Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

How do I install/update Thunderbird in Ubuntu?

  • 8 replies
  • 2 have this problem
  • 13693 views
  • Last reply by Zenos

more options

I am running Ubuntu 16.01 which included Thunderbird 38. I want to add the Lightning calendar so I need to update to TB 45. I have downloaded TB45 (thunderbird-45.1.1.tar.bz2). What do I do now? When I click on the TB45 it offers to Extract it with Archive Manager, but then what????

Chosen solution

LMDE will not be easier. It was a cleaner environment for me to install up-to-date versions of Thunderbird. Given what you have said, I think you should stick with Ubuntu a bit longer. Mint is an easy to use alternative if you don't like the way Ubuntu with Unity is designed for touchscreen usage.

Mint is based on Ubuntu, but offers different Desktop Environments - Cinnamon and Mate are two popular choices. Both are more Windows-like (or can be set so) than Unity, which is the default in Ubuntu. Most of these Desktop Environments borrow heavily from Gnome, yet another Desktop Environment.

LMDE is Mint but based on Debian, not Ubuntu, and is definitely not so newby-friendly. I can't recommend it to you for now.

You don't need to change from Ubuntu. You should be able to get Lightning in the version of Thunderbird included by default, but you may need to look for it in your software centre.

And kudos to you for trying. I wish more folk realised that Windows is not the only way to use a computer.

PS I set my mother-in-law (in her 70's) up with Mint and she was perfectly happy. If all a user does is Facebook in a browser, then the underlying OS becomes irrelevant. And we no longer had to go round every few days to clean out the virii and malware. ;-)

Read this answer in context 👍 1

All Replies (8)

more options
more options

So far I've had two non answers :-( Just to be clear, the post at web site (https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/installing-thunderbird-linux) DOES NOT answer the question I posed - I had already looked there. The link to the Ubuntu solution is ancient, referring back to Ubuntu 10. If you mean to use the package manager, I do not know where that is. Ubuntu has apparently replaced a package manager with the Software Center, and that will extract the folder/box but - then what? The answer is here somewhere I just can't find it and I've been looking for 3 hours before I came here asking for help :-(

more options

I do this:

  1. download the tar.bz2 file
  2. go to /opt
  3. use "open as administrator"
  4. copy the tar.bz2 file to /opt
  5. right-click it, select "Extract here"
  6. set up a launcher to invoke /opt/thunderbird/thunderbird

As one of the links suggests, it may be easier to install Thunderbird into your home folder, ~. This is fine if you are the sole user of Thunderbird on your computer.

A challenge with Ubuntu (I found) is to overcome the complicated launcher installed in usr/bin/ - you may need to uninstall the standard version supplied in your distro.

The launcher script is one reason why I stopped using Ubuntu (along with Unity) and I changed to Linux Mint and then LMDE.

You do not need to update Thunderbird in order to get Lightning. Lightning has to be compiled to be compatible with Thunderbird, and to obtain the appropriate build, you should look for Lightning in your distro's repository. (Just to be clear, you do NOT need to compile it yourself; the download is compiled and ready to use.)

I get the feeling that you're a bit new to Ubuntu. I think installing from the tar.bz2 file may be rather ambitious. I suggest you invest more effort into understanding the tools provided. Explaining this is beyond the remit (and probably competence) of helpers contributing to this site. I suggest you go to a Ubuntu support side and ask for help in acquiring Lightning. And stay with the versions offered by your repository.

The equivalents to your "Software Center" that I have here all allow you to search for available packages and then download and install them automatically. You probably do not want the "package manager" - this is rather lower lever than the tools provided for the general user. Generally, I use Synaptic to get packages and applications.

Modified by Zenos

more options

You are correct in that this is over my pay grade - thanks for trying. I'm new to the whole linux thing - I'm just trying to stop being dependent on Windows.

