Installing Firefox and Thunderbird on a Raspberry Pi

Whilst the Mozilla project does not provide downloads for Firefox or Thunderbird for the Raspberry Pi that does not mean you can’t install them! The trick is knowing what the unbranded Open Source versions of these applications are called, these versions are available in the repositories of most Linux distributions including Raspbian (Jessie).

The Firefox browser gets renamed Iceweasel and the Thunderbird mail client gets renamed Icedove, so once you know this installing them is quite straight forward. Obviously you need to be running either the MATE of XFCE desktop.

Update Current Packages

Before downloading and installing anything we need to be running as root and it is a good idea to make sure that your system is up to date.

$ su
Password:

OR

$ sudo -i
Password:

# apt-get update;apt-get upgrade
# apt-get update;apt-get upgrade
Get:1 http://mirrordirector.raspbian.org jessie InRelease [15.0 kB]
  :
  :
  :
Fetched 9130 kB in 39s (234 kB/s)
Reading package lists... Done
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
Calculating upgrade... Done
0 upgraded, 0 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
#


Installing Firefox

The current version of Iceweasel is 31.8 which corresponds to the last extended support release (ESR) of Firefox.

Note – Unfortunately since support for Adobe Flash depends on a browser plugin that requires an x86 processor it isn’t available on the Raspberry Pi.

To keep the number of installed packages to a minimum I’ve chosen not to install the recommended packages.

# apt-get install iceweasel --no-install-recommends
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libevent-2.0-5
Suggested packages:
  fonts-stix otf-stix fonts-oflb-asana-math 
  fonts-mathjax mozplugger libgnomeui-0
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  iceweasel libevent-2.0-5
0 upgraded, 2 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 30.2 MB of archives.
After this operation, 69.3 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] 
  :
  :
  :
#

One installed you can start it from the application menu. It is going to seem a little slower than on a desktop PC, particularly when starting up, but given the small size and low power of the Raspberry Pi it works surprisingly well.

raspbian-firefox-default

Installing Thunderbird

Thunderbird is an e-mail client produced by the Mozilla foundation that is not quite as well known as the Firefox browser. It does share quite a lot of common code with Firefox since both the browser and mail client need to be able to render HTML, so the version of Icedove in the repository is linked to the same ESR version of Firefox as Iceweasel.

It uses a databae of known service providers to make it as easy as possible to configure for different service providers and supports POP, SMTP, and IMAP.

# apt-get install icedove --no-install-recommends
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libnspr4 libnss3
Suggested packages:
  fonts-lyx
Recommended packages:
  myspell-en-us hunspell-dictionary
  myspell-dictionary
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  icedove libnspr4 libnss3
0 upgraded, 3 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 27.7 MB of archives.
After this operation, 69.9 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue? [Y/n] 
  :
  :
  :
# 

raspbian-thunderbird-default

Configuring Thunderbird

To configure Thunderbird to use an existing mail account click on 'Skip this and use my existing email'.

raspbian-thunderbird-setup-01

Then enter you name, email address and password.

raspbian-thunderbird-setup-02

Thunderbird will then try to determine your mail providers supported protocols and correct settings from your email address.

raspbian-thunderbird-setup-03

It correctly detects that my mail provider supports both POP3 and IMAP and allows me to select which one I want to use - in this case POP3.

raspbian-thunderbird-setup-04

Clicking on done completes the process.

raspbian-thunderbird-setup-05

Provided you entered the correct password you will have successfully configured Thunderbird on your Raspberry Pi.

raspbian-thunderbird-setup-06

One of the features I like about Thunderbird is that it allows you to use multiple email accounts, with each one getting its own folder.


Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

This entry was posted in Debian, Linux, Raspbian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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