Please note: Since this guide was written in November 2005, a proper Growl Notification Extension for Thunderbird and Firefox has been released, which means you will no longer need to follow the instructions below to enable Growl notifications in Thunderbird. This page is kept for reference only – please use the extension instead.
If you use Thunderbird on a Mac, here’s how to get Growl to notify you of new messages. It’s unfortunately not very straightforward and involves several steps, but here goes:
1. You will need:
- A recent version of Growl
- Thunderbird 1.5 beta 1 or better
- GrowlNotify, which is included in the Growl package in the Extras folder.
- The Yamb extension for Thunderbird
- The growlNotify Thunderbird shell script
We’ll assume that you already have Thunderbird and Growl installed.
2. Installing Yamb
Download Yamb and install it – I saved it to the desktop, then opened the Extensions dialog in Thunderbird and copied it across. You’ll now need to restart Thunderbird for Yamb to become active. Yamb, incidentally, is a framework extension for external notification apps – it’ll work with a variety of apps on Windows, Mac and Linux, but here we’re concentrating on Growl on Mac OS X.
3. Install GrowlNotify
Copy the GrowlNotify folder out of the package and put it somewhere – its location isn’t really important and you can delete it when you’ve finished. You’ll now need to open Terminal and cd to the GrowlNotify folder that you saved. You’ll now need to become root – type su, press enter and then type the administrator password. Now, to install GrowlNotify, type ./install.sh, followed by enter. Now type exit and enter to logout as root.
GrowlNotify is now installed to
/usr/local/bin/ . You may want to add this folder to your system path if you want to use it for other things in future but we don’t need to do this right now.
4. Install the growlNotify Yamb script
Save this somewhere where you can access it – mine’s in my home folder – and then open a terminal and type chmod u+x growlNotify to give the script execute permissions.
5. Configure Yamb
Yamb will have told Thunderbird to check for new messages every 10 seconds instead of 10 minutes, which you may not want. Therefore, you should probably go into Account Settings and adjust the times (they’re under Server Settings). I usually have it at 300 or 600 seconds – 5 and 10 minutes respectively.
Next, open the Extensions dialog, highlight Yamb and select Preferences. Browse for the script that you saved and select it. Then, just to make sure everything’s okay, click Test to see if you get a test message.
And that’s it! It’s a bit long-winded and hopefully someone will make an extension that handles all of this more easily, but it’s possible.