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11 October 2012, 11:41

Thunderbird 16 supports silent updates

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Thunderbird logo One day later than originally scheduled, version 16.0 of Thunderbird, Mozilla's open source news and email client, has been released with support for silent automatic updates and Filelink improvements, as well as fixes for critical security holes.

To make installing new versions "even smoother", Thunderbird can now silently update itself by automatically downloading and applying new upgrades in the background; the updated version will be available the next time the user restarts the program. This means that the update progress dialog is no longer needed and, on Windows, the User Access Control dialog has been eliminated. Users who don't want Thunderbird to automatically update itself can select "Ask me what to do" under the Update tab in Advanced settings.

Zoom Under the Update tab in Advanced settings, users can disable automatic updates
In Thunderbird 16, the Filelink feature for sending large attachments by redirecting them through a file sharing service now has support for using the Box online storage service. Box is giving 25GB of free storage space to Thunderbird users who sign up for their service. Filelink was first introduced in version 13.0 and already supports YouSendIt and Canonical's Ubuntu One (U1) cloud storage platform.

Thunderbird 16 also corrects more than 80 bugs found in the previous release. These include problems searching for messages using Spotlight on Mac OS X, a memory leak on some IMAP operations, and issues that could cause the application to crash when, for example, selecting multiple PGP/MIME encrypted messages. The new version of Thunderbird also corrects a total of 13 security vulnerabilities, 10 of which are rated as "Critical" by Mozilla.

Windows, Mac OS X and Linux versions of Thunderbird 16.0 can be downloaded from the project's site; existing users can upgrade with the built-in update tool or wait for the automatic update notification. Source code and binaries for Thunderbird are released under the Mozilla Public Licence 2.0.

Update 12-10-12: Mozilla has released version 16.0.1 of Thunderbird to close additional critical security holes discovered after Thunderbird 16.0 was made available. All users are advised to upgrade to the new version; an update to Thunderbird ESR, version 10.0.9, is also expected to be released once it completes quality assurance testing.

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