David Bienvenu, the other only full time Thunderbird developer has also announced he will be leaving the Mozilla Corporation next Friday.
Just wanted to let everyone know that my last day at The Mozilla Corporation will be Oct. 12. I intend to stay involved with Thunderbird and to continue on as a module owner. Iâ€™ve enjoyed working at Mozilla a lot, and I wish Mozilla Co and the new Mail Co all the best.
The post comes just a couple of days after Scott McGregor’s own leaving message also stating he intends to continues as a volunteer module owner.
This is open source so I think it’s unlikely that their leave will signal the end for Thunderbird as a project by itself. But it will certainly have consequences, the least of them a delay in the creation and organization of the recently announced Internet communications subsidiary (nicknamed MailCo).
But most significantly their leave could be interpreted as disagreement with the spin off decision, which coming from Thunderbird’s top engineers is already raising some eyebrows on whether the chosen path was the correct one.
This of course is and will remain pure speculation until David and Scott share some more details on their decision, and speculation will harm the project more than any actual reason or their very own leave. I am also surprised that neither Mitchell nor David Ascher, CEO of the nascent subsidiary have commented so far on these events, but they could as well help dissipate some of the doubts rising around.
Again, this is an opportunity to thank David for his contributions to Thunderbird and hope he will be able to keep working closely with the Thunderbird team and help it in the transition to the new organization.
Update: David Ascher has commented on his blog:
My understanding from chats with them weeks ago (I hope Iâ€™m not divulging anything that I shouldnâ€™t) is that they have decided to start a new venture. Theyâ€™ve worked on Thunderbird and its predecessors within Mozilla and Nestcape for a long time, and I can certainly understand their desire to do something different. After all, Iâ€™m doing something different myself. At the same time, I know from talking to Scott and David that they care very deeply about Thunderbird, and I look forward to working with them in the future.
His Open Letter to the Thunderbird community goes on with some details on the plans for building a strong Thunderbird community.