Howto install thunderbird- in Linux

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

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 so far... add one

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25 comments… add one
  • Philip Lynn Nov 23, 2007 @ 12:29

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

  • Rafi Avital Apr 25, 2008 @ 23:40

    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

  • 🐧 nixCraft Apr 25, 2008 @ 23:59

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

  • Frank Parkinson Sep 18, 2008 @ 8:13

    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??


  • sahan Sep 18, 2008 @ 12:20

    thanks a lot sir…..

  • karan Nov 12, 2008 @ 9:15

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

    • Vysakh Oct 19, 2011 @ 3:33

      please use tar -vjxf filename, it will work

  • Nead Dec 17, 2008 @ 13:17

    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?

  • 🐧 nixCraft Dec 17, 2008 @ 13:37

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

  • pramod Dec 29, 2008 @ 8:07

    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.

  • PS Jan 23, 2009 @ 11:52

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

  • Muthukumar Mar 17, 2009 @ 7:16

    Exellent work!

    Thanx Dear

  • Eduardo Heredia May 31, 2009 @ 4:37

    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

  • Roy Bonney Jul 5, 2009 @ 14:25

    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.

  • gtennant Sep 7, 2009 @ 12:16

    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?

  • manjunathpuru Oct 14, 2009 @ 6:01

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

  • Praful Dec 6, 2009 @ 9:02

    Thanks for Instructions……THANKS DEAR

  • Cameron Dec 29, 2009 @ 15:14

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

  • Greg Mar 2, 2010 @ 14:13

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

  • adesh Mar 25, 2010 @ 4:29

    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

  • shiva Apr 9, 2010 @ 7:43

    Lots of installation stopped in ./configure

  • hladki May 5, 2010 @ 8:53

    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?

  • sharad May 13, 2010 @ 5:38

    excellent instructions

  • Ben Jul 12, 2011 @ 1:28

    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?

  • mike dillon Oct 5, 2011 @ 17:48

    great instructions still work with thunder bird 7!

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