Thunderbird Calendar aka the Lightning add-on - Quo vadis?

Wayne Mery vseerror at
Thu Aug 1 13:16:00 UTC 2019

On 7/31/2019 6:19 PM, Jörg Knobloch wrote:
> Hi lovers of Thunderbird and calendaring,
> have you ever asked yourself where one of the "productivity 
> components", the Thunderbird Calendar is going?
> Since TB 38 it's being shipped with Thunderbird on an "opt out" basis, 
> lately it even changed its version numbering scheme from (TB version + 
> 2) / 10 to just using the TB version[1].
> But what's happening otherwise?
> Long-standing bugs that have been astonishing the community like the 
> inability to process more than one invitation per message[2] or the 
> ability to double-click ICS attachments and process them[3] haven't 
> been addressed for more than a decade now.
> Most if not all volunteer Calendar contributors have left, unless 
> Thunderbird hired them[4].
> The Calendar blog[5] hasn't seen an update in two years.
> Bug triaging is lagging behind[6].
> The module page[7] is deserted. I've been on the project since 2015 
> and from the people listed on the page, I've only met Philipp, the 
> module owner.
> And there are administrative delays that affect Thunderbird as a 
> whole: Slow reviews of patches (including those of potential new 
> contributors), slow uplift/backport approvals of patches to beta and 
> ESR versions, slow Bugzilla administration, delay of many months to 
> provide the Lightning add-on at for those using 
> a distribution which doesn't package it[8][9].
> Apart from the long-standing issues mentioned above, there are also 
> questions reaching into the future:
> Why not integrate the calendar functionality completely into 
> Thunderbird and not ship it as add-on? That would solve endless 
> incompatibility and up/downgrade woes[10][11].
> The Calendar code is still using XUL overlays. What's the future of 
> that[12]?
> What about the "Provider for Google Calendar" add-on[13]? Can that be 
> retired in favour of CalDAV? The test to make sure it still works has 
> been switched off in August 2018[14].
> And finally: What's happening with ical.js, the JavaScript library 
> which is meant to replace the C++ library libical?
> I think the Thunderbird Calendar needs fresh wind and a more 
> pro-active leadership.
> Jörg (Thunderbird hacker).
> [1]
> [2] from 2010, 
> patch reviewed after almost ONE YEAR(!)
> [3] from 2006, 
> closed for public comment
> [4]
> [5]
> [6] - bugs of "major" importance

Worth adding "critical" bugs to the list, as most are of the same ilk as 
the "major"

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