Thunderbird 60 and extensions support - gHacks Tech News

Thunderbird 60 and extensions support

Thunderbird 60 will be the next major release of the desktop email program. It is a major release because Thunderbird is moved to a new Extended Support Release base (and as is Firefox when version 60 hits).

Thunderbird 60 comes with a refreshed user interface and plenty of other changes.  Thunderbird users who run extensions in the email client may face compatibility issues as Thunderbird uses a strict compatibility policy when it comes to extensions.

In plain English: any extension that is not explicitly compatible with Thunderbird 60 will be disabled. Attempts to install incompatible Thunderbird extensions are blocked and users get the "could not be installed because it is not compatible with Thunderbird" error message.

not compatible thunderbird 60

The change is disastrous for Thunderbird's extension ecosystem. If you check the first two pages of extensions that have the most users on the Thunderbird Add-ons site, you will find out that only eight of the 40 Thunderbird extensions with the most users are compatible at this point in time.

The situation is even worse for the top 40 add-ons with the highest ratings as only five of them are compatible with Thunderbird 60.

Tip: you can verify if your Thunderbird extensions are compatible by visiting the Add-ons site and searching for the extensions.

There is a way out, however, at this point in time. The Thunderbird development team added an option to opt-out of the strict extension compatible checking enforcement. While that does not necessarily mean that extensions will work if they are not listed as compatible, chance is good that they do if they have been updated recently.

thunderbird extensions enable

Here is what you need to do to flip the switch and disable strict extension version checking in the email client:

  1. Open Thunderbird if it is not open already.
  2. Tap on the Alt-key to display the menubar and select Tools > Options from the menu. Alternative: click on the new menu icon (the three horizontal bars) and select options when it opens.
  3. Switch to the Advanced tab.
  4. Click on the Config Editor button under General (it opens by default).
  5. Confirm that you will be careful.
  6. Search for extensions.strictCompatibility.
  7. Double-click on the preference.

A value of true (default) blocks extensions that are not explicitly listed as compatible with Thunderbird 60, a value of false disables the strict checking.

Thunderbird 60 is available as a beta version at the time of writing. You could install it on another machine or a virtual machine to test extensions that you require. The new version of the email client will be released on May 15, 2018 to the stable channel. Thunderbird 60 will be released a week after Firefox 60 which Mozilla plans to release on May 9, 2018.

Summary
Thunderbird 60 and extensions support
Article Name
Thunderbird 60 and extensions support
Description
Thunderbird 60 users who run extensions in the email client may face compatibility issues as that version of Thunderbird will use a strict compatibility policy when it comes to extensions.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo
Advertisement

We need your help

Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.

We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats or subscription fees.

If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:


Previous Post: «
Next Post: »

Comments

  1. Franck said on April 24, 2018 at 2:07 pm
    Reply

    Very informative, thanks a lot !

  2. Tom Hawack said on April 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm
    Reply

    16 add-ons here running on Thunderbird 52.7.0 of which 2 only (at this time) appear validated for Thunderbird 60+.

    Reminds the Quantum odyssey and the 70 add-ons I had before making the move to Firefox 57 (only 37 now, a work in progress!). Appeared as a nightmare then, and we got over it. Vaccinated I guess.

    Thunderbird 60, nice giant version leap, but besides its mastering of add-ons, anything relevant of true progress? No 64-BIT build I presume?

    1. Jessica said on April 24, 2018 at 3:15 pm
      Reply

      The goal is to have WebExtensions on Thunderbird and SeaMonkey as well. It’ll take some time but it’ll be worth it since the same add-on will run on both and Firefox, which is great! And it can be easily made available to Chrome and Edge as well! :)

      1. John Fenderson said on April 24, 2018 at 6:33 pm
        Reply

        @Jessica: “The goal is to have WebExtensions on Thunderbird and SeaMonkey as well”

        This saddens, but does not surprise, me.

      2. Jessica said on April 24, 2018 at 9:33 pm
        Reply

        WebExtensions is not without issues but it is nonetheless crucial to achieve a final browser extension W3C standard.

        https://browserext.github.io/browserext/

      3. John Fenderson said on April 25, 2018 at 5:06 pm
        Reply

        I understand that, but this is email, not a browser. That said, I knew this was coming. The new TBird team made it clear a while back.

      4. John Fenderson said on April 25, 2018 at 5:16 pm
        Reply

        I think that I’ll have to survey the landscape again and see if there’s another email client that will work for me. Even though I knew this was coming, it’s hitting me harder than I thought it would.

        First Firefox, now Thunderbird… I’m trying hard to not feel rejected by Mozilla, but my emotional attachment to it and their products is very strong and it’s painful that they are changing in ways that make them less suitable for me.

