I've been using the Eudora email application for over ten years now. Sadly, development on Eudora was stopped sometime last year, after years of promising a major new release on the Mac.
Several Eudora team members set to work on a new project, Penelope, that basically consists of adding a Eudora-like front end to the Thunderbird mail application. The first Penelope beta was released in late August of this year, after about a year of development, and another beta was released sometime after that. Unfortunately, at the current rate of development it's going to be quite a long time before Penelope has features comparable to the current version of Eudora, and even then it's going to be based on Thunderbird, which I gather is pretty different from Eudora in its fundamental design choices.
And Thunderbird itself is facing some changes and uncertainty in development approach, as Mozilla focuses its attention on Firefox.
A lot of us Eudora users are beginning to lose hope. As one Eudora user put it: "I'd resigned myself to using Eudora until it no longer worked, then throwing myself out a window in despair."
So as Eudora gets older and creakier, and as I prepare to upgrade my MacBook to Leopard, I've been thinking about switching to either Thunderbird or Apple's Mail software. Both options make me a little cranky, but I figured it was worth giving them a try to see if they would suit my needs.
And then, just as I was about to start tentatively trying Mail, I learned about a new ray of hope:
They make some remarkable claims. For example:
An initial beta will be released by the end of the year, with the final release due toward the end of Q1 2008. The final application will offer full backward compatibility with Eudora, utilize existing Eudora mailboxes and settings, and offer the features and functionality that Eudora users are accustomed to, while at the same time improving on those areas where Eudora lagged behind, such as HTML rendering and OS integration.
If they can pull it off, they'll win the undying gratitude (and cash) of the vast majority of the remaining die-hard people who for one reason or another haven't yet abandoned Eudora.
Their forums make me cautiously optimistic. I like their openness, their dedication to Eudora and its users, their plans for cross-platform compatibility, and most of all their remarkable projected speed of development.
Unfortunately, there hasn't been much word from the developers lately. And we Eudora users have been burned by easy promises of imminently forthcoming code for years now. It's possible that this, too, will come to naught.
But hope springs eternal. I'm going to cross my fingers, think good thoughts, and hope real hard that they can deliver what they say they can deliver, in roughly the planned timeframe. And if they do, then at last (though sadly) I'll be able to say bye-bye to Eudora.