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An explanation about versions and builds for testing...

Discussion about official Mozilla Thunderbird builds
rsx11m
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Post Posted November 13th, 2010, 11:06 am

This is an update of mscott's thread started in 2006 with the same title and provides more current information. As always, everything is subject to change as progress moves forward.

As a general warning for anybody running early or pre-releases, bad things can happen, especially when using the nightly builds which reflect a snapshot of the current development. To recall a couple of hints:

  • Use pre-release versions only for data where you don't mind loosing them;
  • don't use the same profile for testing and release versions;
  • regardless of whether you are using nightlies or stable releases, having regular backups of a profile is the key to recovery from a disaster;
  • for IMAP accounts, I'm also backing those up locally with a release version, in case the remote folders get wiped out.
More on http://kb.mozillazine.org/Testing_pre-release_versions.

Rapid-Release Model:

Thunderbird followed Firefox implementing rapid-release scheme for Thunderbird 5.0 and later. The core of this scheme is that no longer parallel branches exist, thus comm-miramar (for 5.0) will be the last branch-specific repository. Instead, four "channels" were introduced, replacing the current release repositories:

Image

Thus, the releases starting with 6.0 went into comm-release/mozilla-release at the time of release. The next release is in comm-beta/mozilla-beta, and the next after that in comm-aurora/mozilla-aurora. Development itself remains on comm-central and mozilla central, where approved patches can go into the aurora or both aurora and beta channels. Changes on the release channel are only made in case of a quick "firedrill" release, requiring a "dot" update with just that fix applied.

Starting with 17.0, mainstream releases come from the ESR branch explained in the next section (i.e., 17.0.x until 24.0 is reached and a new branch opened). At that time, the regular releases switch to 24.0 whereas ESR releases stick with 17.0 for two more cycles.

Discontinuation of the aurora channel:

Note that after the 52.0 cycle, both mozilla-aurora and comm-aurora have been discontinued. For 55.0 and following, mozilla-central and comm-central will directly merge into comm-beta, thus shortening each cycle by 6 weeks:

Image

Special Extended Support Releases:

There have been objections from the enterprise community that no longer stable branches are provided after 3.1.x reaches end of life. Corporations, institutions, or other organizations may have requirements to certify software before deploying it, then assuming a branch to be stable, which is no longer applicable with the rapid-release system.

Starting with Thunderbird 10.0, special ESR builds are offered which are frozen for any feature work but will receive security updates as "dot" releases (i.e., 10.0.1 ESR would have the major security fixes as 11.0, then 10.0.2 ESR matching 12.0, etc.). These builds are primarily directed towards enterprise users and organizations to accommodate their needs for software certification. Also "regular" users can utilize those if they prefer a stable user experience for a while rather than new features coming in as quickly as they are developed.

These builds come from their own comm-10esr/mozilla-10esr repositories, similar to the legacy branches. New ESR branches are scheduled to be opened roughly once a year (thus, 7 rapid-release cycles), the next branch being due with the regular 17.0 release and 10.0.x ESR reaching EOL with 17.0.2 ESR.


The comm-17esr/mozilla-17esr repositories are now in place and will be used for both regular and ESR releases starting with 17.0.3. If there should be an intermediate release to get out new features earlier than with the next (24.0) ESR cycle, there may be a regular 17.1 release, in which case ESR releases should continue to come from the 17.0 branch anyway.

Starting with 24.0, there are no longer dedicated ESR releases for Thunderbird. Instead, the retail build from comm-esr24/mozilla-esr24 will be the only ones generated, and updates from 17.0.11 ESR will go to 24.2.0 retail version. It is unclear at this time if a 2-cycle overlap between 24.0 and 31.0 will be maintained.

Download locations of nightly builds:

Naturally, the trunk "nightly" builds have the largest volatility and may be broken at any time by a recent check-in. On the other hand, those reflect the most recent new features and bug fixes. After some "baking" time, such patches can go into the "aurora" and possibly "beta" channels, as long as they don't have any API changes or need string translations (thus to give localizers sufficient time).

