Eudora to Go Open Source

This is very interesting. According to MacWorld, the Eudora e-mail program is going to go open source. It used to be free-as-in-beer, and then eventually Qualcomm bought it from the University of Illinois and took it commercial. I never could figure out why Qualcomm of all companies did that. I guess they were a different company back then.

In any case, they apparently noticed that Eudora wasn’t really part of their core business, and they’ve decided to spin it out to the open source community. Even more interesting, they’re going to base future releases (starting in 2007) on Mozilla Thunderbird.

Eudora was my primary e-mail program for about a decade, and my wife still uses it as hers. I switched to Thunderbird a couple of years ago shortly after I switched to Mac OS X. Eudora had fallen behind the curve, and could no longer reasonably display a lot of the messages I was receiving. The transition was painful. I never did get all my archived messages into Thunderbird, and still have to open up Eudora when I want to review a message more than a couple of years old. Furthermore, Thunderbird isn’t as AppleScriptable and is missing some critical features like Redirect and Reply with Template. It hangs a few times a week, and gets tied up whenever the IMAP server is slow. Most importantly its filing system is atrocious.

It would be wonderful if Eudora can fix all this, and provide a modern display engine with the ease of use and features Eudora users have come to expect.

P.S. I know I’m going to get some comments pointing me to six different extension functions for Mozilla. Trust me. I’ve tried them, and they don’t work. Half of them are abandoned, buggy, and don’t work with the latest Thunderbird. The other half are trying to do something Thunderbird does not provide sufficient hooks to allow them to do.

One Response to “Eudora to Go Open Source”

  1. Ed Davies Says:

    I agree that Thunderbird is pretty weak when it comes to filing. One of the big disadvantages of paper is that one sheet of it can only be in one place at a time. Carefully reproducing this in an electronic file system (whether for e-mail or whatever) is really not very bright. On a more general note, it irritates me that so many e-mail clients insist on having their own filing systems – rather than being able to keep (and backup) e-mail about a project with all the other project files. Yes, I know, normal filing systems are terribly inefficient at storing small files – so fix the file systems!

    On the other hand I don’t actually have much trouble with Thunderbird in practice. I use message filters to move almost all of my wanted incomming mail direct to the required folders to be read already filed. The “N” key to skip to the next unread message works pretty well across folders. There are cases when I need to refile messages, but they’re not common. What’s left in my in-tray is 99.9% spam – a quick visual scan of the subjects and senders, ctrl-A to select them all, “M” to mark as read and a drag to the Junk folder deals with them.

    The big big flaw with all this is a bug in Thunderbird where it sometimes doesn’t mark the folders containing new unread messages. Consequently, the folder names are not highlighted in the sidebar and the “M” key doesn’t find the messages. This has been a problem for quite a few versions and I’ve been trying to work out exactly when it happens to see about submitting a bug report. For now, I look at the filter log to double check what’s arrived.

    Ed.

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