Maybe someday - if I live long enough ...

more options

Keep at it. I tried several distros before I felt I could use Linux as a matter of routine. Initially, there was just too much that didn't work; no video, no music, no flash etc etc. USB support was patchy, wifi hard work, bluetooth unusable. Countless hours wasted trying to find and install the required packages. Ubuntu was probably the one that made it seem worthwhile and I used it happily until Unity appeared.

Mint gave me a more traditional desktop (Gnome 2) and was useful until I felt I needed to be able to keep up with the latest Thunderbird. For a while, PPAs looked like a way to get current Thunderbird without having to wait for the official distro to catch up. But I had recurrent issues with the launcher, PPAs not being fully maintained, and difficulties with the underlying Ubuntu structure, and I finally decided that I had to move to a version that wasn't built on top of Ubuntu. LMDE is the one I have come to use, along with Mate, a lightweight desktop based on Gnome 2 and not enslaved to touchscreen compatibilty.

Right now there is only one application that I really want to run and that I can't get to run under Linux, and for that I use a dual boot, or a networked machine with remote access. Neither Wine nor Crossover has been able to host it under Linux for me. :-(

I ran Windows 10 briefly tonight to get some Windows/Thunderbird screenshots and, ugh, it was horrible.

more options
I have downloaded TB45 (thunderbird-45.1.1.tar.bz2).
If you mean to use the package manager, I do not know where that is.

I don't mean to use the package manager since you mentioned you downloaded the tarball (presumably from the Mozilla web site). If not, get it from there. https://www.mozilla.org/thunderbird/all/

The article has explicit instructions on how to 'Installing outside of a package manager'. What prevented you from reading the entire article I don't know. Command line works the same way regardless of the version of Ubuntu you use.

Make yourself familiar with basic package management procedures for your distribution and learn how to use the command line.

And please don't post your question to this forum twice.

more options

To Zenos: thank you for explaining in some detail. Ubuntu is the 4th version of Linux I have tried and the only one I could actually get things done with. You use a lot of terms I do not understand so it is slow going on my end. Examples include LMDE, Mate, and Gnome 2. I'll do a search for LMDE and I'll see what that turns up.

Thank you

To christ1: I'm sorry to try your patience. I posted twice because the first response was so unhelpful I thought I should try to make the question more clear. As to why I didn't keep reading after I saw Ubuntu 10, there is a good reason in my mind. I've chased a rabbit down that hole in the past only to find out that subsequent changes made the original instructions obsolete, so when i see something out-of-date, I look for something more current. I understand no one is being paid to keep these things up to date and I am grateful for any help I get.

I do try to make my self familiar with basic procedures, and as far as I can tell from my friends, I'm the only 73 year young guy even trying something beside Windows. It ain't easy doing this when you can't find anyone to talk to. My grandson, 23, doesn't even try linux (and I was counting on him ;-) )

I'll take a look at LMDE as Zenos recommends - maybe I can grasp that easier.

more options

Chosen Solution

LMDE will not be easier. It was a cleaner environment for me to install up-to-date versions of Thunderbird. Given what you have said, I think you should stick with Ubuntu a bit longer. Mint is an easy to use alternative if you don't like the way Ubuntu with Unity is designed for touchscreen usage.

Mint is based on Ubuntu, but offers different Desktop Environments - Cinnamon and Mate are two popular choices. Both are more Windows-like (or can be set so) than Unity, which is the default in Ubuntu. Most of these Desktop Environments borrow heavily from Gnome, yet another Desktop Environment.

LMDE is Mint but based on Debian, not Ubuntu, and is definitely not so newby-friendly. I can't recommend it to you for now.

You don't need to change from Ubuntu. You should be able to get Lightning in the version of Thunderbird included by default, but you may need to look for it in your software centre.

And kudos to you for trying. I wish more folk realised that Windows is not the only way to use a computer.

PS I set my mother-in-law (in her 70's) up with Mint and she was perfectly happy. If all a user does is Facebook in a browser, then the underlying OS becomes irrelevant. And we no longer had to go round every few days to clean out the virii and malware. ;-)

Modified by Zenos