Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird (English for Thunderbird ) is a free open -source e -mail program and also a feed reader, news reader and XMPP, IRC and Twitter client from the Mozilla project. The program is based on the source code of the Mozilla suite, and is available among others for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, BSD, Solaris, eComStation and OS / 2. It is next to Microsoft Outlook is one of the most widely used programs for reading news and e- mails.

  • 2.1 Chronology
  • 2.2 Version Table
  • 2.3 Withdrawal from the active development
  • 2.4 Merger of ESR
  • 2.5 icedove, name dispute with Debian


Spam filter

The program uses an adaptive spam filtering based on the Bayesian filter, which is very high after a short learning phase, the hit rate already and usually with continuous use continues to rise.

Secured Communication

Mozilla Thunderbird supports security components such as electronic signatures, message encryption and certificates after the S / MIME standard.

In addition, a GnuPG extension called Enigmail available for the program, which one can encrypt e- mails with OpenPGP keys and digital signature. GnuPG is widespread especially among GNU / Linux users and open source supporters and included with most Linux distributions by default.

HTML content

The user has three modes for the HTML representation of the e- mails. The first time the original HTML output is displayed. The second mode restricts the HTML output only in a simple format instructions, abusive usable HTML elements are filtered out. The third mode finally removes HTML tags completely and shows only the pure text of each message. Thunderbird is factory-set state to the first display mode - original HTML.

There is also when composing messages, the ability to specify for each of the sender accounts separately in advance if the outgoing messages it should be formatted with HTML or written as texts always. This default can be changed for each individual message, if necessary.

Virtual folders

Virtual folders show all messages that match search criteria previously defined (similar to smart folders for applications under Mac OS X or the labels of Gmail). To get all messages from a particular sender from all folders displayed, for example, to create unique this search and saves them as virtual folders. If this virtual folder is opened later, all the corresponding messages are displayed even though they are in different directories.

Multiple identities

Mozilla Thunderbird supports the separate management of multiple POP3 and IMAP accounts. Optionally, can be divided into a global inbox, all POP3 accounts summarized. It can also have multiple address books are kept. In addition to managing multiple identities within a profile is also the possibility to manage several separate profiles. While the identities rely on common settings, address books and extensions, there is no connection between the different profiles. Each profile has a completely separate accounts, address books, as well as its own extensions and their configuration.

The use of different identities within the same profile can therefore become so primarily for managing multiple email accounts of a person, while the use of different profiles is particularly suitable when different people want to independently manage their own email accounts within the same Thunderbird installation.

Other properties

The user interface of Thunderbird can be customized with themes to their own needs. An integrated RSS reader tool is available. By Quicksearch are more options available to find from the main window out certain emails.

With the help of extensions called add- ons, more functionalities can be added such as, for example, the ad blocker Adblock Plus. Mozilla itself provides a platform where developers can offer their extensions for download.

Thunderbird has a good platform compatibility. It is possible to access different operating systems on the same profile data and e- mails, provided you have installed on both systems, the same versions of Thunderbird.

Mozilla Thunderbird stores (like Netscape e-mail), the mail is not in binary databases, but in multiple text files. For faster access additional hash files are created. This makes it easier for competitors to create import parser. In addition, this e -mail files can be viewed, if necessary, with a simple text editor.

About the Lightning extension, a scheduling and task management are integrated in calendar form.

Import and export functions

For the migration from other e -mail programs to Thunderbird are limited functions. Direct messages, sometimes settings, from the programs Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Netscape Communicator 4.x can be imported. For some newer programs such as Windows Live Mail or Opera they can only be transmitted over workarounds to Thunderbird.

A built- in Mozilla Thunderbird possibility for data backup exists so far not, but they can with the extensions accountex ( Account Settings) and Smart Save or Import Export Tools ( mails) are integrated. It is possible to backup the messages and profiles and with the free program MozBackup.

Alternatively, the entire data folder to be copied. But here is to make sure that when a complete restoration in the meantime received mails were lost. Saving the settings ( accounts and profiles) is also recommended.

