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Mozilla Thunderbird is an email, news, and chat client, advertised as "easy to set up and customize", while also being "loaded with great features!".

Similarly to Firefox, it has a wide variety of add-ons available.


Install thunderbird from the official repositories.

Other alternatives from the AUR include:

Here you can find an overview of Mozilla's releases.

There are also a number of language packs available:

$ pacman -Ss thunderbird-i18n


Dangerous defaults

Tango-edit-clear.pngThis article or section needs language, wiki syntax or style improvements.Tango-edit-clear.png

Reason: This section contains too many colloquial/subjective comments/expressions, a more neutral tone should be used. (Discuss in Talk:Thunderbird#)

Thunderbird, by default, does a "bogus" private reverse DNS lookup of your internal.private.hostname.and.private.domain every time you start the program, i.e. it does a completely unnecessary DNS lookup of the machine running Thunderbird on your private network (private if you intend to keep it private). To help Thunderbird find what it is looking for, and thus prevent any leakage of your internal network strategy/setup, set your hostname as explained in Network configuration#Set the hostname.

Thunderbird, by default, respects an RFC from over 1000 years ago that has a completely different context and consequence in our present time. That RFC dictates that, when sending email (via SMTP), a "EHLO" request is followed by - yet again - your internal.private.hostname.and.private.domain, i.e. EHLO myprivatehostname.myprivatedomain. With most setups, this is completely unnecessary and you can expect that the NSA and Google et al. have been mining this information for quite a while now. To prevent further leakage and to defend yourself against preemptive strikes:

  1. Go to Preferences > Advanced > General tab > Config Editor.
  2. Search "smtp" and find the entry that matches your outgoing SMTP server (the third field will have something like "smtp1", "smtp2", etc.).
  3. Right-click the entry and choose New > String, then enter "mail.smtpserver.smtp#.hello_argument" as the argument, where "#" is the number of the mailserver (e.g. "mail.smtpserver.smtp1.hello_argument").
  4. In the next box, enter anything but an empty field (an empty field would use you default internal hostname and internal domain).
    Note: Some mailservers may complain or not work if you put in something in the field that is not resolvable.

Thunderbird, by default, includes your operating system information in mail headers. If you would like to get out of the 90's and into the 21st century:

  1. Go to Preferences > Advanced > General tab > Config Editor.
  2. Search "general.useragent".
  3. Right-click on the entry ant choose New > String, then enter "general.useragent.override" and leave the second field empty.

Fortunately, Thunderbird disables email images by default, but to disable HTML rendering which would thus otherwise expose your IP and location, choose View > Message Body As > Plain Text.

Fotunately, Thunderbird disables JavaScript for message content but not for RSS feeds. If you do not use RSS with thunderbird, we have no need for JavaScript:

  1. Go to Preferences > Advanced > General tab > Config Editor.
  2. Search "javascript.enabled" and change the value to false.


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).

Common AUR packages include: thunderbird-enigmailAUR and thunderbird-enigmail-binAUR.

Sharing the public key

To distribute the public key one may upload it to a keyserver.

Encrypting emails

Encryption does not always work properly with emails containing HTML. It is best to use 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 pop-up asking to type in the keyphrase.

Enabling high privacy

By default, Enigmail discloses some information in the email headers and the OpenPGP comment field. This includes the name Enigmail, along with the GnuPG name and version. Both can be disabled in the Config Editor (Edit > Preferences > Advanced > General).

To hide the Enigmail name, set extensions.enigmail.addHeaders to false.

To hide the GnuPG information, set extensions.enigmail.useDefaultComment to true. Alternatively, uncheck "Add Enigmail comment in OpenPGP signature" in: OpenPGP > Preferences > Advanced ("Expert Settings" needs to be enabled).

Disabling Thunderbird's own user agent is currently not possible.

FireTray - Tray icon

FireTray is an extension that adds a customizable system tray icon for Thunderbird. It is available in the AUR as thunderbird-firetrayAUR.

Lightning - Calendar

Lightning is a calendar extension that brings Sunbird's functionality to Thunderbird. It is available in the AUR as thunderbird-lightning-binAUR.

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 Thunderbird will ask you when clicking on links which application to use (remember to also 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

See upstream Wiki: Using webmail with your email client.


Before you start with Importing or Exporting tasks, backup your complete ~/.thunderbird profile:

$ cp -R ~/.thunderbird /to/backup/folder/

With migration you just copy your current Thunderbird profile to another PC or a new Thunderbird installation:

1. Install Thunderbird on the target PC

2. Start Thunderbird without doing anything and quit it.

3. Go to your Backup folder of your old Thunderbird installation

4. Enter the backup profile folder:

$ cd /to/backup/folder/.thunderbird/<oldrandomnumber>.default/

5. Copy its content into the target profile folder ~/.thunderbird/<newrandomnumber>.default/

$ cp -R /to/backup/folder/.thunderbird/<oldrandomnumber>.default/* ~/.thunderbird/<newrandomnumber>.default/

Export + Import

Before you start with Importing or Exporting tasks, backup your complete ~/.thunderbird profile:

$ cp -R ~/.thunderbird /to/backup/folder/

If your accounts are broken or you want to join two different Thunderbird installations, you better install one Import and Export AddOn (eg. ImportExportTools AddOn) to both Thunderbird installations and following this just export and import all your data to the new installation.


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.

Error: Incoming server already exists

It seams Thunderbird (v24) still has that bug which pops up with "Incoming server already exists" if you want to reinstall a previously deleted account with the same account data afterwards. Unfortunately, if you get this error you can now only clean reinstall Thunderbird:

1. Make a backup of your current profile:

$ cp -R ~/.thunderbird /to/backup/folder/

2. Export all you Accounts, Calendar and Feeds via an AddOn like it's written in Export section of this Wiki. 3. Uninstall your current Thunderbird installation

$ pacman -R thunderbird

4. Remove all your data by deleting your current Thunderbird folder rm -R ~/.thunderbird/.

5. Install Thunderbird again:

$ pacman -S thunderbird

6.Create your mail accounts, feeds and calenders (empty).

7. Install the ImportExportTools AddOn

8. Import all your data.