Instantbird 1.2 Released!

We’re very proud to release Instantbird 1.2, which has a huge number of improvements!  If you love Instantbird 1.1, you’ll definitely appreciate the improvements made in this release; and if you don’t use Instantbird yet…well I’d suggest you give it a try! You can read the full list of changes (403 to be precise) in the release notes.

Instantbird 1.2 took way more time to finish (10 months!) than we originally expected, and even though there’s a very long list of improved details, there’s no major new features. So you may wonder… what happened?!?

Well, the reason why it took so long is… Thunderbird! The major change that came with Instantbird 1.2 is that the chat back-end code is now shared with Thunderbird, that will feature instant messaging support in its version 15, to be released in a few weeks.

This forced us to give priority to some long standing side projects that were interesting for Instantbird, but not immediately required: as Thunderbird can’t use libpurple which has an incompatible license, we had to finish sooner, rather than later, some major architectural changes to ensure that our chat back-end doesn’t depend on libpurple at all. That’s right, Instantbird 1.2 is no longer based on libpurple (but still uses it to support many protocols of course).

Our back-end working without libpurple wasn’t enough for Thunderbird: the only protocol plug-in shipped in Instantbird 1.0 and 1.1 that didn’t use libpurple was Twitter; more were obviously needed. Fortunately, we were already cooking a JavaScript implementation of XMPP (started during Google Summer of Code 2011) and IRC (it’s been Patrick’s side project for years!). Our initial goal when we started working on these 2 protocol reimplementations in JavaScript was to gain full control of the way these important protocols are handled by Instantbird, and to improve their extensibility. For Thunderbird, finishing them became a priority, and it’s where we spent most of our time!

As I’m talking a lot about Thunderbird, you may be wondering if this involvement of the Instantbird team in the Thunderbird project could mean we are discontinuing the development of Instantbird as a stand-alone application. Not at all! We believe both applications complement each other very well, and have different use cases. While Thunderbird, with integrated email and IM, may be better for users who work all day long with their email client and IM the same contacts; we believe lots of home users tend to use a webmail instead of a local email client and would prefer to keep their IM application separate.

We’re very excited that Instantbird is developing closer ties with Mozilla, who we think shares a similar mission of allowing users, YOU, to control their own privacy on the Internet! A few of our developers are now “peers” of Mozilla’s new chat module, and we are pursuing more opportunities to bring Instantbird closer to Mozilla in the future.

We hope you’ll enjoy using Instantbird 1.2 as much as we are and we greatly look forward to the next version of Instantbird! As always, if you see any bugs please file a bug, catch us on IRC or email us!

22 thoughts on “Instantbird 1.2 Released!

  1. Pingback: Релиз Instantbird 1.2, IM-клиента на базе технологий Mozilla | AllUNIX.ru — Всероссийский портал о UNIX-системах

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  5. This TB license issue is nasty. Putting a working back-end replacement in front of user features is even nastier.

    I have a bad hunch about this whole situation
    (and a tribal belief in TB’s bad mojo)

    • There is nothing nasty about it – it just means TB can’t ship libpurple (nor does it want to). And the changes to the back end are not “in front of user features” or even merely due to licensing issues, they were necessary prerequisites for improving user features in the future! For example, you can already see that IRC on Instantbird is clearly a much better user experience than it was in 1.1, with more features than would have been possible without the JS protocol.

    • We do have some concrete plans, but they are not on the wiki yet. Please join us on #instantbird if you would like to know more ;)

  6. is there a way to change the default sound for incoming and outgoing messages? i tried about:config but there didnt seem to be any path to a media file, nor could i find anything that jumped out at me in the program or app data directory. thoughts?

  7. Presumably Mozilla was supportive of theThunderbird chat innovation 10 months ago… and then they decided that they would only work on security fixes. It reminds me of how Firefox developers didn’t want to support gstreamer because their mission was to only promote Theora / WebM. And then Mozilla made an announcement that Firefox will start playing H.264. Is there a civil war at Mozilla?

    Whatever is going on, thanks for all the work. I will continue using both “birds” for a long time.

  8. Pingback: Instantbird updates with important changes inside

  9. Hello guys,

    I’m a little confused about hovering over a few of my friends on MSN.

    Sometimes I see :
    “has you No”
    “Blocked No”

    And sometimes :
    “Has you Yes”
    “Blocked No”

    What does the “Has you” mean?
    Is it part of “Has you blocked” as one who line?
    Or has you added as a friend?

    Thanks!

    • Those lines are totally separate and have nothing to do with each other. “Has You” refers to whether your friend “Has You” as a contact, “Blocked” refers to whether you have them blocked. I hope you’re enjoying using Instantbird!

    • I’d also like to know the prospects of other protocols being supported in Thunderbird. I’d like to use ICQ with Thunderbird.