Following the release of Instantbird 1.0, we’ve received a variety of
great feedback (if you haven’t read some of our other posts: we love to
receive feedback, although we might not always agree) via our contact
our IRC channel, our bug
Twitter and what ever other ways
there are to communicate with us. We’d like to take some time to respond
to some of the popular requests we’ve got (or at the very least, point
you to the bug where you can follow any progress).
File transfer support: something we definitely want, but we also
want to give a good user experience. Unfortunately most protocols do not
transfer files efficiently or quickly (and many times they break when
behind firewalls, etc.), thus we wish to offer an alternative to using
the protocol file transfer before providing support for it: see bug
Grouping buddies first by protocol then by group: this has been
requested by multiple individuals, but we don’t feel it would fit well
into Instantbird. Instantbird is a multi-protocol instant messaging
client that aims to integrate all of your accounts together (therefore
it doesn’t make sense to separate your accounts on the contact list).
For example, is your “Friend” not your friend whether it’s your MSN
account, your AIM account or your Facebook account? Of course they still
are! But perhaps you have different groups of friends on MSN than on AIM
(maybe one is your online gaming buddies and one is your high school
friends); well our suggestion is to move them to tags that make more
sense (i.e. make an “Online Gaming Buddies” tag for all your MSN friends
and a “School Friends” tag for all your AIM friends, in this example).
When asking people why they want this, the response usually is “that’s
what <another IM client> does”. Well, ok but we wish that you take more
of a ‘contact level view’ of people: Combine your contacts that are the
same person and
group them according to how you know them. (You can even put them in
multiple tags, if someone is your online gaming buddy AND from school!)
If there’s a usecase that we’re not covering here, please let us know!
(And don’t forget that Instantbird is fully extensible, so you could
certainly write an extension to display the contacts grouped first by
protocol if you really need that feature.)
Blocking buddies at the protocol level: unfortunately support for
this isn’t great depending on the protocol, but libpurple does support
it. We have two bugs on file; one is to block individual
another to block all buddies not on your buddy
might not be supported by all protocols.
Blocking spam: although this is similar to blocking buddies, it’s
different in that you do not wish to block ALL people not on your buddy
list, but of course you still want to ignore the obvious spam messages!
See bug 288
and bug 887
for two ideas on how to implement this.
Start with the operating system: many people expect an IM client to
start with their operating system and although most operating systems
provide a way to manually make a program start on boot, it would be
convenient for Instantbird to provide an option to do this. This was
requested in bug
Facebook “Not Authorized” error: we added the solution to the
Voice/video: we’d love to support voice/video too! But libpurple
does not yet support voice/video on Windows or Mac, you can see bug
568 for some
OTR (off the record messaging): private messaging is something we
believe is useful, but it needs to be convenient and transparent to the
users (after authentication, of course!). Encrypted chat is not a
trivial task, especially when the protocols don’t support it, but
there’s a library (called Off the Record) which handles this for us, we
have a bug about integrating it: bug
People want 64-bit Linux versions: we actually currently supply
and there’s a bug about making them official (bug
Instantbird interrupts you: if you receive a new IM window
Instantbird rudely pops to the front, this is mostly noticeable when
using another application as a fullscreen window (bug
for now, there’s currently an easy workaround: keep a conversation
window opened and minimized, so that a new conversation appears in a tab
of the existing window instead of a new window.
Being able to search/filter the contacts would be helpful: we agree!
In fact we filed a bug about it: bug
System tray issues:
Persist the tray icon
: the system tray icon should stay visible
even when the buddy list is restored, see bug
Single click to restore the tray icon
was created to support this and by default the next version of
Instantbird will use single click on Linux and double click on Windows
Expand the system tray context menu to change the status
would be helpful and would match what was added to the jumplists for
Windows 7, see bug
any work on this.
We’ve heard that some protocols are having problems:
QQ does not work
: we’ve had reports of QQ
not connecting (QQ
actually dropped from Pidgin and spun off into a separate project
), which we intend
ICQ does not connect with default settings
: we have begun to
investigate this in bug
, but it
seems that SSL
is broken for now.
Twitter has a variety of issues and needs more work, including:
retweeting and replying to messages, direct messaging and showing a
list of who you follow and who follows you.
A few suggestions to replace the libpurple MSN with msn-pecan
actually have still not updated to the newest MSN
code from libpurple
2.9.0 (as it was causing crashes for one of our developers), see bug
People want more protocols:
IBM Lotus Sametime
: we’ve actually added
this in the nightly builds and it’ll be included in the next version!
: this should be fairly easy to add on Mac, but Windows and
Linux would require an extra library from Apple to support Bonjour. If
you’re interested in adding it, see bug
SIPE (Microsoft Office Communicator)
: one of our developers has
started working on this in bug
: supporting Skype is non-trivial and requires Skype to be
running in the background, use of (the non-free) SkypeKit or reverse
engineering the protocol, see bug
Lots of positive feedback! Including that Instantbird works great with
screen readers! We’ve received TONS of other great feedback as well,
this is just a summary of the popular feedback we’ve received.
Please remember that one of the team’s goals is to keep Instantbird as
light as possible, and for that reason, we are trying to encourage the
idea of creating add-ons for things that may not seem as a core
necessity for the larger audience.
Development of Instantbird 1.1 is already well underway. We have a
it. We definitely plan to release faster than we used to do before
Instantbird 1.0. Our current target date for the next release is the end