Qualcomm Releases Eudora Into Open Source

The open source version of Eudora will be developed jointly by Qualcomm and Mozilla, which makes the Thunderbird mail client. The first open source version will be released in the first half of 2007.

Gregg Keizer, Contributor

October 11, 2006

1 Min Read

Qualcomm Inc. and Mozilla Corp. on Wednesday jointly announced that future versions of Eudora, Qualcomm's long-running e-mail client, would be based on Mozilla's open-source Thunderbird code. The move effectively puts an end to the proprietary Eudora, which launched in 1988 and once had a significant share of the e-mail software market.

Developers from both companies will work on Mozilla's e-mail project, which will feed to Eudora and Thunderbird. The first open-source Eudora will release during the first half of 2007, said the pair.

"I'm excited for Eudora to be returning to the open source community," said Steve Dorner, Qualcomm's vice president of technology for the Eudora Group, in a statement. "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."

Dorner, who created Eudora in 1988 while at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, gave away the software for a time. Later, it went commercial, with a for-fee Pro version and a free Lite edition. Qualcomm acquired the program in 1991.

Qualcomm cited business incompatibility as the reason for ditching Eudora. "Qualcomm has decided not to remain in the e-mail market because it is not in alignment with the core business or strategic goals," the company said in a FAQ on its Web site.

Although Qualcomm will stop selling Eudora once the open-source edition appears, in the meantime it will continue to offer the commercial client at a reduced price of $19.95. Ironically, Qualcomm used the announcement to also tout its last commercial Eudora, which was released Wednesday for Windows and Mac OS X.

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