Future Eudora Versions Based on Mozilla Thunderbird

Thursday October 12th, 2006

The Mozilla Foundation and Qualcomm have announced that future versions of the Eudora mail client will be based on Mozilla Thunderbird. The first Thunderbird-based release of Eudora is expected to be made available in the first half of 2007 and will be both free and open-source. According to the press release, it will retain "Eudora's uniquely rich feature set and productivity enhancements". Thunderbird and Eudora will remain separate products, though they may benefit from common improvements in the future.

The mission to migrate Eudora to a Thunderbird-based application will be known as the Penelope project. A rough roadmap has been produced, envisaging three initial releases: 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0. Each release will progressively reimplement more Eudora features, with 1.0 being a suitable replacement for most current users. Qualcomm has assigned six employees to the Penelope project, including original Eudora developer Steve Dorner, who started working on the program in 1988, three years before it was purchased by Qualcomm.

The Eudora FAQ on the Thunderbird announcement makes it clear that Qualcomm sees an open-source Eudora as an exit strategy with which it can gracefully leave the email client business. Today, Qualcomm focuses on wireless technology (the company invented the CDMA standard used by some mobile phone networks) and Eudora is somewhat of an anomaly in its product lineup. A final commercial version of Eudora, 7.1 for Windows and 6.2.4 for Mac OS X, has been released at a reduced price. Qualcomm will stop selling this edition once the Thunderbird-based product reaches maturity.

#1 Good news: Eudora is very established

by ndebord

Thursday October 12th, 2006 4:20 PM

I predict that, down the road, the Penelope/Eudora email client will be the major mail focus of Mozilla, not Thunderbird.


#2 Should be interesting

by dn15

Thursday October 12th, 2006 6:22 PM

Thunderbird is already a very nice mail client, but it will be nice to see additional development and new features that will come form this.

#3 Exiting or just transitioning to open source?

by MozMonkey

Thursday October 12th, 2006 10:26 PM

By moving Eudora to an open source product, QUALCOMM can exit the Eudora business while still supporting Eudora users and advancing the Eudora e-mail client at a faster pace than before, through the power of the open source development community. "

It almost sounds as if they want to continue development on Eudora even though they will not be marketing a commercial version any more. That would be cool.

But if they will not be involved with Eudora development after they release 1.0 then it would be nice if they worked to add Eudora features to Thunderbird instead of creating a fork. Who will continue work on Eudora as a separate project if Qualcomm quits working on it? They need to consider where the project will be hosted and how to pass the baton to the new developers.

In any case, it is great that a company is willing to exit by creating an open source version instead of just closing up shop and leaving their customers with an abandoned product. Eudora could live on for a long time as open source, just like Netscape did.

#4 Expanding platforms

by Kelson

Friday October 13th, 2006 11:47 PM

Something just occurred to me: with future-Eudora being based on Thunderbird, it should be relatively easy to produce a version for Linux along with the Windows and Mac versions.

Yes, there are five million email clients for Linux, but very few Win/Lin cross-platform clients... and even fewer Win/Mac/Lin clients. I can think of three right now, and two of them are Mozilla projects: Thunderbird, Seamonkey (I'm lumping the old Mozilla suite in here), and Opera.

Though I suppose web-based email is the ultimate in cross-platform.

#5 Here's what I make of it

by eyalroz

Sunday October 15th, 2006 4:51 AM

(This is all IMHO, I don't have any inside info and am only speculating / analyzing )

Technically, nothing significant is going to happen except for some cellophane wrapping.

Eudora wants to quit the email client business, or more specifically, cut the costs of that activity to close to 0, fire the personnel etc. Instead of just saying "just use the last version which will never be updated", they can say, "oh, we're switching to Thunderbird as a 'platform'". This switch can't be for real, since the actual mail-and-news part of under-the-hood tbird is a huge mess which is sort of jerry-rigged to work (as opposed to the toolkit, XPCOM, extension framework etc. which are very nice and have been are are continuing to be devlopped). The MIME library is horrendous with mostly C code implementing its own object system and dating back to early 90s, no usable internal representation of messages, backend and frontend code tied up in all sorts of odd places. Another serious problem one encounters when coding is the message editor, which is also in a pretty sorry state, but this is perhaps not such a major issue w.r.t. grafting Eudora onto tbird.

So what will the switch really entail? I guess we can expect to see fixes for the chrome-related bugs among those mentioned here: and probably also fixes Eudora settings and mail import bugs.

Move along folks, nothing to see here

#10 Re: Here's what I make of it

by mmp97

Tuesday August 14th, 2007 2:11 AM

Hmmm.... interested by your year-old post about Tbird and Eudora. So - what would you recommend? I am a great Eudora fan but have to use TBird because I can get it to share mail in an office environment, so that colleagues and I can work together on stuff. Eudora and Outlook won't do that.

But as you say, TBird is really a nightmare, keeps on crashing, slow, memory enormous, no filters, uuuurrrgghg... so time-consuming to use.

So you think the new version will be like Eudora, but shareable? That' s all I want.

Best, Matthew

#6 More good news

by PeteTehDuck

Sunday October 15th, 2006 8:51 AM

Since this will provide more eyes for the Thunderbird codebase, and hopefully more bug fixes and features. This can only be a good thing. Really exciting times for Thunderbird/Calendar.

#7 Handover

by Galik

Sunday October 15th, 2006 4:57 PM

I think Eudora are just handing their users over to thunderbird. Eudora was my fifst mail client... snif...

#8 Hope it goes well

by tccd

Monday October 30th, 2006 2:49 PM

I use Eudora as my main email client, and have done so for many years. I did experiment with Thunderbird for a while on a client site, but came back to Eudora as it just seemed more comfortable to me. My first proper email client was the old mailtool on SunOS, although I have also used pine, elm and a few others. I am a C++ developer, but have also done C, Java, Lisp, Fortran, and many more at a serious level, so might be interested in getting the source and looking under the hood... if I ever get any spare time!

I'll also be interested to know what happens to the paid-mode features like ultra-fast search and spamwatch in the new open-source version.

#9 Re: Hope it goes well

by Henk3

Thursday December 7th, 2006 5:45 AM

I agree with you. I also prefer Eudora, mostly because of superb way of installing the software. It it very easy to place the program in one place (not C), and all the settings and the mail in another. Very easy to backup !