4 Little Known Thunderbird Extensions

I recently searched through the mozilla thunderbird extensions website and found 4 extensions that I didn’t know about that actually prove to be quite useful. I use Thunderbird on Foresight Linux and have tested all of these extensions and verified that they work on that environment. Hopefully, they’ll help someone craft a more enjoyable email experience :)

Search for Sender

If you’re like me, you like to group like items together in your inbox. With this extension, you can group emails from the same sender as quickly as a right click. Really, it’s just a shortcut that places the sender email up into the search box and searches for you. The nice part is, with this extension, you don’t have to type it. Quick, easy, and simple. This has quickly become an extension that I cannot live without.


SyncMab is an extension similar to foxmarks for Firefox. With foxmarks, you keep all your bookmarks on a central server of your choosing so that your bookmarks are the same across all computers you use that have Firefox installed. This is perfect for me since I have a set of work bookmarks and home bookmarks and like to be able to switch back and forth between them. But what about thunderbird? It doesn’t have bookmarks right? Exactly, but it does have contacts in your addressbook! So, you’ll be able to save your contacts to a server of your choosing and then on another computer with thunderbird you can synchronize your contacts by downloading that file using SyncMab. It’s brilliant and allows you to always have the same contacts across operating systems, across computers, and even to maintain multiple addressbooks :)

Display Quota

This extension will display a small graphic in Thunderbird that tells you how much space you have left in your IMAP mail account and can warn you when you get close to filling up. This might not be too useful for those of you that use IMAP with huge quotas (gmail) but for others, it may be. I have heard that some users do not like the popup that displays for warning on this extension. For those users, Thunderbird has a built in function you can enable:

Open your configuration editor in Thunderbird and find the following keys:

  1. mail.quota.mainwindow_threshold.show – % when quota should show up
  2. mail.quota.mainwindow_threshold.warning – % when quota becomes yellow
  3. mail.quota.mainwindow_threshold.critical – % when quota becomes red

Thanks to goddess-gate.com for information on how to do this.

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Thunderbird and Lightning .8

I saw that Lightning .8, a calendar extension for thunderbird, had been released and my heart jumped.  Had they fixed the memory leak that forced me to abandon it in version .7?

I used to use Lightning for my google calendar in versions before .7…

When .7 came out, it caused Thunderbird to rocket memory usage above 80% which brought my computer to a screeching halt.  I figured I’d not use it until next version (and submitted a bug report as well).

Today I downloaded .8 in hopes it would work better.  It doesn’t.  Memory usage still skyrockets when attempting use the google calendar (provider addon) and the remember mismatched domains add on with it (otherwise you’re unable to connect or get a popup every time you view).

Is it one of these plugins causing it?  Is it Lightning?  I’m leaning toward the latter…even when uninstalling the extensions, I still get memory usage skyrocketing.  Either way, syncing your google calendar with Lightning isn’t a very smooth thing to do if it causes your Linux desktop to screech to a halt.

I guess there is always evolution with built in google calendar support.  Anyone else getting these problems?

At work, we use Zimbra for emailing.  I use Thunderbird with IMAP as my desktop client.  I’ve also seen that as of Zimbra 5.0 RC2, they will have the ability to sync with Lightning.  Good news!  Now if Lightning would stop leaking!

Zimbra or Google Calendar with Thunderbird and Lightning

The title sounds a bit Mythological eh? I originally published this entry on my work blog but felt that some people might be able to get some use out of this tip. To use it, you’ll need Zimbra or Google Calendar. I’ll cover Zimbra mostly and then give a link on how to setup Google Calendar at the end. For those interested, my work blog is here.

If you don’t have Zimbra, they have a free Open Source Community Edition available. It’s feature rich and quite configurable for your email. It can even be used to retrieve multiple email sources and bring them all into one place…it also has identity management so you can send from multiple accounts. Very nice stuff.

“I use Thunderbird for my email client. It’s quite speedy and nice. Coming from various places of employment that used Outlook and Exchange, I miss being able to schedule appointments via my email client (of course, with Zimbra, I’m able to do this via the web interface..but I like using Thunderbird for its ability to sort and
handle my email).

Enter Lightning, the sunbird-like extension for Thunderbird. So how does one integratelightning with say, Zimbra? It was rather simple and easy to do so. I’m posting what I did to get this up and running so that others won’t fumble through the Zimbra forums trying to piece various posts together finally arriving at a solution after banging heads against the wall repeatedly. Note that I’m assuming you use Zimbra/Thunderbird with IMAP.

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