no color change when new messages arrive

Bug #841116 reported by Luca Ferretti on 2011-09-04
This bug affects 9 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Messaging Menu Thunderbird Extension
thunderbird (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

On a fresh 11.10 beta 1 install, the envelope icon of MessageMenu doesn't change color (from white to blue) when new messages (from epathy) are available to read.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 11.10
Package: indicator-messages 0.4.95-0ubuntu1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.0.0-10.16-generic 3.0.4
Uname: Linux 3.0.0-10-generic x86_64
Architecture: amd64
Date: Sun Sep 4 17:46:56 2011
EcryptfsInUse: Yes
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" - Beta amd64 (20110901)
SourcePackage: indicator-messages
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Luca Ferretti (elle.uca) wrote :
motang (mohan-ram) wrote :

Yeah I have the same problem with fresh install on Ubuntu 11.10 beta 2.

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in indicator-messages (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Patrick Pfeifer (patrick2000) wrote :

This is not a duplicate and affects me in oneiric: "the envelope icon of MessageMenu doesn't change color (from white to blue) when new messages (from" **thunderbird** ") are available to read."

Patrick Pfeifer (patrick2000) wrote :

The indicator menu shows the correct new message count under "Mail", something "beeps" (how to turn this off ?) but there is no visual indication (popup).

Patrick Pfeifer (patrick2000) wrote :

Nevermind - just found out how to activvate the popup and turn off the beep in thunderbird preferences, but am still missing the colored enveloppe.

Patrick Pfeifer (patrick2000) wrote :


The descision algorithm weather or not to paint the icon blue seems to be extremeley sophisticated and boil down to "paint blue only if the arrived message is 'flagged'" -- can be overwrritten like this:

> echo 'user_pref("extensions.messagingmenu.attentionForAll", true);' > ~/.thunderbird/*default*/prefs.js

But IMHO there should be an option in the prefs dialog for this and the default should be to paint it blue.

affects: indicator-messages (Ubuntu) → thunderbird (Ubuntu)
Patrick Pfeifer (patrick2000) wrote :


        echo 'user_pref("extensions.messagingmenu.attentionForAll", true);' >> ~/.thunderbird/*default*/prefs.js

two >'s !

Chris Coulson (chrisccoulson) wrote :

Well, it's a bit more complicated than "paint blue only if the arrived message is flagged".

Why should the default be to turn it blue? Remember that we share the menu with real-time messaging clients, and having e-mails always turn the icon blue reduces the usefulness of the messaging menu to pretty much zero (as it masks real-time messages that you need to deal with now). The feedback I've had back has mostly suggested that we actually turn the icon blue far too much, so we want to make it less noisy in Precise.

In fact, the new version that I'll be uploading to precise soon is significantly more selective about what messages will turn the indicator blue, and basically boils down to:

if (priority >= high || ((flagged || (addressed_to_me && sent_from_human && !from_mailing_list)) && priority > low))) then turn_icon_blue()

Remember that even if we don't turn the icon blue, we still add the message to the "new message" count on the launcher icon.

Changed in thunderbird (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Invalid
Changed in messagingmenu-extension:
status: New → Invalid
Patrick Pfeifer (patrick2000) wrote :

Ok. I realize, this is not really a bug. Let me nevertheless (ab)use this platform to (1.) bring up one spontaneous idea about how the problem could be solved and (2.) state the reason why I perceive it as problem.

1. Why not use 2 or even more colors? blue for mails, green for irc, yellow for im's, etc...

1b. Another solution would probably be to NOT share the menu with real-time messaging clients. Let them have their own (removable) menu. I don't use any of them and I'm not very pleased that they seem to be getting in the way here.

1c. Alternatively, could you make that "if (..." line you quoted user-configurable, for example through another one or more thunderbird "about:config"-variables? (And could you document the variables ;-) ?) This would already fully address my issues.

2. The reason why, after recently upgrading from natty to oneiric, I have been a bit disappointed when the mail icon didn't "turn blue" on arrival of new messages, was that I (had to) "manually" (a)) set this up to work in natty and was hoping that it would work out of the box in oneiric. So my first impression upon upgrade was actually: "I can't believe that after so many years of free software being available on the desktop it seems still not possible to be notified about new mail." I consider this one of the most basic tasks that an operating system should do for me!

a) With the help of a receipt build of xul-thunderbird-notify-something, deployed to my ppa. It worked great, and I should say "thanks a lot! great work!" to the launchpad architects, but it is still a bit a lot of work involved for a mere end-user like me.

According to the specifications of the messaging menu (, the enveloppe icon should eventually mark emails and chat messages in different ways (blue or blue+small bubble). Therefore the issue mentioned in comment 9 is less critical than one may think. Personally I'd rather have all emails turning the icon blue by default and have an option in the preferences to enable the current filter so as to reduce the "noise" when needed. I believe others may find the current behavior confusing, especially if upgrading to Precise from an older release.

I added the configuration suggested above to about:config, but it did not correct the problem. Can anyone help? I'm on Thunderbird version 12.0.1 (the current standard for Natty, recently auto-upgraded from 3.x).

> I believe others may find the current behavior confusing, especially if upgrading to Precise from an older release.

You are correct. I was very confused after following the recommended upgrade of my Natty Desktop to 2.6.38-15-generic. I had always counted on that blue envelope to know when I had new email. I was missing important emails and have had to change my email checking habits.

See for other reports.

I feel this issue is not "invalid". I think the development process was invalid which decided to change a long standing behavior without consideration of the users who had grown accustomed to it.


Actually Bug #957922, which is essentially a duplicate of this, is now in progress.

Did setting the extensions.messagingmenu.attentionForAll config parameter work for you or anyone?

The workaround works fine in Precise, the version of the Messaging Menu addon is 0.9.3.

Thank you Antonio. I didn't realize the Messaging Menu addon was required for the workaround. I had been getting the blue systray notification of email without the addon previously. The latest version available seems to be 0.8 for the non-bundled version of Thunderbird 12, and that doesn't correct the issue. At least I know another piece now. Thanks again.

I realized that the original report was about messages *from empathy* not turning the icon blue - not from thunderbird. The discussion somehow drifted to thunderbird notifications.

Luca: could you please confirm that the original problem concerned empathy messages? Otherwise this should be marked as a duplicate of bug #957922.

Vadim Peretokin (vperetokin) wrote :

extensions.messagingmenu.attentionForAll doesn't exist in Thunderbird 17 on Ubuntu 13.04. Should this flag be created to work?

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