Thunderbird 3.1.x has accessibility related issues when opening a large mail folder

Bug #689193 reported by Attila Hammer on 2010-12-12
This bug affects 1 person
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Fix Released
gnome-orca (Ubuntu)
thunderbird (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: thunderbird

Dear Developers,

With Ubuntu Accessibility list I sent following letter this day morning:
This day morning in Lucid security unfortunately original Thunderbird
version is upgraded with 3.1.7 release my Lucid system.
With Orca 2.30 version this change resulting very slow list navigation
with mail folders, similar with Maverick original Orca 2.32 version if
an inbox folder have relative lot of messages.
If a folder have lot of messages, for example the focusing, navigation
operations is very slow after upgrade.
Another problem: if I choosing an email message, unable to read the
message body without not try jumping the caret with Tab or Shift+Tab
key. I not using present messages with new tab option.

See following bug, with partialy fixed the slowest list navigation
problem under Orca git master version to see what performance related problem we seeing with Orca and Thunderbird 3.1.7 release:

I absolute agree the security upgrades is very important, but this
change now kill Thunderbird accessibility. Prewious oldest awailable
Thunderbird 3.0.10 version is works fine with Lucid before this upgrade and wonderful usable with all tasks.
I known, Mozilla changed the products supporting model and your work is absolute not easy, because you need following the upgrades. But if now
happened this problem, what will be happening for example with Firefox 4
Before I do upgrade, I forgot hold Thunderbird related packages
(thunderbird, thunderbird-gnome-support, thunderbird-locale-en,
thunderbird-locale-hu). What place I possible download this latest 3.0.x
awailable packages source to undo this upgrade?

Or this is not possible, what will be happening for example the Lucid
LTS release to we get back Thunderbird accessibility support?

Have you got an ydea how can possible fix this bug for example an LTS release?
Compatibility purpose not possible do an alternative package the prewious good working Thunderbird 3.0.10 release if the main version is upgraded with full newest upstream version, for example:

This is important the Mozilla products, because another components are not rolling updated, for example gnome-orca package is not updated when a new upstream release is released, and for example if the Mozilla products is upgraded with newest upstream releases, possible oldest awailable Orca version not perfect handling with some components, this is important with accessibility.


ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 10.04
Package: thunderbird 3.1.7+build3+nobinonly-0ubuntu0.10.04.1
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.32-26.48-generic
Uname: Linux 2.6.32-26-generic i686
Architecture: i386
Date: Sun Dec 12 09:40:23 2010
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 10.04.1 LTS "Lucid Lynx" - Release i386 (20100816.1)
SourcePackage: thunderbird

Attila Hammer (hammera) wrote :
Micah Gersten (micahg) on 2010-12-12
tags: added: regression-update
affects: thunderbird (Ubuntu) → ubuntu
Changed in ubuntu:
importance: Undecided → High
importance: High → Undecided
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

The upstream changelog for says this was fixed, so marking Fix Released for Natty.

affects: ubuntu → thunderbird (Ubuntu)
Changed in gnome-orca (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → High
status: New → Fix Released
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

Marking task invalid for Thunderbird in natty since there's nothing to do.

Changed in thunderbird (Ubuntu):
status: New → Invalid
Changed in thunderbird (Ubuntu Lucid):
status: New → Triaged
Changed in thunderbird (Ubuntu Maverick):
importance: Undecided → High
status: New → Triaged
Changed in gnome-orca (Ubuntu Lucid):
status: New → Triaged
importance: Undecided → High
Changed in gnome-orca (Ubuntu Maverick):
importance: Undecided → High
status: New → Triaged
Micah Gersten (micahg) on 2010-12-12
tags: added: regression-release
Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

Thank you for reporting this. I meant 2.91.3 above, not Would you be able to provide a test case for this bug (i.e. steps we can try to verify that the upstream patch fixes the issue)? I'm preparing an update for Maverick now, which I will push to a PPA shortly, but the code in Lucid seems to be very different, so it would be great if someone from the accessibility team can look at it.

Download full text (3.9 KiB)

For example a Vinux user wroted following letter with vinux-support
list, Vinux is an accessible Ubuntu based distribution with visual
impaired users:
"Hello all.

I am facing a very interesting problem with thunderbird right now.
Fortunately this is the email Id I use for Orca and many other mailing
list and it is the one which is working fine.
Well, what has happened is that till today morning I could perfectly use
Orca with thundirbird.
I have two accounts, <email address hidden> (the current one from which I
am mailing ) and <email address hidden>, the one which is in question.

The problem is that today evening I came back from work and as usual I
moved my .thunderbird folder from my work pc to the home pc.
I generally compress the entire folder to a file called
.thunderbird.tar.gz and copy it to my home machine.
I opened the inbox expecting none of the kind I am experiencing now.
When I open the treeview of hackingkk and go to the inbox, I can tab and
start using the up and down arrow to navigate the list of emails.
But when I open <email address hidden> and hit down arrow to inbox, it takes a
few seconds to announce "inbox".
Then the big problem starts.
I press tab and wait and wait and wait!
Orca does not read any thing after that.
I press down arrow and again waited for 30 minutes but no response.
I pressed the end key and what do i find?
After 20 minutes of waiting, Orca reads the subject of an unread message.
This means that the sorting of my mailes has changed!
The latest emails have gone down and the mails from 2006 are at the top.
How can this happen?
Secondly, I have ubuntu 10.10 on my office pc and 9.04 (vinux ) on my
home pc.
But all said and done, I did not find any problem with Orca till morning.
Nothing has changed.