    2. John Fenderson said on April 24, 2018 at 6:32 pm
      Reply

      Fortunately, I only have one extension for Thunderbird that I consider essential. Unfortunately, it’s not yet been ported to the new extensions system. I guess that I’ll be doing with Thunderbird what I was forced to do with Firefox — avoid updating at all, and wait for suitable extensions to arrive.

    3. Mark Hazard said on April 24, 2018 at 9:45 pm
      Reply

      It’s 64 bit in Linux but not Windows.

  3. AddonDev said on April 24, 2018 at 2:21 pm
    Reply

    The problem with Thunderbirds add-on system is Mozilla not the add-ons or add-on devs. I have two add-ons on the queue waiting for a review for about two month now. Those @ssholes stopped reviewing legacy add-ons and add-ons based on the old add-on structure, which still is allowed and working in Thunderbird 60+.

    1. Anonymous said on April 24, 2018 at 5:44 pm
      Reply

      If I recall correctly, Mozilla has stopped receiving legacy addons submission. Better port your addons to the new system

      1. AddonDev said on April 25, 2018 at 4:56 pm
        Reply

        Well, that is the problem. Legacy add-ons for Firefox are not equal to legacy add-ons for Thunderbird, because Thunderbird still allows ui changing and xul-based add-ons without any restrictions. WebExtensions can not change Thunderbirds user interface, because they are weak and useless crap.

      2. Anonymous said on April 26, 2018 at 5:16 am
        Reply

        That’s what people said when Quantum hit Firefox. Thunderbird is using the same engine as Firefox so eventually the change will hit Thunderbird(and Seamonkey) too. I don’t know why you’re fussing about it now.

      3. Another add-on dev said on May 16, 2018 at 8:40 pm
        Reply

        @AddonDev – I feel your frustration as well. I spent weeks updating my Thunderbird add-on to make it compatible with the changes coming to Thunderbird 60 — but not only did the Mozilla Add-ons reviewers reject the add-on because they supposedly no longer allow legacy add-on submissions, but they also had the nerve to threaten me with permanent disabling of my add-on listing if I attempt to do so again. Since Mozilla clearly doesn’t care about its users or the add-on developer community, I have given up. I’m hosting the add-on update on my own site, but will inform my users that the add-on is being discontinued, that this update for Thunderbird 60 will be the final release, and will instruct users to export their data for use in other third-party desktop applications. Such a shame that it has come down to this.

      4. wsm said on May 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm
        Reply

        @Another add-on dev

        Did you contact anyone on the Thunderbird team so that this situation could be resolve?

        And I must ask the same question that @AddonDev hasn’t answered, what are the names of the add-on?

    2. AddonDev said on April 25, 2018 at 11:21 pm
      Reply

      I received an email from Mozilla about updating my add-ons for Thunderbird 60. They don’t even feel ashamed to ask developers for add-on updates while at the same time not reviewing any add-on updates of add-ons being on their review queue for month.

    3. Anonymous said on April 25, 2018 at 11:50 pm
      Reply

      > I have two add-ons on the queue waiting for a review for about two month now.
      Which add-ons?

    4. wsm said on April 26, 2018 at 12:47 am
      Reply

      > I have two add-ons on the queue waiting for a review for about two month now.

      @AddonDev, Which add-ons?

  4. kalmly said on April 24, 2018 at 2:42 pm
    Reply

    Guess I’ll be sticking with 52.7 then.

  5. Tom Hawack said on April 24, 2018 at 2:43 pm
    Reply

    Looks like a style editor is missing at this time for Thunderbird 60.

    I’m running Stylish v. 2.1.1 now on Thunderbird 52.7.0,
    I checked the AMO link for this Stylish on AMO/Thunderbird,
    [https://addons.mozilla.org/en-us/thunderbird/addon/stylish/] and the link redirects to Stylish for Firefox, which doesn’t support Thunderbird.

    I run Stylus v. 1.3.17 on Firefox 59.0.2,
    No Stylus on AMO/Thunderbird, checking from there opens AMO/Firefox Stylus page (which by the way is a nonsense : if I search Thunderbird add-ons on AMO/Thunderbird there’s no reason to be sent to AMO/Firefox!)
    Stylus on AMO/Firefox doesn’t support Thunderbird.

    With what add-on am I going to manage CSSs on Thunderbird 60? Will I have to use userChrome.css and userContent.css?

    Digging into Thunderbird 60 implications is a haven of surprises…

    1. Anonymous said on April 25, 2018 at 5:31 am
      Reply

      I don’t use desktop client so I don’t understand what’s CSS doing in email client? Isn’t email client for reading email?

  6. Maelish said on April 24, 2018 at 4:31 pm
    Reply

    So it’s a plan to kill off Thunderbird?

