Tag Archives: thunderbird

Synchronizing Google Mail Contacts with Thunderbird

Dear Lazyweb,

can anyone recommend a good Thunderbird extension which allows for synchronizing the address book with Google mail? So far I tried Google Contacts, but something went wrong with the syncing and some contacts where deleted on both sides. To avoid this problem, one can use Google Contacts in read-only mode (it will only fetch contacts from Google, but never write to it) but then you have to import new Thunderbird contacts to Google mail manually.

Google introduced CardDav in December 2012, which allows for syncing of contacts, but since Thunderbird’s development is apparently on hold this is probably not gonna be supported out-of-the-box. There are some other extensions for Thunderbird, but since synchronization is hard and a lot more complicated than: “replace newer version with older one” I’m looking for something mature and well tested.

Before someone suggests it, I know Evolution has this feature built-in. I gave it a try last week and found so many other grave bugs with the calendar and newsgroups that Evolution is simply unfit for my needs. I really like Thunderbird and want to stick with it for a few more years until I have to look for something else.

Yours truly,


Links not opening in Thunderbird 3?

If you’re using KDE and upgraded to Thunderbird 3 lately you might have the problem that links in emails don’t open in a browser anymore. For my case that happened even without a user visible error message.

If that sounds familiar for you, check the error console (Tools/Error-Console). If there is an error like:

Error: uncaught exception: [Exception... "Component returned failure
code: 0x80004005 (NS_ERROR_FAILURE)
[nsIExternalProtocolService.loadUrl]"  nsresult: "0x80004005
(NS_ERROR_FAILURE)"  location: "JS frame ::
chrome://communicator/content/contentAreaClick.js :: openLinkExternally
:: line 188"  data: no]

Then Thunderbird just (silently) fails to launch the browser. Guido pointed me to gconftool. gconftool -R / | grep url-handlers told me that some components of gnome still had Firefox configured as http-handler (which is strange since it was rebranded to iceweasel ages ago). Resetting them solved the problem for me.

The sad part of the story: x-www-browser, sensible-browser and KDE’s http handler where all correctly configured and pointed to iceweasel. All applications behaved correctly only Icedove used a (for me) hidden setting pointing to firefox.