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Revision as of 01:25, 6 January 2014 by Det (talk | contribs) (LDAP Segfault)
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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.


Install thunderbird from the official repositories.

Other alternatives from the AUR include:

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


EnigMail - Encryption

EnigMail is an extension that allows writing and receiving email signed and/or encrypted with the OpenPGP standard. It relies on the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG).

It can be installed from (e.g. through the Add-ons Manager) or the AUR. Common packages are: thunderbird-enigmailAUR and thunderbird-enigmail-binAUR.

Sharing the public key

There are a variety of ways to distribute the 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 emails

First of all, encryption does not always work properly with emails containing HTML. It is best to make all of the encrypted emails plain text by choosing Options > Delivery Format > Plain Text Only in the new email window.

Once the email is finished it can be signed through the OpenPGP menu.

Decrypting emails

Assuming that the email was encrypted properly, just trying to open it should result in a popup window asking to type in the keyphrase.

Lightning - Calendar

Lightning is a calendar extension that brings Sunbird's functionality to Thunderbird. You can use or the AUR package lightning-binAUR to install Lightning.

FireTray - Tray icon

FireTray is an extension that adds a customizable system tray icon for Thunderbird. It can be installed from or the AUR package thunderbird-firetrayAUR.

Tips and tricks

Setting the default browser

Note: Since version 24 the* keys have no effect and will not be able to set the default browser.

Recent versions of Thunderbird use the default browser as defined by the system MIME settings. This is commonly modified by the Gnome Control Center (Gnome Control Center > Details > Default Applications > Web) (available in: gnome-control-center).

This can be overridden in Thunderbird through Edit > Preferences > Advanced > General > Config Editor by searching for network.protocol-handler.warn-external.

If the following three are all set to false (default), turn them to true, and then Thunderbird will ask you when clicking on links which application to use. Depending on the chosen desktop, common values include /usr/bin/firefox, /usr/bin/google-chrome-stable, /usr/bin/exo-open (Xfce) or /usr/bin/xdg-open (non-DE environments). Remember to check "Remember my choice for .. links".


Plain Text mode and font uniformity

Plain Text mode lets you view all your emails without HTML rendering and is available in View > Message Body As. This defaults to the Monospace font but the size is still inherited from original system fontconfig settings. The following example will overwrite this with Ubuntu Mono of 10 pixels (available in: ttf-ubuntu-font-family).

Remember to run fc-cache -fv to update system font cache. See Font Configuration for more information.

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">
  <match target="pattern">
    <test qual="any" name="family"><string>monospace</string></test>
    <edit name="family" mode="assign" binding="same"><string>Ubuntu Mono</string></edit>
    <!-- For Thunderbird, lowering default font size to 10 for uniformity -->
    <edit name="pixelsize" mode="assign"><int>10</int></edit>

Webmail with Thunderbird

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


LDAP Segfault

An LDAP clash (Bugzilla#292127) arises on systems configured to use it to fetch user information. A possible workaround consists of renaming the conflicting bundled LDAP library.