New releases - addons disabled

Discussion of general topics about Mozilla Thunderbird
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Joined: May 9th, 2008, 5:09 am

Post Posted March 10th, 2020, 7:49 am

I've stopped updating. The last update to 68 broke all of my extensions so I downgraded. On both Windows and Linux.

There seems little point in having addons if every release disables another raft of them and the developers have to try to play catch up all the time.

I shall be looking for a new email client if the Thunderbird developers don't get their act together.


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Joined: July 30th, 2003, 5:06 pm

Post Posted March 10th, 2020, 11:15 am

Please keep in mind that we're just a unofficial support community, and you can't count on a developer ever reading anything here (or in the official support forum).

A few Thunderbird add-ons broke before version 60 because the developers were cleaning up the API, or Gecko (Firefox) dropped support for a few API calls. That is not the problem anymore. Now its due to them switching from XUL/XPCOM based add-ons to WebExtension API based add-ons like Firefox did before. Unlike Firefox they spread it over several releases, giving authors the opportunity to use some hacks to keep their legacy add-ons working for a couple of releases before having to rewrite their add-on. Unfortunately most add-ons were no longer maintained and they also decided to add a default setting (extensions.strictCompatibility) that automatically disabled any add-ons that didn't explicitly claim to support version 60.

They are trying to hire an engineer whose job is to support add-on authors. They also seem more serious now about adding equivalent functionality from a few core add-ons into Thunderbird because they're no longer maintained.

However they did a poor job of communicating what they planned to do, and still don't have a full replacement for the old API. IMHO they should have delayed upgrading to a newer version of Gecko until they had a replacement API that was more fleshed out. They insist its important to always upgrade due to security bugs but even the official security advisories admit that those problems are unlikely to effect Thunderbird because scripting is disabled when reading mail. The main risk is if you try to use Thunderbird like a browser by adding an add-on like ThunderBrowse or you open a dangerous attachment. Its a cultural problem - Mozilla has too much influence on a "community lead project".

I assume things will eventually get better. They also appear to be overhauling the user interface and replacing the address book later this year. I suggest you stick with 60.9.1 until things die down and more add-ons are available. Personally the main add-on I miss is HeaderToolsLite - most of the rest I can find workarounds or replacements for.

Posts: 5
Joined: May 9th, 2008, 5:09 am

Post Posted March 10th, 2020, 12:46 pm

Thanks for the info. I went back to 52.7, and all my previous extensions work now.I mainly use Dorando Keyconfig, quicktext, highlighter and virtual identity. The last straw was when I sent an email through the wrong account because virtual identity suddenly became disabled. I will take your advice and stay with this for a while now.

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