12:28 PM

Brief: Mozilla Releases Thunderbird 2.0 In Alpha

Testers are trying out message tagging and enhanced e-mail notification alerts. A beta release is slated for late August, with the official launch late this fall.

Mozilla Corp. on Thursday gave users a first look at the next version of its Thunderbird e-mail client by releasing an alpha of v. 2.0.

Thunderbird 2.0 Alpha 1, which can be downloaded in Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X editions, is suitable for developers only, Mozilla said on its Web site, although there are no actual barriers that block others from trying the software.

"[It] is being made available for testing purposes only," Mozilla stated on the site. "Current users of Mozilla Thunderbird 1.5.0.x should not use Thunderbird 2 Alpha 1."

According to Mozilla's roadmap for Thunderbird 2.0, the alpha will be followed by a beta in late August, one or more release candidates in the fall, and a final in "late fall 2006."

Among the new features being tested in the client are message tagging, enhanced mail notification alerts, updates to the program's extension model, and a "Conversations" view mode (similar to the grouping used in Google's Gmail).

Also on Thursday, Mozilla released Thunderbird, a stability and security update that patched 12 flaws, including one judged "critical" by the company. Current users of Thunderbird 1.5.x will be notified of the update automatically; others can download the client from the Mozilla site.

Thunderbird 2.0 Alpha 1 can be downloaded from here.

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