Key Thunderbird Devs Leave Mozilla

Without providing any public reason, two of the chief developers behind Mozilla's Thunderbird client announced their intentions to leave ahead of the e-mail client's split from the company.

The moves are all the more puzzling considering there was never any indication that either Scott MacGregor nor David Bienvenu did not support the restructuring of Mozilla to focus on Firefox.

It seemed the opposite, and MacGregor even made public statements on how the move would benefit users of the client. In announcing their resignations, neither elaborated on why they had decided to leave.

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"I wanted to let the Thunderbird community know that Friday October 12th will be my last day as an employee of the Mozilla Corporation. I plan to continue on, as a volunteer, with my role as a module owner for the Thunderbird project," MacGregor wrote in a blog post.

Bienvenu's statement was very similar. He will also take a role as "module owner" for Mozilla as well. The departure of two of the clients chief developers could mean trouble for Thunderbird.

As with any corporate reshuffling, it is important that it be smooth as possible. Losing developers at such a crucial time could slow coding as the company tries to reassign responsibilities to other developers. This would mean that releases of Thunderbird could also end up being delayed.

One possible reason for the departures could be that negotiations on how the split would be handled is not going well. MacGregor had advocated an option that would allow the Thunderbird team to act as a community project, which would enable it to continue to use the Mozilla infrastructure.

It's also possible that Mozilla executives were looking to spin the client off completely, which would require a completely new company infrastructure.

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