Talk:Thunderbird 3.0 - New Features and Changes

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Non-ownership (resolved)

please PM me before editing

Its reasonable to expect somebody not to muck with a draft for a short period of time but we don't support an individual owning an article. My statement of "This article is still being written, please try again in a couple of days" while initially working on Mail_and_news_settings may not have been the best wording but I never said anything like somebody needed my permission to edit it, and that was a lot larger, and more complex article. Nor did I say anything when you started making minor edits to it even though I was still spending a lot of time just trying to keep track of what settings I had added to the tables. We collaborated.

Please remove the statement that they should PM you and your name.

Tanstaafl and Alice, my apologies - this wasn't intended to claim any kind of ownership on the page. Indeed, I followed your example in the Mail and News Settings and "marked" the page during the initial setup, this was definitely not intended to be some long-term statement. And another yes, I appreciated collaborating with you in the other article, obviously the majority of work came from your side there. Thanks to Alice for removing that statement. --Rsx11m 02:39, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

While you don't own the article, its perfectly appropriate for you to establish some conventions for it such as whether it should only apply to alpha/beta builds or can information from the latest nightly build be added. If somebody disagrees they'd be expected to discuss it in the talk page.

I don't have any specific conventions in mind, this should in the end reflect the status of the final release to the extent that it gives the user (currently: the 3.0b1 user) sufficient hints to understand the changes and to figure out how to find and customize things if desired.
I've added some more on this in the "What is the purpose" section below. --Rsx11m 11:33, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

Pending issues

There is a star next to each shown e-mail, which is blank if the address is not yet present in the address book, and filled in yellow if it was found

I can only see that with the default theme. Other themes that fully support the latest released version (and state they support Shredder) don't show that. I suggest you set expectations. There was a thread last night where somebody (who appeared to be computer literate) didn't understand that the two star icons in 2.x were theme dependent.

(done) Ok, those themes may be adapted towards the release, that's something I can't tell, but a general warning like "themes may modify appearance and presence of these items" could certainly be added.

Thunderbird 3.0 comes with a disk cache, which can cache any remote content

If I start Shredder I get 5 files in the cache directory without even having opened a message. When I open a HTML message where Thunderbird displays a "display images now" button it increased the size of the _cache_001 through _cache_003 files. When I press the button and it loads the remote images it increases their size even more. This makes me think it doesn't cache just remote images. It would help if there was a link to the most appropriate bug report describing the new functionality.

(done) It is also caching certificate-related information, which is remote content in a certain sense as well.

I also notice that if I switch to a plain text message and try to delete the three cache files using windows explorer I get a windows error message about "the action can't be completed because the file is open in another program". This makes me wonder if they can get corrupted if Thunderbird crashes, and what happens then when you restart Thunderbird? We already have problems due to prefs.js getting clobbered when Thunderbird crashs.

(open) I cannot comment on that, the cache is basically the Necko implementation, thus you can expect the same problems (or the lack thereof) as seen with Firefox or SeaMonkey (the latter probably the better comparison as it has a disk cache with Mail/News already).

Is there any way to disable the cache? I cleared it and then set it to 1 kb but when I view the HTML message I can see that its taking up 288KB in files with hex names (the _cache_00x files are still zero).

(done) You can set it to zero or set browser.cache.disk.enable to false. The basic cache files will persist even if the cache is disabled.

Thunderbird 2.0 allowed pasting of images into the message in lossy JPEG format only, the default will be lossless PNG in Thunderbird 3.0 (if supported by clipboard implementation of the operating system).

When I paste a .jpeg file (using Vista) it automatically converts it to a .PNG with no warning and has no variant of a edit -> paste command that lets me paste it as is. Some practical advice on what to do if some of your recipients can't see the image or if the automatic conversion doesn't work right would be useful.

(done, hopefully detailed enough) If you copy a JPEG file from an application, it is converted to a CF_DIB object, which is neutral to any encoding. Based on the preference setting, this will be converted to either PNG (for 1) or JPEG (for 0). Even if you copy and paste in JPEG, the encoding is changed (at least on Windows platforms) due to the way how it is presented on the clipboard. Since this is a somewhat more complex preference, I have added a separate article on it, linked to by the preference name.

