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#53 Enabling Enigmail breaks format=flowed

open
nobody
None
before_1.4
Major
2015-02-02
2012-08-08
No

Bug 23640 migrated from Mozdev.org

Ubuntu 10.04, Thunderbird 3.1.7. I always compose text/plain in UTF-8. Normally
if I type long lines, TB appends a space to each line and specified
format=flowed:

MIME-version: 1.0
Content-type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8; format=flowed
Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.2.13) Gecko/20101208
Lightning/1.0b2 Thunderbird/3.1.7

this goes up to compose screen width <EOL>
but is still part of the same para<EOL>
<EOL>
this is another para which also takes <EOL>
up some longish lines<EOL>

which displays naturally in the recipient's mail tool as two paragraphs,
wrapped to available columns.

I recently installed EnigMail. I have no immediate desire to sign any outgoing
emails, so I declined its setup wizard; my only use case so far is to correct
the display of incoming messages from people OpenPGP signatures, so I can see a
one-line signature bar in the TB viewer pane rather than having most of the
viewer pane be wasted displaying a signature. I made no other changes to TB
configuration that I know of. But now TB sends mail without flow:

MIME-version: 1.0
Content-type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.2.13) Gecko/20101208
Lightning/1.0b2 Thunderbird/3.1.7

this goes up to compose screen width<EOL>
but is still part of the same para<EOL>
<EOL>
this is another para which also takes<EOL>
up some longish lines<EOL>

which displays to the recipient with hard line breaks where my composer's soft
line wrap was. Since I usually compose with a full-screen window, this looks
particularly odd when displayed in a less-than-full-screen preview pane:

this goes up to compose
screen width
but is still part of the
same para

this is another para which
also takes
up some longish lines

Ideally EnigMail would make no format changes to messages I sign. But certainly
it should not be making format changes to messages I do not sign. Cf. bug
19804; it is not acceptable for an extension to break normal application
functionality when it is not even being used, especially when nothing in its UI
gives any warning that this is about to happen.

------- Comment #1 From Patrick Brunschwig 2011-01-21 06:28:51 [reply] -------

Given the many problems that can be avoided without format=flowed, I have
decided a long time ago that Enigmail disable it by default. I know that it's
not ideal, but it's the only safe way to avoid quite many other issues.

If you like, you can re-enable format=flowed using the Thunderbird Preferences
-> Advanced -> Config Editor and changing the option
"mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed".

Unfortunately this is a global option in Thunderbird, so it cannot be enabled
or disabled reliably for every message.

Setting to Wontfix, as I have no intention to change the (safe) behavior that
is generally seen as suitable for 99.9% of all users.

------- Comment #2 From Jesse Glick 2011-01-21 06:54:13 [reply] -------

If EnigMail is going to make a global change to Thunderbird preferences,
affecting even unsigned messages, especially when this preference is not
exposed in the standard Thunderbird GUI, then it at least needs to display a
confirmation dialog first which explains what it is doing, why, and how to
restore the regular behavior. In my case, I puzzled for a couple of days over
why my messages were suddenly appearing ill formatted; it took some time to
track this down to EnigMail, and more time to research the issue.

------- Comment #3 From Patrick Brunschwig 2011-01-21 08:11:07 [reply] -------

I'm sorry, but reopening won't help -- being the only developer, I have no
intention to fix this.

I know it's not nice, but unless Thunderbird provides a more fine grained way
to specify usage of format=flowed, there is nothing that could change my mind.

------- Comment #4 From Jesse Glick 2011-01-21 08:37:24 [reply] -------

If there is no such feature in Thunderbird then you cannot solve the underlying
problem, but you can show a simple dialog during EnigMail installation which
explains the situation and how you intend to work around it. Such a dialog
would be harmless for heavy EnigMail users who sign everything - they would
click OK once and move on - and save users who are not signing messages (yet or
ever) from spending an hour tracking down an apparent regression in the core
app with no clear relation to any add-on.

------- Comment #5 From Ale 2011-07-07 15:40:29 [reply] -------

I understand the problems caused by the flowed format, however, it would be
nice to have an option in Enigmail to avoid this behaviour, for those people
who are knowing what they are doing. Particularly now with verison 1.2 on TB5,
Enigmail is disabling the flowed format at every start of Thunderbird, not only
on updates as it was the case before. This is very annoying, and is the
reason I'm still using TB3 with the previous version of Enigmail. Changing the
flowed setting once per update was fine for me, but changing it at every
startup is excessive.

------- Comment #6 From Saurabh 2012-06-27 14:24:09 [reply] -------

I just wanted to say that the current behaviour of:
- changing a system preference without any indication to the user, and
- keep resetting the preference back even after user has overridden it
is not acceptable in an add-on.

Personally I am unable to use Enigmail because of the problems this creates.

Discussion

  • daniel hahler
    daniel hahler
    2013-03-22

    I have created a bug report / feature request for Thunderbird:
    https://bugzil.la/853801

    This requests a per-window setting for the mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed global.

    Feel free to add any comments there, which clarify the issue.

     
  • Thanks But No
    Thanks But No
    2014-07-23

    I really can't believe a dialog to warn the user is being refused. It's a dialog box, just add it.