At least 4 GB of RAM. 8 GB or more is recommended. While you can build Thunderbird on older hardware it can take quite a bit of time to compile on slower machines with less RAM.
Good internet connection for the initial source download.
Depending on your Operating System you will need to carry out a different process to prepare your machine. So firstly complete the instructions for your OS and then continue following these build instructions.
To build Thunderbird, you need to create a file named
mozconfig to the root directory of the mozilla-central checkout that contains the option
comm\mail enabled. You can create a file with this line by doing this in the
echo 'ac_add_options --enable-application=comm/mail' > mozconfig
If you omit this line, the build system will build Firefox instead. Other build configuration options can be added to this file, although it's strongly recommended that you only use options that you fully understand. For example, to create a debug build instead of a release build, that file would also contain the line:
echo 'ac_add_options --enable-debug' >> mozconfig
Each of these ac_add_options entries needs to be on its own line.
For more on configuration options, see the page Configuring build options. Note that if you use an MOZ_OBJDIR it cannot be a sibling folder to your source directory. Use an absolute path to be sure!
To start the build, cd into the
source directory, and run:
mach is our command-line tool to streamline common developer tasks. See the mach article for more.
Building can take a significant amount of time, depending on your system, OS, and chosen build options. Linux builds on a fast box may take under 15 minutes, but Windows builds on a slow box may take several hours.
Follow this guide to rely on
ccache and other Tips for making builds faster.
To run your build, you can use:
There are various command line parameters you can add, e.g. to specify a profile.
Various temporary files, libraries, and the Thunderbird executable will be found in your object directory (under
comm-central/), which is prefixed with
obj-. The exact name depends on your system and OS. For example, a Mac user may get an object directory name of
The Thunderbird executable in particular, and its dependencies are located under the
dist/bin folder under the object directory. To run the executable from your
comm-central working directory:
To pull down the latest changes, in the mozilla directory run the following commands:
hg pull -ucd commhg pull -ucd ..
or to do it via one command:
hg pull -u; (cd comm; hg pull -u)
Then just run the
./mach build command detailed in the Building instructions above. This will only recompile files that changed, but it may still take a long time.
To build after changes you can simply run:
If you have made many changes, but only want to rebuild specific parts, you may run the following commands.
./mach build binaries
./mach build path/to/dir