Plugin support in Thunderbird

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Plugin support was added in Thunderbird 3.0. Supposedly it supported Java, Flash, PDF and Windows Media Player though there was no official list. "Plugins" is sometimes treated as synonymous with add-ons but in this case it means browser type plugins, not extensions and themes. It was disabled in 3.1.6 due to performance issues caused when plugins were loaded.

To enable plugin support set plugin.disable to false and mailnews.message_display.allow.plugins true using the Config Editor, and restart Thunderbird. You may also need to set javascript.allow.mailnews true and mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image false in some cases to use the plugin. This makes you more vulnerable to malware and it tougher to protect your privacy.

If you want to disable specific plugins the Firefox plugin scanning settings also exist in Thunderbird. If you have problems getting the right plugins try setting plugin.expose_full_path true and either set about:plugins as your mail start page in Tools -> Options -> General -> Thunderbird start page or install the ViewAbout add-on.

Supposedly in Thunderbird 3.3 plugins will be enabled in non-email situations by default. For example, it will allow them in RSS feeds. Some users have reported YouTube videos would play in Thunderbird 3.3 alpha four builds while they wouldn't play in 3.1. Its not clear yet whether this is due to YouTube playing HTML5 video using WebM, and support for WebM being added in Gecko 2.0 (which Thunderbird 3.3 uses) or not.

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