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.

#5 Here's what I make of it

by eyalroz <>

Sunday October 15th, 2006 4:51 AM

You are replying to this message

(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: <https://bugzilla.mozilla.…rg/show_bug.cgi?id=213562> and probably also fixes Eudora settings and mail import bugs.

Move along folks, nothing to see here