Thunderbird and ReminderFox

On my Slackware office system I decided to update Thunderbird from 52.9 to 60.

I use the ReminderFox extension. I updated extensions in Thunderbird 52.9 and verified no compatibility notices. I updated to Thunderbird 60.2.1.

After updating Thunderbird, ReminderFox was tagged as incompatible.

Same results after updating Thunderbird to 60.3.

I removed the extensions, closed Thunderbird, and deleted all profile extensions files. Thunderbird again refused to install the ReminderFox extension.

I found nothing on the Thunderbird addon site about ReminderFox being incompatible.

On an Ubuntu MATE system I had no problem installing the same ReminderFox That at least let me know the likely cause was localized or PEBKAC.

Some digging indicated Thunderbird was trying to phone home to validate the extension. From the Thunderbird preferences I had removed the URL. Years ago with Firefox I started this practice of deleting URLs from the configuration because Mozilla developers only pay lip service to privacy. Deleting such URLs prevents any ability to phone home.

Back to ground zero. I reverted to Thunderbird 52.9, restored all extensions, and restored my ReminderFox files from backups. Back to normalcy.

Temporarily I allowed the compatibility check. I then installed the latest ReminderFox.

Next I discovered I lost the ReminderFox text display in the status bar. Apparently with version 60, the Thunderbird developers decided to follow a similar idiocy as the Firefox developers. Possibly the Thunderbird developers had little choice as they start supporting user interface changes with the shared code. With version 60 the status bar has been changed.

With the status bar changes the ReminderFox developers changed their extension.

For me that meant I no longer saw reminders in the status bar. The ReminderFox developers suggest enabling the toolbar icon in Options->Access. No icon appeared when I enabled the icon check box. Some head scratching later, I opened the Thunderbird Customize option and dragged the ReminderFox “string” icon to the toolbar. Still no text display. I restarted Thunderbird. I then again had a ReminderFox text display.

With the dust settled I again updated Thunderbird to 60.3. Again ReminderFox was tagged incompatible.

I set extensions.strictCompatibility to false. Thunderbird then recognized the extension.

After a subsequent Thunderbird restart, ReminderFox would not display the reminder list and calendar. Just an empty Window. ReminderFox kept resetting the text display to 40 characters after I changed the parameter.

I closed Thunderbird and deleted all Reminderfox options in prefs.js. I started Thunderbird. Same result. I could not view the default Welcome reminder. I removed the extension and again wiped prefs.js. I installed ReminderFox fresh. This time I finally saw the Welcome reminder.

In the ReminderFox configuration I changed the location of the files to my network share. I again could not view the list or calendar. I repeated the scrubbing exercise. The first time I opened ReminderFox I could view the list and calendar. Thereafter I saw only an empty window. I tried ReminderFox and Same results. First time a good window. Every subsequent time I saw an empty window.

In the end I surrendered. I reverted to Thunderbird 52.9. Even with this version, the ReminderFox 2.1.6.x extensions refused to allow me to display more than 40 characters. I restored ReminderFox and all was normal and well.

As the ReminderFox developers stopped supporting Firefox because of the changes with WebExtensions, and while there has been no announcement about the future of legacy extensions with Thunderbird, I am guessing the same eventual fate will hit ReminderFox on Thunderbird. I never used the Lightning calendar but perhaps I should start learning.

Thunderbird 60.* has been available since August. Yet I suppose to be fair I should accept that, like Firefox, broken add-ons are now par for the course and I should be patient with add-on compatibility.

Software has become too complex. Something is always broken.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General, Thunderbird

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