I’ve finally worked out why Thunderbird email has been almost unusable since upgrading my various Ubuntu machines to Precise Pangolin 12.04.
The symptoms were very sluggish Thunderbird interface response, leading to a segmentation fault crash. The crashes only happened sometimes and didn’t seem to follow a pattern of time from start-up.
The EDS Contact Integration Add-on seems to have been responsible. EDS is the Evolution Data Server and although I don’t use Evolution directly, I have registered my various Google and Twitter accounts, which apparently get pulled in by EDS too.
I have quite a few Google contacts (>700), so I can only assume that the add-on is trying to process them all.
Anyway, the immediate problem is solved by disabling the add-on. I use a google contact sync plug-in anyway, which works fine, so as far as I know I’m not missing out on anything.