Adding RSS feeds to Thunderbird from Firefox

I recently offered a 50006000 kwacha (about 35 USD) bounty for a Malawian to
solve my problem of easily adding RSS feeds found by Firefox to Thunderbird and Soyapi Mumba solved it.

All of the pieces were already there. The Livelines
offers control over how Firefox handles detected RSS
feeds, and Thunderbird is a pretty decent feed reader. But for some
reason they weren't connected to each other properly. Soyapi
investigated and found some bugs both on the Thunderbird side and the
Livelines side. Basically neither tool is handling the feed:// protocol
properly, so Soyapi hacked Livelines to make the feed:// string
acceptable by Thunderbird. And it works - rejoice! Download the hacked official version
of Livelines (with Soyapi's patch) here

So that was cool, but probably the best part of this whole experience is
that Soyapi, myself and Boster another Malawian programmer, met for
lunch after he solved the problem. I paid up (and he paid for lunch!),
but then he walked me through his solution. In doing so, I learned about
the architecture of Firefox and Thunderbird extensions, and how the XUL and Javascript sourcecode for
Firefox and Thunderbird are already on my machine and begging to be
hacked. I knew XUL was cool, but had never spent any time learning it.
With Soyapi walking me through it, it now makes perfect sense. For
client side GUI applications that can't be done in a browser, XUL just
might be the way forward.

So I am thinking that software development via bounty just might be a
great way forward, especially for the developing world. Perhaps it is a
new chapter in software engineering as a whole? I have some more ideas
to make Thunderbird's handling of RSS feeds really great (caching
images, more uniform handling of different feed types, overall better
offline functionality) so perhaps I will setup more bounties and maybe
even facilitate bounties for individuals or groups from abroad. Stay tuned!

5 Response to Adding RSS feeds to Thunderbird from Firefox

  1. [...] the feed:// part to get part and add that as a subscription. Update: Bounty won and solved!



  2. XUL does look like something to get into. Have a look at XULRunner ( for running it standalone. I haven't examined it yet, but it is on my copious todo list. Anyway, congratulations on this new way of funding open source development.

  3. Soyapi says:

    Actually, one of the reasons I started playing with XUL is that I was looking for a cross platform (at least Linux/Win/Mac) GUI framework with a native look and feel, to use for my open source desktop application projects. The Mozilla Platform (with XULRunner) seems perfect for me.

    I didn't want to learn and maintain 3 different UI frameworks; my coding time is too limited for that :)

  4. Daniel says:

    thanks for this tip, should help tremendously.

  5. Mike says:

    Soyapi recently told me that the author of Livelines has integrated this feature into the latest version. Yeah!

Post a Comment