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.
What’s changed since May? I don’t know. It would seem likely that there was indeed a Cocoa Eudora in development, but that “variety of factors” held it back for too long. Moving to Thunderbird was perhaps the only viable option, short of halting development entirely.
But after a little thought, I’m not feeling sad about the demise of Eudora any more. Why? Because of the precise wording of the Qualcomm announcement:
“Future versions of Eudora will be free and open source, while retaining Eudora’s uniquely rich feature set and productivity enhancements.” (My emphasis.)
It would be easy to say that Qualcomm was just going to release a branded version of Thunderbird with not much changed except the icon, but I don’t believe that’s the intention. If they really intend to retain Eudora’s feature set, they will clearly be working hard to produce something that’s much more than just a rebranded Thunderbird.
Looks to me like the revived Eudora (Eudorabird?) might have some very interesting features to offer. I look forward to seeing it.