How to Install Mozilla Thunderbird on Ubuntu 20.04

Mozilla Thunderbird is an exceptional free, open-source full-featured secure email application and chat client that includes an RSS feed reader and newsgroups option. It allows you to manage multiple email accounts from one location with advanced filtering features.

Its an cross platform application available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, Unix and FreeBSD and the best part of this application is that it is easy to install and customize and it is packed with great features!

Thunderbird makes email better for you, bringing together speed, privacy and the latest technologies. Focus on what matters and forget about complexity. With Add-ons (Extensions and Themes) and many more features you can change the look and feel of Thunderbird in an instant.

Users can configure Mozilla Thunderbird to retrieve e-mail from their e-mail provider using IMAP or POP3, and send e-mail using SMTP.

If you use one of the bigger email providers like Google, Yahoo or Microsoft, just type in your address and the software will automatically pick the appropriate settings.

Since Thunderbird is an open source project, anyone can contribute ideas, designs, code, and time helping fellow users.

Key Features of Mozilla Thunderbird

  • Tabbed Email: If you like Firefox’s tabbed browsing, you’re going to love tabbed email. Tabbed email lets you load emails in separate tabs so you can quickly jump between them.
  • Attachment Reminder: The attachment reminder looks for the word attachment (and other words like file types) in the body of your message and reminds you to add an attachment before hitting send.
  • Search Tools: The search interface in Thunderbird contains filtering and timeline tools to pinpoint the exact email you’re looking for.
  • One-click Address Book: One-click Address Book is a quick and easy way to add people to your address book. Add people by simply clicking on the star icon in the message you receive.
  • Message Archive: If you think you’re going to need an email in the future but want it out of your inbox without deleting it, archive it! Archiving helps you manage your inbox and put your email into the archive folder system.
  • Large Files Management: You can now speed up the transfer of large documents by uploading them to an online storage provider and sharing the link instead of sending the file directly as a message attachment.
  • Smart Folders: Smart Folders help you manage multiple email accounts by combining special folders like your Inbox, Sent, or Archive folder. Instead of going to the Inbox for each of your mail accounts, you can see all of your incoming email in one Inbox folder.
  • Cutting Out the Junk: Thunderbird’s popular junk mail tools have been updated to stay ahead of spam. Each email you receive passes through Thunderbird’s leading-edge junk mail filters.

System Requirements

Before installing Mozilla Thunderbird, make sure your platform meets the following requirements:

  • GTK+ 3.14 or higher
  • GLib 2.22 or higher
  • Pango 1.22 or higher
  • X.Org 1.0 or higher (1.7 or higher is recommended)
  • libstdc++ 4.8.1 or higher
  • glibc 2.17 or higher

Note: Thunderbird will not run at all without the following libraries or packages.

This article explains three methods of installing Mozilla Thunderbird on Ubuntu 20.04.

Choose the installation method that is most appropriate for your environment.

Method 1: Installing Thunderbird as a Snap Package

The easiest way to install Mozilla Thunderbird on Ubuntu 20.04 is by using the snap packaging system.

The Thunderbird snap package is distributed and maintained by the Mozilla Foundation.

A snap package is a type of universal Linux package that you can enjoy irrespective of the distro. Its an self-contained software packages that include the binary all dependencies needed to run the application.

All you need is the snap service pre-configured, In the case of Ubuntu 20.04, it comes with snap pre-installed.

If snapd package is not already installed then you can install it by running following command.

$ sudo apt install snapd

Note: Snap packages can be installed from either the command-line or via the Ubuntu Software application.

This is actually the Snap version of the Thunderbird application. It can be used on any Linux distribution that has Snap support.

Open your terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and type the following command to install the Mozilla Thunderbird package.

$ sudo snap install thunderbird

That’s It. Now you can open the Thunderbird application with the help of Activities search bar.

If you are not comfortable with the command line, open Ubuntu Software, search for “Thunderbird” and install the application.

Type the following command to update the Thunderbird application.

$ sudo snap refresh --list

Method 2: Installing Thunderbird from default system repositories

Issue the following commands to install Mozilla Thunderbird from default system repositories.

Step #1

Type the following command to update the package index.

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Step #2

Finally, with the help of below command you can install Thunderbird from default system repositories.

$ sudo apt install thunderbird

At this step, you have successfully installed Thunderbird application on Ubuntu 20.04 system.

Method 3: Installing Mozilla Thunderbird via PPA Repository

Installing Mozilla Thunderbird from default repositories will give you an older version of the application.

If you want to install the most recent version of Mozilla Thunderbird, you can use the PPA maintained by the Mozilla team.

Personal Package Archives (PPA) are software repositories designed for Ubuntu users and are easier to install than other third-party repositories. PPAs are often used to distribute pre-release software so that it can be tested.

Step #1

First of all open the terminal from system application launcher and type the following command to add the Thunderbird PPA to your system.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa

Step #2

Then, execute the following commands to install Mozilla Thunderbird package on your Ubuntu system.

$ sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install thunderbird

Once installed, launch it from your system application menu.

Starting Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird can be launched from the command line by typing thunderbird or In the Activities search bar type “thunderbird” and click on the icon.

Image Credit:

Thunderbird user interface:

Image Credit:

How to Uninstall Thunderbird from Ubuntu 20.04

For some reason, If you want to uninstall Mozilla Thunderbird application, refer following methods.

I have explained three methods of removing Mozilla Thunderbird from Ubuntu 20.04. Choose the Uninstallation method that is most appropriate for your environment.

Method #1

If you have installed Thunderbird via Snap type the following command:

$ sudo snap remove thunderbird

Method #2

If you have installed the appication from default system repositories(apt) then uninstall by running the below command:

$ sudo apt remove --autoremove thunderbird

Method #3

If you have installed the appication via PPA then uninstall by running the below commands.

Step #1

It’s most likely that you added the PPA using add-apt-repository command. You can use the same command to remove the PPA as well. Just give it --remove option in the command.

$ sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa

Step #2

As of now we removed the PPA. What about the applications installed using these PPAs? Will they be removed as a result of removing the PPA? The answer is NO.

So this is when ppa-purge comes in picture. It not only disables the PPA but also uninstalls all the programs installed by the PPA or revert them to original version provided by your distribution.

So type the following command to install the ppa-purge package and uninstall the Thunderbird package.

$ sudo apt install ppa-purge && sudo ppa-purge ppa:ubuntu-mozilla-daily/ppa


I hope that now you have a good understanding of How to Install Mozilla Thunderbird on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa.

If anyone does have any questions about what we covered in this guide then feel free to ask in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer those.

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