Regular builds are only offered for "Daily" (nightly channel) and "Earlybird" (aurora channel). "Beta" builds are created after a couple of changes checked in and officially released, usually in weekly intervals leading up to a release. After each release, current "Daily" versions move into "Earlybird", which in turn moves into "Beta". The version you've initially downloaded retains its configured update channel, thus you will see an explicit version bump at that time.


Download locations for beta-channel release builds and candidates:

In general, those are located in the thunderbird/nightly folder as well before moved to the release folder and its mirrors. For automated updates, set your update channel to beta, then you'll get an update offer once the builds are done and have passed an initial brief review.

For Windows, ZIP installers are only available for nightly builds and release candidates and located in the "unsigned" folder.


With the switch to build mainstream releases also from the ESR repositories, only one beta during each cycle is planned until close to the opening cycle for a new ESR branch.

Download locations for Lightning calendar:

As a rule of thumb,
  • up to TB 17.0, Lightning 1.x should be used for Thunderbird y.0, with x = y-8 (i.e., 1.0 for TB 8.0, 1.1 for 9.0, 1.2 for 10.0, etc.);
  • for TB 18.0 and later, Lightning 2.x should be used for Thunderbird y.0, with x = y-18 (i.e., 2.0 for TB 18.0, 2.1 for 19.0, 2.2 for 20.0, etc.).
  • for TB 28.0 and later, Lightning 3.x should be used for Thunderbird y.0, with x = y-28 (i.e., 3.0 for TB 28.0, 3.1 for 29.0, 3.2 for 30.0, etc.).
  • the TB 24.x.y releases need Lightning 2.6.z, the upcoming TB 31.x.y releases should need Lightning 3.3.z, with z being increased for any regular cycle x and potentially any "firedrill" release y.
See https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Calendar/Calendar_Versions for a detailed list which Lightning version matches which Thunderbird and SeaMonkey version.

Legacy branches:

The last active stable branch following the old model with nightly builds is Lanikai (3.1.x), reflecting current security and stability updates going towards its next minor "dot" release (see this page for a listing of currently active branches). The Miramar (5.0) nightly builds have stopped as this release already follows the new rapid-release scheme, despite having its own repositories:

  • Obsolete stable 2.0.0.x and earlier branches: cvs
    (no nightly builds are available any more for these versions, no more updates)
  • Obsolete stable 3.0.x branch (l10n = localized versions): comm-1.9.1/mozilla-1.9.1
    (no nightly builds are available any more for these versions, no more updates)
  • Discontinued stable 3.1.x branch (Lanikai, Gecko 1.9.2): comm-1.9.2/mozilla-1.9.2
    (no nightly builds are available any more for these versions, no more updates)
  • Intermediate 3.2.x branch (abandoned): comm-1.9.2/mozilla-1.9.2
    (this branch was planned but has never been set up, thus no nightly builds are available)
  • Released 5.0 version (Miramar, was 3.3; Gecko 5.0): comm-miramar/mozilla-miramar
    (no nightly builds are available any more for this version, no more updates)

The update channels for all legacy builds is nightly, thus you will receive daily partial updates if you enabled automatic updates.

Lightning legacy versions:

  • For nightly builds from Miramar (TB 3.3/5.0)
    (no nightly builds are available any more for this version, no more updates)
Last edited by rsx11m on April 20th, 2017, 11:37 am, edited 23 times in total.
Reason: updated for aurora discontinuation

LoudNoise
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Post Posted November 13th, 2010, 11:13 am

Making into a stick and releasing the other. Thanks rsx11m
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Standard8

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Post Posted November 24th, 2010, 2:25 am

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Active_Branches will hopefully explain the naming situation better.

