Bug #17276

Discuss whether we want to use POP3 by default if persistence is enabled

Added by segfault 2019-11-30 19:10:09 . Updated 2020-05-08 08:21:14 .

Target version:
Start date:
Due date:
% Done:


Feature Branch:
Type of work:

Affected tool:
Email Client
Deliverable for:


Before replacing TorBirdy, we meant to default to POP3 instead of IMAP if Thunderbird persistence is enabled, by using the extensions.torbirdy.defaultprotocol preference. The rationale for this was:

  • In general, we prefer encouraging users to use POP3 instead of leaving their full mailbox on the email server, so we default to POP3 when persistence is enabled:
    • It gives users more control over their data.
    • It’s nicer for friendly email server admins (less resources, smaller legal responsibility).
  • Without persistence, POP3 may fetch messages and then they’ll be lost when shutting down Tails ⇒ we default to IMAP in that case.

We believe this automatic protocol selection used to work initially, but was broken at some point (at least in 4.0 it does not work according to Feature #17219#note-16): IMAP was always selected by default for new accounts.

Do we want to reintroduce this protocol auto-selection? That would mean we would have to create another Thunderbird patch. We should discuss whether that’s worth it.


Related issues

Blocks Tails - Feature #16209: Core work: Foundations Team Confirmed


#1 Updated by segfault 2019-11-30 19:10:24

  • Affected tool set to Email Client

#2 Updated by segfault 2019-11-30 19:14:09

  • Description updated

#3 Updated by CyrilBrulebois 2020-01-07 18:00:42

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.2 to Tails_4.3

#4 Updated by anonym 2020-02-11 15:26:19

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.3 to Tails_4.4

#5 Updated by CyrilBrulebois 2020-03-12 09:56:00

  • Target version changed from Tails_4.4 to Tails_4.5

#6 Updated by intrigeri 2020-03-22 06:50:19

#7 Updated by intrigeri 2020-03-22 06:50:32

  • Target version deleted (Tails_4.5)

#8 Updated by intrigeri 2020-05-06 13:47:05

5 months later, I’m not aware of any problem caused by this change, so I propose we drop the extensions.torbirdy.defaultprotocol bits in our Git repo (counts as FT work because it’s confusing bitrot currently), then close this issue.

I don’t think that spending more time on this qualifies as FT work.

#9 Updated by intrigeri 2020-05-08 08:21:14

  • Description updated

(Brought external context in to facilitate the discussion.)