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Eudora OSE 1.0 ReviewDigit Rating: PoorNANAFeatures:NAPerformance:NAValue:NADesign:
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For those who didn't know, Eudora was a rather popular commercial email client that was available up till a few years ago. It was easily one of the best email clients available with a plethora of features — many of which were unique to Eudora. Finally the first release of Eudora OSE (Open Source Edition) is available.
Since 2006, when the original Eudora application was abandoned, Qualcomm, the owners of Eudora, chose to use Mozilla Thunderbird as the new base for future version of Eudora, and the Penelope project at Mozilla Messaging was born. The aim of Penelope was to bring back the Eudora experience but using Thunderbird at the core.
This immediately gives Eudora an edge. For one, Thunderbird itself is based on Mozilla Firefox's technology, so Eudora OSE now has better HTML support. Secondly, Eudora OSE is available for all the platforms Thunderbird is, which are Windows, Linux and Mac OSX, furthermore it can be compiled to work on other platforms since it is open source — earlier it was not available for Linux. Since Eudora OSE is built on Thunderbird it instantly gains all the advantages of Thunderbird bring, such as:
- Threaded email
- A much simplified account creation tool
- Reading RSS / Atom feeds
- Support for Thunderbird addons
For a more detailed look at these features you can read our review of Thunderbird 3 which will cover a number of these features.These features are for the most part identical to their Thunderbird counterparts.
With the move to the Thunderbird core Eudora also uses the Thunderbird database for storing mail instead of the old Eudora mechanism. For those who still have Eudora installed though, Eudora OSE should be able to import all your mail.
So what does Eudora OSE add over and above Thunderbird:
Choice of 2-pane and 3-pane UI layouts
The original Eudora offered different UIs for the Mac OS and the Windows versions of the application. Now both UI options are available on all platforms.
Eudora OSE on Mac OS in 2-pane mode Eudora OSE on Windows in 3-pane mode (without message preview) Eudora OSE on Linux in 3-pane mode (with message preview)
The 3-pane UI is the usual Thunderbird layout where the mail folders are in a vertical pane on the left, the the space on the right is divided into two panes with the message listing on top and the message preview on the bottom.
The 2-pane UI is a little more interesting. In the 2-pane UI layout, the mail folders appear in a separate application window, and the message-list and messages in another. On an application-centric OS like Mac OS it may work well, but it is perhaps not as useful on a window-centric OS such as Windows. It simply clutters up with taskbar without offering much advantage. In any case it is good to have the choice.
Quick reference lookups
Eudora OSE adds a few menu-items to the edit menu that allow you to quickly conduct searches on different sites. For example, you can quickly search the selected text from a message in Google by clicking on Google in the Edit menu, or by using the shortcut Ctrl+3. Similarly Ctrl+4 can be used for a Dictionary lookup and Ctrl+5 for a thesaurus, etc. Using these shortcuts will directly open the requisite services in your default browser will the selected text as a search term.
This is quite handy, however ultimately not as convenient as it can be. Eudora OSE, being based on the Mozilla platform, includes a full-fledged HTML engine. Eudora could as easily open these links as tabs within its own interface, or at least provide an option for the same. It is however possible to add your own services as options here.
FUMLUB stands for first unread message in last unread block. This is a nice classic Eudora feature that intelligently selects the email to read based on the pattern of read / unread messages in your inbox. Often while reading email you may leave certain emails unread to get to them later. In such a case Eudora automatically selects the first unread message in the last block of unread messages. This way you will read the messages in the correct order without touching the messages you have decided to read later.
Eudora UI and navigation shortcuts
You cant have Eudora without Eudora shortcuts! However being based on Thunderbird, Eudora OSE gives you the option of either Eudora or Thunderbird shortcuts.
Other Eudora time-saving features such as type-to-select and group select have also been implemented.
Type-to-select is a simple way to find messages from a particular sender or having a particular subject. All one needs to do is start typing the senders name or the subject, and Eudora will return the first match. There is more to it than just this; you can learn more about this feature here.
Group Select is another amazing time-saving feature. With group select, you can select all messages with the same sender / recipient, subject, size, date, or any column in fact by simply Alt+clicking on the quantity In the message-list. Say you want to select all message that have been sent to you by your friend "John Doe", you merely Alt+click on his name in the "Who" column, and Eudora will automatically select all messages involving "John Doe" from that folder. More information here.
Group Select, here being used to select all messages from the same sender
There are many other Eudora features that can be found in Eudora OSE, and most of these can be configured via a "Extras" tab in Eudora OSE's settings — which otherwise resemble Thunderbird. For example you can have Eudora always load external images in all emails, or you can turn on or off mailbox lines. Of course not all features of Eudora 7 have made it to Eudora OSE 1.0, but for an initial release there are plenty.
Eudora is a brilliant email client for those Eudora fans out there, however in achieving their goal of recreating the Eudora experience, the developers have gone back in time visually. Mimicking the interface of a nearly 5 year old software makes the interface feel uneven. Of course this is just the first version, so it can be considered to be Thunderbird enhanced with Eudora features and in a Eudora 7 skin, future versions can probably iterate over this and give Eudora OSE 2.0 the more modern sheen that subsequent versions of Eudora would have had if they had not gone the Thunderbird route. Additionally, being based on Thunderbird 3.0, instead of Thunderbird 3.1 it does not bring some of the great features that the updated release does.
Eudora OSE is available both as a separate email client, and as an addon for Thunderbird — in which case it will not install on the latest 3.1 release. Eudora OSE is definitely more Thunderbird than Eudora, and if you're a fan of Eudora who since moved to Thunderbird, it is the perfect opportunity to get back, but this is a rather narrow definition.
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