Thunderbird meeting invites not handled properly?

I'm using Thunderbird Mac (3.04) and when I get meeting invites they are simply displayed as a text description - I have no options to do anything with them and no ics file attachment is displayed to act on.

I'm using BusyCal on the Mac for my calendering and it works pretty well. I'd expect to be able to double-click invite attachments to move them to the calendar, but no attachment appears.

Any ideas?
mrshermanoaksAsked:
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turnbulldCommented:
You may need to install the lightening add-on for thunderbird.  By default, thunderbird has no calendar functionality.  You can download the add-in here:

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/lightning/

I don't think there is an integration in lightning with BusyCal but there is one for Google calendars.  If you want to click the ical attachment in thunderbird and have it show in BusyCal, you may need to link both your BusyCal and thunderbird w/ lightning to the same google calendar to achieve this.
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mrshermanoaksAuthor Commented:
Hmmm, I can give that a shot.

What I'm confused about is why I can't just get Thunderbird to display the invite as an attachment that I could simply associate with BusyCal. That seems like the most straightforward solution.
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turnbulldCommented:
Thunderbird doesn't support the attachment and, therefore, doesn't know how to treat it; it's not part of the code.  

Put another way, I might say "why can't I just grow gills that way I could swim for long periods on the reef."  Just as people aren't designed to breath under water, thunderbird isn't designed to handle calendar attachments.  For people, there is scuba available to bolt on a suitable atmosphere to allow us to survive under water.  For thunderbird, there is lightning available to bolt on support for ical and other calendar attachments.

Of course, you are welcome to code your own support for ical and connect it to BusyCal if you want.  You need to be something of a programmer and code an add-on that tells thunderbird how to handle ical attachments interfacing them into BusyCal.  For most of us, it is imminently more practical to use lightning and google calendar as the interface between thunderbird and busycal.  To finish the analogy, I didn't have time to design scuba either but I still like to swim amongst the fishies :)
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mrshermanoaksAuthor Commented:
I don't want it to "treat" the attachment as anything but an attachment. I'm not asking for fancy interface - I know that you can get a fancy "accept/decline/tentative/etc" interface if your email program is closely linked to your calender, ala Thunderbird/Lightning. I've used Lightning, I know how that works. I just want Thunderbird to offer me a simple "Save Attachment" option.

So let's be clear here instead of insulting me with a bad analogy: You're saying that when Thunderbird hits a MIME content-type of "text/calendar" in a message, it's simply not capable of saving that as an attachment as most other email programs are able to do? It shows up just fine as an attachment - meeting.ics - that I can save to my disk in Mail.app. But you're saying Thunderbird is less capable?
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turnbulldCommented:
Correct, thunderbird requires lightning to have the capability of identifying and using that mime type.   Other email apps include that capability; the designers of thunderbird didn't include it.  It's not a fancy interface; its the actual logic required to process the data type.  One has to code it or an app won't have it.  It can be argued that it was short-sighted of Mozilla to exclude it but, since they were developing an email client and not a work flow tool or a calendar app, that was their decision.  They left the app extensible and someone extended it to have this functionality with lightning.  

Instead of expressing exasperation at not having the ability to 'just' handle something not included in the app by magic or whatever, it helps to rtfm and understand the tools selected.  Thunderbird is great for a free app but it is worth every penny paid for it (a bit more actually).  If you want specific functionality, research the available tools and buy or code the functionality you want.
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mrshermanoaksAuthor Commented:
OK, I'll accept that it just doesn't work. I just can't understand how Thunderbird has to treat a .ics-type attachment any differently than it would, say, an attached Word document. Thunderbird isn't going to display it, Thunderbird is not going to doing anything special when I save it to disk or double-click it to launch into Word. It's just going to save an encoded file in a mime part to disk. But clearly it *is* treating it differently - and I'm not sure why it would go out of its way to treat these attachments different.

So it seems more likely that I've done something wrong in the configuration. But maybe Lightning is the only calendar option available to Thunderbird users. And if I want to use meeting invites with iCal or BusyCal or any other calendar program other than Lightning is to move to another mail program.

It just doesn't make sense to me, but nobody else is speaking up with a solution. Just seems strange.
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Marc ZCommented:
Wait a minute.  Are you saying you don't receive the attachment at all?
Can you confirm by looking at the email with the invitation - Is it set to View in Original HTML?  Or just plain text?

I'm running TB 3.0.4 and at the bottom of the Email, I see a invite200905.ics file, which I can right click and Save.

And I'm not running Lightning.

Are you positive you are receiving Attachments?

Calendar-Invite.JPG
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mrshermanoaksAuthor Commented:
Correct, mtz1of4. Thunderbird shows no attachment at the bottom of the message - nor does it show that there is an attachment in the message in the list view under the attachment column. Even though when I view the source code I can see the attachment mime part and other mail programs correctly show an attachment. I've tried the "original HTML", "simple HTML", and "plain text", as well as toggling the "display attachments inline" option.

So maybe this is a bug with the Mac OS version of 3.04?
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turnbulldCommented:
Works the same for me on winders and solaris unles the sender actually attached it from a file.  Since most email clients support calendar native, many times the ical doc is attached as inline text and not a file.

An interesting experiment would be to save an ics file out of busy cal and email it to yourself.  In that case, you should have an attachment that thunderbird won't know what to do with.
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Marc ZCommented:
I'll test myself tomorrow from outlook to TB on mac, but when I received an invite to it from gmail calendar I got the invite as an attachment.

Strange, but mine is also a clean install fresh profile. I will think about it this evening.
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turnbulldCommented:
Yeah, gmail gets to be different.  When I get email from Entourage or Outlook, it seems to come in as inline text for some reason.  I'm not so sure about other clients but I suspect webmail and local clients behave differently.
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mrshermanoaksAuthor Commented:
I'm going to have to have people resend some invites to me - I downloaded the most recent nightly build of Thunderbird and invitations that I send to myself from another computer see to work. But when I try to re-download the problematic invites they still don't show attachments. So this may be a case of certain invites not showing as attachments. Maybe I can narrow this down enough to file a bug. There seems to be quite a few people who have reported similar problems in the Thunderbird bug base.

Thanks to both of you for giving this some thought. Will report back if I find anything else.
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mrshermanoaksAuthor Commented:
Well, the solution was to go ahead and install the Lightning plugin. I'm still not using Lightning for the calendar handling, but simply installing the plugin caused the ics attachments to display properly. I ignore the controls (accept/decline/etc) and just double-click the attachment to launch it into BusyCal. There seems to be a longstanding persistent bug in Thunderbird that others have complained about.
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Marc ZCommented:
That is strange.  As I said, I don't have lightning installed and I still receive the invite attachments, but if that works for you, it works for me.
Thanks for the updates.
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