Friday, November 27, 2009

Bah, 4 year old fixed chrome bug still an issue for TB developers

I idle in many Mozilla's IRC channels, and happened to see some chrome registration lines pass by on #extdev. The developer was having an issue with their chrome files not being found, with an error similar to:
no chrome package registered for chrome://extensionname/content/somefile.xul
The immediate thing I noticed was their chrome registration lines were describing extensionName rather than extensionname. Having been in the process of rewriting my extension to do things Mozilla Build way, I had been reading Chrome Registration a day or so earlier, and saw that it listed FireFox 2 as not handling mixed case package names as part of registration. Bug 132183 (thankfully listed on MDC article) seems to describe the issue, first reported in 2002 and resolved in 2005. A suggestion to use lower case for the package name fixed the bug for the #extdev developer, and a few hours later I've tried figuring out if this really was the cause.

I needed to find what code the latest release of ThunderBird was using. The version is at this time, found here . According to MDC, ThunderBird 2 uses the Gecko 1.8.1 branch. The bug report says the it was fixed on trunk in December 2005, somewhere around the 13th or 14th. After spending some time trying to work out what version was trunk at that time (I don't figure it out), I try to find the commit related to the bug. There isn't a link to the commit from the bug report. I look at the patches submitted on the bug report to find out the file most likely to change by the fix is nsChromeRegistry.cpp. Using humph's advice from the IRC channel #Education I use bonsai to find commits affecting this file between 2005-12-13 and 2005-12-15 (just in case the timezones are different between cvs commits and bugzilla).
Once the differences are found, and I still have no idea what gecko version this is, I compare the changes made to the source tar.bz2 - why not just check with the source repository for ThunderBird 2 releases? Well, that would assume it's documented somewhere, and in a place that could be found. Under the release notes for TB, the FAQ says the release code is in CVS, and to follow the build intructions. The 'TB simple build' on this page is for the coming-soon TB 3, and TB 2 just isn't mentioned. Since the release notes mention it's CVS, maybe the only cvs titled link works: 'Getting Mozilla Source Code Using CVS'. I can see a mention of how to get the TB 2 development branch, but no mention of how to get TB 2 releases. I follow over to CVS Tags and find that TB 2 was indeed using 1.8 branch, and it was made in September 2005 so a trunk commit in December 2005 won't help ThunderBird 2.
The checking of the source.tar.bz2 of the confirms, this bug fix never came to ThunderBird 2. So what to do? The bug was fixed 4 years ago on a later code base; it's not a show stopper but extension developers involved or introduced to ThunderBird 2 have a fair possibility of running into it. So, I've done the only thing I can think of, and documented it on MDC that chrome registrations with mixed case won't work for ThunderBird 2 or SeaMonkey 1.1, in addition to the existing comment about FireFox 2, and used the warning template so people won't miss it. Unfortunately, the templates strip any formatting or links, which makes a link to the bug impossible, but at least there's a place to point for the next ThunderBird extension developer butting their heads against this.

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