Thunderbird / Qubes Attachments


My question concerns Thunderbird and more specifically the “Qubes Attachments” extension.

Contrary to what I was hoping, it doesn’t allow you to “simply” open message attachments in DVMs by right-clicking on the corresponding icon, but you have to save the attachment, in “documents” for example, so that you can, as in other qubes, send it to another qube, read it or edit it in a DVM.

Even today, when reading a message for the first time, the usual options are “open”, “save as …”, “detach” or “delete”.
I checked several times, the application created by Marek (thanks to him) is well activated :wink:


There is a package (qubes-thunderbird, I think) that must be installed in the relevant template (in my case, debian10 template, the package is in fact qubes-thunderbird, just checked)

Hope it helps.

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So there …
I created this qube with Fedora 32 - discovered with QubesOS - the Thunderbird package being already logically available.

I just, without really believing it, changed to Debian10 and, indeed, the extension created by Marek works !

Thanks to you qubicrm :smiley:

Just to be clear: This means that there is a misconfiguration (likely missing package) in your system. When it is set up correctly, you can simply double-click an attachment, and it automatically opens in a fresh DisposableVM. This works on both Fedora and Debian.

It sounds like you already resolved your problem, but I just wanted to be clear about how it works.

Latest update broke qubes-thunderbird (qubes 4.0, updated, debian 10 template, updated) I think i saw an issue about something was about to break on a certain upcoming thunderbird version, but can’t fid it now. Anyone can confirm the same simptoms?

Found the issue I was talking about above. #5861
I guess it should be working fine, but the “Open in DispVM” on right-click (for a e-mail attachment) disapeared.


Which version of Thunderbird are you using?
As you may be aware, the new version 78.3 comes with many new stuffs (GPG, etc…).

And unfortunately Qubes Attachments is incompatible with Thunderbird 78.3.1.
=> have to roll back for a while I guess?

Yes, it’s this issue:

Personally, I’m just going to wait until this gets fixed, not try to roll anything back. In the meantime, you can manually shuffle files around using qvm-copy, etc. It’s a bit less convenient, but all the same functionality is possible. The Qubes extension is purely for convenience. It’s not strictly necessary to do anything.

In general, I don’t recommend rolling back updates, because that can leave you exposed to security vulnerabilities. Often, when a new version of software is released, the old version is no longer supported (or is only supported for a short period of time), and no support means no security updates.

Actually, this is even easier:

  1. Save the attachment in your email VM.
  2. Open the file manager in your email VM (e.g., nautilus).
  3. Right-click on the attachment and select “View in DisposableVM.”


I just wanted to mention another possible cause for the inability to use the extension, since mine hadn’t been working for some time and I recently found out why.

When an email is opened by double clicking, the ‘Open in DispVM’ and ‘Send to VM’ options don’t appear (at least for me). Since I prefer to have the message pane disabled, I’d assumed the extension was broken for some time. To workaround this, I just needed to re-enable the message pane (F8, or Preferences->Layout->Message Pane), and select emails that way, which causes the options to appear.

I believe earlier versions of the extension allowed access to the extension functions without using the message pane, but I’m not sure exactly when this stopped working.

This obviously only applies to Thunderbird prior to 78.3 as mentioned, I haven’t updated to that yet.

That sounds like it might merit a separate bug report.

It didn’t seem worth cluttering the issue tracker further really, since I hadn’t seen anyone else mentioning the same problem till now (possibly). But I’ll try again when the extension works under 78.3 and open an issue if it’s still a problem.


Do we have a roadmap on the upgrade of this Thunderbird add-on (to avoid the multi-steps save PDF, view in folder, view in disposable VM)?

Thank you,

The add-on needs to be rewritten with all the new syntax etc. Currently, it’s not on top priority.

just curious in Thunderbird Debian 11 is this supposed to do something?

Qubes Attachments
Qubes actions for attachments like “Open in DVM” or “Send to VM”

I see that it is maintained but not sure what it’s supposed to do , as I don’t see any open in dvm option, I apt installed qubes-thunderbird package

 DemiMarie commented on Sep 6

            @marmarek, @DemiMarie: Is this expected to be done in time for the 4.1 release, and should it get the release notes label?

        Probably not. Thunderbird 91 came out only recently, and I am still not sure if it supports the needed APIs.

    Ok, I suppose I'll move it to the 4.2 milestone then.

I consider this to be worth backporting to R4.1 once it does get implemented, even though it won’t be ready for the R4.1 release. Moving to R4.1 updates.

I also recommend dropping the current extension in R4.1, at least if there is a clear way to implement this. Could old versions of the extension be obsoleted by the R4.1 qubes-core-agent package? To avoid confusion, I would prefer to not ship an extension than to ship a broken one.

            Qubes R4.1.0 beta now comes with Fedora 34 which comes with Thunderbird 78.11.0. That means a fresh Qubes installation comes with a broken addon.

        Fedora ships with an old version of Thunderbird that is behind on security patches. I recommend using Thunderbird in Debian qubes instead, as Debian does a better job of shipping a recent version.

    Does this mean that the extension works by default in Debian 10+ in Qubes 4.1?

No, but once Debian 11 ships Thunderbird 91, this task will go from “cannot be implemented in a maintainable fashion” to “should be implementable in a reasonable amount of time using stable APIs”.

Supposedly a workaround would open files opened by Thunderbird in DispVM regardless of the extension, not sure if it is default now and if it works for both 4.0 and 4.1 and both Fedora and Debian:

not working here in 4.1, though, no idea on expected behavior nor the steps of the workaround…

would be quite useful, as it is a common task for myself

No, but once Debian 11 ships Thunderbird 91, this task will go from “cannot be implemented in a maintainable fashion” to “should be implementable in a reasonable amount of time using stable APIs”.

so why IS there an extension, that can’t be removed(only disabled), and the qubes-thunderbird package , if they don’t do anything, just curious, maybe for the future?

Any news on this? If I open an attachment in Thunderbird in Debian 11 on R4.0 it doesn’t open in a DispVM.

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See the latest comments on this issue for the most recent news:

Here’s a workaround that still works: