On Ubuntu 21.10, Thunderbird 91 does not support movemail (Unix Mailspool) accounts:

Removed support for movemail

Support for movemail has been removed. Please set up an IMAP or POP3 account to access your email instead.

> New > Existing Mail Account


Previously, I was using exim4 and Thunderbird to view the output of my cron jobs. I would like to continue to use Thunderbird, but all the previous answers I have been able to find relied on its movemail support:


  • Receive the cron output for both root@hostname and $USER@hostname, although if these are separate accounts that would be acceptable.

  • Must be local to my machine without the need for an external network at all. I do not want to forward my cron output to a remote server.

  • Must have individual messages for each cron job (as with movemail).

  • Must use Thunderbird 91. I am aware that other clients support movemail.


What are my options for viewing cron output in Thunderbird 91?

If running a full-blown IMAP or POP3 server is the only way, what is a robust, secure, and low-maintenance setup for serving cron output locally?

Edit: as Ubuntu 21.10 was released on October 14, this question is now on-topic.

  • Refer askubuntu.com/help/on-topic where you'll notice only supported releases of Ubuntu and flavors are on-topic for this site. For impish indri [21.10] questions you'll need to use a development support site such as IRC (#ubuntu+next) or Ubuntu Forums, or wait until after release for this site expected release date for Ubuntu 21.10 is 14 October 2021) when your question will be on-topic here.
    – guiverc
    Oct 10, 2021 at 20:55
  • 1
    @guiverc I don't mind waiting 4 days, but are you saying I have to delete the question now and post it again in 4 days? The final freeze was on October 7th. Oct 10, 2021 at 21:28
  • @NathanielM.Beaver We are saying your question is off-topic until it releases publically. Off-topic/on-topic is not applied retroactively, otherwise, tons of old questions would be closed. On/off-topic is looked at relative to the date the question was posted
    – cocomac
    Oct 11, 2021 at 0:42
  • 1
    I'd argue pretty strongly that this is not an Ubuntu question at all, it's a Thunderbird question, and thus still very much off-topic. Application support is properly the purview of the application developer. Indeed, a cursory search shows users of Thunderbird 91 on all major Unix/Linux systems having the same problem. That quite aside, the question has been answered many times - set up postfix, and simply configure it for local-only, as describred in the answers you've cited already.
    – James S.
    Oct 18, 2021 at 17:18
  • 1
    If you ask in the appropriate site, Unix & Linux, I expect you are likely to find that the question you are asking, "How does local mailspool work in Unix, and how can I install and administer an MTA" will already have been answered. You are not asking a question about Ubuntu.
    – James S.
    Oct 19, 2021 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


source: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1625741

excerpt from comment 35...

Anyway, for whoever wants to know a slightly kludgy but likely "good enough" workaround, do this:

    - context-click on the "Local Folders" and find the "Local Directory" address
    - close thunderbird (maybe be paranoid and pgrep to ensure you don't have any persistent subprocess still running)
    - then create a symlink ln -s /var/mail/[SPOOL_FILE_NAME] /path/to/the/Local-Directory/address/you/found/above/Inbox (obviously ensure there isn't already an Inbox subfolder there, or otherwise create a differently named subfolder-symlink)

When I opened thunderbird it indexed it OK and after exiting and reopening thunderbird several times the symlink has stayed in place without problem.

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