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Mac TB 68.x 64bit Profiles Issue

Discussion of bugs in Mozilla Thunderbird
ridgedale
 
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Post Posted January 12th, 2020, 7:20 am

Having raised this issue some time ago (http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=3056990) I deliberately Ieft it for a while to see if the issue got resolved in a subsequent release. The issue however remains. Upon further research I have found the following thread on bugzilla.thunderbird.org that shows this is an issue relating to any 64-bit version of Thunderbird:
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1542025

Given that under MacOS Catalina 32-bit will no longer run this is a serious issue. Effectively the changes to the way profiles are now being handled in the version 67 and later releases no profiles can be relocated. All 20 of my profiles containing multiple email accounts are unable to be accessed. When I try to customise the installs.ini and profiles.ini to point to the correct server location with a leading forward slash and relaunch Thunderbird the following error message is returned.

Profile Missing
Your Thunderbird profile cannot be loaded. It may be missing or inaccessible.

That message is incorrect as all profiles are in the correct locations and can be accessed without any problem using TB 60.9.1 (32-bit). Upon further review of the ini files I can see the path is automatically being altered by Thunderbird upon the launch of the program by removing the path's leading forward slash effectively overriding the external path declaration and forcing the program to look for a local, non-existent path instead of the correct path to the server location, hence the error message.

Currently the only solution to continue to access all my email is to use the 32-bit 60.9.1 version of Thunderbird under MacOS Mojave.

Please can this issue be addressed to allow external profile paths to be accepted and not overridden in the latest releases of Thunderbird? This is the only software preventing the use of MacOS Catalina.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

tanstaafl
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Post Posted January 20th, 2020, 2:53 am

"Currently the only solution to continue to access all my email is to use the 32-bit 60.9.1 version of Thunderbird under MacOS Mojave."

The bug report is about a problem that can be worked around using a combination of a --allow-downgrade command line argument to allow version 68 to use a profile that was not created by it plus a -p "complete_path_to_profile" command line argument that specifies the full path to the profile.

Another solution would be to just copy and paste the complete contents of your old profile into a new profile that version 68 creates. help -> troubleshooting information -> open folder will open your systems file explorer/finder at the current profile. You can use about:profiles (in help -> troubleshooting information) to get to a similar "open folder" button for all of the other profiles.

See viewtopic.php?p=14852365#p14852365

Why do you have 20 profiles? Most people with multiple accounts have one profile with multiple accounts, or possibly a separate work and a personal profile.

ridgedale
 
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Post Posted January 24th, 2020, 5:20 am

Thanks for your reply, tanstaafi.

tanstaafl wrote:The bug report is about a problem that can be worked around using a combination of a --allow-downgrade command line argument to allow version 68 to use a profile that was not created by it plus a -p "complete_path_to_profile" command line argument that specifies the full path to the profile.


I've created a shell script to launch Thunderbird that includes the following launch command (both with and without the --allow-downgrade parameter - no difference):
Code: Select all
3) /Volumes/<path to>/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin --allow-downgrade -p /Volumes/<path to server>/Thunderbird/Profiles/3vav69x6.default ;;

Note: I've also tried linking to a folder on the server that only contains the Profiles folder with the same result.
The path to the program and to the profile folder are correctly entered. The profile can be accessed under TB v.60.9.1 without any problem.
When I launch the shell script I'm presented with the menu that has been created to display the available profiles to launch.
When I type the relevant number and press enter Thunderbird launches and immediately displays the Profile Manager despite the option being unchecked. Why - the shell script has already told TB what profile to launch?
If I select the entry in the Profile Manager and press the Start Thunderbird button, I get the following error message:
Profile Missing
Your Thunderbird profile cannot be loaded. It may be missing or inaccessible.

Neither of which are true.
The only possibility is that the parameters I have entered are incorrect. Is that the case?

tanstaafl wrote:Another solution would be to just copy and paste the complete contents of your old profile into a new profile that version 68 creates.


As mentioned in the previous thread referred to that does not work either:
ridgedale wrote:What I subsequently tried was to create a new profile directly on the NAS, but that approach also failed to display anything or display any menu options as well.
I finally tried copying the profile to a local workstation and the profile then opened without any issue.
When I copied the profile that had been opened successfully locally back to the NAS and removed the local copy, the same issue recurred. ](*,)


tanstaafl wrote:Why do you have 20 profiles? Most people with multiple accounts have one profile with multiple accounts, or possibly a separate work and a personal profile.


To be perfectly honest it should not be necessary to ask that question. I deal with far more email (business/voluntary/personal/etc) than most people. The email within each profile needs to be kept separate. I've been using TB for well over a decade and have it recommended others. I don't profess to be an expert, but I'm far from being a noob. This is one of the very few occasions I've needed to resort to the forums to try to resolve an issue with Thunderbird.

As it stands I can launch any version of Thunderbird up to v.60.9.1 under any Mac operating system up to and including MacOS 10.14.6 (Mojave) and access all the same profiles on the NAS server without any issue. Any later version of Thunderbird appears to only work if the profile is stored locally.