Dictionary of German Spelling

The localized into German language version of Mozilla Thunderbird is due to incompatible licenses ( ie for legal reasons ) between Thunderbird and the available German dictionaries offered as opposed to Thunderbird mostly under the LGPL or GPL license, without the German dictionary for the spell check delivered. The dictionary can, however, separately, either directly from Mozilla, or from the project site to the German localization of Thunderbird downloaded.



The graph represents individual versions of Mozilla Thunderbird according to publication on a time table and is intended to serve the overview. Some release dates have been moved to avoid conflicts with holidays.

Version table

Withdrawal from the active development

On July 7, 2012 it was announced that Mozilla will limit future work on Thunderbird on stability and security updates. To this end, from 20 November 2012 - the date of publication of Version 17, which also as ESR ( Extended Support Release) appears - every six weeks upgrades only be entered that do not include new features. Mozilla justified this step with the increasing shift of e -mail services from desktop to web-based environments. Another reason Mozilla is that they wanted to use its resources for other projects such as Firefox OS, Mozilla Firefox Mobile or the building on WebKit iPad browser junior; accordingly to the Thunderbird development team to resolve and move on to other work. Last, most users of Thunderbird are already satisfied with its capabilities, so it had to be vested by Mozilla with no new features are - but these can be further implemented by freelance developers, Mozilla wants to provide the necessary infrastructure.

Pooling of ESR

On September 7, 2013 it was announced that the Thunderbird mainstream and ESR will be merged with the version 24.

Icedove, name dispute with Debian

The Debian Linux distribution renames the associated version of the e -mail program in icedove (English for Eistaube ). This version is modified in detail in order to be better integrated into Debian GNU / Linux 4.0.

To the name change came after a dispute between Debian developers and the Mozilla Corporation. The logo is not released under a free license. It thus does not meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines and is therefore not included in the distribution. The branding of Mozilla allows the use of the name Mozilla Thunderbird but only together with the logo. It also requires that changes in the program of the Mozilla Corporation to be submitted for quality control purposes advance for approval. The same applies to the names and logos of other programs of the Mozilla project, including Mozilla Firefox, which Debian version is renamed to Iceweasel.


Mozilla Thunderbird includes all functions for e- mail and message reception of since Microsoft Windows 98 supplied default e -mail program Outlook Express that has been replaced in Vista by Windows Mail and Windows 7 with Windows Live Mail, and offers an alternative to commercial competition programs.

Compared to Microsoft Outlook, a client for Microsoft Exchange Server, currently less support for synchronization with external devices such as a smartphone or PDA is given in Thunderbird. In addition, a connection to an Exchange server with Thunderbird not possible ( reason is the proprietary RPC protocol MAPI Exchange Server).

There are numerous extensions for Mozilla Thunderbird with the possibility of a user- oriented adaptation. This sufficient opportunities are usually given to replace Outlook, in particular for the needs of individuals. Thus, the synchronization with Windows Mobile PDAs can be achieved along with the shareware and freeware BirdieSync ActiveSync.

Another option is the free OS synchronization server Funambol in connection with the Funambol Mozilla extension Mozilla Sync Client, which address and calendar data can be synced locally or on a server. However, the current Funambol client ( 1.0b3 ) is no longer compatible with Thunderbird 5, but with the previous Thunderbird 3.x. The manufacturer points out, however, that they are working actively in the project. Appropriate software for most devices is also available for download.

The calendar functionality is not provided in Thunderbird, but can be retrofitted via the provided extension of Mozilla Lightning. In addition, the contact management is comparable by expanding MoreFunctionsForAddressBook with Outlook.


Spice Bird is an application based on Thunderbird development, which has a wider range of features such as instant messaging, displaying Google Gadgets and more as well as a built-in calendar and tabs.

The further development was discontinued.

Portable versions

The official release of Mozilla Thunderbird normally needs to be installed on the system on which it is used. However, the most common installation on a device leaves even when the program is uninstalled later, settings or files in the system. This is not so with the use of a portable version.

Mozilla Thunderbird, Portable Edition by John T. Haller allows the computer cross- use via USB mass storage or other portable media. This output can be used without installation on different computers such as alternately on office and home computers. It can be unzipped directly to a portable data carrier and is available from the latter (see also portable software ).

X64-based versions

Also from Thunderbird, there are development versions for 64 -bit systems ( English version only). Currently supported are Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. The local development is at Earlybird 10