Open thunderbird

$ thunderbird

Use a specific user profile
$ thunderbird -P [profile_name]

Use a specific user profile directory
$ thunderbird --profile [path/to/profile/directory]


/usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird [OPTIONS] [URL]

/usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird-bin [OPTIONS] [URL]


Thunderbird provides IMAP/POP support, a built-in RSS reader, support for HTML mail, powerful quick search, saved search folders, advanced message filtering, junk mail controls, message grouping, labels, return receipts, smart address book, LDAP address completion, import tools and the ability to manage multiple identities in email and newsgroup accounts.

Thunderbird provides enterprise and government grade security such as S/MIME, digital signing, message encryption, and support for certificates and security devices.


thunderbird is a executable file that will set up the environment for the starting executable, thunderbird-bin. If there is an Thunderbird mail client already running, thunderbird will arrange for it to create a new mail client window; otherwise it will start the Thunderbird application.


A summary of the options supported by thunderbird is included below.

X11 options


X display to use


Make X calls synchronous


Make all warnings fatal

Mozilla options

-h, -help

Show summary of options.

-v, -version

Print the Thunderbird version.

-P [profile]

Start with profile. When no profile is given, displays the Profile Manager. May require -no-remote, see below.

--profile [path]

Start with with [profile] from the given [path].


Start with migration wizard. May require -no-remote, see below.


Start with profile manager. May require -no-remote, see below.


Don't connect to a running Thunderbird instance. Don't accept or send remote commands. This option can be necessary in conjunction to several of the options above, that won't have any effect when an Thunderbird instance is running unless -no-remote is used at the same time.


Open a new instance instead of a new windows in the running instance.

--UILocale locale

Start with locale resources as User Interface locale. By default, it is guessed from environment and available locales for Thunderbird.


Starts Thunderbird in safe mode, i.e. disabling all extensions and showing a bit more debugging messages.


Start with Javascript Console


Open the address book at startup.


Compose a mail or news message.


Open the mail folder view.

-mail URL

Open the message specified by this URL.


Open the news client.


Set Thunderbird as the default mail client.


Open the options dialog.


Open the specified email file.



Starts Thunderbird through a debugger (gdb by default).


MOZILLA_DISABLE_PLUGINS - when set, totally disables loading plugins.


/usr/bin/thunderbird - shell script wrapping thunderbird-bin

/usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird-bin - thunderbird executable


Some typical use case for starting Thunderbird from a console

Starting Thunderbird without any extra options, useful to any messages from thunderbird in case something went not o.k.:


Starting Thunderbird without any extensions or themes, useful if extensions may make some trouble:

thunderbird --safe-mode

Starting Thunderbird with a composing window:

thunderbird -compose

Starting Thunderbird with the default debugger:

/usr/lib/thunderbird/ -debug /usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird-bin

Starting Thunderbird with the specific debugger:

/usr/lib/thunderbird/ --debugger /foo/bar/debugger /usr/lib/thunderbird/thunderbird-bin


To report a bug, please visit and/or report bugs to the Debian Bug Tracking System, as usual.


The Mozilla Organization

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