I notice clipboard.paste_image_quality defaults to 92 and clipboard.paste_image_type defaults to 1. It would be useful to have a link to the most relevent bug report. When I search for ones dealing with clipboard.paste_image_quality almost all of them deal with Firefox or other browsers.

(n/a) The clipboard.paste_image_quality has not been implemented and is removed as of 90 minutes ago, thus I didn't even mention it. And yes, the clipboard is Core functionality, thus the respective bugs appear in Gecko components.

It would be useful to identify whether XP and Vista qualify as "supported" since so many of our users use them.

(done) Works on Windows and Linux by my own tests, and also Mac OSX as reported by others. We can add something like "all major (1st-tier?) platforms" or list them explicitly. GIF is not supported in Windows and Linux, don't know about Mac OSX.

many servers reject message attachments these days based on an .eml suffix in Forwarding and Server Filtering

Server filtering makes me think its talking about Seive scripts rather than an issue of blocked file extensions. I'm used to seeing that applied to potential executables and images, not to something as generic as .eml.

(done, rephrased heading) Yes, but this is what those MTA's are doing. Do you have a suggestion for a better, less ambiguous phrasing?
--Rsx11m 02:39, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Is integration of the OSX address book in the current builds yet? Even if it isn't they committed to doing that so you might want to mention it anyways.

(done, didn't find anything on Vista address book even though mentioned in the beta 1 relnote draft)

Shredder has a Restart Thunderbird button that you can use after changing a addon. Before you had to exit and manually start. That may be too trivial to mention somewhere but thought I'd mention it since I find it useful.


I also see a get addons and plugins button when I select tools -> addons. Plugins lists java and flash. I remember a statement in a bug report that support for plugins would never be added to 2.x but would be added to 3.0. Plugins deserve mentioning. Also the security implications of them being enabled by default and whether there are any Plugin_scanning settings for Thunderbird


Something that would be useful to identify is whether any essential data is only stored in sqlite files. One of the problems with Firefox 3 is that the journaling is enabled its not used to recover. If places.sqlite is damaged for example you lose your sessions and history and the recommended action is to delete the file and have Firefox create a new one without the data.


If I switch from to Shredder I've noticed that some themes such as ACE Cutebird Blue suddenly use zebra striping despite my having the following in chrome\Userchrome.css. Its not clear if thats a bug or a feature.

@import url("chrome://global/skin/subskin/nostripes.css");

I'm unable to answer on the issues you are mentioning in the above points, but this can be figured out and added later.

Is this article meant only to give an overview of changes from a users perspective? Thats of limited use once Shredder goes to beta or is released (they will have more extensive/fancier writeups) and would normally be redirected to thier web page. The reason I ask is if there were more links to bug reports describing details of new features etc. it would be a useful starting point to help people late ron write articles describing those features , update Mail_and_news_settings and write an equivalent of Thunderbird_2.0_installation_issues.

Basically, yes, it's intended as a summary like the one for the TB 2.0 release to make sure users understand the changes and find the necessary options. I didn't want to overload it with detailed information (which in part in don't even have anyway, see above) and keep it on a user-friendly level. Detailed lists of bugs included in each release are, e.g., kept on the Rumbling Edge.

If not this document, where do you suggest people collaborate on gathering information on changes for 3.0? Having something central (to at least identify an area and point to the appropiate article or talk page for more details) is useful since the information effects multiple articles and there will be many more changes in 3.0 than with prior major versions. Tanstaafl 23:21, 23 November 2008 (UTC)

As I said in the box on top of the article, this is anything but ready yet, I'm not even sure if it is the right format or needs further discussion what the best presentation is for the user switching from 2.0 to 3.0 on one hand or the more experienced user looking for technical details on the other hand. Thus, maybe more than one article would be advised on that. --Rsx11m 02:39, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Please remove the statement that they should PM you and your name. I went ahead and did that. Alice 01:26, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks and sorry again for this faux pas... --Rsx11m 02:39, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
No problem. By the way, you can edit your user page or add a user sub page for drafts or proposed articles. I use my User:Alice Wyman/Proposed article page for that. Alice 03:22, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

What is the purpose of this article?

