Thunderbird LTS update

We’ve decided to update Thunderbird in Ubuntu 20.04 from 68.x to 78.x. This is a major version update.

Rationale

Thunderbird 68 is no longer supported by upstream. We don’t expect it to be practical to backport security fixes to Focal indefinitely. It has therefore become necessary to move to Thunderbird 78.x. It makes sense to do this carefully, using the usual Ubuntu SRU process to maximise QA.

Known Downsides

Users may face disruption to their workflows due to changes between Thunderbird 68 and 78.

Enigmail users will face disruption, since Enigmail has been deprecated in Thunderbird 78. They will need to switch to Thunderbird 78’s integrated PGP solution. The enigmail package will be updated to a version of the plugin that guides users through switching to the native Thunderbird PGP implementation.

The tinyjsd package will stop working. This extension is deprecated upstream and doesn’t function with Thunderbird 78. We believe that in practice this will only affect a tiny proportion of users, if any.

The jsunit package will stop working. This extension has not been ported to Thunderbird 78 by upstream. We believe that in practice this will only affect a tiny proportion of users, if any.

Available workarounds

Users of Ubuntu 20.04 not wishing to update beyond Thunderbird 68.x may instruct apt to hold or pin the package, but this is not recommended as the package will no longer receive security updates.

Background

This decision was discussed and then approved by the Ubuntu Technical Board on 2021-01-26. It is tracked in bug #1895643, which also includes the original and further discussion.

The tinyjsd and jsunit packages will be replaced and made empty with a debconf notice according to our (exceptional) package removal process. Versioned Breaks will be added to the new thunderbird package to make sure that the older, now broken tinyjsd and jsunit packages do not remain on users’ systems if they were installed previously.

The enigmail package will be updated to the version that provides the migration path to Thunderbird 78’s integrated PGP solution. Versioned Breaks will be added (both ways) to make sure that the thunderbird and enigmail packages are both upgraded if both were previously installed.

References

https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird:Home#Releases

From TinyJSD’s homepage:

Note: due to the massive and rapid changes in the Mozilla Platform, TinyJSD is no longer actively maintained. The last version supports Thunderbird 60/SeaMonkey 2.57. We recommend to use the standard Developer Tools that are shipped with Thunderbird. »

From the enigmail-users mailing list:

I did not port JSUnit to TB 78.

From Enigmail’s news page:

Support for Thunderbird in Enigmail will therefore be discontinued.

8 Likes

Unfortunately this also means gContactSync no longer works as I’ve discovered. Learning to live without it…

1 Like

Use tbsync

https://addons.thunderbird.net/de/thunderbird/addon/tbsync/

Works with Microsoft contacts and calendar and Google contacts and calendar.
You need to a separate addon from tbsync for exchange and caldav. For Google you need to flip a Boolean because it’s currently alpha
Using it since several months and it’s working

edit: and leave some donations to the dev

1 Like

The update is now live in focal-updates.

5 Likes

Any plans to replaced the deb version with the snap? In my use case, I have been using version 78 via snap for months now. Granted I basic email users (3 different accounts) with minimal calendar via extension. It works for me well. I do not see any issues with it.

1 Like

There is no plan to do that for now, but it should certainly be considered.

2 Likes