About a month ago, I dived into the world of Mozilla add-on development by adopting the abandoned Thunderbird “Send Later” add-on and porting it to Thunderbird 3.1. The learning curve was pretty steep, and it took a lot more work than I expected to stabilize the add-on, but I think it was worth it, considering that in the two weeks since I released it, almost 2,000 people have downloaded it and at least 444 of them are using it.
Emboldened by that, I decided to take a stab at fixing two bugs in the core Thunderbird code that have been driving me crazy. That, too, required a steep learning curve, but in the end, I was able to submit fixes for two bugs, one quite old and one new in Thunderbird 3.1, affecting a whole bunch of people:
- It was impossible to remove attachments from some MIME messages, including MIME messages generated by the Mac Mail client (Mozilla bug #351224). This bug has been reported by at least 30 different people and was first reported almost four years ago. Fixing it required rewriting pretty much an entire module within C++ source code for Thunderbird.
- Thunderbird was incorrectly inserting a couple extra spaces at the beginning of some sent email messages (Mozilla bug #564737). This bug was first reported just a few months ago and has already been reported by at least 56 different people. This bug is in the core code that is shared between all Mozilla applications, which means that the fix will impact Firefox, Seamonkey, etc. as well as Thunderbird.
Needless to say, there are other things I should have been working on when I got distracted by fixing these bugs. But I’d almost forgotten how rewarding it is to be able to contribute to open-source software in ways that benefit a lot of people.