How to install Thunderbird in Ubuntu

Hi everybody,Iam a beginner with Linux and I installed Ubuntu a few weeks ago.

From here and therein the net, I was able to install every single program I wanted (and yes, from the command line) but I seem to have a few problems now with Thunderbird.

Is there anyone who can give me a step-by-step instructions on how to install Thunderbird (I have the version 3, alpha) just like Firefox installation has been described in here?

Appreciate the help,


40 thoughts on “How to install Thunderbird in Ubuntu

  1. @nathanderwise

    try the following procedure

    You need to make sure you have enabled repositories once you did this is you need to update the source list using the following command

    sudo apt-get update

    Install thunderbird Using the following command

    sudo aptitude install mozilla-thunderbird

    If you want to open the application go to Applications -> Internet -> Thunderbird Mail Client

    Now you need to configure your mail client with your server settings and email

  2. nathanderwise, don’t waste your time with Ubuntu Edgy/Dapper, wait for the Feisty 7.04 Release! on April 15…
    That will be a big jump, almost perfect and more easy than ever.

  3. Thanks for your replies…

    While I am looking forward to Feisty, I was trying to find the right way to install Thunrderbird with the package downloaded from Mozilla website.

    The problem is that once done with downloading and installing, I ended up having the unzipped folder of Thunrderbird on my desktop BUT it’s “locked” as I cannot delete it or move it anywhere.

    That’s why I am pretty sure I did some sort of mistake.

    While I thank you for the help, I was looking more for a detailed list of commands to use to properly install Thunrdebird from a .tar.gz package downloaded from Mozilla nightly webpage.

  4. Hello,
    I try myself to install the tar.gz from mozilla.It want install the program using the ubuntu architecture but simply where you put it.My advice : use the repositories you have the program is there(Synaptic).As for the unziped folder on your desktop , to delete him you have to be root to do that(because when you install the program you where root and during this process protected files where created in your folder) . So become root cd to that directory del all the protected files then del the folder.It is the brutal way to do the job (deleting) but I don’t know an other.I might be wrong.
    Remember: to install mozilla software use the repositories (with Synaptic to see what you install)

  5. Guys, guys, guys…lol

    how am I uspposed to learn the tricks with Linux if I keep installing/uninstalling programs with Synaptic or other automated installers…?

    I thank you all for the help but I want to be able to install packages as they are available (aka beta/alpha/rc or else).

    Now, if I delete this folder that’s on my desktop, do I risk to delete all my mail messages/rules/settings in Thunderbird…?


  6. I’m new to Linux, and have installed 7.04, and wanted to get thunderbird 2.0 installed. I downloaded the file, but can’t figure out how to install thunderbird. I’ve tried a number of things, but nothing seems to work.

    So much for Ubuntu being nearly ready for the average user! You should be able to simply download a thunderbird installer and with one or two clicks be done with it. Hopefully this kind of functionality will exist soon.

  7. Hi Paul and David,

    did quite the research and I came up with this :

    Note that these instructions work for both Ubuntu and Kubuntu (6.10 and 7.04).

    Also, for Paul : open your home folder (/home/your username), click on the menu (or right click in the window) and choose “show hidden files”…you will see a folder named .thunderbird (if you followed the instructions provided in the link). Click the ./thunderbird folder and you will see a folder inside with a name like this ddsgh33 default (of course yours wil be named differently).

    Simply copy that folder in a usb flash memory or burn it.

    Once you have done that, follow the instructions in the link, install Thunderbird, setup a fake email account, close thunderbird then copy the content of the folder previously backed up inside the new weird gkhkhd default you will fine in your /home/user location…(after, you want to delete the fake account, of course…lol)

    Hope this helps.

  8. Hello! I am also new to linux, has been a windows user from the first windows version 🙂

    The most simpel way to install in Ubuntu is to use the system|administration|synaptic package manager.


    If you like to install video codecs, vlc, thunderbird and much more. You can use automatic install scripsts from an application called Automatix, you find it at and it will create a shortcut to applications|system tools|automatix


  9. Why do Ubuntufiles always tell us to ‘make sure you have enabled repositories’ without telling us HOW TO ENABLE REPOSITORIES’? I have Fiesty 7.0 all repositories in Synaptic are enabled, and the latest version of thunderbird offered is 1.5. How does anyone get to install the latest ( version of Thunderbird, or any other software for that matter, if Synaptic dictates the version we choose?

  10. Either you use Automatix (awesome)….either you download the tar file and install it yourself via command line…a.k.a. the terminal.

