Ubuntu Quick Tip: Swap Thunderbird for Evolution in the Indicator Applet

[dropcap style=”font-size: 50px; color: #5BB9D1;”]IF[/dropcap] you are like me, you prefer using Thunderbird with Lightning for mail and calendar, instead of the relatively slower Evolution in Ubuntu. However, you may miss the tight integration that Evolution has with the Indicator Applet in Ubuntu. You know, the nice semi-transparent pop-ups that you see every time a mail comes in, not to mention the ability to compose mails directly from there and also to see your contacts. Its a good thing then that you really dont need to do much to get the same kind of integration for Thunderbird. Thanks to a nice little extension for Thunderbird by ubublogger that works perfectly for this.

What we want to do is this.

The Thunderbird indications in the Indicator Applet

I am laying out the very simple step by step process here just so you dont have to go elsewhere.

To start with, you need to install “bzr” if you dont already have it on your system.

sudo apt-get install bzr

Then, you need to get the code from Launchpad with this command,

bzr branch lp:libnotify-mozilla

This will download all the code and the files that you need to build the extension (don’t get scared) into your home folder. Change to that folder,

cd libnotify-mozilla

To build libnotify-mozilla.xpi just run the command,


Within seconds you will have your extension built and put in the same folder.

This extension can now be installed from the Thunderbird Add-Ons sections. You will now start seeing the Thunderbird items in the Indicator Applet. You can now go a step further and turn off the Thunderbird built in notifications from the Preferences.

You can disable the in-built indications from the General Preferences for Thunderbird

If you want to go a step further and have only the Thunderbird actions showing up in the Indicator applet, and not the Evolution items, you can also remove those by removing the package evolution-indicator,

sudo apt-get remove evolution-indicator

That should be all that you need to do to complete replace Evolution with Thunderbird in the Indicator Applet. The only thing that is different from the original Evolution indicator is that this one only shows up when Thunderbird is already running. You can’t launch Thunderbird from the Indicator Applet.

[learn_more caption=”Source Links”]Ubublogger page with the extension creation instructions[/learn_more]

3 Responses to “Ubuntu Quick Tip: Swap Thunderbird for Evolution in the Indicator Applet”

  1. Ice Uck
    April 24, 2011 at 11:59 PM #

    Nice! Thanks for posting this – I’ve been wanting this for a while now. Your instructions were spot-on too!


    • Abhilash
      April 26, 2011 at 1:49 AM #

      @Scott Glad it helped

  2. Oleksa
    September 10, 2011 at 9:21 AM #

    What about Thunderbird 6.0? This xpi is not compatible with it unfortunately… :(

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