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ThunderSnap! Why We’re Helping Maintain The Thunderbird Snap On Linux

We love our Linux users across all Linux distributions. That is why we’ve stepped up to help maintain the Thunderbird Snap available in the Snap Store.

Last year we took ownership of the Thunderbird Flatpak, and it has been our officially recommended package for Linux users. However, we are expanding our horizons to make sure the Thunderbird Snap experience is officially supported too. We at Thunderbird are team “free software”, independent of the packaging technology. This will mostly affect our Ubuntu users but there are plenty of other Snap users out there as well. 

Why support both the Snap and Flatpak?

In the spirit of free software, we want to support as many of our users as possible without discriminating on their package preferences. We are not a large company with infinite resources, so we can’t support everything under the sun. But we can make informed decisions that reach the majority of our Linux users.

The Thunderbird Snap has been well maintained by the Ubuntu desktop team for years, and we felt it was time to step up and help out.

What does this mean for me?

If you are an Ubuntu user, then you may already be using the Thunderbird Snap. The next release of Ubuntu is 24.04 (available April 25) and will be the first Ubuntu release that seeds the Thunderbird Snap on the ISO. So if you do a fresh full install of Ubuntu, you will be using the Thunderbird Snap that you know is directly supported by the Thunderbird team.

If you are not an Ubuntu user but Snaps are still a part of your life, then you will still benefit from the same rolling updates provided by the Snap experience.

What changes are expected?

From a user perspective, you should see no changes. Just keep using whichever Thunderbird Snap channel you are comfortable with.

From a developer perspective, we have added the Snap build to our build infrastructure on treeherder. This means whenever a full build is triggered automatically from commits, the Snap is built as well for testing. Whenever the build is one we want to release to the public, this will trigger a general flow:

  1. A version bump is pushed to the existing Thunderbird Snap github repository.
  2. The existing launchpad mirror will pick up this change and automatically build the Snap for x86 and arm64.
  3. If the launchpad Snap build succeeds, the Snap will be uploaded to the designated Snap store channel.

So all we are changing is adding the snap build into the Thunderbird build infrastructure and plugging it into the existing automation that feeds the snap store. 

Where do I report a bug on the Thunderbird Snap?

As with all supported package types of Thunderbird, we would like bugs about the Thunderbird Snap to be reported on under the Thunderbird project.

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