Firebird and Thunderbird Notes

Russell Bateman
last update:

How to downgrade Thunderbird on Linux...

I ended up with Thunderbird 31 and visually it stinks.

Go here to find a version you want.

See Go back to an old version of Thunderbird.

How to update Firefox and/or Thunderbird on Linux...

Down-load and set it up by hand:


Get the download from; down-load to /home/user/Downloads.

~/Downloads $ bunzip2 firefox-17.0.tar.bz2
~/Downloads $ last
total 878396
-rw-r--r--  1 russ russ  40867840 2012-11-23 09:27 firefox-17.0.tar
drwxr-xr-x 52 russ russ      2448 2012-11-23 09:27 ..
drwxr-xr-x  2 russ russ       568 2012-11-23 09:30 .
~/Downloads $ tar -xf firefox-17.0.tar
~/Downloads $ last
total 878398
drwxr-xr-x 11 russ russ      1576 2012-11-19 20:50 firefox
-rw-r--r--  1 russ russ  40867840 2012-11-23 09:27 firefox-17.0.tar
drwxr-xr-x 52 russ russ      2448 2012-11-23 09:27 ..
drwxr-xr-x  3 russ russ       592 2012-11-23 09:30 .
~/Downloads $ sudo mv firefox /usr/lib/firefox-17.0
~/Downloads $ sudo bash
[sudo] password for russ:
~ # cd /usr/lib
/usr/lib # ll -d firefox*
drwxr-xr-x  9 root root 1424 2012-11-23 09:28 firefox
drwxr-xr-x 11 russ russ 1576 2012-11-19 20:50 firefox-17.0
drwxr-xr-x  6 root root  168 2012-04-29 22:18 firefox-addons
/usr/lib # chown -R root:root firefox-17.0/
/usr/lib # pu ../bin
/usr/bin /usr/lib
/usr/bin # ll firefox
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 25 2012-11-23 09:28 firefox -> ../lib/firefox/
/usr/bin # rm firefox
/usr/bin # ln -s ../lib/firefox-17.0/firefox
/usr/bin # ll firefox
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 27 2012-11-23 09:32 firefox -> ../lib/firefox-17.0/firefox

Done. You may remove the old Firefox installation (/usr/lib/firefox) if desired. We just use the launcher we've already created for Firefox. Haven't created a (GNOME) launcher? Do this...

  1. Right-click menu panel (bar) and choose Add to Panel....
  2. Click Custom Application Launcher.
  3. Click Add button.
  4. Enter Name: as "Firefox web browser".
  5. Enter Command: as "firefox %u".
  6. Click on the funny icon and browse down into the Firefox download to find the real icon and select it.

Clicking this new launcher in your menu panel will launch Firefox.


This is basically the same thing already copiously illustrated for Firefox above.

  1. Go to the Mozilla Thunderbird download site, find a suitable Linux download, save to ~/Downloads.
  2. Explode the archive producing a new subdirectory Thunderbird.
  3. Find your old subdirectory, rename it to Thunderbird.version.
  4. Move the newly downloaded and exploded subdirectory alongside it.
  5. Launch Thunderbird.

The important settings were already save under ~/.thunderbird, so all your mail should still be in place and your account settings still working. You will probably have to fix your proxy settings:

Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced -> Network & Disk Space -> Connection Settings -> Configure Proxies to Access the Internet -> Use system proxy settings (or something like that).

How to add rows to or delete rows from a table


You have to click in a cell to get the control handles. Click the arrow pointing up to add a row above, or down for adding a row below.

Click the circle with the x in it to delete the cell or row—you'll have to experiment to understand what this will do.

Changing password(s) used in Thunderbird

That's just it: password(s) used in Thunderbird, but Thunderbird itself has only the capability to remember a password, but it doesn't "have" a password itself.

When you change your password with your mail gateway/provider/whatever, you'll find Thunderbird will fail to log in the next time you launch or bounce it. It's at that point that you reveal the new password to Thunderbird and ask it to remember it. Also, this will typically happen twice per account since it provides for one password to receive mail for the account and another, separate once for the out-going server that sends mail. These two are potentially different depending on a couple of factors including your own choices.

Installing Flash play for Firefox

Only on Ubuntu and openSuSE will Firefox make good on installing the missing Flash plug-in. On other Linuces, you have to:

  1. Find Firefox installation. Usually /usr/bin/firefox is a symbolic link to the installation, often found at /usr/lib/firefox.
  2. Create a new subdirectory, plugins.
  3. Download the player for Linux as a tarball (file ending in .tar.gz) from Adobe. The easiest thing to do is launch Firefox, browse to a page requiring the plug-in, usually is a sure one, and attempt to get the issue resolved by Firefox, which will fail (that's why you're reading this). Navgiate through the procedure to the "manual install" and then you'll be able to pick the right download (the tarball).
  4. Place the tarball in the plug-in directory you created under Firefox and blow it open.
    	# gunzip -d install_flash_player_10_linux.tar.gz
    	# tar -xvf install_flash_player_10_linux.tar
    	# rm install_flash_player_10_linux.tar

    This will leave you with in the plug-in subdirectory.

  5. Bounce Firefox and you're there.

Thunderbird: how to remove yellow anchor icon

This is inserted by Thunderbird when you copy and paste something into it from another application, like a browser or Word.

  1. Select the text including the icon.
  2. Choose Format → Remove Named Anchors.

Thunderbird: how to transfer addresses

First, it's impossible to recover addresses without being able to run Thunderbird. Without windowed access to the host on which your addresses reside, it's without hope. (So, access via ssh is impossible.)

Second, it's impossible to delete or place addresses in the default folders, Collected Addresse and Personal Address Book, inside the Thunderbird address book. In consequence, get used to naming the books you export and import something else and just not using those default folders anymore.

Next, you can only export one address book at a time. Begin by clicking on the address book to export first, then do Tools → Export... and do what's obvious (give a name, etc.).

To import, reverse the procedure by bringing up the new Thunderbird address book and doing Tools → Import....

Thunderbird: how to transfer message filters (rules)

This is ickier. First, there is an add-on to make it easier, however, it's unnecessarily burdensome. Just follow these steps at the command line, after installing and otherwise setting up Thunderbird on the new computer host:

  1. Locate your Thunderbird data. This will in ~/.thunderbird/x, where x is a subdirectory with an automatically generated, discrete name like tig234sdf.
  2. Down under that subdirectory, find one or more files (there will be one per e-mail account you've set up) named msgFilterRules.dat. These will be under separate subdirectories. For example, if you've got two Google mail-based accounts, likely you'll find them like this:
    ~/.thunderbird/tighs31a.default $ find . -name msgFilterRules.dat
    ./Mail/Local Folders/msgFilterRules.dat
    where the first one corresponds to the first e-mail account you set up when you installed and configured Thunderbird. Etc.
  3. Transfer that file to the new computer host locating the new subdirectory corresponding to the right e-mail account.

I did not find that I had to shut down Thunderbird on the new host before coping nor bounce it to see the rules once I'd copied them into place.

Thunderbird: how to get window layout side by side

Enable menus in Thunderbird, then select View → Layout → Vertical View.

Thunderbird: how to inject HTML content inside e-mail content
  1. Position the cursor in the e-mail content.
  2. Choose Insert → HTML...
  3. Type or paste HTML into the space marked Enter HTML tags and text.
  4. Click Insert.

Note that not everything works. I have tried to use <iframe ... > for embedding video (but it doesn't work).