Unwanted Spellchecker Dictionary English Variants in Thunderbird e-mail editor

There is a similar question in AskUbuntu, but I have not been able to figure out how to apply the answers there to my case in Fedora. It may have something to do with removing unnecessary hunspell dictionaries that dnf installs by default? While the %install_langs macro appears to be good for keeping dnf from installing those locales in the future, it doesn’t help with removing those that are already installed in thunderbird.

When I write an e-mail, and want to change the spellchecker language from the default English (United States), I find that the sliding menu is cluttered with an overwhelming number of undesirable variants of English, from English (Antigua and Barbuda) to English (Zimbabwe), including English (Denmark), English (Jamaica), etc.

  • They do not appear to have been installed via the usual add-on/extension way. In the Thunderbird Add-ons Manager, there is no metion of them on the Dictionaries section. The only Dictionaries there are ones I installed recently using the usual page, such as Spell checker for es-ES.
  • While I can find the English variants I want to get rid of listed in said page, it only gives me the option to install dictionaries and language packages, not remove them.
  • In the Languages section of the Thunderbird Add-ons Manager, there are a bunch of language packs installed that I do not need, including Afrikaans, Arabic, etc. I have no recollection of why I have them or how or when I got them.

I’m using Fedora release 37 (Thirty Seven), Kernel version 6.3.8-100.fc37.x86_64

According to dnf info my current version of Thunderbird is:

Name         : thunderbird
Version      : 102.12.0
Release      : 1.fc37
Architecture : x86_64
Size         : 276 M
Source       : thunderbird-102.12.0-1.fc37.src.rpm
Repository   : @System
From repo    : updates
Packager     : Fedora Project
Installed by : User <user>

As for localectl status, it returns


  System Locale: LANG=en_US.UTF-8
                 LC_NUMERIC=sv_SE.UTF-8
                 LC_TIME=sv_SE.UTF-8
                 LC_MONETARY=sv_SE.UTF-8
                 LC_PAPER=sv_SE.UTF-8
                 LC_MEASUREMENT=sv_SE.UTF-8
      VC Keymap: es
     X11 Layout: es

Which is exactly as I want it, for my own reasons.

  • Mozzilla’s support website has a page ostensibly explaining how to uninstall add-ons if the usual way doesn’t work. I followed it as best I could, going to the Help menu, entering Troubleshoot mode..., pressed Restart, and went to Troubleshooting information, and found out the following:

    • The binaries are stored in /usr/lib64/thunderbird/thunderbird
    • The profile folder is stored in ~/.thunderbird/i0olk7xh.default-release/
    • The add-ons listed do not include the excessive English variant dictionaries as dictionary. They do, however, list all those unnecessary locales, under the Type locale and the version 102.12.0buildid20230604.001933, currently with the Enabled flag set to false.
    • However, the extension names they are listed as, such as langpack-af@thunderbird.mozilla.org for Afrikaans or langpack-br@thunderbird.mozilla.org, are not present in the folder /.thunderbird/i0olk7xh.default-release/extensions/, where they should normally be, and where the other extensions I did install myself are. Instead, there is an extension archive named {139a120b-c2ea-41d2-bf70-542d9f063dfd}.xpi which contains the following file structure:
background.js   common.js  _locales       manual.html       preferences.js
changelog.html  icons      manifest.json  preferences.html

In turn, _locales contains

bg     da     es_ES  fr     it     nl     pt_PT  sr     uk_UA
ca_AD  de     fa_IR  hr_HR  ja_JP  pl     ru_RU  sv_SE  zh_CN
cs_CZ  en_US  fi     hu_HU  ko_KR  pt_BR  sk_SK  tr     zh_TW

I tried deleting those and restarting Tunderbird. In fact, I even accidentally deleted the whole .xpi archive. There was no discernable effect. Even though the locales are deactivated, when I try to write a new message, the same problem persists: an overwhelming number of English variants in the spellcheck menu.

What you are seeing should be the system wide hunspell dictionary entries under /usr/share/hunspell. Langpack .xpi are UI localizations, not dictionaries, so removing those doesn’t have the effect you desire.