Howto install thunderbird- in Linux

by on May 1, 2007 · 25 comments· LAST UPDATED April 25, 2008

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Q. I would like to install latest and greatest Mozilla thunderbird mail client under Linux.

How do I download and install the same to read emails?

A. Mozilla’s Thunderbird 2 email application is more powerful than ever. Thunderbird 2 features many new enhancements to help you better manage your unruly inbox, and stay informed. Thunderbird 2 scales to the most sophisticated organizational needs while making it easy to find what you need. It is the best mail/news client with RSS and integrated spam filter support.

Download Thunderbird to your Linux desktop

=> Visit this site to download Thunderbird

Thunderbird 2.0 installation - Just untar file and install it

Let us say you would like to install thunderbird in your own home directory called /home/jerry/. Open X terminal and type following command.

Copy your downloaded file to /home/tom/ and untar it:
$ cp /home/tom/Desktop/thunderbird- .
$ tar -zxvf thunderbird-

Now software was installed. To start Thunderbird mail client, enter:
$ cd thunderbird
$ ./thunderbird

How do I install thunderbird for everyone?

Install thunderbird in /opt directory. Login as root user:
# cd /opt
# mkdir thunderbird
# cd thunderbird
# cp /home/tom/Desktop/thunderbird- .
# tar -zxvf thunderbird-

To start thunderbird, enter:
$ /opt/thunderbird/thunderbird &

How do I create thunderbird icon on my desktop?

Right click on your Linux desktop
Select Create Launcher
Fill the details as follows:

  • Set name to : Thunderbird
  • Set command to : /opt/thunderbird/thunderbird
  • Set comment to : My Email Client
  • Hit OK to create an ICON

Howto install thunderbird- and create an ICON in Linux

A note about Ubuntu / Debian Linux user

If you are using Ubuntu / Debian Linux, open terminal and type the following command to install thunderbird:
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install thunderbird

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Philip Lynn November 23, 2007 at 12:29 pm

This is the first time I have installed new software
on my Linux machine in 10 months.
I am thrilled to bits.
Thank you


2 Rafi Avital April 25, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Excellent instructions, thank you so much. Just a note: I noticed that right before your first code section, you have:
“Copy your downloaded file to /home/tom/ and untar it:”

And right below it you have:
$ cp /home/jerry/Desktop/thunderbird- .

So, is it Tom, or Jerry? :)

Thanks again and best regards


3 nixCraft April 25, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Thanks for the heads up. The faq has been updated.


4 Frank Parkinson September 18, 2008 at 8:13 am

After unpacking the tar, ./thunderbird does nothing at all??

I am running Acer Aspire One under their Linux (Lipsus).

All files are present, the unpack worked fine and I am in the correct directory.

Any ideas??



5 sahan September 18, 2008 at 12:20 pm

thanks a lot sir…..


6 karan November 12, 2008 at 9:15 am

Hi,, tar -zxvf filename.tar.gz command doesnt work.. wht is the probs??


7 Vysakh October 19, 2011 at 3:33 am

please use tar -vjxf filename, it will work


8 Nead December 17, 2008 at 1:17 pm

I’ve extracted the thunderbird directory… im getting an error
$cd thunderbird
./thunderbird-bin: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Anyone help?


9 nixCraft December 17, 2008 at 1:37 pm

You need to install libstdc++5 – the GNU Standard C++ Library v3 or above. Use yum or apt-get command to install the same.


10 pramod December 29, 2008 at 8:07 am

very nice informations, i am using this from 2 yrs in windows and now i shifted to ubuntu 8.10 it working fine.. hearty thanks to team.


11 PS January 23, 2009 at 11:52 am

nice instructions , thank you i installed without any issue with your instructions..


12 Muthukumar March 17, 2009 at 7:16 am

Exellent work!

Thanx Dear


13 Eduardo Heredia May 31, 2009 at 4:37 am

Hahaha … that’s was a good one (Tom or Jerry) :-D
So, why not change better to Itchy and Scratchy ? … For the new generations :-P


14 Roy Bonney July 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm

Hi, my Windows ME PC finally died, so decided to move to Thunderbird under Debian for all my email etc. QUESTION how can I import/read in all existing emails, contacts list, etc. from a full backup of data files I have on CD to my new empty Thunderbird? Is the file structure under Debian compatible for straight copy? Any help appreciated, Thanks.


15 gtennant September 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I followed the “install so everyone can use Thunderbird” instructions, but was logged in as root. I then ran Thunderbird as root, and brought in my (gtennant’s) email and address book from outlook, as directed. Though not seamless, I got the data to where it needed to be, apparently. Question is: though I can, as gtennant, launch Thunderbird, it doesn’t see the Local Files and all its contents as it appears when running Thunderbird as root. Same happens when I log in as gtennant, then go to a terminal window, su – in, then launch Thunderbird — it then works. I don’t want to operate routinely as root, so what to do?


16 manjunathpuru October 14, 2009 at 6:01 am

Simply super instructions………………….Sir i have created the launcher but the icon is like shell
script………… to change the icon to default Thunderbird logo…….


17 Praful December 6, 2009 at 9:02 am

Thanks for Instructions……THANKS DEAR


18 Cameron December 29, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Thank you very much. Having just made the switch from Windows I needed this!


19 Greg March 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Very helpful for a windoze coverting to linux newbie.
Thanks for you effort.


20 adesh March 25, 2010 at 4:29 am

I’ve extracted the thunderbird directory… im getting an error
$cd thunderbird
./thunderbird-bin: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory


21 shiva April 9, 2010 at 7:43 am

Lots of installation stopped in ./configure


22 hladki May 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

I’ve extracted the thunderbird directory… im getting an error
$cd thunderbird
./thunderbird-bin: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

I’ve installed libstdc++6-4.1, but it hasn’t solved problem. What should do I next?


23 sharad May 13, 2010 at 5:38 am

excellent instructions


24 Ben July 12, 2011 at 1:28 am

I’m having the same problem as hladki:

./thunderbird-bin: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

The yum installer does the job right, but it asks me to download and install version 3.1.11. I Negative, I choose for version, so I hit “n”. Below I copied the most important messages:

$ yum install thunderbird
–> Package thunderbird.i686 0:3.1.11-1.fc14 set to be installed
Is this ok [y/N]: n

Can anyone give us a hint?


25 mike dillon October 5, 2011 at 5:48 pm

great instructions still work with thunder bird 7!


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