Getting Thunderbird 2.0 yourself on Linux

Thunderbird logo Mozilla Thunderbird is Mozilla's answer to an email client and is often billed as a 'Firefox for email'. While most Linux distributions include Firefox by default in the normal install, some don't and even when they do, they often package the older 1.5.0.x release.

That means if you want to enjoy the latest version of Thunderbird in the 2.0.x series, you'll have to go and get it yourself. So exactly how do you go about doing that on Linux?

First of all, if at all possible, don't do this! Check your software management application for Thunderbird 2.0 first, and if it's there, download and install from there and ignore this post. Only if you can't get version 2.0 that way and you don't want to mess around with unofficial repositories should you try the steps here.

It's actually a pretty easy process, albeit one that isn't all that intuitive. Once you know how it's done though, it's easy. First of all head over to the Thunderbird site and download the package (if you're not downloading directly onto the target Linux machine, you'll need to head to the all downloads page and pick the correct Linux version for your language).

Once you've downloaded that package, you need to extract it. Thankfully, that is usually as simple as right-clicking the file and choosing Extract Here (or the relevant option). You should now end up with a folder called thunderbird. You may want to move this folder somewhere more suitable if it's still on your desktop. If you want to be traditional, put it inside a folder called bin in your home directory.

Thunderbird starter script icon

Browse into said folder and look for a file called thunderbird. It will probably have a script icon. Double-click this (if you're asked, choose to Run it, not Display it) and in a few moments Thunderbird should pop up.

That's basically it, although launching Thunderbird in this way isn't very elegant.

It's pretty easy at this point to make a launcher, or a shortcut, to your custom Thunderbird installation. Check out this post I did on installing Firefox 2.0 yourself a while back and follow the instructions there to make a launcher, just replacing Firefox references with Thunderbird and with the path to your Thunderbird script (for example, /home/peter/bin/thunderbird/thunderbird).

Avatar for peter Peter Upfold -

Peter Upfold is a technology enthusiast from the UK. Peter’s interest in Linux stems back to 2003, when curiosity got the better of him and he began using SUSE 9.0. Now he runs Linux Mint 9 on the desktop, runs a CentOS-based web server from home for his personal website and dabbles in all sorts of technology things across the Windows, Mac and open source worlds.

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