Q&A with Ubuntu contributor Mike Basinger

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Hey Mike, I love your articles and I was hoping you could help me with a problem I'm having. My preferred email client is Thunderbird, and I'm unhappy with the lack of integration Thunderbird has with the new Unity interface in Ubuntu 12.04. Do you have any suggestion on getting Thunderbird and Unity working together?

Steve from West Yellowstone, MT


The default email client in Ubuntu 12.04 is now Thunderbird, but I have found that it is still missing some key features, which can be added easily via the Ubuntu Software Center.

From Ubuntu Software Center, search for Thunderbird . Click on Thunderbird Mail/News and select the following add-ons:

  • Unity appmenu integration for Thunderbird (thunderbird-globalmenu): Puts Thunderbird menu on the global menu panel
  • Enigmail extension for Thunderbird (enigmail): Allows PGP signing and encrypting of email messages (if needed)
  • Support for Gnome in Mozilla Thunderbird (thunderbird-gnome-support): Helps Thunderbird works well in Gnome
  • Calendar Extension for Thunderbird – Google Calendar support (xul-ext-gdata-provider): Installs Lightning calendar add-on with Google Calendar support (if needed)

You will also want to search for and install libnotify-bin in the Ubuntu Software Center.

You can also install these from the command line using the following:

sudo apt-get install thunderbird thunderbird-globalmenuthunderbird-gnome-supportxul-ext-lightningxul-ext-gdata-providerenigmail libnotify-bin

Next, you can launch Thunderbird and configure it for your email account. At this point, you still have a couple of extra add-ons to install. Go to the Thunderbird add-ons website [4] and download the following add-ons:

  • Thunderbird Indicator: Display notification of new email via the Indicator applet (need libnotify-bin installed)
  • Ubuntu Unity unread count and quicklist: Display unread message count on Thunderbird icon in Unity Launcher and adds more option to the Thunderbird Unity quicklist
  • Zindus: Sync Thunderbird contacts with Gmail (if needed)

After you have downloaded these add-ons, go to Thunderbird | Tools | Add-ons and click on the Install… button. You will want to install the add-on .xpi files, which by default will be in the Download directory.

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