[Maildev] Supporting old TB versions

Jonathan Kamens jik at kamens.us
Sat Dec 9 17:56:12 EST 2017

On 12/9/17 5:10 PM, Ben Bucksch wrote:
> Jonathan Kamens wrote on 09.12.17 22:27:
>> maintaining backward compatibility with earlier Thunderbird releases
>> extending back a reasonable amount of time (e.g., I don't know that
>> add-ons still need to support Thunderbird 3, but it's not
>> unreasonable to want to continue to support Thunderbird 30).
> You can axe everything that is before the currently supported
> releases. Right now, only TB 52 is supported with security fixes. 
According to the data on AMO, as of December 7, 8,866 out of 86,791
users of the current version of my add-on, i.e., more than 10%, are
using Thunderbird versions 20 (the earliest version my code is
compatible with) through <52. Many of them are probably using older
versions because the OS distribution they're using hasn't released a
newer package. Furthermore, in some cases the distribution maintainers
have backported patches to older versions of Thunderbird, so it's
entirely possible that a user is running a version of Thunderbird
earlier than 52 without the vulnerabilities you're worried about.

I suspect you'll see similar statistics for other add-ons.

I am not going to tell those users they have to update their OS to keep
being able to use my add-on. That's not my prerogative. I imagine other
add-on maintainers feel the same way.

I keep my software up-to-date because I do software for a living and
it's easy for me. It's not easy for everyone, and therefore not everyone
does it, and I don't think it's reasonable to expect them to.

I am highly dubious of claims that I am doing a "disservice" to my users
by supporting older Thunderbird versions. That sounds a lot to me like
trying to rationalize forcing users to upgrade Thunderbird or their OS
every year or two rather so that we don't have to do the work of
backporting patches to old Thunderbird releases.

You asked me what I need to be able to keep supporting my add-ons and
their users. I told you. Don't turn around and tell me that what I said
I need isn't what I really need.


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