Release Status – Lightning for Thunderbird 3

I’d like to give you guys another update of how our release process is going, especially since Thunderbird 3.0 is now released and we are not ready yet. To take the interesting details up front, I believe we will be able to release rc1 before Christmas. If no urgent issues show up, we will be able to release the 1.0b1 final for or shortly after Christmas. This release will be compatible with Thunderbird 3.0.

From the product point of view, we are ready. We have all the patches in that we think should belong in 1.0b1rc1. Therefore, the nightly builds should be of the same quality that the release candidate 1 will be.

If you cannot do without Thunderbird 3 and are brave enough to try pre-release grade builds, I’d suggest to take a look at our nightly builds. Be sure to do backups first though! Otherwise please bear with us until we have the beta released and stay with Thunderbird 2 in the meanwhile.

From the release engineering point of view, we are constantly running into Problems. I believe the biggest and most unsolvable problem is that I am in a different timezone than Mozilla Messaging’s release engineering, which means there is only a small timeframe where we can communicate about build issues. All other problems are at least solvable, but need some time to identify and find a solution for. Each attempt for building the release candidate has a build number. Let me summarize what happened during our builds:

Various problems before we could start building, including but not limited to missing access and l10n problems.
Build system problems caused first mac/win32 to fail, then linux/mac to fail, and so on. The reason was that a script only used for calendar was called with the wrong path, but only in the rare case that the build is called with the packaging target needed for the release.
We noticed, that Thunderbird 3.0 has some storage changes that are not on the normal 1.9.1 branches, so we needed to make sure the calendar release branch is based off of the Thunderbird 3.0 release branch.
Lightning version number was incorrect, the version bump script doesn’t take care of install.rdf changes
Mac’s lightning.xpi is not universal, which means we need to respin. Also checked in some last minute caldav and wcap patches we probably would have taken for rc2 anyway.
Normal Sunbird builds succeeded, localization repack failed. I hope gozer knows why this is happening and can tell us tomorrow.

Another “problem” is that gozer needs to trigger and upload the Lightning builds manually, which also takes extra time once for each build. I do hope we can finish off the last problems soon. I’d like to again note that next time around this process will be much shorter. We don’t need to fix the small build system issues, all we need to do is update the release config and trigger a build.


  1. Do not forget Linux 64 in your nightly builds.
    64 bit platform is becoming popular…

  2. Thank you for the update and I’m sure glad you’re fixing the calendar thing. I love THUNDERBIRD! Thanks to all of you for your hard and dedicated work.

  3. Hi Philipp,
    the most important thing is, that 1.0final is bug free. It’s no problem, if it needs one or two months more.
    Best Regards,

  4. Well, bug free is not an easy thing to do :) There are some known bugs, especially since this is only a beta. We’ve done our best to keep the critical bugs out of the product though.

  5. Will this version allow to change the color coding? I want to show the small squares by each event in the Today Pane with the colour of the category instead of the colour of the calendar.
    Thank you, and congratulations for your work!

  6. keep on swimming! ;) Thanks for your time you donate to this project!

  7. Are there localized versions available as nightly builds, for example lightnig in German? :)

  8. Thank you sooo much for your time in getting the nightly builds out! And in working so hard on getting out a release.
    I was just scared when I got 3.0 and I had no calendar stuff…Glad to find I didn’t lose anything once I installed the nightly build. That’s the only reassurance I needed, that no data from my calendar was lost between updates.
    Thanks, and peace.

  9. Thank you for having at the least a beta of the calendar available for those of us who want to use T-Bird 3. You guys are GREAT!!!
    I have a minor request, would it be possible to include a version number (of some kind) in the file name of the nightly builds. I don’t always remember if I’ve downloaded the current version.

  10. Just wanted to say thanks to the Lightning team – Lightning is a great tool and I’m looking forward to 1.0. Keep up the great work.

  11. Hi,
    I tried to install Thunderbird 3.0. but it’s not stable. I cannot get back because the calendar file of Lightning doesn’t have the same format.
    Do you have a turnaround?

  12. Unlogy,
    Install the LIGHTNING NIGHTLY UPDATER add on and you won’t need to worry about the dates. It will provide them for you.

  13. I installed the nightly and it worked great, you guys have done a great job! Looking forward to the Google calendar active sync cache not being labelled ‘experimental’ but it is working ok for me so far (depending on what I am downloading when I view my calendar ;))
    Loved Sunbird, now really love lightning and TB3!

