October 11, 2006 4:20 PM PDT

Qualcomm gives Eudora a Mozilla makeover

Telecommunications technology company Qualcomm is rebuilding its Eudora e-mail program using open-source Thunderbird software from the Mozilla Foundation.

In the 1990s, Eudora caught on as a popular program for sending and receiving e-mail. But Qualcomm "has decided not to remain in the e-mail market because it is not in alignment with the core business or strategic goals," the San Diego-based company said.

The Mozilla-Eudora project is called Penelope, and six Qualcomm programmers are working on it.

On Wednesday, Qualcomm launched its last commercial editions of Eudora, version 7.1 for Windows and 6.2.4 for Mac OS X. These cost $19.95, as opposed to about $50--the price of the last release. The lower-priced software includes six months of support instead of the regular 12 months the company offered earlier.

In the future, customers will be offered no-cost versions of Eudora based on the Thunderbird e-mail application. Those programs, to be released in the first half of 2007, will be open-source and freely available, Qualcomm said.

"This is good news for Eudora users," Ferris Research analyst Richi Jennings said. "Eudora hasn't had a bright future for some considerable time--it's hardly been a shining star on Qualcomm's balance sheet...This will move Eudora users onto a more stable code platform (and) one that's being actively developed."

Spokesman Jeremy James did note that the company won't provide technical support for the free version. People will need to use more informal open-source support channels, such as mailing lists and forums.

It's not yet clear which elements of the current Eudora will be brought to the Thunderbird-based version, James said, but the goal is continuity for users.

"It should look like, feel like, act like Eudora," he said. "The goal is to not only maintain as much as possible the feature and user experience consistency, but also, using the open-source community, to continue to evolve the software."

The Penelope project does have goals, though. Features planned for the initial 0.1 version include Eudora keyboard shortcuts and software to import current Eudora settings and stored messages.

Version 0.5 will support the import of current Eudora filters--the automatic actions based on the content of messages--and will feature a more complete user interface. Version 1.0 will import all Eudora settings and will support preformatted e-mail templates called stationery.

The roots of Thunderbird are in Mozilla software, which originated as the Netscape Navigator package and included a Web browser and an e-mail reader. That project has been split into two parts, the Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail software.

"This is also good news for Thunderbird users, as it adds new ideas to the development team--a team that at times can feel like the ugly sister compared to the Firefox browser," Jennings said.

See more CNET content tagged:
Qualcomm Inc., Eudora, Mozilla Thunderbird, open source, Mozilla Corp.


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A shame, really.
Thunderbird has never particularly impressed me as an email client, not least because it really hasn't advanced all that much from the days of Netscape Navigator (especially user-interface wise), and because it suffers the same issue as all email clients derived from web-browser code or from organizations which got their start making web clients: it treats email like a webpage - and I think that's inefficient, unnecessarily complex and more often than not these days, a security risk.

One more good quality dedicated email client bites the dust, and the latest stage in the saga that started with the demise of Netscape in the first place. Rather ironic they are going to "Mozilla-ize" their product. (and what's the point of this?)

We have Microsoft to thank for making it next to impossible for anyone to come up with a viable business model for marketing a web or email client application.
Posted by pjk0 (1198 comments )
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Get ready for a tirade from the MS Fanboyz
While you may be correct in your assessment that MS has essentially killed innovation for email apps, you will no doubt get flooded with attacks from the MS fanboyz crowd very soon. Good luck! :-)
Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
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Does Anybody Even Use Eudora Anymore?
If you cannot afford the price, there is a free limited version or a sponsored mode. Yet nobody seems to use the program anymore. I personally never found it to be that great even when it was popular. Too bad there are no decent email clients out there. For some reason I cannot understand, people prefer webmail.
Posted by Bookerman (15 comments )
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Oh Yes they do.
I've always used Eudora as it follows the KISS principle.
There is nothing in Outlook (any version) that I trust, and since I dont like the layout in Thunderbird, I Will be buying the last version based on the old code.
Posted by Marcus Westrup (630 comments )
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Yes people do, including NASA.
NASA apparently delivers Eudora as part of their standard desktop application bundle. Here is a link to some documentation on it:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codec/codeci/ITservices/help/software/email/eud_bkup2.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/codec/codeci/ITservices/help/software/email/eud_bkup2.htm</a>

A site I manage uses Eudora on most all the desktops, but I am going to migrate them to more of an "enterprise" system as they have outgrown its capabilities. (which means their requirements are way beyond the capabilities of Thunderbird or webmail as well)

The reason most people use webmail today is because it's all they know, and because it requires virtually no expertise outside of how to use a web browser.

Most people today know of no other way to send a file other than by attaching it to an email too - which is also a really inefficient way to send files back/forth.

Don't assume that people do things because they're actually educated (or care) about better alternatives.
Posted by pjk0 (1198 comments )
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Web Mail
I can't stand web mail either. Not enough features.
Posted by paulsecic (298 comments )
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