Ubuntu – How to go back to previous version of Thunderbird on 18.04

18.04thunderbird

On 15/10/2018, updates pulled a new version of Thunderbird (60.2.1). Unfortunately this version does not work with some important addons I rely on. What is the procedure to go back to the previous version (pre 60, not sure which version it was)? Thanks!

Best Answer

  • Step 1 - Find the version you want

    apt policy or apt-cache policy (or apt-cache madison)

    e.g.

    $ sudo apt policy thunderbird
    thunderbird:
      Installed: 1:60.2.1+build1-0ubuntu0.18.04.2
      Candidate: 1:60.2.1+build1-0ubuntu0.18.04.2
      Version table:
     *** 1:60.2.1+build1-0ubuntu0.18.04.2 500
            500 http://au.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic-updates/main amd64 Packages
            500 http://security.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic-security/main amd64 Packages
         1:52.7.0+build1-0ubuntu1 500
            500 http://au.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu bionic/main amd64 Packages
    

    So now we know (at this time) we have two versions:

    • 1:60.2.1+build1-0ubuntu0.18.04.2 and
    • 1:52.7.0+build1-0ubuntu1

    The three stars *** indicates that this is the version currently installed as per the "Installed:" line.

    Step 2 - Install another version

    This is easy, just use the syntax [packagename]=[version] with apt install.

    e.g.

    $ sudo apt install thunderbird=1:52.7.0+build1-0ubuntu1
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    Suggested packages:
      thunderbird-gnome-support ttf-lyx
    The following packages will be DOWNGRADED:
      thunderbird
    0 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 1 to downgrade, 0 to remove and 12 not to upgrade.
    Need to get 46.5 MB of archives.
    After this operation, 38.4 MB disk space will be freed.
    Do you want to continue? [Y/n]
    

    Note the warning that the package will be DOWNGRADED

    Bonus step - lock in that version (a.k.a. apt-mark hold)

    If you want to stop apt upgrade from upgrading the package again, then you can tell apt to hold a package.

    e.g.

    $ sudo apt-mark hold thunderbird
    thunderbird set on hold.
    

    So now, when you apt upgrade you'll get a warning that packages have been kept back. e.g.

    $ sudo apt upgrade
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    Calculating upgrade... Done
    The following packages have been kept back:
      thunderbird
    0 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 0 to remove and 1 not to upgrade.
    

    When you are comfortable upgrading again, then you can release the hold:

    $ sudo apt-mark unhold thunderbird
    Cancelled hold on thunderbird.
    

    e voila, the latest release is now the default again:

    $ sudo apt upgrade
    Reading package lists... Done
    Building dependency tree       
    Reading state information... Done
    Calculating upgrade... Done
    The following packages will be upgraded:
      thunderbird
    1 to upgrade, 0 to newly install, 0 to remove and 0 not to upgrade.
    Need to get 41.1 MB of archives.
    After this operation, 38.4 MB of additional disk space will be used.
    Do you want to continue? [Y/n]
    

    You could also have gone with apt pinning and the /etc/apt/preferences file but holding is much easier for this task!