How to build and run Thunderbird.
- 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
mozconfigin the root directory of the mozilla-central checkout that contains the option
comm/mailenabled. You can create a file with this line by doing this in the
echo 'ac_add_options --enable-project=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 info on configuration options, see the page Configuring build options. Note that if you use a MOZ_OBJDIR it cannot be a sibling folder to your source directory. Use an absolute path to be sure!
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.
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/binfolder under the object directory. To run the executable from your
To pull down the latest changes, in the mozilla directory run the following commands:
hg pull -u
hg pull -u
or to do it via one command:
hg pull -u; (cd comm; hg pull -u)
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
path/to/dirwith the directory with the files changed.
This is the tricky bit since you need to specify the directory that installs the files, which may be a parent directory of the changed file's directory. For example, to just rebuild the Lightning calendar extension:
./mach build comm/calendar/lightning