Status Update: February 25, 2012

We’ve been awful at posting updates to our blog about what has been going on! It’s too late now to even blame it on the holidays, but we owe you all an update about what’s been happening and here it is!  We do, generally, still have status meetings on Monday’s at 6:00 PM Paris time (that’s noon EST) in #instantbird on  Feel free to stop by and tell us what you love or what you hate or anything else!

What’s New?

  • Tab completion is now smarter: “active” nicknames are now favored in completions and your own nickname is avoided in completions unless it’s the only match.
  • The JavaScript XMPP protocol implementation developed by Varuna JAYASIRI for Google Summer of Code 2011 is now used for Facebook Chat and Google Talk accounts. It can’t yet fully replace the libpurple implementation until DNS SRV is supported.
  • You can now scroll to the first unread message after opening a conversation that was on hold by pressing Alt+Page Up (you can also scroll to the top of the conversation by pressing Alt+Page Up again after that)!
  • When opening a conversation on hold, the UI is now updated asynchronously if there are a lot of messages to restore. You may notice a progress bar has replaced the UI freeze we used to have in this situation.
  • Conversations are now logged in a JSON format to allow more information than the old plaintext logs.
  • You can now delete Twitter messages.
  • Passwords are now stored in the Mozilla password manager! Previous saved passwords will be migrated to the password manager automatically, but the old saved password in the preference system is not yet deleted.  This will be handled in a future update.
  • Buddy authorization requests have been rewritten to remove the (awful) modal dialogue!
  • Mozilla was updated to 9.0.1 and libpurple was updated to 2.10.1.
  • Various crashers have been fixed.
  • Additionally, a lot of code reorganization has occurred for ongoing work of sharing code with Thunderbird.

What’s Coming Soon / Being Worked On?

  • Our JavaScript implementation of IRC should be landing in the nightly builds soon, which should have feature parity to the libpurple implementation.  Please test this out!  You can find more information in bug 507.
  • Integrate SIPE (bug 976).
  • Add a reading position marker to quickly find the last read message in a conversation, bug 860.
  • Upgrade to Mozilla 10.

What’s up with Instantbird 1.2?

We were hoping to release Instantbird 1.2 near the end of January, 2012.  Unfortunately there are a few blockers / regressions that have been found, causing us to be unable to release.  Everything slated as wanted or blocking Instantbird 1.2 can be seen on our Bugzilla.

  • The l10n scripts need to be updated and translations need to be updated.
  • Decide whether to drop QQ (we need to support showing captchas to keep it): bug 1021.
  • Finish the JavaScript XMPP work (not all of these necessarily need to be done for Instantbird 1.2):
    • Handle setting a user’s icon.
    • Allow adding/removing tags from a buddy.
    • DNS SRV (not required for Facebook Chat or Google Talk): Mozilla bug 14328.
    • Receiving formatted messages (bug 1231).
    • Sending private messages to MUC participants.
    • MUC topics need to be supported.
  • Currently a contact will disappear and not reappear when their name changes for some reason, bug 1178.
  • Conversations should show the history in new windows, bug 958.
  • All message styles (not just Bubbles) should support context messages, bug 1074.

Again, please accept our sincerest apologies for not providing any updates in the past couple of months about the progress we’ve made with Instantbird.  We’re really excited about Instantbird 1.2 and can hopefully get it out to everyone as soon as possible!  As always, Instantbird is made great by the community and we’d love to have more help in working on it!  If you have any ideas (or no ideas, but some free time!) stop by #instantbird on and we can have some discussions or point you to ways to help you!

28 thoughts on “Status Update: February 25, 2012

  1. does icq protocol implementation endlessly have a “get info” about contacts?
    about 50% of my contacts are displayed as uins (numbers) and I have no way to know who they are… that’s why instantbird is unusable for me… as well as for the people living in russia, where icq is very popular
    • I’ve never heard this issue about ICQ before, can you please file a bug on The (few) ICQ contacts I have all load their information properly? Make sure you’re running the latest version of Instantbird (1.1) or a nightly build!

      • the last time I tried instantbird it had version 1.0 (I guess), but right now I can’t compile it due to in archlinux repos xulrunner is at version 10.0.2 so I can’t compile instantbird 1.1 on xulrunner 10, I was told it compiles on xulrunner 7 but since arch is a rolling distro I can’t get any outdated packages… if I try to compile them myself I have to compile some other packages too =((

  2. We were hoping to release Instantbird 1.2 near the end of January, 2012.”

    Erm.. For Feb 25 post that’s kinda strange release goal :x

  3. It seems strange to rewrite a working protocol implementation in Javascript. Are you trying to be free of libpurple in the future?

    • The libpurple IRC protocol leaves a lot to be desired (and is extremely hard to hack on). One thing I really wanted to do (which isn’t really possible with the libpurple version) is to make the protocol completely extensible since there are many flavors of IRC out there. An extension can hook into the protocol itself and modify how the protocol interacts with the accounts, etc. The implementation mostly started as something random for me to do, though.

      It’s unfortunate that there aren’t any user facing changes from this (yet); so it definitely might seem like a “waste of time”; but…I did write a whole blog post about this on my own blog: (shows you how long it’s been in the works too!).

      libpurple is actually optional right now (if you were to compile Instantbird yourself). Of course you’ll only be able to use XMPP, Twitter and IRC! Stop by #instantbird on if you’d like to discuss this more, by the way. I’m usually there during EST as some variation of clokep.

  4. Instantbird has a very nice looking, a cool IM. I do not like to save password in my notebook, and it seens Instantbird, can’t connect to any account unless i save the password, isn’t there a way to make it ask for password when the pass is not saved?

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  6. IRC is nice to have, but i would like to see more development in other more popular protocols. ;)

    • We’ll gladly accept patches if there’s someone interested in working on other protocols! Currently any improvements on protocols besides IRC or XMPP happen through libpurple (i.e. Pidgin’s instant messaging library).

  7. Thanks for the excellent job. I see instantbird is really moving forward however one thing I would like to bug you on are the accessibility tweaks.
    There are are some in the bugtracker. They appear to be really easy fixes at least from my unexperienced point of view and would help visually disabled people to use instant bird more effectivelly. Now due to extra verbosity in some places many people avoid it as a main IM client. These are the areas where the look is a bit different from what the accessibility APIs expose.
    If you need additional input regarding these tweaks please emphasize it in the bugtracker so we can try to address these.
    I am sure if I can come up with an idea on how to tweak a feature to be slightly better accessible in a hour you might be able to figure out possible problems with my suggestion and implementation in a similar period of time.
    I’m sorry if I sound too demanding I really respect the work you all are doing. I see this opportunity to try doing some more improvements in the future as well if I am able to from the technical perspective.

    Thanks one more time

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  12. please do not drop qq, i am using win 7 and debian 6, and i am using qq for my daily chat, so if i can do some help, and i will. But just tell me how to help!

    • Bug 1021 covers upgrading from the old libpurple plug-in to the new libqq one: . The real issue is that we don’t support captchas (or much of the request API from libpurple), which we’ve heard makes QQ essentially unusable. If you’re interested in helping out, please stop by #instantbird on or reply on the bug, etc.

      I’m glad it’s working for you! We hadn’t really had any reports of it working (and have no way to test ourselves).

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