Thursday, October 16, 2008

Migrating Thunderbird/Lightning when reinstalling

I recently migrated one of my systems from FC9 to Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy) and ran into some minor annoyances with Mozilla Thunderbird and the Lightning extension. I eventually found the answer after some digging, but thought I might post it in case anyone else runs into this. Or more likely, so that I can remind myself next time I hit this problem! :)

It seemed simple enough, I did an apt-get install thunderbird and left my old .thunderbird directory in place from the FC9 install. When I brought up Thunderbird though, it was as if it was coming up for the first time.

Problem 1 - Thunderbird did not see the old .thunderbird directory
Fix - This was the easy one to spot, apparently the Thunderbird under Ubuntu looks for a .mozilla-thunderbird directory. A quick rename fixed the problem

Next though, I noticed that my calendar didn't work AT ALL. All I saw was the shell of what it would should be, no days were even displayed, no calendars, not even an option to create a new calendar. The calendar info is stored under your profile dir in the .mozilla-thunderbird dir, in a file called storage.sdb. I renamed my storage.sdb file to preserve it, removed the addon for lightning, and reinstalled the addons from the latest .9 version of lightning from After restarting Thunderbird though, I still didn't see a calendar. I didn't want to use the version that shipped with Ubuntu since it was version .7, but it looks like that one works fine. So if you don't care to be using the latest version, then this is a viable workaround, but not the fix I was looking for. As it turns out, the lightning extension I downloaded relies on an older version of libstdc++.

Problem 2 - Empty and non-functional lightning .9
Fix 2:
  1. apt-get install libstdc++5
  2. Uninstall the lightning addon
  3. reinstall the lightning addon downloaded from
  4. replace storage.sdb file with your old, saved copy
It all works great now.