How to solve incompatibility problems when upgrading to Thunderbird 3.0.3

Some of our users currently seem to experience problems with Lightning becoming incompatible when they update their Thunderbird installation to the 3.0.3 release.

The reason for this seems to lie in the fact that those users use a Lightning nightly build and update it on a daily basis with the Lightning Nightly Updater add-on or manually update to the latest available nightly build. But because we moved our Lightning nightly builds to only support the current Thunderbird 3.1 development builds, as reported earlier, this leads to the incompatibility.

The solution is simple though:
Just uninstall your current nightly build and install the Lightning 1.0 beta1 release. This release is identical to the latest available Lightning nightly builds for Thunderbird 3, but fully compatible with the Thunderbird 3 release. And to be on the safe side: Please backup your profile folder, before doing this!


  1. That certainly explains that the nightly build is just as broken as the beta 1 release. So, what you are saying means that we are stuck filling out multiple master password prompts on startup and restarting Thunderbird regularly (Lightning got stuck in some invalid state) at least until Thunderbird 3.1 is released?

  2. The Lightning Nightly Updater add-on should recognize which version of Thunderbird is installed and automatically install the correct version of Lightning – no matter which version of Thunderbird is installed. Anything less is a PITA – especially for the less experienced users – i.e. those who use release builds of Thunderbird.

  3. The first 3.1b1 test build is already out, so if you are using nightly calendar builds why not switch to a 3.1b1 build?

  4. Peter,
    less experienced users should not use the nightly updater add-on at all. The release builds are geared especially towards them.

  5. Simon:
    Yes, that does make sense. The version offered on a.m.o is 1.0 beta1 (a “beta” version). I guess you mean they should use that.
    I still think the Lightning Nightly Updater add-on should correctly recognize the Thunderbird version and install the correct nightly version of Lightning – no matter what version of Thunderbird is installed – even if the updater only offers Lightning 1.0 beta1 (and subsequent beta “release builds”).
    It should “just work”.

  6. how do you uninstall a nightly build?

  7. Darcelle: Lightning is an extension. To uninstall it, select it in the Addons Manager, click “Uninstall” near the right end of the selected area, and restart Thunderbird — just as to uninstall any extension.

  8. I have updated TB to the 3.0.3 version. Lightning is 1.0b1 (following the link you posted), and still not working. (An error was encountered preparing the calendar located at moz-profile-calendar://?id=3 for use. It will not be available. error code : 0x80004005)
    I have tried to reinstall TB, reinstall Lighning, no improvement. Any thoughts ? Do you reckon I should go for 3.1 and nightly builds ? I do not consider myself as an advanced user, and mostly do not wish to have to care about updates and lose time every day on this professional computer… tks in advance!

  9. What a chaos.. How sad that Thunderbird+Lightning, the only sensible multi-platform open-source alternative to Outlook (and thus THE application where a typical business user spends most of his/her time with) has to work under such shabby conditions. We must be grateful to Philipp, Simon and all other helpers that work so hard on this, but something has to happen here: My proposal:
    1. Thunderbird 3.1. must include lightning (with disable option). Stop this beta version confusion.
    2. If Mozilla does not want to support it right, transfer it to Openoffice. This spin-off of Mozilla messaging was a nonsense decision…
    Maybe this are old ideas and will generate a lot of flames, but I had to express it…

  10. I fully agree with Karl.
    The calendar is as important as Thunderbird – combine them.
    You loose your users if you produce such update confusions.

  11. Danilo Fortunato

    I fully agree with Karl and Grisha.
    Thunderbird should include the calendar functionality as a native feature, therefore Lightning should be completely embedded into Thunderbird, and it should disappear as an extension.

  12. I fully agree with Karl, Grisha and Danilo. Calendaring should ALWAYS be given top priority and assurance of compatibility with any version of TB (or be included with TB). Otherwise, TB will go the way of the dinosaurs.

  13. I fully agree with Karl, Grisha, Danilo and Chuck.
    Calendar is the most popular and most important extension on thunderbird. Mozilla foundation must be dedicate more founds on calendar.
    Solution is simply, more priority is more money.

  14. I fully agree with the posts above and PLEASE give us some indication when the beta2 or final release will be provided. The last update was given 20 days ago.
    Thank you so much for your efforts.

  15. I fully agree with Karl, Grisha, Danilo, Chuck and Ander. Not only should Lightning be embedded in TB, it should be possible to sync Palms and other PDAs. It’s a major stumbling block to increased take up as far as I can see.

  16. I fully agree with Karl, Grisha, Danilo, Chuck and Ander. Not only should Lightning be embedded in TB, it should be possible to sync Palms and other PDAs. It’s a major stumbling block to increased take up as far as I can see.

  17. I agree, too!

  18. I fully agree too !

  19. I agree. Lightening should be part integrated with Thunderbird.

  20. I am on Linux 64bit fedora. This does not work.
    Common guys – you should be ashamed of yourself. Make this THING work on linux without any problems.
    Integrate it into Thunderbird already.
    It’s been going on for a few years now. At least outlook always worked (memory hog – yes, slow – yes, works -yes). Whereas this thing breaks with every upgrade.
    Where is the developer integrity? Where is your pride?
    When google brands something “beta” it WORKS. When you brand it beta – it means “don’t even bother”.
    I understand that you all are doing this out of the goodness of your heart – but if you can’t do a proper job – just quit. So that someone else has the REASON to pick it up and redo it or do it propertly. Otherwise – you are kind of doing it – and kind of not doing it.
    Well, you just wait till someone out there will out-do this whole project of yours – and you will be forgotten. Why not do it the right way – so that it does not happen?
    Get you stuff together!
    PS: I realize no one will read this comment. It is like speaking into the black hole. One of the great bonuses of “open source” is that no one is “responsible”.

