While Thunderbird 60.7.0 will be released later today, work continues on the next major release of the email client, Thunderbird 68.0.
Thunderbird development is closely tied to the development of Firefox ESR. Firefox 68.0 ESR will be released on July 9th, 2019 and Thunderbird 68.0 will be released shortly thereafter.
The move to a new ESR base introduces a huge number of changes. Extended Support Release versions of Firefox or Thunderbird get security fixes and major bug fixes first and foremost for as long as they are supported. All other changes introduced to regular versions are implemented during switches to new major versions.
Thunderbird 68.0 is such a switch and one of the major changes of that release is that extension support will be affected negatively by it.
If the Thunderbird team would not have done anything at all, only WebExtensions would be supported by Thunderbird 68.0. All classic extensions would not work anymore and there would have been nothing that users could do to change that.
The Thunderbird team decided to bring back some support in Thunderbird 68.0. Considering that Mozilla purged lots of important code needed to run classic extensions, it is probably the best the team could do with its limited resources.
Thunderbird 68.0 will support WebExtensions and the following types of extensions:
Some extensions have been modified already including the built-in Calendar Lightning, ThunderHTMLedit, Compact Header, Signature Switch, and Send Later.
As far as dictionary support is concerned, only WebExtension dictionaries are supported when Thunderbird 68.0 is released. WebExtension dictionaires are available on Mozilla's and Thunderbird's add-ons repository websites.
Which extensions are compatible?
There is no easy way for Thunderbird users to find out whether an extension is compatible with Thunderbird 68.* or newer. The official Thunderbird Add-ons repository lists compatibility information but even extensions mentioned explicitly by the Thunderbird team in the beta release notes may not be listed as compatible yet.
You could download Thunderbird Beta to install extensions that you use in that particular version to see if these are still supported. Thunderbird 68 won't be released until July so that there is still a chance that add-on developers will make the necessary changes to their extensions so that they remain compatible with the email client going forward.
Thunderbird 60.8 will also be released in July. You can stick with that release for another six weeks or so before support for Thunderbird 60.* ends officially.
If you run unmaintained extensions, there is little hope that these will continue to work unless someone forks them.
Now You: do you use Thunderbird? are any of your essential extensions not compatible with the upcoming version?Advertisement
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