Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Installing Thunderbird email support for the Tracker Desktop Search Tool

Tracker email preferences
The Tracker Desktop Search Tool includes support for Thunderbird emails, as evidenced by a setting in its Preferences on the Email tab to Enable Thunderbird email indexing. This setting is greyed out - meaning you can't select it (a bug in the current Ubuntu version of Tracker) - but thankfully it is already selected.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I had been using Thunderbird, but that Tracker was not indexing my Thunderbird emails. So a visit to the Ubuntu support forum turned up the fact that Thunderbird requires a special plugin to enable Tracker support. Here''s how to use it (this is what I had to do to get it working - your mileage may vary on this) :

1. Download the tracker_922.xpi file found at this link , and save it to your hard drive.

Tracker Thunderbird addon

2. In Thunderbird, choose Tools>Add-ons>Extensions>Install and browse to the location of the tracker_922.xpi file.

3. Click on Open and the extension will be installed.

4. Right-click on the Tracker icon in the Notification Area and choose Indexer Preferences.

5. On the General tab, under Startup, make sure that the Index Delay is set to at least 45 seconds - this is the amount of time the indexer daemon waits after system startup before it starts indexing.

6. Close Thunderbird and any other open applications and restart Ubuntu.

7. As soon as Ubuntu comes back up, run Thunderbird and click on Tools in the top menu.

Tracker indexer settings

8. There is now a menu selection for Tracker indexing settings. Choose this.

9. Choose Privacy, click on Drop Everything, then click on Reset Status.

10. Leave Thunderbird running and by now, the Tracker daemon should have started indexing.

11. When Tracker finishes indexing, try a search on some text in the subject of one of your emails.

12. If everything is working, Tracker will find the email associated with the text you entered.

13. If not, go back to the Tools>Tracker indexing settings>Privacy section and click on Drop Everything and Reset Status again. Close Thunderbird and restart Ubuntu again.

14. When Ubuntu comes up, run Thunderbird again and wait for the indexing to finish.

15. It should be working now - for some reason Tracker does not want to pick up on the fact that there is new meta data to be indexed, hence the multiple restarts.

What next?

Problems? Questions? Post a comment, I'll be glad to help.

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Tonton Manu said...

Hi, thanks for this useful tool - which is even essential for Tracker.
I've got one question: does this extension search in the body of emails (at least text parts), or only in the subjects?

wrgb said...

glad you found it useful. Tracker currently only searches the address and subject fields, but the developers plan to include the ability to search the body of the email as well. I'll try and keep you posted on new revisions.

Tonton Manu said...

OK, thank you for your answer!

Jay said...

Instead of a full restart, is it possible to just do a restart of the tracker service? (Though, off hand, I'm not sure which service it is...)



wrgb said...

You should be able to kill "trackerd" (the tracker daemon) in System Monitor>Processes and then start it again from the command line for the new settings to take effect.

Seb said...

thanks for this great add-on which is ESSENTIAL until tracker has indexing enabled for thunderbird.

It would be great when the add-on would be available on the official addons page!

On the ubuntuforums there are some post about this add-on as well, see here.

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