Fwd: Roundcube merger - Ideas from atmail

Brett Patterson brett at bpatterson.net
Wed Jul 26 15:17:49 CEST 2006

Thomas Bruederli wrote:
> Hi everybody,
> Just wanted to forward a mail I've got yesterday and would like to
> hear your opinions about this topic. Either this could make RoundCube
> grow faster or atmail just wants to get rid of some (more and more
> serious) competition.
> Don't panic, I didn't decide anything yet and I don't want to get rich
> anyway :-)
> Regards,
> Thomas
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Ben Duncan
> Date: 25.07.2006 09:06
> Subject: Roundcube merger - Ideas from atmail
> To: roundcube at gmail.com
> Hello Thomas,
> Ben Duncan here, I emailed you earlier this year about doing some
> consulting work for @Mail in Australia but it seemed you were busy.
> Just as a quick intro, I'm the founder of @Mail, a
> WebMail/Email-server project I first started in 1998. We are based in
> Australia and run a business with about 6 people, supporting the @Mail
> product as our main focus. Our site is at: http://atmail.com/
> We'd like to propose a business deal to merge Roundcube with our @Mail
> product. In summary we'd like to fork an open-source version of @Mail,
> and use the current Roundcube product as leverage for the open-source
> offering. We would then continue developing @Mail as the full
> commercial copy with added features; while running a decent quality
> open-source version as incentive for people to use our commercial
> copy.
> We can offer you a reasonable fee to purchase the license of
> Roundcube, the site,  and for the effort you have contributed to the
> project. We'd also be very interested if you could spear-head the
> development of our open-source @Mail product that would be merged into
> Roundcube and offered to the open-source community.
> If you are available we'd love you to consult our company in Australia
> for 1-3 months on the development of @Mail and merging the two
> products for the open source offering. We could propose a deal for the
> merger and pay you for consulting our company for the desired time
> you'd like to visit Australia.
> Let me know if you are open to any business deals, and I can submit a
> proposal for you.
> Kind regards,
> Ben Duncan
Wow.... that's all I can say....
This stinks to high heaven to me.... and it looks like something 
Microsoft would do to Linux ;)  I personally love Roundcube, and I've 
tried @mail (just to gauge the competition) and @mail has some nicer 
features that aren't in Roundcube yet.  So it *could* be beneficial for 
RC to move that way.  On the other hand, there is stuff like too much 
junk in the interface that makes it terrible to use, and just plain slow.

I would hate to see RC be "bought out" even though it technically 
can't.  Just the brand can be bought.  The code is solidly GPL.  But if 
they buy the brand, we start a fork, and we change domain names... no 
big deal.  Although I'd be ticked after getting the forum up and running 
having to switch names, themes and such.... :(

Thomas, you do as you want.  But to me, it seems like they see you as 
being a true competitor when RC reaches it's first real release.  While 
we won't have the feature list they have (POP, Customization) we've got 
a leg up on them: 30gigs.com is using RC as their webmail.  I don't know 
anyone that uses @mail currently.

Don't think too lightly on this one.... really weigh out what would 
happen to RC... I see nothing good coming of this....


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