So how is it possible that Orca refuses to read message list on one
inbox and does not do the same on another?
Well in krmane I have 30000 emails and in hackingkk its about 25000?
But till morning every thing was perfectly ok!
Can some one solve the suspence?

Happy hacking.
I am not full sure this prewious quoted problem is Thunderbird 3.1.7
related, but the second problem is absolute sure:

And another accessibility related problem with vinux-support list too:
"I also see in thunderbird 3.1 that the search combobox (ctrl + k) is
not very accessible.
For example in the previous version, I could just do an alt + down arrow
and set which ever parameters I like, such as subject, sender, body etc.
This is not possible with the latest 3.1 with latest stable orca.

Happy hacking.

Well, the slow list navigation issue is fixed with Orca development
version, you are right, but this is not solving this slow list
navigation problem under Lucid and Maverick. Not fixed yet another
problems (for example if an user opening a message, unable to read the
message with arrow keys without not using the new tab option with
Thunderbird). This is working right with prewious 3.0.10 release too
(existing message window, message presenting option working right too).


On Sunday 12 December 2010 12:34 PM, Hammer Attila wrote:
 > Hy,
 > Your problem is happened because in Lucid-security repositor...


Attached is the debdiff for Maverick. Since Maverick was released with Thunderbird 3.1, I targeted this to -proposed. I've also uploaded this package to my PPA for testing. If this solves the issue, we just need a test case to get this into maverick-proposed.

Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

Attila, I think that user will have other issues with moving between 10.10 and 9.04. Let's focus on this case here, the regression from Thunderbird 3.0.10 to 3.1.7. I've opened tasks for Lucid and Maverick to get this fixed.

summary: - [Lucid] When Thunderbird 3.0.10 version upgraded with 3.1.7 version, I
- see some not good accessibility related problem
+ Thunderbird 3.1.x has accessibility related issues when opening a large
+ mail folder

Mica, how can you would like fix the problems with Lucid related?
The patched Orca version in Maverick only fix the long list navigation
problem if after the Orca upgrade is happened the users turn off the
speak child position check box with Orca application
preferences/thunderbird page. But for example if the users do this, not
hear the tree view element number position index (for example 2 of 7
style number) if using Thunderbird. Speak child position feature tells
users what the actual choosed item number and how many elements have the

Have another bug with not fixed yet with Orca level entire, only if the
speak child position feature is turned off:

I little fraid too big the difference the 2.32 and 2.30 Orca releases
with Lucid update related, but absolute sure Luke Yelawitch
accessibility developer possible answer this related.

But this fix unfortunately not resolving the user wroted search entri
related problem, and the message read related problem if the user
perhaps not using the present new tab option. Now in 3.1.7 the existing
message window and message presenting new window is not working right).
For example if I using another two option to present messages and if I
moving the cursor, I not hear the actual mail text content.
An Orca user reported this issue with Mozilla developers, the bugreport
link is following:
He wroted following:
"Something which may be of interest to users, the 3.3 branch of
thunderbird does not show this bug.

So coming back to the question of whether something like my fix should
be added to orca, definitely not, I suspect it wouldn't deal with all
affects of this additional window:activate event which I suspect may be
coming out from firefox as well at times.

Michael Whapples"
If you would like read entire thread this problem related, the subject
of this thread is "Orca and the problem when opening messages in a new
window in thunderbird", and the orca-list homepage is
The november archive containing this problem related thread, the
beginning date of this thread is november 26TH, 2010.
Or if help you, I copying welcome a file with this thread letters and
attaching this.

Temporary I reinstalled thunderbird 3.0.10 related packages and holded
the packages with my Lucid system, because my work I entire day using
Tthunderbird with Orca Screen Reader.


Micah Gersten (micahg) wrote :

Unfortunately, I do not understand the problem and cannot work on a proper solution. You gave me a bug which I thought was the problem you were having. I prepared an updated with that fix, but you say that is not sufficient. I will monitor this bug, but I think I have to leave the orca portion of it to the accessibility team. The Mozilla bug you mentioned is marked won't fix, hence there isn't a way to fix this from the Thunderbird side. Please also try to keep one issue per bug as otherwise it gets very difficult to follow the discussion.

Chris Coulson (chrisccoulson) wrote :

Luke, would you mind taking a quick look at this at some point please?


I don't use thunderbird, and would need to spend some time configuring it and getting some mail into a folder for it to examine, so this won't be on my radar for a while I suspect, given the higher priority work that I have to complete this cycle, but I'll see what I can do if I get some spare time.

Changed in gnome-orca:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → Fix Released
JC Hulce (soaringsky) wrote :

This bug affects Ubuntu 10.10, Maverick Meerkat. Maverick has reached end-of-life and is no longer supported, so I am closing the bugtask for Maverick. Please upgrade to a newer version of Ubuntu.
More information here:

Changed in gnome-orca (Ubuntu Maverick):
status: Triaged → Invalid
Changed in thunderbird (Ubuntu Maverick):
status: Triaged → Invalid
Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) on 2013-04-29
Changed in gnome-orca (Ubuntu Lucid):
status: Triaged → Won't Fix
Changed in thunderbird (Ubuntu Lucid):
status: Triaged → Won't Fix
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