  11. I second NathanDerWise and Frode: use Automatix. I’ve just used it to install Thunderbird 2. It just works, no fuss, no stupid questions. Brilliant piece of work!

  12. after downloading the program you have to extract the file out of the original icon on your desktop then i went into add/remove programs and clicked on thunderbird and installed it through there. after that, you are able to move the desktop icons to the trash.

    everyones talking about all this complicated stuff. it took like 15 seconds.

    hope this helps.


  13. how can i manually install thunderbird tar.gz file from the desktop after unpacking it? automatix is a 650mb iso file and i dont want to download it. i can install anything from update manager but i want to learn manual instal and how to navigate to desktop folder in terminal.

  14. Thanks for the assistance – still works 2 years on from the original post on my new install of 8.10.

    Only problem now is that a password is being required but tats something I have to call my ISP for as it seems to have been changed.

    I’ll bookmark this page so that I can refer others to it if they need advice.

  15. hi, this is my first time to use Ubuntu & linux. I want to install thunderbird but I can’t. I can only extract the files. Can you send me the step-by-step procedure so I won’t end up damaging my desktop or the programs. I really want to know more about installing software with this UBUNTU / Linux.

    Thank you and best regards,

  16. this is INSANE! I have a tar.gz file on my desktop for Thunderbird, HOW DO I INSTALL THE DAMN THING?? Never mind fiddling about with Sinpantics something or other, or enabling suppositories, or downloading 650 meg of some completely other weird program – it’s RIGHT THERE on my goddamn desktop NOW!! For crying out loud… how do I install it? Please, is there SOMEBODY out there on my wavelength on this???

  17. It is also my first time using Ubuntu (Linux for human beings). I am tired of using vista. But it was very easy to install Thunderbird on vista. Now I am also having problems installing Thunderbird. Your advise is more than welcome.

  18. Jimx (MSG 20) I am on your wavelength, but sadly only in the fact I have the same problem! It’s there, I have followed all the steps of each and every different possible install methods, and it’s sitting there, but the one bit it will not, will not, will not do is move to the bit where it’s actually in my Applications/Internet menu for me to, y’know, USE. It happily says it’s all installed via all the above methods, but I can’t get in it.

  19. Hey,
    Thank You very much for help, how to install Thunderbird in Linux, Becouse I’m new in Linux

  20. I’ve just had it with Linux. I just tried a fresh Ubuntu install, and despite the pretty front end, the reality is that to do much of anything, you have to open the Terminal and start invoking magic spells. I can’t believe it. It’s mid-2009, and after all this time, it’s still sudo sed gronk gnorf mud bluk. I know I won’t get any sympathy from all the techie Linux crowd out there, and that’s a bit part of the problem. As far as they’re concerned, it ain’t broke; they like it how it is. Well sorry, but if Linux distros don’t evolve into something that can be used in a practical way without having to invoke the Terminal and remember a lot of gobblety-gook, it will NEVER catch on with the larger computing public. If that’s ok with its developers, fine. But I’ve had it. Bye.

  21. I bought a used machine on E-bay that had Ubuntu OS in it. I could not get the E-mail program “Evolution” to receive my mail and was unable to correct the problem. It was suggested that I Install Thunderbird. I followed the instructions in reply #1 and wam I got Thunderbird. I just typed the two commands at the terminal application and hit enter and there it was in my application folder. I am new to Linux and my patients was getting thin but now I think I’ll stay with it. I’m 79 and a retired farmer. If I can do it you can. Good luck

  22. I tried to install Thunderbird on Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex (8.10) after downloading the package from the Thunderbird website but couldn’t get it to execute the installer.

    I then tried the two command line instructions in append #1 and it worked a champ!


  23. Just new to Linux (Ubuntu dist 8) See the command line instructions (too hard for me), see the utility downloads (too hard for me), see the downloads to desktop of .gz or .tar (Frustrated myself also).

    What did I fail to see? I failed to see that if I looked at my Applications menu on the desktop, clicked Add/Remove, Linux automatically searched open source, and I clicked on Thunderbird, which Linux then downloaded without me,and installed it and opened a setup wizard.

    I followed this link (Hope this is not poor forum manners please forgive if so)

    Now all my email is imported from Outlook Express, and Thunderbird and Evolution are my options..which is the better? I don’t know, going to try Evolution first.

    So grateful to the Open Source community….


  24. You know, nobody in this whole string of messages answered poor Emilio’s question. How does one install a file. Nobody had a clue! What good is a forum if nobody ever answers the questions?

