Status Update: April 17, 2012

A lot has happened in the past two months since our last post: we’ve been quite busy trying to fix the list of blockers for Instantbird 1.2!

We’ve again joined Mozilla as part of their application for Google Summer of Code. You can see some of our ideas on Mozilla’s wiki. (We should find out soon whether Instantbird will be doing any projects or not this year!)

What’s New?

  • The JavaScript IRC implementation has landed! Many minor bugs were also fixed. The behavior is mostly the same as the old libpurple implementations, but there are differences. If you see issues, please file a bug! This will allow for better IRC support in the future.
  • The tab completion algorithm has been made smarter:
    • It now prefers the last person to have pinged you if there are multiple possible completions.
    • Addressing multiple participants is now handled gracefully.
  • There is now a reading position marker to show which messages arrived since you last viewed a conversation.
  • Updated to Mozilla 11.
  • A few crashers have been fixed.

What’s Coming Soon / Being Worked On?

What’s this I hear about Thunderbird integrating instant messaging code from Instantbird?

You may have heard that instant messaging was recently added to Thunderbird. This work was done by our very own Florian Quèze! Don’t panic though! This doesn’t mean that Instantbird development is stopping, we strongly believe there is a place for both a standalone instant messenger and a more integrated approach with email. This is a mutually beneficial relationship between Instantbird and Thunderbird where we share code, benefit from more testing and get a set of new people — and ideas — involved in making instant messaging easier and more about how you — the user — wants it!

For those curious, approximately one-third of the Instantbird codebase is now in Thunderbird’s Daily and Earlybird builds.  Feel free to give it a try and file any bugs in Mozilla’s bugtracker. Currently it looks like this feature will likely appear in Thunderbird 15.

We’re getting close to the Instantbird 1.2 release and we think there’s been a lot of great improvements that will make it easier and more natural to instant message with your friends, family, co-workers and others!

9 thoughts on “Status Update: April 17, 2012

  1. Hi, I’ve just tried instantbird 1.1. I use instantbird for local xmpp messenger(my office use openfire for the server). I’ve tried several others xmpp messenger so far, I have few comments about instantbird:

    1. Handshake error, you need to google about the problem and turn off the certificate check, in the other messenger I don’t have to do this, I just need to accept the certificate. This will certainly drive common user away.
    2. No feature to change buddy’s online, busy, offline yet. I don’t like the icon. It’ll be great if there’s to change the icon.
    3. No feature to minimize new conversation, this is really important because when I’m in the middle of doing something, a window popup will distract me.
    4. No feature to change username or password in account manager, I need to delete the account and create new to change the info.
    5. No feature to just show online members, this is really important for a messenger I think.

    Overall there’s still lot of improvement to be made, I won’t use instantbird yet but I hope in the future it’ll be better than other messengers to make me consider using it as my primary messenger :D

    • Thanks for trying Instantbird!

      1a. Yes, we know this is an issue. We’d like a certificate error dialog to pop up (similar to Firefox’s), but we haven’t implemented this yet. We have a bug open to track the issue.
      1b. You should really import your cert instead of disabling all certificate checking, however.
      2a. You’re able to do this from a variety of places (the tray icon and/or jump list menu in Windows and the top of the buddy list, next to your display name).
      2b. There’s been some discussion about changing the icon, but no consensus.
      3. There’s an extension you might like: the Do Not Disturb addon (
      4a. You can easily change the password in the properties of each account.
      4b. Currently you cannot change the username, it has to do with the way libpurple stores and persists account information. We have a bug open on this issue.
      5. By default Instantbird only shows online users. In the context menu of the contact list there’s an option to show/hide offline contacts.

      Thanks for your feedback, I think most of the features you’ve requested ARE actually available and some of the other ones aren’t issues that should be run into often (essentially they revolve around setting up an account…which we would definitely like to make simpler).

  2. Happy to see the project is not dead. Seems like nothing has really been coming forth development-wise after such a major push out of the gate last year with version 1.

    The do not disturb addon does not address what was asked for. One should not have to change one’s status to have new conversations go on hold and actually, this is not about conversations going on hold. This is about new conversation windows simple being minimized.

    • > Seems like nothing has really been
      > coming forth development-wise after
      > such a major push out of the gate last
      > year with version 1.

      Seems I misinterpreted the about one hundred fixed bugs since 1.1 (in last October) then, including major things like integration of a XMPP and IRC rewrite. Man, and I thought we made good progress. Thanks for setting this right :S

      > The do not disturb addon does not address
      > what was asked for. One should not have
      > to change one’s status to have new
      > conversations go on hold and actually,
      > this is not about conversations going on hold.
      > This is about new conversation windows
      > simple being minimized.

      Feel free to file an enhancement request. Giving convincing reasons will improve the probability of it being adressed one day.

      • Then this is a case where it is unfortunate that some of us cannot appreciate the work that is going on in the background.

        Convincing reasons to improve the probability of it being addressed one day? Already sounds like swimming upstream.
        Easy to conclude that If mention of it s not enough, the case is already closed.
  3. When can we expect file transfer support?
    It’s not a problem for me but I can’t start converting people because not everyone runs an an ftp and http server on localhost.
    • Unfortunately (you won’t like this response): when someone adds support for it. We know it’s a wanted feature, but it’s difficult to get right. (File transfers notoriously don’t work for some people over instant messaging and we don’t want it to work only half the time! We’d love there to be some kind of fallback mechanism…) There is a bug open on this though: If someone is interested in helping to add this, we’d definitely love that and will work with them to get it right. :)

  4. I’m trying out IBird because Pidgin has started crashing for me for the last two versions during MSN convos.

    1) What I miss most is an emoticon selection window that shows all emoticons from the currently active emoticon addon.

    2) I’m using the excellent DarkChat 1.2 addon but the incoming messages show up as black (unless the other user has changed his color). I would like the option to override his text color.

    3) Profile pics of my buddies …

    4) The icon/logo needs to be a bird, seriously.

    5) How long are the convo logs kept ? Forever ? No option about it under Privacy.

    • I hope you’re enjoying Instantbird so far! Please let us know if you have any problems (on our bugtracker most likely:

      1. Sounds like you want the Smile! addon. :) (

      2. You want to disable incoming fonts, (Tools > Options > Formatting > “Display formatting of incoming messages” > Choose any option except “all”).

      3. Your buddies’ avatars should show up fine, although there’s been reports of issues on MSN.

      4. :)

      5. Conversation logging is either disabled or enabled. If it’s enabled, logs are kept forever. This could be tweaked with an add-on, but I don’t think anyone has created one to mess with this.