Lightning 1.0 Beta 2 and Compatibility

A few people have asked me different compatibility questions around Lightning 1.0b2. I’d like to take a moment and tell you about what applications Lightning 1.0b2 will support.

What version(s) of Thunderbird will Lightning 1.0b2 support?
This version of Lightning will only support Thunderbird 3.1. To go a bit more into the technical details, Lightning 1.0b2 and Thunderbird 3.1 use the Mozilla Platform version 1.9.2. The previous versions (Lightning 1.0b1 / Thunderbird 3.0.x) use the Mozilla Platform version 1.9.1. Therefore we cannot provide a version of Lightning that is compatible with Thunderbird 3.0.x

Will Lightning 1.0b2 support Seamonkey?
As you can see in this blog post, Seamonkey does not support the Mozilla Platform version 1.9.2. Therefore, Lightning 1.0b2 cannot support Seamonkey 2.0 or 2.1. Note however, the next version of Lightning will most likely use the Mozilla 1.9.3 Platform, which means the next release (due in about 4 months) will be compatible with Seamonkey 2.1. Until then you can still use Lightning 1.0b1 together with Seamonkey 2.0.x.

Which version of the Provider for Google Calendar should I use?
Together with Lightning 1.0b2, I will release a new version of the Provider for Google Calendar. This version will be called 0.7 and will be available on together with Lightning.

Why don’t you use the latest Mozilla platform, verion 1.9.3?
The 1.9.3 platform contains the newest features and bugfixes to date, but this also means that some Mozilla components we use, as well as some UI features, have changed and require us to adapt our code. Changes in the platform can happen every day, which means it doesn’t make sense to rely on it for a release. Just imagine something big changes between now and next week: this would postpone the release indefinitely, which is obviously bad. Another factor is that the newer platform has binary components that have a different interface. If we build Lightning with Mozilla 1.9.3, it won’t be compatible with a Thunderbird on the Mozilla 1.9.2 platform. It makes sense to use the same Mozilla platform version that Thunderbird does, this causes the least amount of headaches.

Why are you releasing betas, and not 1.0 final?
There is a certain level of stability that people expect from such a major release such as 1.0. We have decided on a certain set of bugs that we think should be fixed before 1.0 final is released. Back when we released 1.0b1, we had a few possibilities on what we should name it. There was 0.10 (as in 0.8, 0.9, 0.10, …), but people could think this is similarly mature as 0.1 was. There was 0.9.5, but we wanted to make clear that the Mozilla platform used has a different minor version (1.8.x vs 1.9.x). So we ended up with 1.0b1. Now we have no other choice than to continue with betas until we’ve fixed all the bugs we think make sense for 1.0 final.

I hope this gives a bit of insight, if you have any further questions, please comment!


  1. What are the differences between gecko 1.9.2 and 1.9.3 that lightning would work with 1.9.2, but not 1.9.3?

  2. I am a little confused… I am using the nightly build of Lightning and can easily connect to Google Calendar. What is the “Provider for Google Calendar” for?

  3. @Aqualon:
    The differences lie mainly in the backend (e.g. changed interfaces). There is also the issue of where we want to spend our resources.
    As of yesterday only 0,15% of our daily users use SeaMonkey, while roughly 60% use Thunderbird 3 and roughly 40% still use Thunderbird 2.
    Basically it makes absolutely no sense for us to spend the few resources we have on making Lightning compatible with Gecko 1.9.3 and therefore for the handful of users that currently use SM 2.1 nightly builds.
    If everything goes to plan, our next release (1.0 beta3) will be ready in time for the SM 2.1 final release as it will be for the release following Thunderbird 3.1.

  4. I just wanted to say THANKS for your work. I’ve been using Thunderbird along with Lightning and Google Provider for some time now and I’m mostly very happy with it. Great job!

  5. Same question as Noah : what are the differences between connecting to Google Calendar via calDAV or via the ‘Provider for Google Caldendar’ ?
    It would be nice to find a comparison on the provider page
    Thank you. Cedric

  6. why ‘beta2’ name in final release?
    Next will be ‘beta3’ at SM 2.1
    …and RC at 2011, RC2 at….
    when we have a ‘normal’ release?
    I think calendar team is making a great job and this names are not correct to help our project.

  7. Some more answers to some questions in preceding comments:
    – 1.9.3 includes a brand-new addons manager; many extensions (including Lightning) may need some reworking to work with it. There are already some pre-alpha nightlies of Lightning and gdata-provider being built on the 1.9.3 platform, but at the moment they require a manual workaround for bug 563170.
    – I can access public Google calendars read-only in iCAL (*.ics) format without the Provider for Google Calendar, but IIUC that extension is needed to access Google Calendars read-write with username & password in Lightning.

  8. @Tony
    You can also have a complete access (read-write) to the Google calendars using the calDAV protocol :

  9. Plz get x64 ubuntu version out soon.

  10. naren, a 64 bit contrib version is linked in the last blog post.

  11. I have installed TB 3.1 and Firefox 3.6.8.
    When I try to install Lightning 1.0 Beta 2, I get the announcement: not compatible with Firefox 3.6.8.
    How can I install Lightning 1.0b2 and how do I recover my old calender items?