilla set Thunderbird free? ]
The new company does not have a name yet. Mozilla Foundation chair Mitchell Baker says the $3 million in seed funding will be spent mostly on building a small team of people who are passionate about e-mail and Internet communications.
"As [the company develops], the Mozilla Foundation will evaluate what's the best model for long-term sustainability. Mozilla may well invest additional funds; we also hope that there are other paths for sustainability," she added. The goals for the new company are:
- Take care of Thunderbird users.
- Move Thunderbird forward to provide better, deeper e-mail solutions.
- Create a better user experience for a range of Internet communications -- how does/should e-mail work with IM, RSS, VoIP, SMS, site-specific email, etc?
- Spark the types of community involvement and innovation that we've seen around web "browsing" and Firefox.
Mozilla insists that nothing will change for Thunderbird users. The company plans to continue shipping regular security and stability updates through the transition.