Project

General

Profile

Feature #17149

Feature #17148: Upgrade to Thunderbird 78 ESR

Figure out what to do with Torbirdy vs. Thunderbird 78 ESR

Added by intrigeri about 1 month ago. Updated 5 days ago.

Status:
Confirmed
Priority:
Elevated
Assignee:
-
Category:
-
Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:

0%

Feature Branch:
Type of work:
Research
Blueprint:
Starter:
Affected tool:

Description

Even if we manage to ship Torbirdy on Thunderbird 68 (see #16771 for details), it's quite unlikely that it'll still work on Thunderbird 78, so we will probably need to figure something out.

Info gleaned on Thunderbird mailing lists:


Related issues

Related to Tails - Feature #16771: Upgrade to Thunderbird 68 In Progress
Related to Tails - Feature #17219: Replace TorBirdy In Progress
Blocks Tails - Feature #16209: Core work: Foundations Team Confirmed

History

#1 Updated by intrigeri about 1 month ago

#2 Updated by intrigeri about 1 month ago

#3 Updated by intrigeri about 1 month ago

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.11 to Tails_4.10

(Actually we can, and possibly should, do this as soon as Thunderbird 78 is released, ahead of the time when Thunderbird 68 is EOL and it becomes urgent and stressful.)

#4 Updated by intrigeri about 1 month ago

  • Description updated (diff)

#5 Updated by u 8 days ago

Here is a summary from today's meeting. I hope I did not mix things up too much, our running around in circles was quite hard to break! @segfault please correct me if I'm wrong.

- Thunderbird 78 will not support traditional addons anymore, possibly even TB72 won't
- https://developer.thunderbird.net/add-ons/tb78
- planned for summer 2020
→ a lot of stuff will not work anymore, XUL is going away
→ it's unclear if preferences can even be set by a MailExtension. And if all needed preferences can be set.

- One can't directly access preferences via WebExtensions: https://wiki.mozilla.org/WebExtensions/FAQ#Does_the_WebExtensions_API_provide_access_to_preferences.3F

- For reference, Thunderbird preferences set by Torbirdy here:
https://gitweb.torproject.org/torbirdy.git/tree/components/torbirdy.js#n30
https://gitweb.torproject.org/torbirdy.git/tree/chrome/content/emailwizard.js

- For reference: overlays that are set by Torbirdy:
https://gitweb.torproject.org/torbirdy.git/tree/chrome/content

How to go further
-----------------

- user interface can probably go away so we're left with a set of
preferences.

- we need to check if all the preferences could actually be set (segfault)
(sukhbir is happy to help with this in any way)
→ this would be a prerequisite to port to WebExtensions/MailExtensions

- check whether a hypothetical WebExtension ported Torbirdy will be broken with TB72 already (segfault)
- legacy support will be removed from the code base within the
Thunderbird 72 time frame (end of 2019):
https://developer.thunderbird.net/add-ons/tb78
→ this means our timeframe would be even shorter.

- If we think it is useful, to benefit more, also non-Tails, users, we could try to fix things in Thunderbird directly, possibly hiring an Outreachy or a GSoC student. Sukhbir could do the mentoring.

- But we will not have enough time to fix this for TB 78 in any case be it by porting to MailExtensions, be it by fixing it in Thunderbird directly.
→ This short time frame means that we will have to find a Tails specific solution.
- That could be a Git repo that can be used by other privacy distributions. (We should communicate with them about this.)
- And then set the preferences for Thunderbird in Tails directly.

#6 Updated by segfault 8 days ago

u wrote:

How to go further
-----------------
[...]
- we need to check if all the preferences could actually be set (segfault)
(sukhbir is happy to help with this in any way)
→ this would be a prerequisite to port to WebExtensions/MailExtensions

I looked through the MailExtensions (that just seems to be the name of WebExtensions in Thunderbird) API of both Thunderbird 68, and the pre-release version, and didn't see any functions which would allow us to set the preferences set by TorBirdy:

So I don't think it will be possible to port TorBirdy to a MailExtension.

- check whether a hypothetical WebExtension ported Torbirdy will be broken with TB72 already (segfault)
- legacy support will be removed from the code base within the
Thunderbird 72 time frame (end of 2019):
https://developer.thunderbird.net/add-ons/tb78

After reading more, I understand a bit better what will be removed in which Thunderbird version:
  • In either Thunderbird 72 or 78, the support for loading a legacy XUL extension via the JSON manifest will be removed. I still don't understand in which version that will be removed, the page is titled "Updating Legacy Extensions for Thunderbird 78" but it then says "it should be [removed] whitin the Thunderbird 72 time frame - so by end of 2019".
    https://developer.thunderbird.net/add-ons/tb78

So we could spend some time to convert the manifest and try getting TorBirdy to work in Thunderbird 68, but that would only work for a few months. I think that instead we should try to implement and test a Tails-specific solution (i.e. set the Thunderbird preferences via our hooks) ASAP.

#7 Updated by segfault 5 days ago

Also available in: Atom PDF