From ArchWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Template:Article summary start Template:Article summary text Template:Article summary heading Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary wiki Template:Article summary end

Mozilla Thunderbird is an email, newsgroup, and news feed client designed around simplicity and full-featuredness while avoiding bloat. It supports POP, IMAP, SMTP, S/MIME, and OpenPGP encryption (through the Enigmail extension). Similarly to Firefox, it has a wide variety of extension and addons available for download that add more features.


The thunderbird package can be found in the [extra] repository and installed with pacman:

# pacman -S thunderbird

There are a number of language packs available if English is not your preferred language. To see a list of available language packs, try:

$ pacman -Ss thunderbird-i18n


Encryption with EnigMail


Note: This method won't work for x86_64, see #Via AUR.
Note: The section below that points you to the static builds seems to work fine for x86_x64. The aur is out of date (07/25/12). You have to use the nightly builds though because arch is using v14 of thunderbird.

The first step to setting up email encryption is to download the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG). Several packages are needed for this:

# pacman -S gnupg gpgme

EnigMail can be downloaded from here, at Mozilla's addon database. Make sure that it is installed as a Thunderbird addon and isn't automatically interpreted to be a Firefox addon. This can be done by going to Tools -> Add-ons and clicking Install, then selecting the XPI addon package. Congratulations, EnigMail is now installed. You should now restart Thunderbird.

Note: As of 07/25/12 this worked. It is nightly build though. Who knows if it will work tommorow?!

EnigMail addons that works for x86_64 can be downloaded from this page. Select the Arch build of the addon and follow the instructions in the previous section to install.


There is an AUR package: enigmailAUR.

Issues with the x86_64 version of enigmail

It is possible that Thunderbird (Lanikai) hasn't got the same build-type (Error: Linux_x86-gcc3) as the enigmail (x86_64) and won't get installed. Downloading Thunderbird in the i686 version an installing enigmail by the Add-On application works fine.

If you download Thunderbird manually, remember copying the files to /opt and creating a directory for Thunderbird. To still be able start Thunderbird from the "default location" create a file that points at /opt/thunderbird/thunderbird for example.

Open a new file called thunderbird.

# nano /usr/bin/thunderbird

Write in the file:


Finish with setting the right permissions and "updating" your shell.

# chmod 755 /usr/bin/thunderbird
# bash

Creating a Keypair

A keypair can be created by opening Thunderbird and finding the 'OpenPGP' menu and clicking 'Setup Wizard'. The wizard will now help you create your keypair. All of the options are fairly self-explanatory and are not discussed in this article.

Sharing your Public Key

There are a variety of ways to distribute your public key. One way is to upload it to a public keyserver network. Another is to share it with friends who are also using email encryption.

Encrypting your Emails

First of all, encryption does not always work properly with emails containing HTML. It is best to make all of the encrypted emails you wish to send plaintext. This can be ensured by going to Options in the 'New Email' window and finding Format, then clicking on "Plain-text only".

Once you have chosen a recipient and title and have written your message, you can sign and encrypt the message by using the OpenPGP menu. Once that is done, simply click "Send" and your encrypted email has been sent.

Decrypting Emails

This article will not go into the details of key signing.

Assuming that the email was encrypted properly, just trying to open it should result in a popup window asking you to type in your keyphrase. Do so now, and the email will be decrypted for your viewing pleasure.

Adding a Calendar with Lightning

Lightning is an extension that brings Sunbird's functionality to Thunderbird. This integrates calendar functions into Thunderbird.

Adding a Webmail Account with WebMail

This issue is covered in the article Webmail with Thunderbird.

Plain-text Mode and Font Uniformity

Plain-text mode lets you view all your emails without HTML rendering. It can be configured from View menu > Message Body As option. This defaults to monospace font but font size is still inherited from original system fontconfig settings. You can uniform the default font and font size across all emails by overwriting it fontconfig user configuration. Appending below in user font config file before the closing </fontconfig> tag, will use replace monospace with Ubuntu Mono font with size of 10 pixels (provided you have already installed Ubuntu font family). Then run 'fc-cache -fv' to update system font cache.

# vim /etc/fonts/conf.d/50-user.conf
  <match target="pattern">
   <test qual="any" name="family"><string>monospace</string></test>
   <edit name="family" mode="assign" binding="same"><string>Ubuntu Mono</string></edit>
   <edit name="pixelsize" mode="assign"><int>10</int></edit>

Resizeable tray icon

There are a number of plugins that let Thunderbird close to tray, but most of them seem to make use of /usr/lib/thunderbird-5.0/chrome/icons/default/default16.png, and if you are using a big screen and a bigger-than-standard dock (e.g. Avant Window Navigator) the icon could appear too little compared to the other tray icons.

To make those plugins use the icons from /usr/share/icons/hicolor/ you just have to disable /usr/lib/thunderbird-5.0/chrome/icons/default/default16.png renaming it for example to default16.png.disabled, not forgetting to prevent pacman from reinstalling it by adding the following line to /etc/pacman.conf:

NoExtract = usr/lib/thunderbird-5.0/chrome/icons/default/default16.png

Links in Thunderbird do NOT open in Firefox

If you update from Firefox 3 to Firefox 4, you may no longer be able to click on a link in Thunderbird and have it open in Firefox. Especially if you are using KDE. To correct the problem, issue the following as your user, from the command line:

gconftool-2 --type=string -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/http/command "firefox %s"
gconftool-2 --type=string -s /desktop/gnome/url-handlers/https/command "firefox %s"

Another option is go to the preferences => advanced => general and then select Config Editor.

Search for "network.protocol-handler.warn-external"

those following three were false, turn then to true, and then Thunderbird will ask you when clicking on liks which application to use. Select /usr/bin/firefox or /usr/bin/xdg-open and do not forgot to select remember my choice wink


the mimetype where saved on ~/.thunderbird/.default/mimeTypes.rdf

Webmail with Thunderbird

Please see upstream wiki: Using webmail with your email client.


Segfault at startup

A problem (mozilla-bug) arises on systems configured to use ldap to fetch user information: Thunderbird segfaults at startup. A work around exists.

Folder name in local language but menus in english after Thunderbird update

First, verify that you have package thunderbird-i18n-xx installed, where "xx" is the language you want. If not, install it. If you have it already installed remove it with sudo pacman -R thunderbird-i18n-xx and reinstall it again.