Thunderbird and Addons

R Kent James kent at caspia.com
Mon Aug 24 18:35:19 UTC 2015


We need to do some sort of announcement in the Thunderbird blog about 
our plans concerning addons. I'd like to have feedback from folks to see 
if there is any debate about what is the correct direction for us.

We've at least agreed that we are continuing to support binary addons. 
Concerning signing, we took steps months ago to not move forward on 
requiring addons to be signed, so there are no current plans to require 
signing. There is still some debate about that in bug 1168571. We should 
probably come to a firm decision and announce it. Most commenters were 
opposed to signing, though there were some holdouts.

Then there is "The Future of Developing Firefox Add-ons - The Mozilla 
Blog 
<https://blog.mozilla.org/addons/2015/08/21/the-future-of-developing-firefox-add-ons/>" 
that announces the complete disabling of current XUL addons at some 
point in the future. Several Thunderbird community members commented on 
that blog post, strongly opposed to that direction.

Contrast that with Firefox/Go Faster 
<https://wiki.mozilla.org/Firefox/Go_Faster> where there are plans to 
expand the use of addons in Firefox, adding so-called "system add-ons" 
and moving Hello to one. (This is similar to what we are doing with 
Lightning, which should hopefully make our Lightning integration easier 
in the future).

At this point, I think that the prevailing viewpoint is probably the 
following, and I would like to announce this if possible in a blog post:

1)    Thunderbird continues to support binary addons.
2)    Thunderbird will not require addon signing.
3)    Thunderbird has no current plans to disable the use of traditional 
XUL/XPCOM addons in Thunderbird.

This policy must be modified by the caveat "as long as core Mozilla code 
can be used to support it".

(I might also note that initial patches are being looked at for the 
integration of the technology formerly know as Skinkglue into 
Thunderbird core, to be called JsAccount, which makes it possible to 
define new account types in Thunderbird using a traditional 
XUL/XPCOM/JavaScript addon. This will almost certainly be in our next 
major release).

Could I have some comments or discussion on these proposed positions?

I hope the Thunderbird community appreciates that diverging from Mozilla 
in this manner will probably mean that we will need to take over addon 
review from Thunderbird at some point, possibly including forking of AMO 
for our own use.

:rkent






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