Miramar will be used for all 3.3x versions. Miramar will not be used for any 3.2 version if there are any.

rsx11m
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Post Posted November 24th, 2010, 9:39 am

Mark, thanks for the clarification.

rsx11m
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Post Posted December 16th, 2010, 12:00 pm

Per December 15, 2010, there are no longer nightly builds for the 3.0 branch!
http://ccgi.standard8.plus.com/blog/archives/475

Thunderbird 3.0.11 was the last release from comm-1.9.1.

rsx11m
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Post Posted January 12th, 2011, 4:30 pm

I've removed the links to "latest comm-1.9.1" after they were eventually removed from the server. Archived Thunderbird 3.0 nightly builds should still be available in the year/month folders.

rsx11m
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Post Posted March 23rd, 2011, 10:58 am

Now that mozilla-2.0 has branched off mozilla-central and will be used by the Miramar (3.3) builds, the links will change shortly, and then possibly once again when comm-2.0 is established. Trunk builds (comm-central/mozilla-central) will then become the "3.4a1pre" nightlies.

See this post for details. It would also appear that an interim 3.2 branch is off the table now.

rsx11m
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Post Posted April 16th, 2011, 10:32 am

The Miramar builds are now based on Gecko 5.0 (formerly Gecko 2.2), coming from mozilla-aurora. The nightly builds in the "latest-comm-central" directory are copies of "latest-comm-aurora" until 3.4a1pre nightlies are formally established.

rsx11m
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Post Posted May 11th, 2011, 8:12 am

Miramar has branched off yesterday, I have adjusted the links respectively.
Expect comm-aurora/mozilla-aurora to branch off for 3.4 soon.

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Post Posted May 18th, 2011, 10:02 am

Thanks for the informative post with the links. I had no idea Miramar was 3.3 specific, and I'm going back to the true nightly 3.4 builds now. I'm a masochist who loves living on the bleeding edge, I suppose :P

rsx11m
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Post Posted May 18th, 2011, 11:11 am

Note that there are different Lightning builds for 3.3 vs. 3.4 now as well (thanks to JoeS for providing the respective links). The move from mozilla-aurora to mozilla-beta is currently in progress, and respective comm-aurora and comm-beta repositories have just been established, thus I'd assume some movement for 3.4/3.5 within the next couple of days.

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Post Posted May 18th, 2011, 9:28 pm

Saw that as well. Thanks for the heads up though :D

rsx11m
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Post Posted May 27th, 2011, 6:17 pm

I've updated the main post to reflect that trunk version numbering moved from Shredder 3.4a1pre to 7.0a1 and that the Miramar branch has been changed from 3.3 to 5.0 (the first beta will be 5.0b1 while currently nightlies still come as 3.3a4pre). The "aurora" branch for Thunderbird 6.0a2 is set up but doesn't produce any nightly builds yet, thus the links are currently not valid.

rsx11m
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Post Posted June 17th, 2011, 3:45 pm

The nightly/latest-comm-aurora directories have been established now, thus I've removed the strike-out from the main post. Though you will find TB 6.0a2 nightly builds already in that directory, keep in mind that not everything may be quite in place yet given that we are currently in a transition period. Those builds are in a new "aurora" update channel and named "Earlybird".

After the release of TB 5.0, expect the following to happen (not necessarily at the same time):
  1. TB 5.0 on the comm-miramar are in release mode and will retire once it is clear that no quick "firedrill" follow-up releases are needed (this will be the last version which sits on "its own" branch);
  2. TB 6.0 will move from comm-aurora to comm-beta (yet to be established, those should be on the "beta" update channel);
  3. TB 7.0 will move from comm-central to comm-aurora and become the new "Earlybird" builds on the "aurora" update channel;
  4. TB 8.0 will replace 7.0 on comm-central, staying on the "nightly" update channel (renamed from "Shredder" to "Daily", matching a similar change made by Firefox).
From then on, items #2 to #4 repeat every 6+ weeks with each comm-beta version moving to the release channel.

rsx11m
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Post Posted July 30th, 2011, 9:35 am

I've updated main post for the new rapid-release scheme, hoping that I've got everything right... 8-)

I don't think there are any beta nightly builds out there, given that they are too sparse and officially released when applicable.

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