  14. Thanks very much for your great work.

  15. How about a 64-bit Linux XPI? I can’t seriously try out Thunderbird 3 until I can get Lightning working too, so this is really holding me back!

  16. Thanks for the update and the dedication. Fantastic tool. I really appreciate the gap-fill information about the nightly builds and the Lightning Nightly Updated add-on.

  17. Thank you for your great product. I can’t await the new release, but I will, of course, be patient.
    Just wanted to give one more vote for a Linux 64bit release. I believe this would make very much sense nowadays.

  18. Just a thank you for your hard work on this critical component. Our shop would have forced me to use Outlook if it were not for this wonderful calendar.

  19. Hi Philipp,
    THANKS a log to the whole lightning team to keep the project running with this good progress, even with the small resources

  20. The nightly builds currently only include Windows, Mac and Linux.
    Is there any chance we can also get Solaris (Sparc and x86) builds?

  21. What is critical to me is 64-bit Linux compatibility. I work in a R&D lab where *all* OS are now x86_64, and the switch to Thunderbird 3.0 is held back by the unavailability of Lightning builds in 64-bit flavour.

  22. As you can see from other comments, there is a general need for x86_64 builds. Come on already, even Adobe got Flash to work on Linux/x86_64! ;)
    There are multiple Linux distributions (OpenSUSE, Fedora) that had a release recently and shipped Thunderbird 3 (rc, updated to final now) – if you use one of them on a 64 bit system, there currently seems to be no way to get Lightning. This is a major issue, not only for a handful of people.
    IMO Lightning not being ready when a new version of Thunderbird comes out is a showstopper bug for Thunderbird, since Lightning is such an important extension.
    And as for “trigger and upload the Lightning builds manually”… Umm… do you want me to put a shell script together? I mean, it can’t be that hard, can it? ;)

  23. I’ve a major problem with Lightning.. After i add some iCalendar remote location – i cannot clearly close thinderbird. It still run underground. When i force to kill it – after rerun i cannot see calendar i’ve added before.

  24. Patrick, of course this issue is not unsolveable, but just putting together a shell script would not be a future-proof solution. The better solution is to make buildbot capable of automatically building lightning during release builds. Also, we need to repack the lightning.xpi to contain all locales. See bug 346278 for details.
    Setting up buildbot locally for testing is not a trivial task and I assure you I am working on this so it can be done automatically next time, but thats just not ready yet. If you would like to fix the buildbot part of this bug yourself, feel free to comment on the bug.

  25. Where should we submit issues if we’re using the pre-release versions?

  26. Keep up the good work.. I’m waiting for lightning :)
    Too bad the Mozilla Thunderbird crew didn’t support lightning in order for it to be prepared for Tbird3…
    Lightning was what made me cross to Thunderbird…
    ps: nightly builds installed… still waiting for a release…

  27. Hi, I have been using Lightning/1.0b2pre with Thunderbird/3.0 as well with Provider for Google Calendar 0.6b2pre for the last 4 days and everything run smooth on Win7.
    Great job guys !

  28. Dear Lightning-developers,
    thank you so much for your really great job! I have been using Lighning for at least 2 years now. As I tested Thunderbird 3 on another system I’m now impatiently waiting for the release of the corresponding final version of Lightning. :)
    All the best and keep it up!

    One more comment about lightning not usable in 3.0
    Silly me – I saw 3.0 was out, so I downloaded it from the getthunderbird page and installed in on my XPSP3 box. And then I saw that lightning was unable to install as an addon.
    Then reinstalled and got an error message that the lightning file is corrupted.
    This sucks majorly.
    Just a regular user who came to have enough confidence in Thunderbird to use it for my work events. Should I have known to look at the boards before installing it – well, looking back – duh. Honestly, I thought that a new release showing up on the main page would be solid – not being able to keep calendar dates is not ready for prime time.
    Shame on those who pushed the release without a working calendar. And shame on those that didn’t put notice that lightning would be inoperable.

  30. It doesn’t work like that. If all software components would be waiting for each other to release, development would be deadlocked. The fact that Thunderbird isn’t a moving target anymore may even speed up Lightning development… psychologically at least :)
    Will there still be UI changes (apart from bugfixes) between the beta and 1.0 final? Currently theme developers are waiting for Lightning final because there have been so many changes in the past. Unfortunately this is blocking theme releases for Tb 3.

