Luna Blue Theme for Mozilla Thunderbird – Development Version

I’ve put together a version of Chris Cook’s Luna Blue Firebird theme for Mozilla Thunderbird, the new Mozilla email client application.

Luna Blue for Mozilla Thunderbird Preview Image

We’ve borrowed heavily from Chris’ Firebird themes, so he deserves much of the credit.

This is a rough first version of the theme. There are many elements that are either missing or broken. We have most of the icons completed, but we still haven’t done the newsgroup icons. Also, since I don’t have much experience working with Mozilla themes, there are some elements we haven’t been able to figure out yet.

Since I haven’t found a version of Thunderbird with the DOM Inspector (and I’m too incompetent to build it myself), there are some elements I could use some help on. See this diagram of what I haven’t figured out yet, and let me know if you are able to help.

Feedback, suggestions, constructive criticism, and help are all welcome.

UPDATE: A new version of this theme has been released. See
Luna Blue Theme (v0.2) for Mozilla Thunderbird Update
for details.

Zip Icon Download/Install Luna Blue for Mozilla Thunderbird – Development Version

lunabluethunderbird.jar – 477Kb RAR File


Long-time readers (if they exist) might remember me criticizing the concept of themes and skins (see these two old posts Thoughts on Winamp3 and A discussion of ‘skins’ strangly free of sexual innuendo). You can read about my partial change of heart here: XUL: How I learned to love non-native GUIs.


28 thoughts on “Luna Blue Theme for Mozilla Thunderbird – Development Version

  1. That is looking *Really* nice, guys.

    Open source programs typically don’t get much love and attention from designers.

    I swapped Firebird in for IE on my parent’s and sibling’s computers, can’t wait until I feel I can swap in Firebird for Outlook and Outlook Express. That day is getting near. 🙂


  2. I wish it’d use my system colours. Not everybody likes blue. Also, I wish it’d use native widgets instead of imitating XP ones.

    Though proabably might look good in XP with default blue.

  3. aab said: “…I wish it’d use native widgets…”

    Well, the Firebird theme that we based this Thunderbird theme is based on came in another flavour that makes more use of native widgets. I’m looking into what’s involved in doing the same with our theme. I’ll post if I make any progress.

    ViperSnake said: “Does it work on 0.1?”

    I’m not sure – but we don’t have any plans to support old versions of Thunderbird.

    Nick Burka said: “… Have you switched over to it as your primary email client?”

    Yes Nick, I have been using Thunderbird as my primary email client for about two weeks now. I like it, but I’m not amazed by it. It is stable enough to use as a primary app, but it still has prety of rough edges. I made the switch primarily as an experiment (I’m trying to move most of my software toward platform-independent software in hopes of an eventual OS switch) and so I could better work on the theme.

    I never thought highly of Outlook anyhow, so in that respect, there wasn’t much competition. That said, Outlook 2003 looks to have some attractive improvements (collapsible natural language date grouping in the inbox, three-pane view with larger email area) – though it does have an ugly new interface style.

  4. Cool, this theme is on the right track!

    But as per the other comments, I wouldn’ mind seeing this in a native widgets version and also with smaller icons (not everyone likes the default big icons)

    Personally I’ve made a complete switch to firebird/thunderbird both on my home xp/linux boxes & my work laptop for nearly 1 month now and I’m happy I did.

  5. John, I can see color preference being an issue of personal preference, but when it comes to icon size, the bigger the better! In the interest of speed and hit:miss ratio, bigger reigns supreme. My issue with most Firebird themes is the icons are way too small, but I use mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts anyway.

    Steven, please don’t take this the wrong way, but in the opening sentence of your post there should be a comma after Daniel Burka.

  6. I have to agree with John. Currently I’m using a different visual style, and it just seems strange for Thunderbird to be the only app that still has original Luna-blue colors. Also, IMHO, big icons are good for most parts, but when you’re using low screen resolution, big icons just take too much space.

    This’s not to say that I don’t like this theme though. It’s REALLY nice. I’ve switched away from Qute already.

    Thank you for making this theme. 🙂

  7. Wow… don’t get me wrong I don’t mind big buttons, I just meant that I wouldn’t mind the inclusion of the small icons that outlook has as well (you can select between large/small icons when you customize your toolbars).

    At the moment when you select ‘Use small icons’ it just uses the default thunderbird ones instead of themed ones.

    I like to go for the 1 tool/menu bar approach with my apps when I can, one toolbar with only the buttons I use on it.

    Hope that clears it up!

    Keep up the good work

  8. Yo, Steve! I love it! For years I’ve been using the old Fvwm95 window manager, which I’d modified as much as I could to be like Windows 2000, but then along came XP… Anyway, I recently moved to Fvwm-2 and played with the RedmondXP theme, and things were fine… But I’d been using the Pinball theme with Firebird and Thunderbird, and wanted something more “depraved”, more Windosey… Well, lo-and-behold, an hour ago I found Chris Cook’s Luna Blue theme for Firebird! I installed it, and was wowed. I immediately wrote Chris, asking if he had any plans to port it to Thunderbird, and within a few minutes he’d replied, telling me about your port.


  9. Actually, it just happens when you are using SSL IMAP, the icon should show with a small lock, but since the theme does not have such icon, the old one (from the original theme) will show. Any chance that get corrected, Steven? I love your theme!

  10. HI,

    Just installed the luna theme and itss great execpt the toolbar icons dont work. I ahve all the icons in the folder – just not on the toolbar – they are the original. I am using the latestnightly built if Thunderbird if that helps.


  11. If I might be so bold, I’d like to make an observation of this otherwise fantastic theme. Would it be possible to change the “Stop the current transfer” button to a stop sign or something OTHER than a red “X”? Having two icons that prominently display a red “X” is confusing. It’s completely unintuitive that it should be “delete” in one place and “stop current operation” in another.

  12. I think You’ll find that it uses the default icons because you have ‘small icons’ option checked for your taskbar… At least that’s what happened to me.

  13. Wow… good start. Unfortunately, I’m sticking with the original theme since it obeys system colors. The Luna Firebird theme does the same… any chance of making a version of this theme that does the same?

  14. Shalom, Steven!

    Well, they’ve gone and done it — Thunderbird-0.7 has been released. I just downloaded-and-installed it and, sure enough, your Luna Blue theme for Thunderbird (lunabluethunderbird_0_2.jar) doesn’t work with it.

    Oh, it seems to install — no crashing or error message(s) — but, like its sibling theme for Firefox (luna-blue_0.3.3a.jar, by Chris Cook), it just won’t appear on the theme list, following that “install”.

    I know you wrote last December that you weren’t planning to take this theme much further… a “niche theme”, you called it. Nevertheless, would you consider allowing your definition of “much further” to include this new Thunderbird-0.7 release?

    I wrote Chris Cook yesterday about the same problem with his theme, vis-a-vis the new Firefox-0.9 release, and he replied that he’s working on it. Won’t you please do the same?

    I know that I speak for a large group of self-confessed “niche theme” users, when I say that your Luna Blue theme for Thunderbird is perhaps the single most important theme available — and will continue to be so for a long, long time. As has been written/said many times before, your and Chris’s Luna Blue themes, giving the Outlook and IE look-and-feel to these two great Open Source products, are what make it possible for so many “underpriviliged” users to wean themselves from Micro$oft products and make the transition (at the desktop level) to Linux, while remaining as close to 100% productivity as possible.

    Thank you, in advance, for at least considering this request.

    All the best!

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