This page covers the basic steps needed to build a bleeding-edge, development version of Thunderbird. For additional, more detailed information, see the build documentation.
Preparing your system
Before you can build Thunderbird, you'll need the build tools listed below and a few gigabytes of free disk space. Builds will be slow unless you have at least 2GB of RAM.
Run the following commands in a shell to install the needed tools:
sudo apt-get build-dep thunderbird sudo apt-get install mercurial libasound2-dev libcurl4-openssl-dev libnotify-dev libxt-dev libiw-dev mesa-common-dev autoconf2.13 yasm
Debian users: Same as Ubuntu, but replace the first command with
sudo apt-get build-dep icedove
sudo yum groupinstall 'Development Tools' 'Development Libraries' 'GNOME Software Development' sudo yum install mercurial autoconf213 glibc-static libstdc++-static yasm wireless-tools-devel mesa-libGL-devel
Problems? See Linux build prerequisites.
- Install Xcode 3. You can download this from Apple, or install it from the OS DVDs that came with your Mac.
- If you're using OS X 10.6.5 or later, install Java Developer Package for Mac (for a file required by the MacPorts packages we install below).
- Install MacPorts, and then run these commands in a shell:
sudo port sync sudo port install mercurial libidl autoconf213 yasm
- homebrew is an alternative to MacPorts. As of 06/07/11, it does not have a recipe for autoconf, but that can be obtained here. After adding that recipe, do
sudo easy_install pip sudo pip install Mercurial sudo brew install libidl autoconf yasm
Problems? See Mac OS X build prerequisites.
- Make sure your system is up-to-date through Windows Update. Windows XP needs at least Service Pack 2 and .NET Framework 2.0.
- Install Visual C++ 2005 Professional, VC++ 2008 Professional or Express with SP1, or Visual C++ 2010 Professional. VC++ 2008 Express without SP1 will not work.
- You may need to install one or more Windows SDKs. See Windows SDK versions for a quick guide.
- Install the June 2010 DirectX SDK.
- Install MozillaBuild, a package of additional build tools. (If you see a Windows error dialog giving you the option to re-install with the 'correct settings', choose that option and after that all should be well.)
The rest of the build steps are done from the MSYS shell installed with MozillaBuild. Use the shortcuts on your desktop, or run
c:\mozilla-build\start-msvcX.bat (where X is 8 for VS 2005, 9 for VS 2008 and 10 for VS 2010). Even if you're on 64-bit Windows, do not use the
start-msvcX-x64.bat files (unless you know what you're doing). Those files are experimental and unsupported. See the Build:MozillaBuild For x64 wiki page.
Problems? See Windows build prerequisites.
First, if you're on Windows, you'll need to start work in a directory with no spaces in the path (e.g. don't use "Documents and Settings"). You can pick any other location, but the root of C: is handy:
Now let's grab the latest source code from Mozilla's
comm-central Mercurial code repository.
hg clone http://hg.mozilla.org/comm-central/
Then, we need to get all the repositories it depends on. The comm-central repository includes a script to do just that. This may take a while, it's a lot of code! First, cd into the
central subdirectory (created automatically by the previous command), then run:
python client.py checkout
To start the build, run:
make -f client.mk
This step will also take a while, depending on your system and OS. Linux builds on a fast box may take under 10 minutes, Windows builds on a slow box may take an hour.
Various compiled files, libraries, and the Firefox executable will be found in your object directory (under
-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
From the object directory, Windows users should run
mozilla/dist/bin/thunderbird.exe, Linux users should run
mozilla/dist/bin/thunderbird, and OS X users should run
dist/Shredder.app/Contents/MacOS/thunderbird-bin. (Note: if you run dist/bin/thunderbird on OS X, the app will crash or behave oddly!)
Additional configuration options are available, notably enabling debug builds and increasing build speed by using parallel compiles. These options are stored in a file named
mozconfig (in the past this file was required, now default settings are used automatically). It is strongly recommended that you either use these defaults, or change as few options as your needs require.
Building Thunderbird and Lightning
If you've set up you build environment as above, then all you need to do is:
echo 'ac_add_options --enable-calendar' >> .mozconfig
comm-central directory, or just add the
ac_add_options --enable-calendar line to your .mozconfig with your favourite editor.
Then just re-run the "
make -f client.mk" command above (you can do the addition before running make for the first time).
How to build again later
comm-central directory, run these commands:
# Get the latest source python client.py checkout
Then just re-run the "
make -f client.mk" command above.
make will only recompile files that changed, but it's still a long haul. An incremental build can be faster.
- Checked the Thunderbird tinderbox for known failures at the time you pulled the code?
- If the trunk is broken, you may wish to consider building one of the branches (to pull the source code from a branch, just replace the url to the repository in the hg clone instruction)
- Have you searched the bug database for issues relating to your problem (e.g. platform specific issues)?
- Try asking in mozilla.dev.builds - don't forget to include details of what is in your mozconfig, and what the actual error is.