Ubuntu 24.04 Plans Switch to Thunderbird Snap from DEB

5 months ago 0 37

Attention Ubuntu users who rely on the Thunderbird email client: there are some noteworthy updates in the pipeline that you’ll want to be aware of.

To start, Canonical is transitioning the Thunderbird snap package to be built from source code rather than repackaging upstream binaries. This seemingly minor change presents some promising opportunities.

Firstly, this shift allows the Thunderbird snap to be constructed for architectures beyond AMD64, potentially enabling installation on devices like the Raspberry Pi running Ubuntu, which is quite intriguing.

Secondly, by building the Thunderbird snap from source, Canonical aims to enhance its compliance with Ubuntu standards, promising smoother integration with desktop environments.

But why this renewed packaging effort, you might wonder?

Ubuntu developers are planning to offer the Thunderbird snap in Ubuntu 24.04 LTS instead of the current DEB-based version, as indicated in the headline.

The Thunderbird snap facilitates easier distribution of new releases to older Ubuntu versions, streamlining maintenance efforts and addressing previous delays in updates, such as the case with Thunderbird 115 in Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

However, not every user installing Ubuntu 24.04 will receive Thunderbird preinstalled, as Ubuntu defaults to a minimal installation since 23.10. Users must opt for a “full installation” to include Thunderbird along with other software like LibreOffice and Shotwell.

Those opting for the full installation in 24.04 can replace the Thunderbird snap with alternative packages such as a binary DEB from a PPA or the official Thunderbird Flatpak on Flathub if desired.

With Ubuntu’s imminent snap-based immutable offering set to launch, having Thunderbird prepared and optimized ensures smooth transition and user experience.

Speculation arises whether the Thunderbird DEB in the Noble archives might become a transition package akin to Firefox’s transition. However, no official announcements have been made yet.

Want to peer into the future?

You can install the Thunderbird snap from the beta channel on your current version of Ubuntu — assuming you want to try out the ‘new’ package (but don’t expect many superficial changes to be evident).

To do so run:

snap install --beta thunderbird

For those curious to try the new Thunderbird Snap ahead of time, installation from the beta channel is possible on the current Ubuntu version. Keep in mind that switching to the beta build upgrades your profile, so proceed with caution and consider backing up your profile beforehand.

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