Jaunty, Thunderbird 3 and Lightning

First a sort of apology I guess. Things have been really busy recently so I am not finding as much time to blog as I would really like.

Having said that, I took the opportunity yesterday to migrate my main desktop PC from Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid to the soon-to-be-released 9.04 Jaunty Jakalope and I also upgraded my email client from Thunderbird 2 to a recent nightly build of the nearly-ready Thunderbird 3 release along with the excellent calendar extension Lightning.

Because of the way I partitioned the disk originally, this was a fairly trivial exercise but I thought some might find this information useful.

I already had a Jaunty build installed on one of the three 15GB partitions I created for Operating Systems (see here for how I originally partitioned the drive). The only thing I needed to do was to alter my fstab to add a mount point for the /home partition.

Ubuntu uses a UUID descriptor for disks as opposed to the more easily understandable /dev/sda[x] nomenclature. So how do you find out the UUID of a partition?

sudo vol_id /dev/sda8 will return various useful bits of info as in my case here:


sda8 is the large (250GB) xfs partition I created for /home. My Intrepid installation lives in /dev/sda5 with a separate mount for /home and /boot. So When I installed Jaunty a few weeks ago to start testing it I installed that in /dev/sda6 and let it have it’s own /home directory.

I was happy with Jaunty’s stability so I decided to move across. After backing up my home directory first (using rdiff-backup) I then only needed to add a couple of lines to the /etc/fstab file of the Jaunty build.

# /dev/sda8
UUID=5a2ecbcf-ab2d-4696-ae87-a3a15c559f70 /home xfs relatime 0 2

Before I rebooted, I ran a sudo mount -a command which mounts everything according to fstab and checked that /home was mounted to /dev/sda8 as I wanted. I logged in and checked the home dir was as I had left it. I then unmounted /home and removed my “alord” directory from the Jaunty partition after copying any files I needed of course. This step isn’t really necessary but I like to clean up after myself 😉

Finally I swapped the default start-up item in the /boot/grub/menu.lst to be my Jaunty build and rebooted to check everything works. It did.

Installing Thunderbird 3 (Shredder) was simple. I downloaded the nightly tarball from here along with the nightly Lightning build from here. The Thunderbird tarball is already compiled so I simple extracted into my home bin directory and set up a menu item for it. Upon starting TB3 it picked up my existing .thunderbird directory and all my accounts and mail settings. It did rightly so complain that the lightning extension was not the right version and disabled it. I uninstalled the old 0.9 version and then installed the new lightning.xpi nightly I had downloaded. After restarting shredder all my calendars were loaded as I would have expected.

The reason for me using this potentially fragile version of Thunderbird is because there is an annoying bug in the Lightning 0.9 extension when working with the Cosmo Calendar server. The bug has been fixed, but only in the recent versions which are tied to TB3 and that probably won’t get backported. The Mozilla calendar folks are having a hard time right now – the Sunbird standalone calendar app is not going to be maintained or developed further by the calendar developers as they don’t have the bandwidth to support that and Lightning. TB 3 has moved onto the newer 1.9 Gecko engine and hence the new Lightning not working with TB2 which is built on the older 1.8 Gecko.

Screenshot of Shredder amd Lightning

The good news is that Shredder and Lightning seem to be fine for me (Disclaimer: Of course YMMV). TB3 uses the tabbed pane concept so my calendars/tasks and mails now live on tabs hat are easy to switch between. The overall UI of TB3 has been extensively reworked and there are some great new features some of which are covered in this article.

Here’s a screenshot of Shredder where you can see some of the UI changes etc.

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  • […] Jaunty, Thunderbird 3 and Lightning […]

  • stlouisubntu says:

    With Jaunty now in late beta, soon to be release candidate and final production release, I would expect your next mono / mono removal / mono vaccination update post will follow within the next 60 days or so.

    Your challenge with this new Ubuntu release, should you choose to accept it, in in addition to your usual mono post in conjunction with each new release, is to include a Ubuntu-Jaunty-Mono-Free-Remix custom Ubuntu distro incorporating the mono removal, vaccination, and replacing the default mono apps with equivalent alternatives. No need to worry about hosting, just post a .torrent file, seed it for about 36 hours and watch it spread like wildfire around the words (just like the mono-effect you previously graphed.) Trademark issues should also not be an issue since Cannonical seems to be fine with ubuntu-remix distros.

    Just food for thought.

    Kind Regards.

    • Alan Lord says:

      Thanks for the suggestion but building a remix and then offering it for download will probably break my hosting providers’ network capacity…

      I do have my bi-annual post nearly ready for publication though. You are the third to mention it already.

      Nice idea though – but isn’t that gNewSense already?

  • Nick HS says:

    An even easier way of finding UUID’s is using blkid

  • stlouisubntu says:

    Regarding the network capacity of your hosting provider, putting out a .torrent file instead of offering a direct download will resolve that issue.

    gNewsense includes mono apps such as f-spot and tomboy. Although gNewsense is a free distro, it is not a mono-free distro. gNewsense and the fsf apparently regard f-spot and tombody as free software apps.

  • Vivek Kapoor says:

    There’s no 64 bit binary of lightning extension in the nightly build. Did you use 64bit or 32bit Jaunty?

    • Alan Lord says:

      Hi Vivek,

      I used 32bit Jaunty. Never really seen enough benefit to going 64bit. See this recent article for some benchmarks. There is some improvement, but not enough to negate the problems I have had with various applications like Flash etc…

  • Vivek Kapoor says:

    I had difficulty making my system work with 8 GB RAM on 32 Bit, so had to do a 64 Bit install. I know about the problems – flash though works well now. I’d some difficulty with Skype though initially, but through 32bit emulation it works fine without any extra setup required.

  • Patrick says:

    A 64-bit build of the current 1.0-pre, that works with Thunderbird 3.0 beta can be found at http://www.zaera-holo.net/builds/lightning-1.0pre-linux-x86_64.xpi/

  • ProfTheory says:

    An alternative to the vol_id approach is blkid which provides the similar information.

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