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Old 12-03-2018, 03:27 PM   #1
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Installing an older version of Thunderbird alongside new

Hi all,

I'm looking to run both an old and a current version of Thunderbird. I don't necessarily want to do this concurrently, but there are add-ons for the old version (5x.x) that don't exist for the new version (6x.x), and I really need these add-ons. My plan is to run the old version whenever I need to use this add-on - which should be probably like once every two weeks, and just for the activity.

I'm aware that it's not possible to run two sets of Thunderbirds at the same time without using different profiles and risking some instability, and this isn't really the goal - it's just to be able to run the old version once in a while for the add-on.

I understand .thunderbird is the config, user accounts, etc. What do I need to do to also run the program itself (using the old .thunderbird profiles)? Is this possible, and if so, how would I do this?

Thanks a ton!!

Last edited by ziphem; 12-03-2018 at 03:29 PM.
Old 12-03-2018, 04:12 PM   #2
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I think I'd try putting the executable in a not-in-your-PATH out-of-the-way directory and linking to it with a name like /bin/oldtb...or using an alias.

You'd need to fool around to be sure it never points to the current version profile, too...and vice versa.

Have you tried contacting the authors of the add-ons you need to see what their plans for upgrading are?
Old 12-03-2018, 06:09 PM   #3
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One option is to install the older Thunderbird in a (lightweight) Linux distro in a virtual machine (e.g. using VirtualBox) and use that every two weeks or so when you need it.
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Old 12-03-2018, 06:39 PM   #4
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Mozilla products offer the envar MOZ_NO_REMOTE=1 and startup option -no-remote to enable multiple independent instances of its products simultaneously. The only material qualification is use of separate profiles for each separate instance. Back and forth profile use among versions is inviting trouble, sometimes works, often not. Mozilla's own (static) builds can be installed in /usr/local/, /opt/ and/or $HOME/somedir without interfering with whatever version is provided by your package manager. I routinely have 5 or more open at once.


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