  25. Emilio: Google for ‘ubuntu 9.10 Thunderbird install’ and you will find an How-to for installing Thunderbird. Follow it, it is straight forward, and give a description for different distros.

    Domn’t mess around with the file when you can select a straight forward path.

  26. Hi there, like many others, I am new to Ubuntu, and have been having a very difficult time trying to just figure out how to install Thunderbird. I saw a copy posts that said the commands in post #1 worked. So, here’s how I got thunderbird to work for me:

    I went to:

    and clicked the big button that says Free Download. I just selected all default options to download the file, didn’t change any locations or mess with any tar.gz stuff.

    Then, I clicked on Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal
    and this brought me to a prompt. I scrolled up to post #1 and highlighted and copied “sudo apt-get update” and did a paste in the Terminal window (Ctrl+Shift+V) and hit enter.

    Then I copied and pasted “sudo aptitude install mozilla-thunderbird” and hit enter.

    Once this was complete I clicked on Applications -> Internet -> Mozilla Thunderbird Mail/News and it worked!!!! I of course had to enter my email config settings, but it definitely worked this way, and all I had to do was copy and paste two commands.

    Hope this helps!!!

  27. That did help. I didin’t figure I had to go to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. thx!!

    Shouldn’t this go a little bit easier???

  28. Actually it is, you go to Applcations->Software center. Click on internet and scroll to thunderbird or you can use the search bar, you dont even have to type the whole thing, just thund alone will bring it up to the list, the click the install icon

  29. Thanks Frode! Used the Synaptic Package Manager (in system -> administration), searched for Thunderbird, and downloaded it. Seamless install, then found it in the Applications menu. Done.

    Added the SPM to my desktop as well, in case I forget 😉

  30. You need not do any of this,,,,,,go to applications–Ubuntu Software center-select- thunderbird,,or type it into the search box,,,it will automatically set you up!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Guys, what’s the problem?

    Step 1 – unzip the distro somewhere in your home folder
    Step 2 – open terminal
    Step 3 – run “sudo apt-get remove thunderbird” to remove other versions. Don’t touch any Thunderbird files and folders in your home folder if you want to reuse your profile.
    Step 4 – run “sudo mc” if you have lack of CLI experience
    Step 5 – copy (or move) unzipped “Thunderbird” folder to the /usr/lib (so you need to get all Thunderbird program files inside /usr/lib/thunderbird folder)
    Step 6 – Create a symlink /usr/bin/thunderbird, having target file as “/usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird”
    Step 7 – Settle shortcuts in Applications/Internet and desktop panels manually. Generic icons can be taken from “/usr/lib/thunderbird/chrome/icons/default”
    Step 8 – ???
    Step 9 – PROFIT!!!

  32. Why can’t the Linux crowd understand that this won’t work for 99% of users? You need to be able to go to a website, download windows software, and right click on it and hit “install” and put it in Linux, or this Linux thing will never get beyond the stage it’s at now, OR be able to go to microsoft update and click “install Linux application” such and such while running linux. That’s the only way you CAN install software on a system!

  33. I’ve just changed from Vista to Ubuntu 11.04 because I want a faster OS on my laptop. After dumping the horrible Unity interface and using Gnome without extras, it’s very quick and slick. However, installing packages is – as some have said above – a nightmare.

    I agree with janitorman that until Linux distros allow *much* simpler app installation, the Linux user base will not expand much more. If you like to play around then great, but if you want to get things done and not pull your hair out, Windows is far simpler. I don’t maind a bit of playing around, being an ex Windows developer. 🙂

  34. I’m at my wits end ! upgraded to ubuntu 11.04 with thuderbird 3. installed dont like it and want to go back to my old 2.3 but it wont allow me download any other programme except the latest whiich wont allow me to change dmessage dates from us to uk (month first to day first)
    tried all the tricks above but to no avail . tried to copy thunderbird files to usr/lib

    Step 5 – copy (or move) unzipped “Thunderbird” folder to the /usr/lib (so you need to get all Thunderbird program files inside /usr/lib/thunderbird folder)
    Step 6 – Create a symlink /usr/bin/thunderbird, having target file as “/usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird”

    says i dont have permissions to do that
    hours and hours of wasted time to try to get a fn programme of my choice
    buggar ubuntu

  35. I opened the ubuntu software center, typed Thunderbird in the search box (binoculars icon), hit enter, Thunderbird showed in the list of software with an “Install” icon to the lower right, I clicked that Install icon, and now Thunderbird shows up in the list of internet software. Don’t know why ubuntu lists it with internet software instead of office where the mail clients are.

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