How to install Thunderbird 3 in Ubuntu 10.10/10.04/9.10/9.04/8.10/8.04 Using Ubuntuzilla PPA

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Mozilla Thunderbird is a total redesign of the Mozilla mail component to produce a cross-platform, stand-alone mail application using the XUL user interface language. It has many new features, among them the ability to customize your toolbars the way you want them. a new look and feel with a large number of downloadable themes which alter the appearance of the client, and the ability to add UI extensions.

You can check what is new in thunderbird 3 from here

Updated with ubuntuzilla PPA

If you are using Ubuntu Jaunty (9.04) or later:

Edit /etc/apt/sources.list file

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the following lines

deb all main

If you are using Ubuntu Intrepid (8.10) or earlier

Edit /etc/apt/sources.list file

gksudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Add the following lines

deb all main

Save and exit the file

Add the GPG key

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver C1289A29

Update the source list

sudo apt-get update

Install thunderbird 3 using the following command

sudo apt-get install thunderbird-mozilla-build

Remove thunderbird 3 using the following command

sudo apt-get remove thunderbird-mozilla-build

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31 Responses

  1. Jon says:

    gksudo gedit? What’s wrong with sudo vi?

  2. OMG.Ubuntu says:

    It will install Thunderbird 3 for sure, but also there will be an issue which is when running the update manager, Firefox will be updated to Ubuntu lab version, which is very annoying.

  3. wiz says:

    Unfortunately if you use a master password to secure your email account passwords, this version (3.1a1) doesn’t work properly. It can’t read your passwords, and even if you subsequently remove the master password, it still won’t be able to log into the accounts, it keeps coming back with an error about not being able to get the password.

    I’ve reverted to 3.0 (for now) 🙂

  4. dunbrokin says:

    I fond a bug in that 3.1 cannot access my passwords and so cannot download my email.

  5. Fer says:

    Same here, although thunderbird-3.0 from the same repo is working fine.

  6. Ash says:

    Aye, agree with someone who said this will upgrade Mozilla Firefox to Shiretoko which is work in progress. IMHO ubuntuzilla does a good job.

  7. chest069 says:

    I get the following error.

  8. dunbrokin says:

    Tried the ubuntuzilla route….that was even worse…won’t use your old setting…least I could not get it to use them…you have to put in your passowrd again…does not seem to import your sent box or inbox etc.

  9. dunbrokin says:

    I lie….it does work after you have ported across your old profile.

  10. SteveP says:

    I was using Thunderbird 2.x profile files on a removable USB drive, switching machines Ubuntu Jaubty/Ubuntu Karmic/XP – regularly, no problems.
    Thunderbird 3.0 is unacceptably slow – even when search indexing is switched off.
    At present, while away on holidays, I have copied my profile files to the hard drive of my netbook. Next week I will be back home and looking for another client which can help me cope with my email on-the-road. [or no-client at all]

  11. dan says:

    Just wanted to echo what others are saying–I also had to retreat to 3.0; Password retrieval not working—-

  12. Norbert says:

    Same issue here: using the daily repo my firefox upgraded to an unstable version and there were really few plugins usable with thunderbird.

    I disinstalled and used ubuntuzilla instead.

    Firefox and thunderbird are stable versions and there are more plugin for thunderbird 3.0

  13. Mark says:

    Ran thru install. Loaded itself as Shredder 3.1, and reverted Firefox to Shiretoko. When starting and setting up account for gmail it errors out (after successfully finding the servers and verifying the password). “Error creating account, incoming server already exists.” Won’t go any further no matter how I start over.

  14. dunbrokin says:

    I think it would be good if we had some guidance and warnings when you post suggestion like this. Perhaps we could do with more quality control.

  15. DeKa says:


    Thunderbird-3.1 is Alpha!!!!

    Thunderbird-3.0 is correct.

    Gruß DeKa

  16. Anders Friberg says:

    Hmmm… same problem here. How do I remove this ppa above and reinstall firefox 3.5 in the most convenient way? Preferably without having to reinstall add-ons.

    Best regards

  17. Anders Friberg says:

    …accidentally got shredder too but seems to work…

  18. Richard says:

    I second Anders Friberg’s request: how to remove the ppa above since there was no indication this would alter existing firefox installation? Kudos to dunbrokin’s suggestion.

  19. Richard says:

    Adding some info here:
    1) removing the PPA: “the PPA in this post also has some Firefox daily builds (and further “Shredder” daily builds) so if you don’t wish to use these, simply remove the ubuntu-mozilla-daily PPA after installing Thunderbird. To do this, go to System > Administration > Software Sources, on the second tab called “Other software”, look for “…” and uncheck it.”

    2) installing Thunderbird 3 from the TAR file downloaded from Mozilla’s site:

    Next, open a terminal and enter the following two commands to extract the archive you just downloaded:

    cd ~/Desktop
    tar xfvj thunderbird-3.0.tar.bz2

    After you’ve unpacked the archive enter the following command to move it to a more convenient location:

    sudo mv ./thunderbird /opt/

    Everything should be in order now, so let’s move to the directory and make sure it works:

    cd /opt/thunderbird/

    Finally, run the following command to launch Thunderbird:


    Patrick’s link also easy directions to create a shortcut.

  20. Kevin says:

    Can someone please update this post. The correct “easy way” is to use ubuntuzilla.

    The problem with all these “me too” how-to’s is that you really mess up people trying to find correct information. In this case, you’ve damaged their working web browser and email client by dropping the Mozilla daily builds on their machines.

    Community – we need to do a better job of keeping the real Ubuntu documentation/wiki up to date.

    How To “fan sites” – stop trying to pump up your ad revenue with quantity versus quality “guidance” and show some responsibility…EXPLAIN what these choices mean and that the person will NOT be running released versions of the applications.

  21. j8a says:

    Thunderbird-3.1 is beta, it not works.
    I recommend Thunderbird-3.0 with the same recipe.

  22. Theerath says:

    So now – with all these differing opinions; I am totally stumped as newbie user! Can we not have a expert from Ubuntu give clarification? How to have a secure & working mail client?

  23. Benjamin says:

    ubuntuzilla or waiting for a dist-upgrade is the way it works well

  24. Patrick says:

    After upgrading to Lucid, Thunderbird starts complaining that mail passwords fail. The solution is to delete signons.sqlite which the upgrade creates but doesn’t properly set up. On next launch, Tbird will re-build the db using your existing signons3.txt file (the Tbird 3 way of saving passwords). Naturally, this assumes you were using Tbird 3 before, so make sure you have signons3.txt in your default Thunderbird directory before following this fix.

  25. David says:

    Yeah the standard procedure fails since thunderbird is now at version 3.1.5 but you can use synaptic once you have added the key as per this page.

    It’s worth noting that thunderbird 3 breaks all your old email settings including address book entries for those who are thinking of upgrading.

  26. Tom says:

    Can someone please FIX this article? It’s causing a lot of problems for people!

    Was trying to book a flight ticket and everything went fine until the card verification process which requires java. The internet here is really slow also so maybe by the time ubuntuzilla is finished downloading the ticket might be sold to someone else. Also I have to go trough the whole booking process AGAIN. Rather annoyed at the moment.

    Thanks to everyone who suggested ubuntuzilla btw! Good work 🙂

  27. admin says:


    Updated article with ubuntuzilla PPA

  28. Les Korodi says:

    Use Mint

  29. Tom says:

    All right! Thanks admin 🙂 Good work!

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