What is the recommended way of trying out the new Thunderbird 60 release on Ubuntu 18.04? I see several options:

  • simply download the prebuilt package from https://www.thunderbird.net/. Will it use my existing profile or does it expect some other path?
  • install some PPA (which one?)
  • install some snap or flatpak version (how to get my existing profile into it?)
  • something else?

However, I would like to use my existing profile for testing, so I won't have to recreate the whole configuration. In addition I would like to be able to easily revert in case it does not work for me. Of course I will backup my profile before, just thought I should mention this.

Best would be if I could switch easily between the two versions for some time.

5 Answers 5


You can just download the newest version here https://www.thunderbird.net/en-US/thunderbird/all/ Unpack it to a folder and click on executable "thunderbird". For me it found my profile automatically and I was able to have a look at the new version.

My old installation is not affected in anyway.

  • Yeah, but this method won't automatically update or upgrade... Of course, that wouldn't actually be a problem if Canonical actually offered the Thunderbird 60 upgrade in Ubuntu - but we all know how obsessed with outdated software Canonical is. Sep 5, 2018 at 8:24
  • 2
    @GregoryOpera comments ideally relate to improving answers, so this is a bit off topic. That said, the development release of Ubuntu is essentially synced with Debian Sid/unstable which has 60 in it. You can see from merges.ubuntu.com/t/thunderbird that the automatic merge failed and needs some manual work. You may want to read wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuDevelopment/Merging to better understand how things work.
    – wxl
    Sep 6, 2018 at 17:06

Also, if you want your launcher to launch thunderbird 60 instead of 52, you will need to change the launcher path from thunderbird %u to wherever you saved it. In my case I saved it in ~/.local/share/ so my overall path was /home/username/.local/share/thunderbird/thunderbird

sudo nano /usr/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop

Find Exec=thunderbird %u and change to Exec=/whereyousavedit/thunderbird %u

Then it will work perfectly. I'm assuming I will need to undo this once thunderbird 60 comes out in the repo, but this works for now.

  • 2
    I don't advise you on changing system files, even if only a .desktop since it can lead you to have this file to not be normally updated by apt. Instead you can copy the file to ~/.local/share/applications/thunderbird.desktop and make the changes there. Also, following the FHS (just for easiness of maintenance), the best place to have non-system installed software would be /usr/local, /opt or ~/opt. For reference: howtogeek.com/117435/… Sep 17, 2018 at 15:33
  • If you want to improve another answer please suggest an edit to it. If you want present a partial alternative please repeat or quote the parts that are the same (in case the original answer changes) and highlight the differences. In any case please don’t create a new incomplete answer! Thank you. Sep 17, 2018 at 22:20

Thunderbird 60 is now available in the snap store https://snapcraft.io/thunderbird

It's still flagged as edge so you need to issue the following command to install it:

sudo snap install thunderbird --edge

The best option still is to download Thunderbird debian package from here: https://packages.debian.org/sid/amd64/thunderbird/download So you still be able to remove it at any time or upgrade with Ubuntu package when it will be available. Snap is crap. Don't use it.


You can install it from the official PPA maintained by the Mozilla Team (you don't need to remove the currently-installed version of Thunderbird).

To upgrade currently installed package:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
sudo apt upgrade

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