Recently we’ve received many questions from users whose Facebook Chat accounts
will no longer connect in Instantbird.
Facebook officially deprecated its XMPP gateway on April 30th, 2015, but it
continued to function until recently. Unfortunately it appears this is no longer
After investigating the issue, we have been unable to find a workaround to keep
it working. However, since Facebook deprecated the gateway, it’s surprising it
even worked for this long!
Meanwhile, libpurple has a new protocol plugin that uses Facebook’s proprietary
chat API, which we are considering offering as part of a future release of Instantbird.
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!
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
bugzilla.mozilla.org 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!
Sorry that we have been so awful at updating our blog again, but we have
been busy working on getting Instantbird 1.2 ready for release! We’re
hoping to get this release out the door in the next few weeks (there’s a
few final blockers we’re attempting to fix)!
A few weeks ago (in the beginning of July), Instantbird was string
frozen for 1.2. This means that no new patches will be accepted (for
1.2) which change any strings, this gives our localization (l10n) teams
time to translate Instantbird 1.2 into different languages.
Instantbird 1.1 was
released in 13
languages: Czech, German, English, Spanish, Estonian, French, Italian,
Dutch, Polish, Russian, Slovak, Swedish and Ukrainian! Hopefully we can
release Instantbird 1.2 in even more languages! Unfortunately not all
of these languages have been updated yet, so if you’re interested in
translating Instantbird to your language, check out the translation
and get in contact with
Additionally, our Google Summer of Code student, Will
Nayes, has been
doing excellent work and already has importers working for Colloquy,
Google Talk, mIRC, Pidgin, Windows Live Messenger and XChat! He’s
currently working on importing logs from each of these clients so you
can smoothly transition from other clients to Instantbird without any
data loss. We hope Will is enjoying working on Instantbird as he’s
doing a great job!
We’ve made quite a bit of improvements over the past few weeks. Although
a lot of the changes are behind the scenes or fixing regressions, there
are some exciting user facing changes, as detailed below! We’ve also
been working with our Google Summer of Code 2012 student,
wnayes, quite a bit to get him up to speed of how things work in
Instantbird. He’s made great progress on understanding the code and has
even fixed a bug (see the “top protocols” page, below)!
“Top Protocol” Page in the Account Wizard”
- The account wizard now has a “top protocols”
page to allow
users to quickly set up accounts that are most applicable to them. This
is localizable as different instant messaging networks are popular in
- Tab Completion improvements:
- IRC changes
Google Summer of Code Status:
The past few weeks were the “bonding” period for Google Summer of Code
students and their respective communities; actual work has started this
week. As part of the “bonding” period, we asked wnayes to check out bug
1391: adding the “top protocols” page to the account
above for a screenshot!). We thought this would be a great introduction
to our tools (mostly Bugzilla and Mercurial), our workflow (requesting
reviews and feedback, discussing why changes were made, etc.), some of
the account manager code that he will be working on this summer! wnayes
has done a great job and the changes are already in the nightly
To follow along with what wnayes will be working on this summer, you can
and check out his user
he’s posted some general
application, timeline and a series of links) that he’ll be updating as
the summer continues. (And of course you can stop by our IRC channel,
#instantbird on irc.mozilla.org, and say “Hi!”)
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
We’ve again joined Mozilla as part of their application for Google
You can see some of our ideas on Mozilla’s
(We should find out soon whether Instantbird will be doing any projects
or not this year!)
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?
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
Earlybird builds. Feel free to give it a try and file any bugs in
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!
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 irc.mozilla.org. Feel free to stop
by and tell us what you love or what you hate or anything else!
- 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.
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
- 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
- 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?
builds soon, which should have feature parity to the libpurple
implementation. Please test this out! You can find more information
- Integrate SIPE (bug
- Add a reading position marker to quickly find the last read message
in a conversation, bug
- 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
- 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
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
- Receiving formatted messages (bug
- 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
- Conversations should show the history in new windows, bug
- All message styles (not just Bubbles) should support context
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 irc.mozilla.org and we can have some
discussions or point you to ways to help you!