    1. Kirk M said on October 16, 2018 at 5:14 pm
      Reply

      Absolutely not. Thunderbird is going through the same thing that Firefox did when it moved to web extensions. It took a bit of time for the some extension authors to catch up but many others had already ported their extensions and were ready when the time came to switch for legacy to web extensions. Sure, a few extension developers left but that hardly matters now.

      Thunderbird users like myself will have to remain patient until the extension authors catch up, just like Firefox users had to. As with Firefox, some extensions will not be able to be ported but most popular ones will.

      And I use the word “extensions” instead of “add-ons” because “add-ons” refers to both extensions and themes.

  7. JR said on April 24, 2018 at 9:40 pm
    Reply

    Thanks. Cardbook can replace sogo-connector to sync with carddav. Just two addons more to replace :(
    Will mail.dir be useabel?

  8. Stefan said on April 25, 2018 at 2:18 am
    Reply

    Still on TB 24.1.1 due to some annoying “features” in later versions. No plan to go to any later version.

    1. Jody Thornton said on April 25, 2018 at 2:36 am
      Reply

      If I had stayed with Thunderbird, I would never have passed v2.2.1 (or whatever the last v2x was). After that, version 3x brought in tabbed email browsing and a slow indexing engine. I switched to Outlook 2003 that year.

      1. John Fenderson said on April 25, 2018 at 5:09 pm
        Reply

        Yeah, those tabs were a terrible move.

  9. ansar said on April 26, 2018 at 12:14 am
    Reply

    Maybe time for a new review of the Email Clients out there. :)

  10. Unbelievable News said on April 27, 2018 at 9:28 pm
    Reply

    I don’t give a shit if the extension works on opera/firefox/edge or if it works in X technology and not in Y technology and if X technology is older than Z technology. Every day I am working with this tool called “thunderbird” for 5 years!! As long as my addons are disabled why do I care to use it ?! They will f** up my work, my daily bills, my baby’s milk just because they want???!!! I can’t believe that I might be enforced to go to Outlook or another proprietary software or keep on working on this big behemoth called Thunderbird (which is great although has technical inefficiencies , performance wise) just because some tech-freaks decided to opt out addons. If they have to disable addons because they want to enforce changes, THEN do work on providing the same usage from thunderbird itself with minor implications in RAM and resources and then “enforce the disabling of the addons”. In other words hire a proper,decent, lousy, baily, fat allergic manager who at least understands the implications of doing that shit!

  11. Mike said on May 12, 2018 at 1:14 pm
    Reply

    Where do you get the information that Thunderbird will be released on may 15?

    1. Wayne said on June 22, 2018 at 3:40 pm
      Reply

      @Mike version 60 within two weeks. Until then you are welcome to try the beta, which has all the fixes that will be shipped. https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/channel/

  12. Pierre said on May 19, 2018 at 3:09 pm
    Reply

    Very interesting, thks
    When do they plan to release the version 60 ? This morning they released the 52.8.0
    And what about 64 bits ? it exists now in 61 and 62 (Earlybird and Nightly)
    https://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/thunderbird/nightly/latest-comm-central-l10n/

  13. Thomas R Morrison said on June 22, 2018 at 3:16 am
    Reply

    I hear all of you. I have stripped all Add-Ons yet my TBird 60 install, er, stalls whenever I am running a large fund-raiser (for Gene Steinberg/Paracast) and it is just important, it’s embarrassing. How do you tell your client that your email client hit the fan?

    1. Wayne said on June 22, 2018 at 3:39 pm
      Reply

      @Thomas R Morrison file a support request so someone can help you https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/new/thunderbird

  14. Thomas R Morrison said on June 22, 2018 at 8:05 pm
    Reply

    Thank you, yes, this is an important fund-raiser and I appreciate it (and so does Gene Steinberg !!!)

  15. Dean Beedell said on October 9, 2018 at 11:17 am
    Reply

    Well I’m gone, I am running 52.9.1 that supports XUL and has a decent desktop interface.

    I’ve been a Thunderbird user and donater for years. I will not use tools with the blocky ‘modern’ 1980s theme that MS and sycophants like Mozilla slavishly follow. I decide my interface and the way it looks and no-on else.

    I require a set of XUL extensions to be present and those must be compatible with my XUL browser. I switched to Palemoon due to the changes to Firefox that made the browser incompatible with my needs. It is sadly time to drop Thunderbird too and 52.9.1 is the last version for me.

    Being a computer pro (like all here) I have recommended Firefox and Thunderbird to all my clients. No-one suggests Firefox anymore, no-one suggests Thunderbird, not any more. Their is no clear path for the two tools and the individuality that marked them out as being for the professionals is gone. They are attempting to be mass-market tools for a market that does not want them.

    Thunderbird runs on Firefox’s coat-tails and FF is heading for oblivion, less than five years and TB will be gone completely whilst Firefox slowly runs out of steam and evaporates.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.