virtual id

Created by on 26 Mrz 2007

Virtual Identity is an extension / add-on for Mozilla Thunderbird and the Mozilla Seamonkey Suite. Using Virtual Identity you can simply edit the sender-address in your email to whatever you like – as long as your mail-server accepts the resulting mail. This is useful especially for people who have an own mail-server and don’t like adding every possible account as an Identity in the mail-client.


The feature to create instant, temporary Identities gives also increased possibilities to reply to other emails. Therefore the Virtual Identity extension contains a feature called Smart-Reply, which creates an identity based on information found in an received email without user interaction.

blog-entries about Virtual Identity are irregularily. If you are interested in up-to-date versions or like to file a bug-report, check the development page of Virtual Identity.

Related Posts, oldest first:

Virtual Identity v 0.3.5b

Posted by on 09 Jan 2007 | Tagged as: Hacking, virtual id

A new Thunderbird is on the horizon (v 0.2b1) and some emails reminding me of updating the Virtual Identity extension (see [1], [2]) for usage with the new release. As usual, it’s time to solve some problems and go trough the list of bugs, so I did. And I added some features too.

  • the smart-reply window was sometimes hidden by other windows. Changed the behaivior to wait for the MessageComposeWindow to shown up till a decision in the SmartReply-Dialog was made.
  • smart-reply till now only compared email adresses, not the full names beneath them. But sometimes the email address is always the same, but the full name changes for different recipients. So changed the behaivior.
  • In Thunderbird 2.0b I am able to retrieve an URI of the original email while editing a Draft. So its possible to extract the former senders address. Which means: Now emails with an virtual identity can be saved and edited afterwards, without any problems.

For a testing phase I released a beta version of the upcoming extension, feel free to try it and please report any problems or suggestions. You can find this release under

The „Paragraph style Drop-Down Menu inoperable if VirtualIdentity installed„-bug is still open, see my entry in the xulplanet forum. Any help appreciated!

Virtual Identity extension 0.4.0pre released

Posted by on 17 Feb 2007 | Tagged as: Hacking, virtual id

…it has been a long while since I programmed the last bits for the Virtual Identity extension. With Virtual Identity you can create an Identity while writing an email in Thunderbird, without using the usual Settings Interface ‘on the fly’. It’s really handy if you have your own domain and use different email-addresses for different recipients, for instance to prevent spam.

But, the extension wasn’t compatible with the upcoming Thunderbird 2.0. And as much as I like the program, I missed the often requested feature to scan headers for reply addresses. So I had to change it. And what a long way, at the end I decided to write the whole thing once again. Viola, there it is, the preview is ready and can be downloaded virtual_identity-0.4.0pre-mz+tb.xpi

Features of the new Version:

  • smoother integration in the Thunderbird Interface
  • use specified mail-headers for Smart Reply feature (needs installed enigmail or mnenhy extension)
  • allow saving of Drafts/Templates keeping Virtual Identity stored (requires Thunderbird 2.0)
  • compatible with Thunderbird 2.0

sounds good? Ok, than try it, and please report any bugs or problems. And feel free to contact me if you like to translate the extension in your language…

Virtual Identity extension 0.4.0pre2 released

Posted by on 01 Mrz 2007 | Tagged as: Hacking, virtual id

Looks like it’s nearly done. While translations are in progress at Babelzilla, I removed some small bugs in the last week and adapted the extension to work with the upcoming future Versions (Thunderbird 3a and Seamonkey 1.5a) too. So, I’ll wait some days for any response and than the whole thing will be published at You can download the new preview at virtual_identity-0.4.0pre2-mz+tb.xpi

Virtual Identity 0.4.0 finally released

Posted by on 26 Mrz 2007 | Tagged as: Hacking, virtual id

after the new – page is online, the now nearly one month-old version of Virtual Identity is released. Automated update should install the new extension on a lot of machines, so hope it works the way it should.

Virtual Identity 0.4.1pre released

Posted by on 09 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: ... ? ..., Hacking, virtual id

After the release of the completely rewritten version of Virtual Identity I had a lot of feedback, some bug-reports and also some good suggestions how to make more out of the potential from the extension. Therefore I decided to change small parts of the extension in the last days, and now the new preview is ready. It still misses the translation, I’ll post it on to let it localized. Else it should be completely working, so please feel free to download the pre-release 0.4.1pre, test it and give some feedback.
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Virtual Identity 0.4.1pre2 released

Posted by on 18 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: ... ? ..., Hacking, virtual id

Few days ago I released the preview of Virtual Identity and thought of finishing the programming on it for a while. But usually if you think thats it you’ll enter the next level. Olav and Patrick, programmers of the enigmail extension, told me that they changed their extension for the new upcoming Thunderbird release. And cause of that I couldn’t rely on their extension for retrieving the headers, so one of the main features of Virtual Identity 0.4x (looking for Identities in additional headers) would not have worked in the future.

