Qualcomm on Wednesday announced plans to release future versions of its
e-mail client software as open source. The company is collaborating with The Mozilla Foundation to base the next version of Eudora on Mozilla’s Thunderbird e-mail software.
“Qualcomm and Mozilla will each participate in, and continue to foster development communities based around the open source Mozilla project, with a view to enhancing the capabilities and ease of use of both Eudora and Thunderbird,” said the organizations in a statement.
Qualcomm expects the first open source version of Eudora to be released during the first half of the 2007 calendar year. In the interim, the company has released the final commercial versions of Eudora for Mac ad Windows, and is selling them at a reduced price of $19.95 with a six-month tech support period (customers who have already paid will have their tech support commitments honored in their entirety).
Eudora has a long and storied history on the Macintosh platform. It was originally developed by Steve Dorner at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1988 and was the first popular Internet e-mail client for the Macintosh in wide distribution. Qualcomm later acquired the software and released it commercially for Mac and Windows. Dorner is now vice president of technology for Qualcomm’s Eudora group.
“There have been discussions for some time about Eudora’s future since it’s not in Qualcomm’s core business,” Jeremy James Senior Director of Corporate Communications, told Macworld. “We wanted to make sure that the core user base was looked after — there has always been a great reluctance to do something that would abandon those users.”
Eudora’s future development roadmap earned a thumbs-up from Dorner, who said he’s excited to see the software returning to the open source community. “Using the Mozilla Thunderbird technology platform as a basis for future versions of Eudora will provide some key infrastructure that the existing versions lacked, such as a cross-platform code base and a world-class display engine. Making it open source will bring more developers to bear on Eudora than ever before,” said Dorner in a statement.
“We feel really good about this approach,” said James.
Update: Added comments from Qualcomm’s Jeremy James.