Ubuntu 20.04.2 has already shipped and the developers found themselves in a tricky position with the popular open source email client:
- Backport individual security fixes to Thunderbird 68.
- Port the latest version.
One of the most important aspects of Ubuntu is stability. Because of this, the platform doesn’t generally ship with the latest releases of software. And initially Ubuntu 20.04 shipped with Thunderbird 68. However, because that version is no longer supported by upstream, it would no longer be receiving security updates.
That’s a problem.
So the Ubuntu developers had to choose between two options. Fortunately, they opted to go with porting the latest version of Thunderbird. This will cause an issue for some users, as not all Thunderbird extensions will work with the latest release. For example, now that Thunderbird has native encryption, the Enigmail extension is not only redundant, it simply won’t install on the client. This means users accustomed to Enigmail must now get up to speed on Thunderbird’s built-in encryption technology.
For those users who prefer installing applications via standard .deb packages, you won’t be forced to use either a snap or flatpak version of Thunderbird.
For more information on the decision, check out this post by Ubuntu’s own, Oliver Tilloy.