Multiple Profiles and Thunderbird

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Switching to Ubuntu: Multiple Instances of Thunderbird

I'll be frank; without Mozilla I wouldn't have much use for a Linux desktop (I'd have had a hard time getting anything done on the Windows desktop, too). Conversely, one Linux desktop feature I have been itching to have in my development toolbox is multiple workspaces so I can have a desktop for each client. On each desktop is an instance of my IDE Komodo, Thunderbird, Firefox, SSH terminals connected to relevant computers, and so on.

On a Windows desktop multiple workspaces are a pipe dream. Your closest option is switching users. On a Linux desktop you have several options. You can switch users on Ubuntu too, or you could also run additional instances of X on other consoles Ubuntu automatically provides. Instead, I chose to take advantage of gnome's additional workspaces.
As I mentioned before, my goal was to have each client's info on its own desktop. So, for example, the email program I use to read Widget, Inc's email has no knowledge of  the program I use to read email for FooBar, Ltd. Of course, I'd like to use the same program, just different instances of it. On Windows, I was using multiple identities in Outlook Express. While switching to Ubuntu I had planned on using Gnome's default messaging app Evolution. But while researching it I discovered it didn't support multiple identities or instances. So I checked out Thunderbird. After I started using it, I was really sorry I hadn't  been using it all along. The calendar add-on is AWESOME.

Creating multiple profiles with Thunderbird is easy with Thunderbird's Profile Manager. To start the profile manager, run "thunderbird -ProfileManager -no-remote". Then create the profiles you need, choosing different directories for each profile. Now launch an instance of Thunderbird on each client's workspace. This is done by specifying the -P and -no-remote options to the binary when running the program. For example, run:

$ thunderbird -P 'Widget, Inc' -no-remote

on the desktop for Widget, Inc, and run:

$ thunderbird -P 'FooBar, Ltd' -no-remote

on the desktop for FooBar, Ltd. Now there are two instances of Thunderbird running, each of which has no idea about the other.

To easily execute each instance of Thunderbird, instead of running the above commands in a terminal, add a desktop launcher for each of the business clients. You can even browse to the thunderbird install directory and use the Thunderbird icon for the launchers.

Mozilla++!

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This page contains a single entry by Todd W published on December 15, 2007 1:09 AM.

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