Upgrading to Thunderbird 3.1 on Fedora

Step by step instructions on upgrading from Thunderbird 3.0.1 to 3.1.5 on Fedora Linux.


Recently I upgraded from Thunderbird 2 to Thunderbird 3.0.1 on my old Fedora 8 Linux workstation. I found that Thunderbird 3.0.1 was consuming a lot of memory when I left it running for a few days, sometimes as much as 1GB, which was really hurting my system performance as I only have 2GB of RAM on my workstation in the office. With the release of 3.1 now available, I decided it was time to make the upgrade and hopefully get a more stable email client.

Upgrading via YUM and the Remi repo

As the root user, make sure that the Remi repo is enabled:

rpm -Uvh http://rpms.famillecollet.com/remi-release-8.rpm

Now list the versions of Thunderbird available to you:

yum --enablerepo=remi list thunderbird


[root]# yum --enablerepo=remi list thunderbird
remi                                                             | 2.6 kB     00:00     
remi/primary_db                                                  | 266 kB     00:00     
Excluding Packages from Fedora 8 - i386
Excluding Packages from Fedora 8 - i386 - Updates Newkey
Installed Packages
thunderbird.i386                         3.0.1-1.fc8.remi                    installed
Available Packages
thunderbird.i386                         3.1.5-1.fc8.remi                    remi     

As you can see above, the package 3.1.5-1.fc8.remi is available which is the version for my Linux installation (fc8 stands for "Fedora Core 8", but these days it is just called Fedora). Now update from 3.0.1 to 3.1.5:

[root]# yum --enablerepo=remi update thunderbird

Updating Lightning

Upon first launch of the new version of Thunderbird, you may find that some of the plugins you have installed are no longer compatible. The Lightning plugin for calendar functionality in Thunderbird that I had installed was too old and was disabled by Thunderbird 3.1.5, so I had to update it. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Visit this page in a web browser: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/2313/
  2. Click on the download link and save the .xpi file.
  3. In Thunderbird, click Tools -> Add-ons.
  4. Click Install... and navigate to the .xpi file you just downloaded, and select it.
  5. Click Install now, and restart Thunderbird when prompted to do so.

Afterwards when Thunderbird starts up, you should have Lightning up and running again.


I have been running Thunderbird 3.1.5 for over 24 hours now on an inbox that has tens of thousands of emails, and so far memory consumption is hovering around 80MB, which is a marked improvement over the 0.5 to 1.0GB I was seeing on Thunderbird 3.0.1. Hopefully after a few days of constant usage the memory footprint will remain low, so far so good!

John Collins

I have been writing about web technology and software development since 2001. I am the developer of the Alpha Framework for PHP, and the five.today personal productivity app. I love open source, technology, and economics.