If the whole purpose of the change in TB is to stop users from being able to downgrade, that should have been made absolutely clear on the download page or within the update process to allow the user the opportunity to make an appropriate decision. In any event surely an upgrade process should have been put in place to step users through how to upgrade TB depending upon users' existing profile configurations. Assuming every user is only running one or two profiles at most is somewhat misguided.

Thanks again for your assistance.

ridgedale
 
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Post Posted January 24th, 2020, 8:05 am

Hi tanstaafl,
A further update:
It appears the commandline parameter to launch the profile directly should be -profile, not simply -p. Making the change now launches TB without opening the Profile Manager, but simply represents an empty Thunderbird window with no error message. I also tried moving a newly created profile and the defaul-release profile (under version 68.4.1) to the server with exactly the same result from the shell. It also makes no difference if I simply run the straightforward launch command from Terminal:

Code: Select all
/Volumes/<path to>/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin -profile /Volumes/<path to server>/Thunderbird/Profiles/0dg0mbog.default

or
Code: Select all
/Volumes/<path to>/Thunderbird.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin -profile /Volumes/<path to server>/Thunderbird/Profiles/nzfbk9nw.default-release


Very frustrating. ](*,)

tanstaafl
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Post Posted January 25th, 2020, 12:35 am

"If the whole purpose of the change in TB is to stop users from being able to downgrade, that should have been made absolutely clear on the download page or within the update process to allow the user the opportunity to make an appropriate decision. "

No. Mozilla/Firefox caused the problem, and then the folks making the decisions in the Thunderbird project did a bad job dealing with the changes they inherited in the new version of Gecko.

Sorry about typing -p instead of -profile. My mistake.

See if https://thunderbirdtweaks.blogspot.com/ helps.

Note: I edited the URL to fix a typo that Wayne spotted

tanstaafl
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Post Posted January 25th, 2020, 12:48 am

"As it stands I can launch any version of Thunderbird up to v.60.9.1 under any Mac operating system up to and including MacOS 10.14.6 (Mojave) and access all the same profiles on the NAS server without any issue. Any later version of Thunderbird appears to only work if the profile is stored locally."

What protocol is being used to connect to the NAS server? SMB? NFS? AFP?
Does the problem occur if you connect to a file share using a different protocol?

wsmwk
 
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Post Posted January 25th, 2020, 12:51 pm

tanstaafl wrote:"If the whole purpose of the change in TB is to stop users from being able to downgrade, that should have been made absolutely clear on the download page or within the update process to allow the user the opportunity to make an appropriate decision. "

No. Mozilla/Firefox caused the problem, and then the folks making the decisions in the Thunderbird project did a bad job dealing with the changes they inherited in the new version of Gecko.

True. But another side to the reporter's question, is the REASON to discourage downgrade, which is some updates cause changes to data structures, and thus subsequent downgrading by a user can cause stability, other bad behavior or dataloss that a) won't be given development effort and b) is difficult for support people to diagnose.

tanstaafl wrote:Sorry about typing -p instead of -profile. My mistake.

See if https://thunderbirdtweaks.blogspot.com/helps.

I think you mean https://thunderbirdtweaks.blogspot.com/ ... te-to.html

tanstaafl
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Post Posted January 25th, 2020, 3:40 pm

wsmwk wrote:True. But another side to the reporter's question, is the REASON to discourage downgrade, which is some updates cause changes to data structures, and thus subsequent downgrading by a user can cause stability, other bad behavior or dataloss that a) won't be given development effort and b) is difficult for support people to diagnose.

There is a big difference between downgrading to the prior major version and downgrading to something pretty old. There are exceptions, but most users that downgrade seem to want to go back only as far as necessary to either avoid a major problem, or to get their favorite add-ons to work again. The Thunderbird and Engineering Councils seem to repeatably discount how important their add-ons are to millions of users.

Strongly discouraging downgrades was pushed by Firefox, not Thunderbird! We don't have to embrace everything they do, we can pick and chose based on merits/costs. Since you are a member of the Thunderbird Council I suggest you think about why so many users are no longer willing to use the most recent version since its not easy for most users to downgrade. Its a minority, but we are still talking about a lot of users. For many years you could assume that a upgrade wouldn't cause a serious problem, and if it did it was probably a email provider specific problem that somebody could tell you how to workaround the problem.

My impression is that most "support people" (both here and in the official support forums) are quite willing to support recent old versions. Its versions that are old enough that we don't remember much about their quirks/problems that are an issue, not something as recent as 60.*. I have 60.9.1, 68.4.2 and daily installed. Matt (one of the top contributors in the official support forum) has been pretty vocal about the need to support older versions.

Thunderbird has a community manager. Why doesn't he have public discussions with users about topics like this, perhaps in the official blog? You raise valid points about the potential cost of downgrades. But its not a black & white issue and there needs to be several vocal user advocates to help strike the appropriate balance when either the Thunderbird or the Engineering Council discuss these types of issues.

wsmwk
 
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Post Posted January 25th, 2020, 4:47 pm

You are correct this is not black and white, and I too have concerns about the add-on relevance. But addons are not involved this user's complaint as far as I can tell - so I declined to add complexity to the description.

The add-on/profile problem is not a Council issue but an engineering and community issue. Feel free to raise a discussion.

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