  31. Thanks for all your great work, I love Lightning. But I have to agree with iridesce’s rant.

  32. Is there a special reason why xpi files for linux have not been updated recently on

  33. Hi!
    I use ubuntu karmic. On update from Jaunty I had to install lightning from ubuntu repositories, otherwise it didn’t work at all. How about thunderbird 3 and lightning 1.0 nighties on ubuntu karmic? Is it possible to get them working together?

  34. Am using TB3 and Lightning nightly
    BirdieSync 2.0 beta
    News Beta
    And going great guns!
    Thunderbird, Lightning
    are a credit to all involved
    congratulations on effort so far!!

  35. andis, ubuntu packages is not part of our release cycle. This happens externally by the ubuntu lightning package maintainer.
    Michael, about the linux xpi’s, I think we have some disk space issues, bugs are filed. Nothing has been checked in in the last few days though, so feel free to use the latest available nightly.

  36. I just want to say that I like the Lightning calendar a lot. The other day I got this message to upgrade my Thunderbird to version 3 …but lightning was not compatible…guess what? I will wait till it is …because I really love this calendar/planning tool within my email program.
    Great work guys …I wish I could put my 2 cents in but I can’t program for $%^# :)
    Keep up the good work!

  37. Hi, I don’t know if this is a known issue, but I am using a caldav server with different calendars on it. They do not combine well in Lightning for TB3. As a matter of fact, they combine all! One calendar with one URL gives same results as another calendar with (partially the same ) URL.
    Is there a fix for this otherwise great enhancement?? Sunbird 2 on the same machine and using the same urls, works perfect.
    Thanks!! Devis

  38. Just started using tb3. Coming over from Eudora which wasn’t getting these upgrades. Looking forward to Lightning for tb3. I use Lotus Organizer on my pc, the “links” are a tremendous help to me for managing contacts and information in that database. I have not used Lightning at all, will it have a linking feature? If not can you add it in? Thanks…

  39. Just updated to the TB3 and also the nightly Lightning… very satisfied. I was a little concerned after I updated TB3 and got the message about the calender not being compatible. But all is well! Thanks for all your help!

  40. I just installed TB3.
    From here I grabbed the Jan 7 2010 win32 builds and installed them:
    After restarting TB, Tools – Add-ons, the Provider for Google Calendar Options button is always disabled. So there is no way to setup sync between my calendars.
    Anyone know what step I am missing.

  41. Just moved from TB2 to TB3 and installed the beta lightning and beta provider and it works like a charm!

  42. Found one bugg/problem. When double clicking the list of a mail, there is no way to get to be a floating window again. Just me?

  43. The OnlyToothfairy

    I am completely pissed at the fact that Thunderbird has upgraded itself without warning and my Calender was wiped.
    WTF are you guys thinking of?

  44. I, too, am somewhat pissed that t-bird updated w/o warning me that some extensions are not compatible. Also because when I try to install from some of the URLs above, the installer tells me that “Lightning 1.0b2-pre could not be installed because it is not cpmpatible with Firefox 3.5.7”. Inertesting, since I just upgraded -to- 3.5.7. (I suppose I should try a restart or two and see what happend, it’s windoze.)

  45. I, too, am somewhat pissed that t-bird updated w/o warning me that some extensions are not compatible. Also because when I try to install from some of the URLs above, the installer tells me that “Lightning 1.0b2-pre could not be installed because it is not cpmpatible with Firefox 3.5.7”. Inertesting, since I just upgraded -to- 3.5.7. (I suppose I should try a restart or two and see what happend, it’s windoze.)

  46. For us Luddites, please remain compatible with Windows 2000.

  47. “Lightning” could not be installed because it is not compatible with your Shredder build type (Linux_x86_64-gcc3). Please contact the author of this item about the problem.”
    No x86_64 yet ?

  48. Reply to z!
    I’m not a developer, but I know that you get the Firefox incompatibility message when you click on an xpi download. It thinks you want to install a Lightning add-on into FF instead of TBird!!
    Instead, right click and save the download. Then in Tbird, install it from the downloaded file.
    Hope that helps

  49. Lightning works great with Win XP and Win 7. Unfortunately, my 64 bit Fedora 12 boxes still do not work. Have just finished downloading the ‘nightly build’ and still no luck. I depend on this add-on.
    I find it rather odd that I have to resort to Windows to use a functional version of Thunderbird 3 and Lightning.
    I am now contemplating removing Thunderbird and going with Evolution. Mail applications are basic to most businesses and to have an add-on as important as Lightning not functioning is not workable.

  50. Jon, you should be able to use the contrib 64 bit builds from:

  51. That worked great for me at 64bit Fedora 12! Thanks!