Linux nightly builds back!

Back in March, we posted that we had started building nightly builds from mozilla-central/comm-central, but because the version of CentOS we had been using was too old, we were unable to continue providing Linux nightly builds. That has now changed and (as of today) we have both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux nightlies! Since this involved us installing a new operating system (CentOS 6.2) and tweaking some of the build configuration for Linux, please let us know if you see any issues! Additionally, some more up-to-date features that have been available in Mozilla Firefox for a while should now be available in Instantbird (e.g. dbus and pulse audio support) and even some minor bugs were fixed!

Sorry that this took so long, but go grab your updated copy now!

Pardon the Interruption! Instantbird nightly builds are back!

As of today, March 3rd, 2014, Instantbird nightly builds (1.6a1pre) are being built again. We last had nightly builds on January 9th, 2014 and they have been broken since due to a series of a large infrastructure change we’ve been going through to merge the Instantbird Bugzilla and code repository with Mozilla’s. Unfortunately, getting nightly builds working again took us longer than expected as it involved many related issues: updating Instantbird to work with newer versions of Mozilla, reconfiguring our buildbot and working on getting libpurple to build as an extension.

The results of this is that Instantbird is now building out of the “comm-central” code repository (the same place the code for Thunderbird is stored). What does this mean for you?

  • Instantbird nightlies are now built using comm-central/mozilla-central: bugs fixed in Mozilla will be reflected in the next Instantbird nightly.
  • Instantbird 1.6a1pre is currently based on Mozilla 30, this is a bit of a jump from Instantbird 1.5 (Mozilla 25). There might be an influx of bugs as any issues caused by this jump are worked out. Please report any issues you see!
  • (Not entirely related) Bugs for Instantbird can now be reported on under the “Instantbird” and “Chat Core” (for bugs shared with Thunderbird Chat) products.
  • Current nightly builds are located at on our ftp site, but automatic updating from older nightlies should still work.

Again, sorry for any interruption. Regular development should be continuing now. Thanks for all the concerned emails telling us our builds had stopped!

Nightlies fixed and with upgraded libpurple

  • We have nightly builds again on all 3 OSes.
    • We have had issues on the physical machine that hosts our Windows and Linux compilation virtual machines. Even has been hard at work to get them back online as quickly as possible.
    • Additionally, our Windows builds failed with the obscure gklayout.lib : fatal error LNK1106: invalid file or disk full: cannot seek to 0x2000D93C error message. No, the disk wasn’t full, that would be too easy to understand… After a lot of wasted effort trying to figure out what had changed in the configuration of that machine or in the code, we finally got the solution on IRC from khuey and ted (thanks!): reboot with the /3GB switch to extend the address space.
  • The add-ons manager is usable again on nightlies. We got tired of bug 591801 and pushed for Instantbird a partial backout of the patch from bug 562797. (I haven’t attached it in the bug because this is clearly not a fix, but if other xulrunner application developers want to use it, it’s here. I know Daniel was very happy to have it for BlueGriffon.)
  • Known issue: Message Styles currently don’t work without being unpacked in the profile folder. This means that even though the add-on manager now works, if you install Message Styles with it in your new nightly, they won’t work. Message Styles that were already installed will continue to work even if you upgrade your nightly.
  • We have upgraded libpurple from version 2.6.6 to 2.7.3:
    • No big disaster has been reported, so nightly testers probably don’t need to fear the update.
    • We are tracking the crash reports: we have seen some new reports related to the MSN protocol; we will investigate soon.
    • The Gadu-Gadu protocol support has improved, but is not as fixed as we hoped it would be. We will see if we can find ways to fix it.
    • Our translators may be interested in taking strings from translation files generated based on this new version to help them in the process of upgrading their locale. These new converted files are available here.
  • The patches for minor issues that had been waiting in bugzilla for quite a bit of time (because we didn’t want to land them just before releasing 0.2 or in the middle of the js-proto and mozilla2 branch merges) have landed.
  • We have welcomed translators for two new locales: Chinese and Hebrew! :)
  • We have created an experiments mercurial repository where contributors from our community are enthusiastically experimenting with projects that we look forward to integrating in the default Instantbird code base once they are ready:
    • Mic is working on adapting Firefox Sync to work with Instantbird.
    • clokep is working on a readable implementation of the IRC protocols in JavaScript, leveraging the work that has been done in the last few months on the js-proto branch.
  • I plan to start rewriting the backend of our buddy list next week. The goals of this work are to simplify the code, make it work correctly with protocol plugins implemented in JavaScript, and give us the necessary APIs to implement the contact and tag features we plan add for the 0.3 release.

As always, don’t hesitate to file bugs if you come across them! You are also welcome to join us on IRC (in #instantbird, where we have been more than 20 a few times this week!)

Nightly builds now based on mozilla-central

In late July, I started working on making Instantbird use the Mozilla 2.0 platform (which the recently released Firefox 4 betas are based on). This work, which started in a branch, has recently reached a point where we believe it could benefit from wider testing. The mozilla2 branch was merged Friday, September 10th, 2010.

This didn’t happen as smoothly as I would have hoped, but after 10 (!) bustage fixes, yesterday we were able to provide the first set of Instantbird nightly builds based on Mozilla 2.0. Our slowly growing community on #instantbird has jumped on them, and quickly reported a few significant issues. Thanks to their awesome help, those are fixed, and today we have a new set of nightly builds.

Additional help to test these new builds (Windows and Linux, Mac), will be greatly appreciated.

Known issues of this set of builds:

  • The ‘Show Logs’ menuitems don’t work (already fixed and will work tomorrow).
  • The Add-ons manager is broken. This is bug 591801.
  • The ‘Instantbird’ checkbox in the ‘Update’ pane of the ‘Advanced’ panel of the preference Window is disabled (already fixed and will work tomorrow).

Nightly builds available

Nightly builds

We produce nightly builds of Instantbird every day with buildbot. These builds can be downloaded from our server at Please note that these builds are available for testing purpose only, and are totally untested before we put them online. Use them at your own risks. If you want to help us with testing, there is no need to download and install a new build from the server everyday, the application will automatically propose updates.

To ensure that users won’t confuse nightly unstable builds with releases, we use a different set of icons for the nightlies. The nightly icon is:

Nightly logo

What’s new?

It has already been a few months since the last release, so I guess it’s a good time for a quick status update.

Just after the 0.1.2 release, we switched from subversion to mercurial for the versioning of our source code. Our mercurial repository is publicly available at At the same time, for the Mozilla code we use, we switched from the CVS trunk (1.9.0.x) to mozilla-central and we are now using a build system which is very similar to the comm-central one. In fact, it’s a copy of it with very small modifications. Thanks to the people who helped us for the transition and to the people who worked on the comm-central build system.

There are also some new features: There’s a findbar in the conversation window (Ctrl/Cmd + F to open it), commands (/me, /topic, etc…) work in conversations, the list of chat room participants is displayed (for example, in IRC channels), typing notifications work, idleness (becoming idle based on the inactivity time) works, status changes are displayed in conversations, it’s possible to force a check for update, …

We also spent time on code cleanup (debug logging for example) and stability improvements (taking into account the data from the crash reporting system).

What’s next?

We plan to do another minor release soon, and after that, for the 0.2 release, the focus will be on extensibility.

On a side note, this project has been public for one year, Instantbird 0.1 was released on October 18th, 2007. Even if we hoped to do more, it’s been a great year for the project!