Thunderbird 68

This was not Ubuntu’s doing, more of Mozilla and Thunderbird as stated in their release notes.

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Mozilla are not responsible for removing Thunderbird 60 release from official ppa… And thunderbird 68 breaks the profile - just perfect combination. One update and you have to spend time to downgrade and recreate your profile.

As far as I know the official PPA for Thunderbird is not run my Ubuntu.


A quick look through the the membership of that team suggests that everyone is or was a Canonical employee or Ubuntu developer. The packages in their PPAs are definitely not created by Mozilla/Thunderbird developers.

I had a similar problem with Thunderbird 68.7.0 and 68.8.0.

I recently installed the development release (groovy) of Kubuntu on a spare laptop. The Thunderbird version was 68.8. For reasons which are not relevant here I replaced that installation with Kubuntu 20.04 a few days later but retained all my documents and settings in /home as groovy was so similar to focal at that point.

Everything worked as expected except for Thunderbird which gave me an error message to advise me that my profile would not work for the version that I was now using, i.e. 68.7.0.

As I had several other means of reading my email and this issue was on a spare laptop I wasn’t too worried that I couldn’t use Thunderbird for a while. I knew that an update for focal to 68.8.0 was on it’s way and after it was made available a week or so later I found that Thunderbird was usable once again.

I’ve found nothing to suggest an issue with profile incompatibility when downgrading within version 68 but just a note in the version 68.0 release notes to say that an issue may occur should a user downgrade their version of Thunderbird which to me suggests that compatibility between versions and/or operating systems is not guaranteed.

That’s right, ~mozillateam is comprised of Ubuntu developers (including but not limited to Canonical employees). The PPAs owned by this team are for beta builds (of Firefox and Thunderbird) though, so they are not recommended for average users (in other words: use at your own risk). Users should wait for updates to be available in the Ubuntu archive.

That’s a default protection mechanism implemented in Firefox and Thunderbird: they will warn and refuse to start with a profile created with a newer release, even though that newer release might not have introduced profile format incompatibilities. That’s a “better safe than sorry” approach. Downgrading to an older release should be sufficiently rare that it’s not an issue for 99+% of users.