For some reason Firefox doesn't offer Thunderbird as an RSS reader, which means you have to manually add each RSS feed to Thunderbird. It's not a big problem, but it's still annoying. We can fix this.

The solution is to tell Firefox that the Thunderbird application is a valid option for handling RSS feeds. Optionally, we can make it the default handler; which means not having to answer the 'Subscribe to this feed using' question.

We can do this from two places: the Firefox preview window, or the Firefox preferences window. The process is similar.

Starting from a page that contains an RSS feed (such as, click the RSS feed icon (icon). If you haven't already set a default RSS handler preference, you will see the Firefox preview window which starts like this:

I have MS Outlook installed, so that's one of the default RSS reader applications.

Choose 'Other application' from the dropdown (this process will add 'Thunderbird' to this list).

You will see a 'Select Helper Application' file browser. You need to locate the Thunderbird executable for your operating system/version and 'Open' it (which just selects the application)

  • For Windows7 (64-bit, running 32-bit Thunderbird) it is C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Thunderbird\thunderbird.exe
  • For Ubuntu (10.0.4LTS) try /usr/bin/thunderbird

Your Firefox preview should now show Thunderbird as the application with which to subscribe to the RSS feed. The check box lets you make this the default choice.

You can achieve the same result (or change your mind about defaults) from the options dialog (Firefox/Options/Applications or Edit/Preferences depending on operating system).

This subscription method uses the default folder and feed names, which are based on the data from the web site. You might prefer to name the Thunderbird folder as something that makes sense to you. That's Ok, you can change the folder name after you've subscribed.