Thunderbird Leaves the Nest

By | December 8, 2004

The Mozilla Foundation announced the release version of its new email client, Thunderbird today. Roughly a month after the Mozilla Foundation made history by launching the first mass market open source browser, the Foundation is trying to make its mark on history once again by launching the first mass market open source browser.

Thunderbird is aimed squarely at users of Microsoft’s Outlook Express software. The application has been in development for nearly 2 years and has been popular with early adopters and geeks alike because of its advanced spam filters.

A new feature sure to appeal to the same crowd is an RSS reader. RSS is a technology which users to “subscribed” to news sites and blogs and to be alerted to new content as it is published – thus alleviating the need to constantly check your favorite sites.

By including this in the email client, Thunderbird is attempting to help power users who typically require two applications – i.e.: an email client and an RSS reader – to be able to unify their information gathering experience into one application. Coincidentally this is already possible with Microsoft Outlook and the popular NewsGator RSS reader.

Thunderbird leverages Mozilla’s rendering engine – much like Outlook and Outlook Express use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer rendering engine – which enjoys a robust security and scripting system.

While downloads of early versions of Thunderbird have already surpassed 1 million, the Mozilla Foundation doesn´t expect Thunderbird to take off the way Firefox did, a representative for the group says.

The Web browser has been downloaded just over 9 million times since November 9, according to the Spread Firefox Web site.

Thunderbird 1.0 should be available for free download on Tuesday at Mozilla.org.

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