Geek stuff from a french geek and photographer
Recent Tweets @lhirlimann

We’ve just released another beta of Thunderbird. We are now in the middle of the release cycle until the next major version is released to our millions of daily users. (we’ve fixed 200+ bugs since the last major release (version 24)). We currently have less than 1% of our users - using the beta and that’s not enough to catch regressions - because Thunderbird offers mail, newsgroups and rss feeds we can’t cover the usage of our user base. Also many companies out there sell extensions for spam filtering, for virus protection and so forth. The QA community just doesn’t have the time to try all these and run these with Thunderbird betas to find issues.

And that’s where you dear reader can help. How you might ask well here is a list of examples of how you can help :

  • Use the beta yourself it’s downloadable at
  • spread the word by sharing this with your friends
  • you are a reps ? make this post available in your language ….
  • You help on a support forum - link to the beta download page explaining why it’s important to have more users on beta
  • You work for a vendor that sell a product that integrates in Thunderbird ? Qualify your product with the beta so when we ship final we both won’t get surprises.
  • Your company uses Thunderbird ? Setup a small group of beta users and gather the bugs, issues and let us know.

If you find issues let us know either thru bugzilla or thru the support forums, so we can try to address them.

ps the current download page says English only because of a bug in our build infrastructure for windows. Linux and Mac builds are available localized.

A recent twitter thread annoyed me about innovation in email :

That got me annoyed, because I always here we need to innovate with email and gmail is always taken as a reference in terms of email innovation.

But if you look at it gmail brought the following things to the world :

  1. unlimited “brokenish imap”
  2. Dkim/spf to fight spammers
  3. Good/very good spam filters (using the sender trust level)
  4. new nice UI to webmail

And that’s it. I’ve been involved with a MUA long enough now that I think email can’t be fixed by ‘just’ UI work or client work. Some things need to happen at the spec level and be implemented on both client and servers.

Unfortunately email has been around for 30ish years now and working for all that time - so fixing and simplifying can’t happen over night.

Let’s make a list of what needs to be fixed client side first :

  • The way headers are parsed and handled - way too complicated. Whilst this might have been a necessity 30 years ago I think , that with the email usage we have today it can be simplified. Needs to be simplified for headers.
  • The way mime is handled - the RFC is 18 years old and needs revisiting, we can probably simplify it too, I don’t believe we need so many ways to send attachments in an email. One should be enough.
  • Threading - discard reference-to headers if the subject doesn’t keep any words from the initial subject for instance.
  • Make it very easy to unsubscribe from a mailing list.

On the server side there are way more things that need to be fixed

  1. smtp needs to be replaced with something that would reduce spam and try to keep the identify of the sender (things done today with things like dkim/spf/openpgp).
  2. mailing list need to be rethought in the way you interact with them - eg digest mode / subscribe / unsubscribe / vacation / cross-posting
  3. Rich Format email

Of course the last thing to fix is users, why ho why on earth do I get a Microsoft word has an attachment - while I could have directly got the content in the email itself.

On march 25th 2014 I’m organizing a pgp key signing party in the Mozilla London office after working hours.

If you value privacy and email you should probably attend. In order to organize the meeting I need to know the number of participants , for that I’m requesting that people register using eventbrite.

For thos who don’t know how pgp key signing party work you should read this

Le 1er avril  (c’est à dire le 1er Avril 2014) prochain j’organise une séance de signature de clef pgp et d’assurance CACert dans les locaux de mozilla à Paris.

Afin de pouvoir gérer correctement cet évènement, je demande aux participants potentiels de s’inscrire via eventbrite pour ne pas exploser la capacité de la salle.

Venez nombreux se sera fun.

This year I attended a full fosdem, after missing it last year and  only having 1/2 fosdem the two years before. This year I attended more than a couple of talks outside of the mozilla room. I also helped setting up the Mozilla booth on the fist day.

Mozilla booth being setup at fosdem

I attended the keynote, how we found 10 millions errors in wikipedia - which turned about being only 1 millions with false positive. Overall a great presentation of the LanguageTool a nice grammar checking tool written in java. They have an extension for firefox/thunderbird that will let you grammar check after spell checking is done. Also they have a recent change pages for wikipedia so anyone can check grammar error in “realtime” on wikipedia. Last but not least they where looking for help to provide the tool in JS instead of Java.

Next I went to the mozilla room to get updates on Fennec, and how the google summer of code worked. Basically very interesting numbers.

I then on listen to a talk about scaling dovecot:

at the dovecot talk at fosdem

Very very interesting. Of course I asked what the shittiest client was. The answer was Thunderbird , because it tries to implement more. After the talk I went and asked Timo Sirainen if he could give me a list of such bugs. The answer was search for my name in bugzilla.  My bugzilla fu being what it is I was of course unable to find any bugs :(

The next talk I listen to was also about email, but postfix this time - very very nice and informative about spam, and how to scale for spam. Full of interesting data.

My turn to talk came. You’ll find the slides here.

Sunday was less busy. I loosely listen to a talk about OTR, a good talk from the people at kaltura on HTML5 nad the video tag. I say very interesting because the lack of a file format standard really complicate things.

I then went on the largest PGP signing party. Will only sign 91 keys cause I had to go before the end.

Last but not least, ipv6 support was very strong on the fosdem network. Next year it will be full v6 only.

I took a bunch of pictures with my phone as I wanted to travel light with out my heavy Camera.

Update : Of course someone from #tb-qa with the proper bugzilla foo gave me the list of dovecot bug related.

In a a few weeks it will be Fosdem week-end. Something I’ve been attending since 2004.

This year I’d like to tell people that care about email privacy that fosdem has the biggest pgp key signing party in Europe. If you use pgp, or gnupg you might want to join the party.

To do so you’ll need to register before the 30th of January and follow the detailed instructions at .

update: People are sending plenty of keys it’s going to be a great event.

Nor does it recognizes .mp4 files, what a fail.

Voila ça va faire un peut plus de 6 mois que j’habite à Toulouse. Je dois dire que je m’y plais bien (et habiter le centre ville c’est assez cool) j’aime beaucoup les points suivants :

  • Une vie social riche (merci aux geeks présent taucw, Capitole du Libre, We meet in toulouse).
  • La vue lorsque je sors de chez moi
  • Les services accessibles facilement (ceux qui m’ont posés problème sont plus des services de l’état).
  • Un club de Wargame - me manque un club de jeux de rôle.

J’ai juste deux reproches à faire :

  • pas de bon transport en commun
  • Impossible d’aller à l’aéroport en soirée ( hein tisseo, on peut venir de l’aéroport mais pas y aller chercher des gens c’est nul)