An overview of changes and new features for 3.0 can be useful but its basicly a sales pitch for those who haven't tried Shredder. We should have something about Shredder, but it should be of more long term use and more applied. We also need some way to make it easier to find and share the information needed to help update existing articles and write new articles for 3.0. You can't expect everybody to invest the time in data mining the Rumbling Edge and every bugzilla bug report, we should leverage Shredder experts such as Rsx11m. While detailed discussions should be in other articles talk pages, you need a central place to start from or it becomes too disorganized. I suggest we fork the article into two documents:

1. A short tutorial with lots of screen shots for experienced Thunderbird 2.0 users about the new features in 3.0. It would focus on the most significant changes and have advice on how to adapt to using Shredder.

It would not duplicate Getting_started_with_Thunderbird or (in general) identify what bugs have been fixed. It might identify some settings that have changed but if it does that it would only do it as part of a description of something most users will run into behaving differently. For example, quotes in replies.

It would target Windows users, but might have one or two platform specific topics such as integrating the OSX address book.

2. An article used to share technical knowledge about the 3.0 architecture and new features, highlight potential issues that should be researched, and point people to useful documents (i.e. a bug report that describes how a new feature is implemented and what settings it has). Its tone would be informal, written for other editors, with the goal to obsolete the document when 3.0 is released by writing/updating other articles. Tanstaafl 08:50, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the label "Shredder expert"... :-) I agree that the scope of the article (or a pair of articles) should be somewhere between the rather superficial scope of release notes on one end and the overwhelming detail of a bug collection on the other. It started out looking like the former as I first was collecting items of interest on which it was worth to expand on. Adding to this rough outline is probably a good second step.
(done) For now, I would keep it a single document, but will add pointers to the primary or meta (tracker) bug reports as you suggested, to the extent I know them, and also expand on the more complex issues like clipboard behavior and cache, with known problems and workarounds. I think the numerical-sequential citation markers are just right, not too dominant, but still show whether that's referring to a bug report, wiki page or forum thread. Those are needed regardless of how we proceed, afterwards it can be figured out if and how to split this as necessary. Actually, I had already added upcoming changes and updates for 3.0 to the Talk pages of a couple of pages, which could be moved to a summarizing page (if not yet listed here).
As for the platform, I think we can keep this neutral as long as issues are covering Windows, Max OSX, and Linux equally well, thus mention them explicitly only where differences are present. I'll update the main page soon. --Rsx11m 22:56, 24 November 2008 (UTC)
Updated, and I've added (done) or (open) flags in your list of suggestions/issues. This is hopefully more informative now and going into the right direction. --Rsx11m 01:05, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Frequency of article updates and style

  • After beta 1 was issued, I paused editing this, assuming that most people are using the beta release. This resulted in a bulk of changes for the beta 2 release, and the article was obsoleted for people using the nightly builds. Thus, I've added now a couple of recent additions, but with an introductory "Starting with beta 3, ..." to make that clearer. Those labels can be removed once beta 3 is out.
  • With respect to forward-looking statements of bugs in progress, those may be helpful to add if reasonably progressed or if they have substantial impact on an issue. On the other hand, those may be confusing users just stopping by for advise on the current builds.
  • Style: I've kept the concise bullet-list style where possible, this allows references from the forums in the way "See article#anchor item #bullet for easy lookup. Also, entries should have references to Wiki pages or bug reports where available.

--Rsx11m 11:29, 2 April 2009 (UTC)

How does TB3 change your profile after upgrading?

Neither this article nor the TB3 beta 2 release notes say what happens to your profile when you upgrade to TB3.

  • Does TB3 add new files?
  • Does it change the format of existing files (.dat, .sbd, etc.)?
    • If yes, does the format change the moment I run TB3, or when I view an old e-mail folder, or only when I modify that folder?
  • If I have to revert, does TB2 handle a TB3 profile? What about TB2 extensions?
  • etc.

Because neither article (nor anything I could find in 10 minutes of Googling) answers these questions, I think a lot of e-mail users will be scared off from trying TB3.

I think TB3 needs such information by launch, so it would be nice to have a first cut at it somewhere, even if it said "Don't know" or "We're not sure".

By comparison, Firefox 3 has specific articles like

Please don't dismiss this with boilerplate admonishments about "It's beta software". I've been testing Mozilla pre-releases since before you were born and I back up my data. There's no comparison between losing the status and tags of 10 years/3GB of e-mail and losing 250kB of bookmarks.

