Thunderbird Tray Icon Email Notifier Birdtray 1.7.0 Released

Birdtray, a Thunderbird tray icon for Linux (Xorg) and Windows that shows the number of unread emails, has seen a new major release. For the Birdtray 1.7.0 release, the developers have added translation support, the ability to draw a border around the number of unread emails in the tray, a new Birdtray icon, and more.

Birdtray is a Firetray (which has been discontinued) alternative that shows Thunderbird in the tray, with an unread email counter on top of the icon; the tray icon can be set to flash when new email are received. However, unlike Firetray, Birdtray is a standalone application, and not a Thunderbird extension. Other Birdtray features include support for multiple email accounts, it can hide and restore the Thunderbird window (so it closes to the tray), and is highly configurable.

New in Birdtray 1.7.0:

  • Added the ability to display Birdtray in different languages (this release only supports English and German though, but you can help translate it to your language -- see its GitHub repository for information)
  • The Mork parser gained a new and improved dialog for selecting mail accounts
  • Added an option to draw a border around the number of unread mails in the Birdtray system icon to improve readability
  • Birdtray can now wait for the system tray to become available when autostarting before the Desktop UI, which should help in some cases in which Birdtray would fail to start when added to startup (so it's no longer needed to delay its startup)
  • Added support for reading and storing the Birdtray configuration from the directory of the birdtray executable, which allows portable installations
  • Birdtray can now be configured to automatically check for a new version on startup (on Windows, it can also download and install a new version of Birdtray)
  • Birdtray has a new icon
  • Added support for using svg graphics as Birdtrays system tray icon
  • Added support for specifying the Thunderbird executable with arguments
  • Fixes and other improvements

This is the new dialog for selecting mail accounts when using the Mork parser, which now shows user accounts / folders from the Thunderbird profile directly, without the user having to browse for the MSF file:

It's also worth noting that since the previous release, Birdtray has been added to Flathub, so it's easier to install across a wide range of Linux distributions. The Flathub flatpak package has not yet been updated to the latest Birdtray 1.7.0 at the time I'm writing this though.

What's more, the Sqlite Parser no longer works with Thunderbird version 68 and newer. If you use a newer Thunderbird version, make sure to use the Mork Parser (in the Birdtray Settings, on the Monitoring tab you'll find an option called Method to parse unread notifications - set this to using Mork index files, and then select the account / folder to monitor.

Birdtray requires Xorg, and it won't work properly if you use Wayland (e.g. Fedora uses Wayland by default; if you want to use Xorg you must logout, and select GNOME on Xorg from the cog icon next to the Sign In button).

Also, the application needs a tray / appindicator to work. If you use GNOME Shell, make sure you have a tray (e.g by installing the AppIndicator Support extension -- this is not required on Ubuntu since this extension is installed by default).

You may want to read: Birdtray (Firetray Alternative): Thunderbird Tray Icon With New Email Notifications For Linux - it includes a bit more info about Birdtray, as well as a quick start guide.

Install Birdtray

The Birdtray GitHub releases tab only has binaries for Windows (and source).

Birdtray is available in the repositories for recent Debian-based Linux distribution releases, including Debian Buster and newer, Ubuntu 19.04, 19.10 and 20.04, Linux Mint 19.*, and more. It's not the latest version though. You can install it using:

sudo apt install birdtray

As some of you might know, I maintain a PPA for personal use with a few applications, including Birdtray. If you like, you can use this PPA to install the latest version of Birdtray on Ubuntu 19.10, 19.04 or 18.04, or Linux Mint 19.*, and other Ubuntu-based Linux distributions:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linuxuprising/apps
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt install birdtray

As an alternative, you can download the DEB packages from here if you don't want to add the PPA.

Birdtray is also available in the Arch User repository.

If Birdtray is not available in your Linux distribution repositories, you can install it by using Flathub (the package has not yet been updated to the latest Birdtray 1.7.0 at the time I'm writing this). If you don't have Flatpak installed and the Flathub repository enabled on your system, see the instructions for how to do this on the Flathub quick setup page. You only need to setup Flatpak and Flathub once.

After setting up Flatpak and Flathub, head to the Birdtray Flathub page and click the install button. If you're a Gnome user, you can also search for it on Gnome Software / Ubuntu Software and install it from there. This also works on Linux Mint 19.* with its Software Manager, where Flatpak and Flathub are enabled by default. Or install it from Flathub using this command:

flatpak install flathub org.gyunaev.Birdtray

And finally, if you're on Linux you can also build Birdtray yourself if you wish.