Eudora is dead; long live... Eudorabird?

by Giles Turnbull

When I first heard the news that Eudora as we know it was going to be replaced by a free, open source version based on Mozilla Thunderbird, I felt a twinge of sadness.

Although I don't use it anymore, I spent many years using Eudora on Windows and Mac operating systems, and always considered it one of the finest email tools around. And that was until very recently.

Yes, the OS X version of Eudora looked like something fossilized from a previous era. But it worked. And it worked so much faster than almost anything else around. Nothing was as good at searching through huge mailboxes. Nothing offered the same degree of tweak-tastic flexibility.

The thing is, Qualcomm was working on a Cocoa version of Eudora. At least, that's what they told me. In May this year I got in touch to ask them about it outright - I'd heard the rumors and I wanted to see if they were true.

This was the reply I got back:

Due to a variety of factors, the Cocoa version is taking far longer
than we'd planned.

We do not yet have a date for the Cocoa release but the plan will
incorporate the new features of SpotLight, WebKit HTML
display/authoring and the Universal binary. We just can't say
anything more about it right now.

I hope you can hang in there while we reconstruct Eudora for today's Macs.


2006-10-11 16:07:22
Anything to get me out of Apple Mail hell would be a welcome development (as long as hey dont use XUL)!
Andrew White
2006-10-11 16:14:15
I very much hope that this results in some great contributions back to the Thunderbird open source project from a team of dedicated developers at Eudora!
Randy Smith
2006-10-11 16:54:52
I was a long time Eudora user, their was not much else to use back in 1994. I really think that Qualcomm shot themselves in the foot with Eudora. It never really grew with the internet. It never handled HTML mail in any way close to being easy....some could consider that a good thing. The thing that really put the nail in the Eudora coffin was its price. There were too many free email solutions that did as good as if not better for most email, for most people. Qualcomm released a free version with ads which really drove people away. I still keep a current copy on my hard drive but I never use it. OS X mail just fine for me and it syncs with my .Mac account.

If you want a product that is never going to see the light of day in OS X check out Stryder Software's TypeStyler. It has been "Coming Soon to OS X" for years now.

Chris (a different one)
2006-10-11 18:51:19
The primary reason one would use Thunderbird is the XUL interface... the back end is easy enough to duplicate without the complexity of XPCOM and all that cruft.

The question is, what's the upside for Qualcomm? Just to get themselves out of long term support contracts? If they're in telecom, they're probably Republicans, so there probably isn't any sort of altruism.

David Battino
2006-10-12 00:29:34
Mmm. I was looking forward to Eudora with HTML support. Maybe it truly is time to switch to Gmail. I just launched Eudora after a crash and got the “settings are corrupt; can’t continue” error. Good thing I’ve learned to back up my settings file.

@Randy: I’ve been running in sponsored mode for years. The ads never really bothered me, though at one point I tried writing a folder script that would flip them upside down in Graphic Converter.

David Young
2006-10-12 01:26:05
Interesting. We all hear about success stories with Cocoa development, but it'd be interesting (and instructive!) to hear some failure stories.

2006-10-12 02:09:08
Ummm... they just released a new version of Eudora yesterday. I dunno if it's truly Cocoa, but it's new and has been in public beta for a few months.
2006-10-12 03:41:34
"... they will clearly be working hard to produce something that's much more than just a rebranded Thunderbird."

It certainly sounds like it, Giles. There will be six Qualcomm employees at Mozilla working on this - you can see their names here:

Apparently, they bring a lot of Mac know-how with them, too, which is good news for Mac users, because Mozilla is inevitably focused more towards Windows. I caught a post by Steve Dorner on a Mac site and he was saying that they want to push towards as much platform-specific stuff as is possible within a cross-platform project. Specifically, they want bridges to Apple's Address Book and to Spotlight.

One has to wonder just how long Qualcomm will continue to make people available to Mozilla. Email wasn't part of their core business, and they may be mostly looking for a way out for themselves, while preparing a soft landing for their users. But perhaps that doesn't matter: much of what these guys do will also feed back into Thunderbird project, so even if the plug is eventually pulled on "Penelope" (or whatever it's eventually called) there will have been permanent gains.

Simon Letarte
2006-10-12 10:23:00
I prefer Thundora...