  21. Wow… So many angry people out there.
    First thing first : whining won’t make lightning better. If you want to help, you’re welcome.
    Especially drozy : If you are not happy with lightning, go give your money to MS. I’m pretty sure everybody will be happier this way.
    Or, if you’re a “responsible” person, maybe you could just help… If you have enough knowledge to see the project is a mess and enough time to complain about it, I’m sure you could make lightning really better than it is.
    I agree with the fact that mozilla should invest more funds on lightning, but i also want to remind this :
    Speaking about PDAs sync, i managed to sync with my blackberry through funambol, but this need a bit of work, and funambol plugin is also a preview releases…
    To calendar team, keep up the good work !

  22. Hi _tof_
    I’m not angry. I only think that today is the time to help calendar, we and mozilla.
    how percent of mozilla found goes to calendar? less than little.
    I don’t think that every time will be the same help, but now, when then calendar 1.0 is coming….
    be free.

  23. I was a huge fan of Thunderbird 2 + Lightning 0.9, and I was hoping that, after two years of development, Mozilla messaging could blow us away giving us an awesome release with an integrated calendar support and exciting sync options. I was so disappointed to see that the calendar project wasn’t considered as important as the rest of the suite, and I was really upset when I discovered that Mozilla Messaging was delivering Thunderbird 3 without a proper calendar support. Now, I was expecting to have a working calendar before Christmas, but hey, it’s march, and still no stable lightning release is on the sight! What’s going on? Are you really pushing us to another solution?

  24. I fully agree with Karl, Grisha, Danilo, Chuck, Ander + David too.

  25. Sander, my email is too important for me to use beta versions. I wouldn’t use a Lightning beta either if there were another way. Unfortunately, 1.0b1 is unusable – I tried the nightly in the hope that things improved and got more stable. But now it seems that switching back to Sunbird is the only way.

  26. use Lanikai and the nightly updater. it works extremely well.

  27. I have been using TB 3.1a1 then 3.1b1 for a month with nightly builds and it’s been stable for me. Of course this does not mean that it will not break in future updates, but normally every day that passes the risks are lower (unless the developers are doing a bad job which clearly is not the case).
    Keep in mind that normally in software development when you say the version is beta, you stop developing new features. So the only source of new bugs might come from regressions…
    Regarding the bundling of Calendar with TB I fully support the idea. Developpers should forward this thread to the decision makers… or maybe organise an online poll ;)
    Keep up the good work!

  28. Hello Folks,
    please understand that integrating Lightning into Thunderbird is not easily done. With the small amount of contributors, its impossible to follow the pace of Thunderbird. Each area of Lighting must have good code ownership by people being able to maintain it for the long term.
    We also need to improve on user experience and performance, to match the simplicity Thunderbird provides. All of this is work in progress, but we just aren’t ready for integration just yet.
    Regarding the Lightning Nightly Updater, this extension is not maintained by the calendar team, but I have contacted the author recently and will do so again to fix the current issues.
    I hope this makes you feel better about Lightning, I hope to blog about this soon.

  29. I would think that Google would be motivated to provide the missing financial support to give Lightning (the whole calendar project really).
    For several years I have been using Windows Mobile devices (and before that when they were called Pocket PC and Windows CE). And I have been therefore locked in to Outlook. I want that regime to end.
    I believe in openness and user configurability on my PC’s, Mac’s and Smartphone. I am migrating to Thunderbird + Lightning so that I can soon be adopting an Android phone and sharing all the data. Maybe if Google realized that they could, with just a little more incremental effort, get this project to implement excellent desktop clients, this would help them unlock Microsoft (Windows Mobile/CE) phone users who are accustomed to syncing between Outlook and their phone. And the timing for this could not be better: if Google wants to further erode Microsoft’s market share in mobile phones they could assist this project before the Series 7 phones are released. (Because the next Microsoft phones will be closed systems more like Apple’s.)

  30. I just upgraded to Ubuntu 10.04 which, amongst other things, removed Sunbird for me.
    On the Sunbird page I read that “This is the last public Sunbird release by the Calendar Project.”
    I’d really like to give Lightning a try but when I attempt to install it I get the following –
    “”Lightning” could not be installed because it is not compatible with your Thunderbird build type (Linux_x86_64-gcc3). Please contact the author of this item about the problem.”
    Now I need my Calendar info now, not “in due course, in the fullness of time, at the appropriate juncture, when the moment is ripe” (from “Yes Prime Minister” for those unfamiliar with it.!) and I don’t have the time (nor, for that matter, the inclination) to fiddle about.
    Fortunately Messrs Google can oblige with Google Calendar and I’ve shifted and hopefully will be able to remember all the appointments that the upgrade to 10.04 deleted!
    This is the sort of situation that really gives open source a bad name Folks and convinces those in the Windoze camp to stay there!!
    May I humbly suggest that the Calendar Project Team gets it’s act together pronto!!!!
    As a parting shot why get rid of a stand alone Calendar program (Sunbird) that worked quite well from my experience and force people to use Thunderbird?
    Forcing people to use a particular piece of software is what the evil empire does not, I would hope, what we in the open source camp do!
    Yours in frustration!