Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thunderbird 11 Available in Stable PPA; Official Repos Not Yet

Thunderbird 11 was released a few days back, and is now available in the Stable PPA; users of Oneiric 11.10, however, need to be patient a bit longer for it to also land in its official repos. For Linux users, these are the only noteworthy changes, but as you'll see, the first one is major (to be discussed below):
  • New user interface with Tabs above the main menu bar to facilitate navigation and make it more contextual
  • The usual long list of bug fixes
For the complete release notes, please see here:

The Tab Placement Controversy

Reg. the new tab placement, I want to note that - unlike in Firefox - there seems to be no way currently to move them back to where they were used to be, even though it's claimed in the description of the related bug report that it's possible via a custom "userChrome.css", but even after fiddling for quite some time with some CSS snippets I've found on the web upon further researching that and the DOM Inspector, I didn't manage to achieve that.

However, in a comment on the same bug report, Mike Conley from the Thunderbird team explains the reasoning behind all that, which is also the matter of this earlier bug report. And thinking about that more objective, it becomes obvious that in order to handle those tasks in tabs as well that, till now, need to be opened in dedicated windows, to be able to provide the task-related items in the toolbar, you need to move the toolbar into the tabs of the specific tasks, providing the items that would otherwise be provided in dedicated windows. Imagine how weird it would look if you'd keep the tabs below the toolbar, and clicking on the task-related tabs would cause the toolbar to change its items to fit the specific tasks of those tabs - a happy ever-shuffling toolbar! :D

However - contrary to their original announcement ("tab above the main menu bar"), and unlike to the Windows version - under Linux, the tabs are still below the menu bar, that is, if not using Global Menu, obviously - which the Mac version uses too, for that matter. So they still have work to be done to bring the Linux version in line with their strategy, plus it looks quite weird how it is now. :P

Lucid, Maverick and Natty Installation

Thunderbird 11 can be installed in Ubuntu Lucid, Maverick and Natty from the 'Stable PPA'. If you have already added that PPA to your Software Sources, and you have Thunderbird already installed, all you need to do is to install the available updates via the Update Manager.

If you didn't add that PPA yet and want to upgrade your already installed Thunderbird to the latest version, run from a Terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/thunderbird-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

If you haven't installed Thunderbird yet, just replace the last command above with:

sudo apt-get install thunderbird


Oneiric Installation

Oneiric users will be updated to Thunderbird 11 automatically via the Update Manager. It isn't available in the official repositories of Oneiric yet, but it should be there soon. You can keep an eye on it by checking this site:

Update 3/23/2012: Thunderbird 11 has now finally arrived in the official repos of Oneiric 11.10.

To upgrade your installed Thunderbird via command line, run:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

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