Thunderbird: Sync postponed and switch to monthly releases

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 1, 2023
Thunderbird
|
7

Thunderbird Sync, the much-awaited synchronization feature of the Thunderbird email client, won't be introduced in Thunderbird 115. A new blog post on the official Thunderbird blog confirms that the feature has been postponed.

The Thunderbird team planned to integrate Sync functionality in their latest major release, Thunderbird 115.  Thunderbird 115 is the new Extended Support Release (ESR) base of the email client and it features changes, including an overhauled interface and plenty of other modifications.

Work continues on adding more of the planned features, such as launching Thunderbird for Android or Thunderbird Sync.

Thunderbird Sync enables users of the email client to sync data, including settings, between clients. The team plans to enable syncing for the following sets of data:

  • Email account definitions.
  • Account credentials.
  • Signatures.
  • Saved Searches.
  • Tags, Tasks.
  • Filters.
  • Majority of preferences.

The blog post by Jason Evangelho confirms now that Thunderbird Sync won't be part of the Thunderbird 115 release cycle. The team plans to introduce the functionality in the next Thunderbird ESR release, which will be released in 2024. This is also when development is switching to a monthly release schedule for the email client.

Evangelho admits that technical blockers prevented the integration in Thunderbird 115. Based on Firefox Sync, the development team is aware that there is no room for error when it comes to such an important feature. It needs to be secure and reliable, and the infrastructure needs to be ready to sync the data of millions of users of the email client.

The team is still looking for a Site Reliability Engineer to help it with the back-end infrastructure, as it is independent of Firefox Sync. Next to that, the feature needs months of testing to iron out issues.

Closing Words

Some users of the email client who use it on multiple devices will be disappointed that the new sync functionality won't be introduced in 2023. Then again, making sure that sync is secure and stable is of utmost importance to the entire project. The postponing of the Sync feature, as disappointing as it may be for the team and users, is the right decision.

Now You: do you use Thunderbird or another email client?

Summary
Thunderbird: Sync postponed and switch to monthly releases
Article Name
Thunderbird: Sync postponed and switch to monthly releases
Description
Thunderbird Sync, the much-awaited synchronization feature of the Thunderbird email client, won't be introduced in Thunderbird 115.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
Logo
Advertisement

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «

Comments

  1. Franck said on August 1, 2023 at 5:19 pm
    Reply

    Great feature coming!

    1. kalmly said on August 1, 2023 at 6:04 pm
      Reply

      If you say so. To me, it just sounds like bloat.

      1. owl said on August 3, 2023 at 2:15 am
        Reply

        > To me, it just sounds like bloat.

        The new native function “Thunderbird Sync” was not planned by the developer side, but was requested by users, and “kudos” who agrees with it is the top one.
        Ideas – Mozilla Connect
        https://connect.mozilla.org/t5/ideas/idb-p/ideas/label-name/thunderbird/tab/most-kudoed

        In short, it is a realization of a strong request from users. Please take a look at the comments etc.
        https://connect.mozilla.org/t5/ideas/firefox-sync-for-thunderbird/idi-p/28971

        Of course, the functions required are “each person”, so you may think that it is useless (bloated).
        It’s just an “opt-in” feature. When disabled it (e.g. enabling when needed) that does not affect system resources.

        The basic user interface for Thunderbird Sync has already been designed, but the feature “must be secure and reliable”, and It’s required has undergone months of user testing to ensure its stability.

        The reason for the delay in completing
        Thunderbird project recognized the need to hire a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) to help set up our own backend infrastructure independent of Firefox Sync.

        After all, Thunderbird’s sync feature uses Firefox sync code, but will end up being a Thunderbird-specific “completely different product than Firefox Sync”.

  2. restpal said on August 2, 2023 at 3:30 am
    Reply

    I have used Thunderbird for many years (largely because it is one of the better options available for Linux in my view, and also it doesn’t remind me of my work environment, which uses Outlook) and I find it pretty good.

    While this sync feature could be useful, I think Thunderbird has been much better for portability since it adopted an easy export-import function – I can now export from any one of my devices and import the same to any other new setup elsewhere quite easily and quickly (this is important for offline emails, of which I have many as I don’t tend to keep important stuff in my email accounts themselves). So I’m not worried about this sync capability being delayed – if it does come in I think it will be most useful for those who keep their mail on the email company’s servers, as I’m not sure from your article if they would be introducing it for any local folders.

  3. Anonymous said on August 2, 2023 at 8:40 pm
    Reply

    Probably a consequence of their taking over the K-9 mobile email client to get mobile support. The aggressive renaming of K-9 as “Thunderbird mobile” as well as the general but slow downward trend of Thunderbird makes me wonder if the purpose is really to enhance ethical email clients on mobile or more to get the official ethical alternative under Google’s control. A USAGM grant also creates suspicion that the US diplomacy saw some evilness potential in K-9.

    1. owl said on August 3, 2023 at 2:55 am
      Reply

      > Probably a consequence of their taking over the K-9 mobile email client to get mobile support.

      The basic user interface for Thunderbird Sync has already been designed, but the feature “must be secure and reliable”, and It’s required has undergone months of user testing to ensure its stability.
      The reason for the delay in completing
      Thunderbird project recognized the need to hire a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE) to help set up our own backend infrastructure independent of Firefox Sync.
      After all, Thunderbird’s sync feature uses Firefox sync code, but will end up being a Thunderbird-specific “completely different product than Firefox Sync”.
      https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/01/thunderbird-sync-postponed-and-switch-to-monthly-releases/#comment-4571286

      The Thunderbird project has been consistently designed around “standalone desktop apps”.
      However, in the end-user environment and modern needs, there is a strong demand for the realization of Thunderbird, which is mobile environment, multi-device, and can be shared with many people (especially for corporate office environments and employees’ portable use).
      And the Android version (and plans for the iOS version) to respond to that, but it’s just the result of recognizing the benefits of being based on the “K-9” rather than redesigning it from scratch.

  4. SenileOtaku said on August 8, 2023 at 3:17 pm
    Reply

    I’ve been using Thunderbird for as long as it’s been around. Unfortunately I’ve been forced to pin my TB install to v102.x, because if I bring my profile into v115, the email windows come up BLANK. I have a dozen different email accounts in my profile (some are archives of inactive accounts, but I want them to be readily available) so it would take an awful lot of work to try to migrate to a new profile. (they have a bug entry for it with all the debug info they should need, but they don’t know why it fails).

    A profile sync utility might be the only thing to fix this, so it looks like I’ll have to keep my system on v102 until *next year*.

Leave a Reply

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

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.