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How to get the latest Mozilla Thunderbird for Linux

Mozilla Thunderbird is one of the most well-loved programs on all of Linux. It is so popular, that when Mozilla dropped the project, the community stepped up to continue work on it. Since Thunderbird is so well-loved as a Linux email client, many Linux distributions include the software in their software repositories, so that users can easily install it. However, the trouble is, most of these operating systems don’t always provide the latest version of Thunderbird, so users miss out on innovative new features.

In this guide, we’ll show you how you can upgrade to the latest release of Mozilla Thunderbird on Linux, so you don’t miss out on bug fixes, or new features. Open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T and follow along with the instructions below!

Ubuntu Instructions

Ubuntu Linux has PPAs, so getting access to a newer release of the Thunderbird Email client than what the default software sources provide is quite easy. To start the installation process, add in the official Thunderbird PPA using the add-apt-repository command.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa

After adding the Mozilla Team PPA, you must refresh the software sources on Ubuntu, so that the new PPA can finish setting up on the system. To refresh the software sources, use the update command.

sudo apt update

Following the update, you may notice some new software patches ready to install. Among these software updates is the latest version of Thunderbird provided by the PPA added earlier. Install the pending patches to your Ubuntu PC by running the upgrade command.

sudo apt upgrade -y

Don’t have any Thunderbird updates ready to install? If so, you may not have Mozilla Thunderbird installed on your Linux PC. To get the latest version from the Mozilla Team PPA, use the apt install command below.

sudo apt install thunderbird

Debian Instructions

Getting a newer release of Mozilla Thunderbird on Debian Linux isn’t very easy, as the nature of Debian is to provide users with stable software. Due to the nature of “stable software,” programs like Thunderbird are not very easy to install. Furthermore, Mozilla doesn’t provide a PPA or anything like that. For this reason, if you require the latest version of Mozilla Thunderbird, you must download the Linux binary.

Note: don’t want to download the Linux binary for Thunderbird on Debian? Follow the Snap instructions instead!

To download the latest Linux binary of Mozilla Thunderbird for Debian Linux, go to the official Thunderbird website and click the green “Free Download” button. It should instantly start downloading. When the download is complete, use the CD command to move into the “Downloads” directory.

cd ~/Downloads

Once inside of the “Downloads” directory, fully extract the Thunderbird TarBZ2 archive file so that you may have access to the files inside. To extract, use the tar command below.

tar xvf thunderbird-*.tar.bz2

When extracted, the tar command will create a folder called “thunderbird.” From here, move the terminal into “thunderbird” with CD.

cd thunderbird

From here you can run Thunderbird with the command below.

./thunderbird

Alternatively, open up the Linux file manager, click on “thunderbird” and double-click on (or right-click and execute) the “thunderbird” file to run the app.

Arch Linux Instructions

To get the latest release of Thunderbird on Arch Linux, you must have “Extra” enabled. To enable it, open up the Pacman configuration file, and enable the repo “Extra.” Once Extra is set up on your Arch Linux PC, install the latest release with the command below.

sudo pacman -S thunderbird

Already have Thunderbird installed? Update Arch Linux to install the latest patches for it!

sudo pacman -Syyu

Fedora Instructions

Fedora Linux has version 60 in the software sources for users, which is considered a relatively recent release of the software. However, if you need the absolute latest release of Thunderbird, this won’t do.  Instead, the generic Linux binary must do.

To get the generic Linux binary for Fedora Linux, head to the official Thunderbird website and click the green “free download” button. Then, once the software is done downloading, use the CD command to move the terminal window into the “Downloads” directory.

Note: need the latest Thunderbird and don’t feel like dealing with the generic Linux binary on Fedora? Try the Snap release instead!

cd ~/Downloads

Inside of the “Downloads”  directory, extract the contents of the Thunderbird TarBZ2 archive by executing the following tar command.

tar xvf thunderbird-*.tar.bz2

Following the extraction process, a folder labeled “thunderbird” will appear. Enter this folder with the CD command.

cd thunderbird

From there, run the Thunderbird email client on your Fedora Linux PC with:

./thunderbird

Alternatively, open up the file manager on your Fedora Linux PC, click on “thunderbird,” and double-click on (or right-click and execute) the “thunderbird” file in the folder.

OpenSUSE Instructions

OpenSUSE Linux provides official updates to Thunderbird, but they only provide version 60. So, much like Debian and Fedora, you must download the Linux binary if you want the absolute latest release.

To get the latest Linux binary of Thunderbird for OpenSUSE, go to the official Thunderbird website. Then, click the green “free download” button to grab the most recent Linux version of the software.

When the download is complete, open up a terminal window and use the CD command to move into the “Downloads” folder.

cd ~/Downloads

In the “Downloads” folder, use the tar command to decompress the Thunderbird TarBZ2 archive file.

tar xvf thunderbird-*.tar.bz2

Once the archive is done extracting, CD into the “thunderbird” folder that tar created.

cd thunderbird

You’ll then be able to start up Thunderbird with:

./thunderbird

Or, if you want to start the app outside of the terminal, open up your Linux file manager, click on “thunderbird” and run the “thunderbird” file by double-clicking on it (or right-click and execute).

Snap Package Instructions

Thunderbird is available as a Snap! That’s right, if your Linux operating system supports the Snap runtime, you’ll be able to install the latest release of Mozilla Thunderbird effortlessly.

To start the installation, follow our guide to learn how to enable Snap packages on Linux. Then, open up a terminal window and use the snap install command below to get everything working.

sudo snap install thunderbird

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