I have been using Thunderbird e-mail client with my default account in my desktop Ubuntu (Lucid Lynx).

Now, I have created another user. When I start Thunderbird when logged in this new account, I would like it to use exactly the same profile than the default user.

Let's suppose the user/group names are default and newbie (/home/default and /home/newbie being their home folders).

How can I do this?



You might consider simply running Thunderbird as the same user, regardless of which of the two users is the one who is logged in. This would be suitable if the two users have absolute trust for each other (or, more narrowly, if the user whose Thunderbird profile it is has absolute trust for the other user, since it's the user whose Thunderbird profile it is who would have to give the other user his or her password).

If you want to do it that way, then one user can run Thunderbird as the other user with the command:

gksu -u other-username thunderbird

Where other-username is replaced by the other user's username.

This command can be run in the Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T), or from the Run Application menu (Alt+F2), or a launcher icon or menu item can be created to run this command.

So default could run Thunderbird as newbie with:

gksu -u newbie thunderbird

And newbie could run Thunderbird as default with:

gksu -u default thunderbird

The password for the user whose username is other-username is required, to run Thunderbird like that.

Alternatively, if you want to actually set things up so that both users are using the same Thunderbird profile, then you can make one user's ~/.mozilla/thunderbird folder (where ~ represents the user's home directory) a symbolic link to the other user's corresponding folder. In order for this to work, that profile must be accessible by both users, so a group should be created for this, both users added to the group, and full read and write permissions given to the folder for all users in the group.

For example, if the user newbie wants to make make his Thunderbird profile the same as the user default's profile, and default is an administrator, and default is OK with this, then with Thunderbird not running, default could run:

sudo addgroup default-thunderbird
sudo usermod -a -G default-thunderbird default
sudo usermod -a -G default-thunderbird newbie
cp -R ~/.mozilla/thunderbird ~/.mozilla/thunderbird.backup
chgrp -R default-thunderbird ~/.mozilla/thunderbird
chmod g+rw ~/.mozilla/thunderbird
find ~/.mozilla/thunderbird -type d -exec chmod g+x \{\} \;

And then, with Thunderbird not running, newbie could run:

mv ~/.mozilla/thunderbird ~/.mozilla/thunderbird.old
ln -s ~default/.mozilla/thunderbird ~/.mozilla/thunderbird

Please make sure to back up any important Thunderbird data before doing this, and be very careful, because:

(1) I have not tested this to see if it works, or how well!

(2) This is quite a bizarre way to set things up, which the Thunderbird developers probably did not have in mind. Thus, this might trigger bugs and/or strange Thunderbird behavior.

Finally, have you considered, instead of any of the complex solutions detailed above, simply having both users be separately set up to use the same (or some of the same) email accounts in their respective separate Thunderbird configurations?

If these are IMAP accounts (rather than POP), then emails are stored on the server all the time anyway, and then there is really no reason to try to have two user accounts using Thunderbird with the same profile.

  • cool idea better and correcter and too long. maybe some easy couse what if later dont need that option? i would be just using symlink – Kangarooo Nov 10 '11 at 3:54
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    @Kangarooo Are you suggesting making ~newbie/.mozilla/thunderbird a symlink to ~default/.mozilla/thunderbird without running the other commands above? Because if so, that will not work--newbie does not have the necessary permissions to create the link, and even if the link is made by default (using sudo), newbie will not have permissions write profile data, and quite possibly won't have permissions to read profile data either. – Eliah Kagan Nov 10 '11 at 4:33
  • @EliahKagan: Great! Thanks! When asking, I thought about the symlink, but I was afraid of the problems you mentioned in the comment above (and resolved in your answer). But I will try the gksu approach first... so simple! – J. Bruni Nov 10 '11 at 12:09
  • No im suggesting to use symlink method with permissions of course. – Kangarooo Nov 12 '11 at 13:11

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