Upgrading Version 2 Thunderbird to Version 3
If you have updated recently your version of Linux Distro in Ubuntu, Mint and others you might have hit on a couple of upgrade problems associated with the Thunderbird Version released with the distro. This howto covers the instructions needed to overcome these problems. At least one of the fixes is very simple the other is only slightly more complex.
When upgrading from one version to the next especially distro's one does not want to type in again such things as address books and profile details for any give email account. No the smart Linux user saves a copy of the hidden dot file which retains all the mail passwords and connection details, well everything really. But here is the thing Thunderbird Ver 3 does not see this hidden file for Version 2 even if you put it back in your home directory, the reason it does not see this is because Thunderbird Version 3 uses a different hidden dot file to that of Version 2. Before Ver 3 the procedure was to copy the contents of the previous version and put in the new copy of the hidden dot file.
Thunderbird Ver 2 hidden directory is identified by .mozilla-thunderbird this was also true of previous versions this sits in your home directory so given the importance of emails and the data that it often contains this is a folder you should backup regularly. Thunderbird Ver 3 hidden directory is just as important to backup after you have migrated it and resides in the same home directory as that of Version 2 the hidden dot file in this case is identified by .thunderbird.
So in order to upgrade from Thunderbird version 2 to version 3 all you do is copy the hidden dot file for version 2 to a usb stick with sufficient capacity and paste this back into your own home directory. You paste this dot folder after you have upgraded your distro but before you started the new version of Thunderbird. you then rename the the folder to what Thunderbird now expects thus.
If you have previously started Thunderbird Version 3 then run the above command your system will tell you that the folder already exists, if this is the case rename the dot thunderbird folder rather than delete it, just in case, you can always delete the folder once the migration has been successful.
Now start Thunderbird migration should have been successful and all your data, emails, address book and connections settings should be functioning perfectly.
Thunderbird Calendar problem
This is a slightly different problem and cannot be resolved by the version of Thunderbird shipped with current 10.04 Ubuntu and Mint ver 9. If you have Calendar records in Thunderbird Ver 2 these will not upgrade with the release shipped in above distros this is due to the fact that Lightening and Sunbird the calendars used as plugins with Thunderbird Ver 3 are incompatible and as of the time of writing this article no plugin is yet available. The odd thing is a compatible version is available, but only for the very latest version of Thunderbird whch at the time of writing this article was Thunderbird Version 3.12.
You will still need to copy your hidden dot folder as explained above and follow the successive instructions, additionally you will need to do two things more. You need to obtain a more recent release of Thunderbird and an additional plugin for Calendar.
A Calendar compatible Thunderbird release can be found here as a Debian package this can be downloaded directly from Sourceforge or you can copy the command below and paste into a suitable directory in your home folder.
Select the folder holding this downloaded file using your file manager and double click the deb packaged downloaded enter an appropriate passwords as necessary and select install.
Once installed and once you have completed the above task you can select addons from the Tools menu and install Lightening the Calendar plugin for Thunderbird or Sunbird if you prefer, do bear in mind this is a separate application though to that of Thunderbird.
Thunderbird 3 is not without it's critics you can review peoples comments here theregister.co.uk We at SoSLUG also found the application to be slow and buggy on the LX version of Mint it was tested on a corner of the email application failed to render properly during startup but corrected itself once active. This problem occurs every time the application is launched but we has seen no other apparent irregularities with this program, it is very slow though.
Please do take the time to comment if you found this tutorial useful or if you can offer some words of wisdom that might be appropriate.