But much better, they gave me the hint about how to retrieve all mail headers in Thunderbird, so I was able to implement a much nicer solution than the one Virtual Identity used before. And (if you are running at least Thunderbird or Seamonkey) it’s now completely independent from any other extensions like mnenhy or enigmail. Additionally I cleaned the option to select a specific header out of headers with the same name (now a mentioned header will match all headers with that name, for selecting the first one just add ‚:1‘). Ok, the new version is pre-released now, download Virtual Identity 0.4.1pre2, try it and report any problems.

0.4.1pre3 … „Release early. Release often. …

Posted by on 19 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: ... ? ..., Hacking, virtual id

… And listen to your customers.“ So Keith had a good point in telling me that version 0.4.1pre2 destroys the HeaderView. Yes, I managed to read all headers without any other extension in 0.4.1pre2, but ignored existent (already showed) mail headers. Cause the extension adds new headers to the HeaderView and hides them, also existent Headers where hidden.

So, repaired this one and the now released pre-version 0.4.1pre3 should solve the problem. Thanks Keith (and all the others) for testing and reporting.

Virtual Identity extension 0.4.1pre4 released

Posted by on 22 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: ... ? ..., Hacking, virtual id

A small bug in pre3 caused disabled the whole extension if in the preferences for the place where sended messages should be saved the settings of the default Identity were selected. Thanks to Guy for reporting and helping tracing the bug. New pre-release 0.4.1pre4 fixes this issue.

Virtual Identity 0.4.1 is released

Posted by on 25 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: ... ? ..., Hacking, virtual id

It took longer than I expected, but I think it was worth to include a lot of feature-requests and get rid of some bugs. Many thanks to you all who gave me reports and suggestions and translations and thank-you-mails, without this feedback the extension would have been not even half as nice as it is by now. So as you see, I like the result of the last weeks work, and I hope you will enjoy it too. Don’t like to mention the list of bug-fixes again, just the list of new features compared to version 0.4.0:

  • you can now sort the header any way you like, also exclude ‚to‘ or ‚cc‘ as you like it, but you have to tell Virtual Identity that it has to use those headers. So change your settings and add ‚to‘ and ‚cc‘ to the list of headers. A header name now refers to all headers of that name, not like before only the outmost one of you mail. To select a specific header, just use the number of it’s occurrence, so for instance „:3“ and add it to the headername. And if you wish to use only the email address and not the name, then simply add „:@“.
  • reading the headers was in version 0.4.0 dependent on installed mnenhy or enigmail. Now it’s independent on other extensions, so you are free to use whatever you like (but to protect the freedom of having secrets the same way as the freedom of choice or the freedom of speach, you might choose to install enigmail anyway)
  • added a nice debug-window, which helps you understanding what Virtual Identity really does. using complex filter rules you might get very creative, and this is the place to look if it doesn’t work as expected. This debug information is also helpful for me to understand how and when problems occur if you are sending a bug report.

Ok, here you can find the recent release 0.4.1, and, tadaa, there will be a documentation soon (have a look at the work in progress)

Virtual Identity bugfix release 0.4.2

Posted by on 20 Mai 2007 | Tagged as: Hacking, virtual id


after being quiet for a while I just went through all bug-reports and finished a new version of virtual identity.


  • If Smart-Reply found (for instance) an existing identity, sending works ok and was not tampered by the extension. But Thunderbird doesn’t remove the window, it ‚recycles‘ the window. Next time you compose a message, this one shows the same old identity but uses a different one behind the scenes. So I changed Virtual Identity to remove Window completely if message was sended, Window-Recycling is this way disabled (thanks to Charles, john and Henrik for the report).
  • repaired Dialog to choose which Virtual Identity to choose, was completely broken (thanks to Mark for the report).
  • Connected (and this way limited) usage of newsgroup Identities to the switch which enables Virtual Identity for newsgroups (thanks to Dave for the report).

You can download the new version at
and soon from

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