How can one minimize Thunderbird to the tray bar in Debian 10/KDE?

Using bintray didn't work when trying to install it (sudo apt-get install birdtray) I get:

The following packages have unmet dependencies:
 birdtray : Depends: thunderbird but it is not going to be installed
E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

I'm looking for other ways to get this done than using the Minimize On Close AddOn for Thunderbird because it requires the permission for "Have full, unrestricted access to Thunderbird, and your computer" and there might be other ways.

Various other AddOns don't run with the Thunderbird version that currently is in Debian's repos (78.11.0).

If there currently is no way to get this done, I'm also interested if there are any plans (issues) to build this functionality into Thunderbird so that it can be minimized to tray just like countless other apps that run on GNU/Linux.

  • it makes no sense to lie to your package manager and then subsequently complain that it isn't working correctly. If you want to install birdtray and have blocked installation of one of its dependencies, you'll have to install it the same way you installed thunderbird itself
    – Fox
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 2:01
  • I haven't blocked one of its dependencies and have installed Thunderbird from the Debian stable repos with it iirc and if the Apper installation history is correct. I would have put it in the question if I installed Thunderbird any other way.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 9:54
  • Did you try SysTray-X after upgrade to Debian 11? The last version should support Thunderbird 91 properly. App looks pretty solid and does its job. It needs full access rights though, in order to overcome WebExtensions limitations. But I think it's pretty safe to use, for example Archlinux added it to its repo.
    – whtyger
    Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 18:28

2 Answers 2


Birdtray worked after upgrading to Debian11.

Start it with birdtray then right-click on the tray icon->Settings->Hiding and check the following settings:

  • Start Thunderbird when Birdtray starts
  • Hide/show Thunderbird window when clicking on tray icon
  • Hide Thunderbird window when it is minimized

To minimize Thunderbird to the tray minimize Thunderbird - looks like if you closed it via the X button you can't open it anymore by clicking the Birdtray/Thunderbird icon in the traybar.

You can then set up accounts to monitor in the Monitoring tab of the Birdtray settings.

Systray-X simply didn't work for unknown reasons.

Edit: here is the Thunderbird code issue about this. This would be the proper solution, not the workaround.

  • 1
    Take into consideration that birdtray works in a hackish way. Package description says: it suffers from problems like noticing new mails only after a delay, having to restart Thunderbird just to hide its window, etc.
    – whtyger
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 11:56
  • Good to point that out, edited the question to add the code issue for a proper solution
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 12:13

I use SysTray-X, works great.


  • 1
    I followed the guide for Debian10/KDE there and it doesn't work. What do I have to do after installing systray-x? I started Thunderbird and minimized it which minimizes it just like before and the X Close button just doesn't do anything anymore (it doesn't quit Thunderbird or minimize it to the tray or anything else).
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 10:01
  • are you using Wayland? the linked github page currently states that it doesn't work in a Wayland desktop
    – Fox
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 11:25
  • Sadly not: echo $XDG_SESSION_TYPE returns X11.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Commented Jul 1, 2021 at 12:50
  • 1
    Did you run /usr/bin/SysTray-X? It should be the in the tray when running, right click > preferences and set it up. I also see it in ~/.config/ksmserverrc as part of my saved session program7=/usr/bin/SysTray-X.
    – PatG
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 4:25
  • There isn't any systrayx in the tray even after running that.
    – mYnDstrEAm
    Commented Jul 2, 2021 at 10:01

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