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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 10 May 2012

There's a new Icedove (aka Thunderbird) in the Debian Mozilla APT Archive

Icedove's recent history in the Debian Mozilla APT archive has been spotty.

You can rely on the archive for either the latest stable Iceweasel (aka Firefox) or a development version. But Icedove has been in and out. The "newer" version that the archive offered for quite some time was v.5, and that tended to break iceowl-extension and Google Calendar integration, neither of which were part of the Debian Mozilla APT archive themselves but which limped along from Squeeze itself.

As I've said before, the ability to get an up-to-date Iceweasel/Firefox web browser from this archive goes a long, long, long way toward extending the life of Debian Squeeze, the project's stable release, by packaging newer versions of the web browser -- and now, hopefully, the Mozilla mail client as well.

Take a peek at the "esr" portion of the archive's Icedove section. As of today (OK ... as of March 31 through April 4, 2012, to be exact) icedove, iceowl-extension, calendar-google-provider and calendar-timezones are all at 10.0.3. In the larger world, Thunderbird is up to version 12, but things have been moving very quickly upstream.

For comparison's sake, Icedove is at this very same version in both Debian Sid and Wheezy, and version 11.0 is in Experimental.

So having v.10 available from the Debian Mozilla APT archive packaged for Squeeze is a very good thing indeed. From appearances, at any rate, it looks like this "esr" archive is tracking eithe Sid or Wheezy, and we can hope for updates packaged for Squeeze/Stable as those same updates are packaged for Sid/Unstable or Wheezy/Testing. All good from where I stand.

If you remember (and why you would, I don't know, but you may very well might), I was running v.5 of Icedove for quite some time before falling back to version 3.0.11 as it shipped in Squeeze due to the aforementioned incompatibilities with iceowl-extension.

I had planned to upgrade my entire system to Debian Wheezy, and checking the status of the Debian Mozilla APT archive was part of my research into that very procedure.

Discovering that they have Icedove back in the mix, as it were, leads me to think I can stick with Debian Squeeze that much longer.

I'll be installing everything in this esr archive in the next few minutes and will, as always, report back.

So you want to use the Debian Mozilla APT archive? I highly recommend it. Go to http://mozilla.debian.net/ and use the drop-down menus to reconfigure your /etc/apt/sources.list (or a new file in your /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ as I do).

Update: Once I added the new line to my /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mozilla.list and did the usual:

$ sudo aptitude update
$ sudo aptitude upgrade

Aptitude then proceeded to upgrade all four packages (icedove, iceowl-extension, calendar-google-provider and calendar-timezones).

I did get this message in the terminal:

apt-listchanges: Mailing root: apt-listchanges: news for (my machine name)

It opened up in a terminal -- in what seemed to be vi -- and told me about some configuration-file changes.

If things didn't work, I could always reverse everything and go back to ol' Icedove 3.0.11. I had just done a full backup -- it's a bad thing when you do major software upgrades without doing a backup first, whether you're talking a data-stuffed mail client (like my instance of Icedove) or an entire OS.

Minutes later: I restared Icedove, it is indeed 10.0.3, and everything works.

Putting not just Icedove itself but a synchronized iceowl-extension, calendar-google-provider and calendar-timezones into the Debian Mozilla APT archive makes this portion of said archive usable once again. Before all four of these packages were offered in upgrade versions, I had to choose between a better-featured mail client (the post-3.0 Icedove) with no iceowl/Lightning support and a lesser-featured (3.0.11) client with older yet functional iceowl/Lightning.

Now I have new Icedove along with new iceowl/Lightning -- and another reason to keep going with the stable-where-it-counts Debian Squeeze.

For those who care about such things, here is the output of the upgrade (after I changed sources and updated them):

steven@lenovo:/etc/apt/sources.list.d$ sudo aptitude upgrade
The following packages will be upgraded: 
  calendar-google-provider calendar-timezones icedove iceowl-extension 
4 packages upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 20.5 MB of archives. After unpacking 2,273 kB will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n/?] y
Get:1 http://mozilla.debian.net/ squeeze-backports/icedove-esr calendar-google-provider amd64 10.0.3-3~bpo60+1 [87.2 kB]
Get:2 http://mozilla.debian.net/ squeeze-backports/icedove-esr icedove amd64 10.0.3-3~bpo60+1 [19.1 MB]
Get:3 http://mozilla.debian.net/ squeeze-backports/icedove-esr iceowl-extension amd64 10.0.3-3~bpo60+1 [1,230 kB]
Get:4 http://mozilla.debian.net/ squeeze-backports/icedove-esr calendar-timezones amd64 10.0.3-3~bpo60+1 [74.3 kB]
Fetched 20.5 MB in 49s (415 kB/s)                                               
Reading changelogs... Done
apt-listchanges: Mailing root: apt-listchanges: news for lenovo
(Reading database ... 182800 files and directories currently installed.)
Preparing to replace calendar-google-provider 1.0~b1+dfsg2-2+squeeze2 (using .../calendar-google-provider_10.0.3-3~bpo60+1_amd64.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement calendar-google-provider ...
Preparing to replace icedove 3.0.11-1+squeeze10 (using .../icedove_10.0.3-3~bpo60+1_amd64.deb) ...
Moving obsolete conffile /etc/icedove/profile/prefs.js out of the way...
Moving obsolete conffile /etc/icedove/profile/mimeTypes.rdf out of the way...
Moving obsolete conffile /etc/icedove/profile/localstore.rdf out of the way...
Unpacking replacement icedove ...
dpkg: warning: unable to delete old directory '/etc/icedove/profile': Directory not empty
Preparing to replace iceowl-extension 1.0~b1+dfsg2-2+squeeze2 (using .../iceowl-extension_10.0.3-3~bpo60+1_amd64.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement iceowl-extension ...
Preparing to replace calendar-timezones 1.0~b1+dfsg2-2+squeeze2 (using .../calendar-timezones_10.0.3-3~bpo60+1_amd64.deb) ...
Unpacking replacement calendar-timezones ...
Processing triggers for desktop-file-utils ...
Processing triggers for gnome-menus ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Processing triggers for hicolor-icon-theme ...
Processing triggers for menu ...
Setting up calendar-google-provider (10.0.3-3~bpo60+1) ...
Setting up icedove (10.0.3-3~bpo60+1) ...
Removing obsolete conffile /etc/icedove/profile/prefs.js ...
Removing obsolete conffile /etc/icedove/profile/mimeTypes.rdf ...
Removing obsolete conffile /etc/icedove/profile/localstore.rdf ...
Setting up calendar-timezones (10.0.3-3~bpo60+1) ...
Setting up iceowl-extension (10.0.3-3~bpo60+1) ...
Processing triggers for menu ...

Current status: 0 updates [-4].
steven@lenovo:/etc/apt/sources.list.d$