I'm using Mozilla's Thunderbird with thunderbird-locale-de and xul-ext-lightning for calendaring.

Unfortunately, the lightning extension seems not to be translated - while the rest of thunderbird is.

Is there a way to get the calendar part of thunderbird translated to german?

  • Have you installed the xul-ext-lightning package or the add-on via Thunderbird?
    – A.B.
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 10:20
  • The xul-ext-lightning package via apt.
    – cweiske
    Commented Oct 26, 2015 at 15:11

3 Answers 3


The package xul-ext-lightning in the Ubuntu repository does not support the German language.

To add German language support:

  1. Remove the package

    sudo apt-get remove xul-ext-lightning
  2. Use the Add-Ons page to install the add-on.

  • 2
    As of Thunderbird 60+ this is not possible anymore since Lightning on ATN is only offered up to v52.
    – Salim B
    Commented Oct 17, 2018 at 17:15
  • @SalimB indeed, and the question is three years old :P
    – A.B.
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 20:32
  • Yeah, but the problem persists (untranslated Lightning), at least in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS which is supported by Canonical until 2021.
    – Salim B
    Commented Nov 21, 2018 at 21:50
  • Solution worked in Thunderbird 60 on Ubuntu 18.04 and fixed the missing translations. Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 6:23

I have found a solution, but I have no idea why it works. Information about the changes in how Lightning is treated post-Thunderbird-60 is a little thin on the ground.


  • it cannot be installed through the add-on system
  • it doesn’t magically appear by removing the old add-on and restarting, which people in Mozilla support forums suggest as a solution (possibly because how it’s packaged in Ubuntu hasn’t caught up with the change yet)
  • it can be installed through a package (xul-ext-lightning) as described by A.B. but the interface will be in English, not your chosen Thunderbird language

Having done a fresh Irish language install of Ubuntu when 18.04 arrived, I did have both Thunderbird and Lightning (installed through add-on system) in Irish until one day Lightning was somehow auto-updated to version 60 even though Thunderbird was still on 57(?!). It stopped working at that point. I eventually removed the Lightning add-on and found the system package which reinstalled Lightning, but in English.


I’d seen suggestions that the Thunderbird people wanted you to download it as a standalone, so I thought I’d try that.

  1. Downloaded localised Thunderbird
  2. Extracted under ~/bin
  3. Ran it from a file manager — Lightning is bundled and localised!
  4. Ran system version of Thunderbird — Lightning is localised!
  5. Deleted downloaded Thunderbird and ran system version — Lightning still localised!

I’m guessing this has changed a config file somewhere.

You could also remove the system version and use the downloaded version instead, but I’m unsure of how updates are handled (if at all). Once again, on Mozilla support people will say that it is updated automatically, but I’m not sure there’s much experience of Linux there.

  • After a recent update both Firefox and Thunderbird reverted to English. Today Firefox was updated to 69.0.2 and went back to Irish, but Thunderbird (60.9.0) is still in English. Once again running a downloaded Thunderbird of the same version, resets the packaged version to the correct language. Pure voodoo! Commented Oct 14, 2019 at 2:20

You can do it the easy way by going to the link below:


And downloadning and installing the corresponding .xpi extension for your Thunderbird version. Worked nicely for me.

EDIT: now including the main parts of the article so people can follow instructions, as requested.

Download the Linux (or Linux 64-bit, either one will work) version of Thunderbird for your language from the Thunderbird site. This should be a .tar.bz2 archive.

Note: Specific versions of Lightning are paired with specific versions of Thunderbird. If you are not using the latest version of Thunderbird (60.2.1 at the time of this writing), you can download the release package for your version at Mozilla’s archive site.

Expand the .tar.bz2 archive, and in the thunderbird/distribution/extensions directory, you will find the .xpi package for the Lightning extension ({e2fda1a4-762b-4020-b5ad-a41df1933103}.xpi).

Download Lightning from (...) Dropbox shared folder

In the interest of saving time, (...) select the version of Thunderbird you are using, then download Lightning for your locale: (N.B.: due to URL limits, I put here only the three last ones from the list)

Thunderbird 60.8.0 – Lightning 6.2.8
Thunderbird 60.9.0 – Lightning 6.2.9
Thunderbird 68.0 – Lightning 68.0

Staying updated

Unfortunately, installing Lightning this way means automatic updates do not work. (...)

  • 1
    While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. - From Review
    – Pilot6
    Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 19:25
  • Included them, as requested. Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 22:25

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