Cheers, -- Spage 19:58, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

That would be useful information (I'll add a section about reverting to the article) but I think you're jumping the gun. The article about how to revert back to Firefox 2 is not an article, that is just a thread in the Mozilla forums. You're also ignoring the fact that not only has Firefox 3 been released but that it was released long enough ago that beta 4 of 3.5 is available and Firefox 2 reached end of life over three months ago. We haven't even had the first release candidate of Shredder yet.
IMHO the changes between Firefox 2 and Firefox 3 are much more significant than those between Thunderbird 2 and 3. Very few of the goals in the Thunderbird 3 Planning document have been implemented. If they do release it this May I suspect most of the more significant changes will be postponed for a later release. Supposedly Shredder uses Gecko 1.9.1 while Thunderbird 2 used Gecko 1.8. That's transparent to a user as far as I can tell.
Thunderbird 3 (Shredder) doesn't change how it stores mail messages or address books. I use the same profile with both Thunderbird and the latest nightly build for Shredder. The main impact is that not all add-ons work with both versions (despite changeing some settings per Updating_add-ons) and your cookies and passwords are stored in different files in Shredder so if you reverted you'd use earlier data from the Thunderbird 2 versions of those files.
When 3.0 is released its reasonable to expect that we would have updated or replaced articles such as Thunderbird_2.0_installation_issues and Profile_folder_-_Thunderbird, and maybe added some articles about additional features. Somebody might also write an article about how to revert to Thunderbird 2. This article is helping us get ready for that by providing one place to collect data about Shredder. Its not really meant as a way to combat FUD about Shredder. Tanstaafl 23:14, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your quick and thoughtful response! (I also posted much the same question in the Google group I think it would be incredibly useful to put your penultimate paragraph in the main article. FWIW, I found after installing TB3 beta 2 that cookies.txt was gone altogether and I gained cookies.sqlite, cookies.sqlite-journal, global-messages-db.sqlite, minidumps, and permissions.sqlite The sizes of many (but not all) my .msf files, a few mail folders, and miscellaneous files like panacea.dat changed.
I also see that mentions clean-up goals of:
  • De-morkification of the Address Book (bug 382876)
  • De-morkification of the .msf files (bug 11050)
  • Removing RDF usage
but it's unclear if these changes are present in TB3 beta 2 — both bugs are still open. Thanks again! -- Spage 00:38, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
Spage, Tanstaafl, thanks for adding this important issue. Thus far, personally I've kept my branch and trunk profiles strictly separated, but it is good to know what happens when both versions are used with the same profile (and the migration will certainly be an issue when the final release comes out). I'd still say it's a potentially dangerous thing to do at this time, thus I've emphasized the not in recommended (among some other editorial changes). There are quite a few changes between the 1.8.1 and 1.9.1 branches, a lot of which is indeed transparent to the user, but details may differ, thus I've added "in general" to that sentence. --Rsx11m 02:58, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
The style of the new section is rather different than the other ones, some structuring to more easily identify topics and citations to relevant bug reports would be helpful. --Rsx11m 11:29, 2 April 2009 (UTC)
I've put the 2nd paragraph of your section more into context with the issue of architectural changes affecting compatibility, and removed "So far they seem to be making just incremental changes in Shredder. It appears to be version 3.0 mainly to keep it in lock step with Firefox, not due to major architectural changes." which is rather an opinion than an objective statement, and also doesn't appear to fit into that section. --Rsx11m 23:20, 11 April 2009 (UTC)
Could either of you verify the post in the beta 2 feedback thread stating that address book migration doesn't seem to work as intended? --Rsx11m 21:38, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm using a profile created with TB2 with both TB2 and the latest nightly build of Shredder. I have no problem (using Shredder) exporting a address book from that profile and then importing it. I've been doing that once a week for several months. It sounds to me like jclu52 has run into a configuration specific bug, I'd be leary of generalizing too much from it. There is a unconfirmed bug report for almost any feature. I've posted a reply in that thread suggesting several things he should check . Tanstaafl 22:46, 3 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, as that's apparently not a more wide-spread issue the "normal" warnings should be sufficient. --Rsx11m 22:53, 3 April 2009 (UTC)